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Scientists Want Nebraska to Use More Renewable Energy | 1011now.com

Scientists Want Nebraska to Use More Renewable Energy | 1011now.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Climate scientists asked lawmakers to require the Nebraska Power Review Board to consider health, water and economic factors when deciding which power sourcesto use.

 

Malcolm Sen. Ken Harr said on Friday he wants the Legislature's Natural ResoucesCommittee to commission an in-depth study on the power generation issue.

 

State utility companies collaboratively opposed the measure, while 18 people supported it.

 

Coal provides more than 70 percent of electric power generation to Nebraska residents, according to 2011 data from the U.S.EnergyInformation Association.

 

Former meteorologist John Pollack says lawmakers should reduce coal reliance and shift to renewable energies, like wind and solar power. He says climate changeis real and shouldn't be ignored.

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AccessKenya invests KES300m in fibre rollout | TeleGeography.com

AccessKenya Group has announced the completion of the rollout of its metropolitan fibre network in key target areas around Nairobi and its environs. The deployment is expected to grow the firm’s connectivity propositions in Industrial area, Ruaraka, Westlands, Parklands, Mombasa Road and the Central Business District among other localities.


AccessKenya says it is targeting new business by offering cloud solutions and managed services that require high speed connectivity to data centres for delivery.


‘Our interest is in helping businesses grow by delivering affordable but critical end to end solutions for enterprises and even smaller companies,’ said Jonathan Somen, AccessKenya chief executive, adding: ‘All our fibre installations are future proofed with capabilities to traffic massive data rates of up to 2Gbps if necessary.’


AccessKenya has earmarked an investment spend of KES300 million (USD3.3 million) in fibre technology through to 2015 in Nairobi, Thika and Mombasa.

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Israeli fibre broadband provider struggling to retain customers? | TeleGeography.com

Israel Broadband Company (IBC), the joint venture between Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) and private investors, is said to be struggling to retain those customers that have signed up to a free introductory month of its fibre-based broadband service.


According to Globes Online, with the company having launched its fibre-optic broadband plans under the ‘Unlimited’ banner earlier this year, it has been claimed that more than 50% of those that signed up have since returned to taking a service offered over infrastructure operated by either Bezeq or HOT Telecommunication Systems.


With uptake in general also said to be slow – only ‘a few hundred’ customers are said to have signed up so far – among the issues pointed to as possible reasons for customer dissatisfaction are: Unlimited not offering subscribers routers, meaning customers must buy their own; and the 100Mbps broadband service not including any telephony element or any other value-added service (VAS).


Furthermore, limiting uptake is the fact that IBC has reportedly left marketing of the service to smaller, alternative internet service providers (ISPs), a decision that has meant advertising has been low-key at best.


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Indonesia: Indosat announces 185Mbps Super 4G-LTE network launch | TeleGeography.com

Indonesian mobile operator PT Indosat has marked its 47th anniversary and indeed the culmination of its dual carrier (DC-HSPA+) network modernisation programme in 23 cities, by announcing the planned launch of a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network dubbed ‘Super 4G-lTE’.


The new network promises to deliver peak transmission speeds of 185Mbps/41Mbps (down/uplink) and will augment its: ‘Indosat Super 3G+’ service, which boasts speeds of up to 7.2Mbps; the launch of ‘Indosat Super WiFi’ in eight major cities, offering speeds of up to 20Mbps; and ‘Super Internet’, which as a result of the recent network modernisation, uses UMTS-900 and DC-HSPA+ technology in 23 cities, offering data speeds of up to 42Mbps, designed to give a better quality signal in indoor and outdoor areas.

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Scotland: WaveNET – the floating, flexible wave energy generator | Loz Blain | GizMag.com

Scotland: WaveNET – the floating, flexible wave energy generator | Loz Blain | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Scotland's Albatern is putting a new, modular spin on renewable energy generation.


WaveNET is a scalable array of floating "Squid" generator units that harvest wave energy as their buoyant arms rise and fall with the motion of the waves.


Each Squid can link up to as many as three others, effectively creating a large, floating grid that's flexible in every direction. The bigger this grid gets, the more efficient it becomes at harvesting energy, and the more different wave movements it can extract energy from.


Albatern's 10-year target is to have 1.25 kilometer-long floating energy farms pumping out as much as 100 megawatts by 2024.


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Third Qatar 2022 World Cup stadium will keep pitch at 26 degrees Celsius | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com

Third Qatar 2022 World Cup stadium will keep pitch at 26 degrees Celsius | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

With the Al Wakrah and Al Bayt stadium designs already announced, a third design has now been unveiled for use at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The existing Khalifa International Stadium will be renovated to bring it up to current FIFA standards, and also have air cooling features fitted.

Located in Al Rayyan, the Khalifa International Stadium was built in 1976 and was renovated for the 2006 Asian games. The stadium has also previously played host to the Asian Cup (1988, 2011) and the FIFA World Youth Championships (1995). It is expected to be the first of Qatar's proposed World Cup stadiums to be completed, in 2016, and will host the IAAF Athletics World Championships in 2019.

Following the renovation, the stadium will have a seating capacity of 40,000. A new single undulating roof will be added that will cover all the seating within the stadium. In addition to providing shade for fans, the roof will help with another means of keeping those inside cool.


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Renewable energy companies use new clout in statehouses | TribLive.com

Renewable energy companies use new clout in statehouses | TribLive.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Earlier this year, Ohio became the first state to freeze a scheduled increase in the amount of electricity that must be generated by wind, solar and other renewable sources. The move gave advocates of repealing states' mandatory green energy standards a rare victory after defeats the last two years.

But the Ohio victory may have been an aberration: Green energy industries have become mainstream businesses with the political clout to match the fossil fuel industry and big electric utilities in many statehouses, and they are using that influence to defend the renewable energy standards in place in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

Green industry is creating jobs, providing lease payments to landowners and taxes for local government in many states. Companies like Siemens and GE are highly invested in green energy. And many state lawmakers don't want to see the economic benefits shrink or disappear.

Wind represents about $118 billion in private investment in the U.S. economy and sustains about 73,000 jobs, according to the American Wind Energy Association. About $17.3 billion a year is invested in new wind farms.

The solar industry, meanwhile, employs about 143,000 people and pumps nearly $20 billion a year into the economy, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

The economic impact of the fossil fuel industry is much larger, but Tom Plant of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University noted that green energy has “become mainstream . and a pretty significant component of economies of the states.”

Nevertheless, Ohio's action gave hope to repeal advocates like John Eick of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that other states will follow this coming year and slow or modify the mandates, if not repeal them outright.


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Australia: Telstra extends LTE-A coverage to Melbourne | TeleGeography.com

With Australia’s Telstra having announced the launch of commercial LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) services under the ‘4GX’ banner earlier this month, it has now expanded coverage to Melbourne.


Initially access to the increased download speeds will be available in parts of Melbourne’s central business district (CBD) and surrounding suburbs including in St Kilda, Windsor, Albert Park, South Yarra, South Melbourne, Docklands, West Melbourne, North Melbourne, Collingwood, Fitzroy, East Melbourne, Parkville, Elsternwick, Cremorne.


Looking ahead, Telstra has said that by January 2015 its 4GX services will cover an area spanning three kilometres of the Melbourne GPO, a shopping arcade situated inside the former Victorian-era Melbourne General Post Office.


Further, it has said that the introduction of 4GX services will mean increased capacity for the Melbourne mobile network, giving subscribers both improved and more consistent data speeds.


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Lithuania: Omnitel claims 100% 3G coverage | TeleGeography.com

Omnitel, Lithuania’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, has said in a press release on its website that coverage of its 3G network now reaches 100% of the country’s territory. Citing data from the Communications Regulatory Authority (RRT), the TeliaSonera-owned company states that indoor 3G coverage is available across 40%-50% of Lithuania.


As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Omnitel earlier this year completed the upgrade of its wireless network under an extensive modernisation project that began in 2011. The work saw all existing 2G and 3G base stations upgraded and an additional 686 new 3G cell sites installed, significantly boosting data coverage across the whole country.


The entire 3.5G network is now capable of delivering maximum download speeds of 42Mbps. Omnitel’s 4G LTE network, meanwhile, covers 70% of Lithuanians, and earlier this month the cellco carried out tests of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) technology in cooperation with Huawei Technologies.

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NYC: APF’s Class B building joins elite Club | Linda Flanagan | Real Estate Weekly

NYC: APF’s Class B building joins elite Club | Linda Flanagan | Real Estate Weekly | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Three years of work polishing a rough diamond in midtown has earned APF Properties a gold star.

The company announced earlier this month that its Club Row Building at 28 West 44th Street has become just the third Class B office property in New York City to achieve LEED-Existing Building (EB) Gold Certification.

A $9 million retrofit that included $1.5 million in improvements that can be directly or indirectly linked to energy and water savings has elevated the building to a select group that includes 1440 Broadway, 498 Seventh Avenue and 345 Hudson Street.

And while the investment might not immediately translate to higher rents for APF, principal Berndt Perl said he’s in no doubt it was the right thing to do.

“Sustainability is in our DNA as owners and managers,” said Perl. “We believe it is the right approach to take for the environment, as well as for the comfort of our tenants, and to preserve and enhance the long-term value of the portfolio. APF Properties has proven expertise in creating efficiency in older building stock and we are focused on executing plans to achieve a more sustainable portfolio.”

Perl said the retrofit at 28 West 44th has yet to attract more and higher paying tenants, however the green upgrades within its A Class portfolio has resulted in “better retainage" of existing tenants.


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MA: Boston’s first LEED Platinum building to become energy positive | StuRobarts | GizMag.com

MA: Boston’s first LEED Platinum building to become energy positive | StuRobarts | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A high-sustainability design has been released for an expanded building in the US. Behnisch Architekten says that Boston's EpiCenter will become the largest energy-positive commercial building in New England and perhaps on the East Coast. The building will house youth charity Artists for Humanity.

Behnisch specializes in sustainable architecture and featured in the AIA's 2014 top ten green buildings in the US. The firm's design for the John and Frances Angelos Law Center maximizes natural ventilation and daylight, as well as collecting water for re-use. The EpiCenter Expansion will also make use of natural ventilation and daylight, along with a variety of other innovative technologies.

According to Behnisch, the EpiCenter was Boston’s first LEED Platinum building when it opened in 2004. Ten years on, a major renovation will see the building's footprint rise from 23,500 sq ft (2,200 sq m) to 87,000 sq ft (8,100 sq m). New facilities will include space for more more youth artists, more gallery space and new studios. Also planned, with a view to their opening onto a new 1.5 acre (6,070 sq m) public park, are a retail store and a café.


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The Commons: Inside Australia's most sustainable apartment building | Nick Lavars | GizMag.com

The Commons: Inside Australia's most sustainable apartment building | Nick Lavars | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Throughout the traditionally working class suburb of Brunswick in Melbourne's inner north, apartment developments are popping up everywhere as urbanites scramble for their own slice of inner-city living. These buildings are modern and comfortable, though many are cut from the same commercially oriented architectural cloth. But among them stands a beacon of green and thoughtful design. The Commons by local firm Breathe Architecture is a beautiful five-story apartment block with sustainability emanating from every square foot, from the bicycle rack to the communal veggie garden on its roof.

Around seven years ago, Jeremy McLeod, who started Breathe Architecture in 2001, had grand plans of creating Australia's flagship sustainable apartment building. But the onset of the global financial crisis didn't exactly make things easy, as he had trouble securing a loan and finding a developer with whom his priorities aligned.

"It started with a big dream," McLeod tells Gizmag, resting against the wall outside apartment 101, the home he shares with his partner. "As is usually the case with such a big plan, parts of this was stripped away over time, but I still think we came away with something epic."


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Quantum memory storage to help quantum communications go the distance | Colin Jeffery | GizMag.com

Quantum memory storage to help quantum communications go the distance | Colin Jeffery | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The technologies made possible by breakthroughs in quantum physics have already provided the means of quantum cryptography, and are gradually paving the way toward powerful, practical, everyday quantum computers, and even quantum teleportation.


Unfortunately, without corresponding atomic memories to appropriately store quantum-specific information, the myriad possibilities of these technologies are becoming increasingly difficult to advance. To help address this problem, scientists from the University of Warsaw (FUW) claim to have developed an atomic memory that has both exceptional memory properties and a construction elegant in its simplicity.

The FUW researchers from the Institute of Experimental Physics claim that the new, fully-functioning atomic memory has numerous potential applications, especially in telecommunications where the transmission of quantum information over long distances is not as straightforward as the transmission of simple electronic data encoded on laser light and traveling through optical fiber.

This is because quantum information can't simply be amplified every so often along its path of travel as information digitally encoded on a laser beam can be. Instead, it is essential that the quantum information itself remain absolutely preserved in its original form to maintain its inherent security, and boosting the signal risks disrupting the quantum state and immediately rendering the transmission useless and unusable.

In this vein, the new memory may prove useful in providing a means to bring into reality the DLCZ quantum transmission protocol (DLCZ being the initials of the physicists from the University of Innsbruck and Harvard University who proposed it; Duan, Lukin, Cirac, and Zoller), enabling quantum information to be sent across long distances.

As an essential requirement for this protocol to work, quantum information transmitted must be stored at various relay points along the channel of communication. Up until now, the physical capabilities to realize the DLCZ protocol have been unavailable, but this new atomic memory may help solve that problem.


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South Africa: Cape Town scraps Wi-Fi-to-the-home plans | TeleGeography.com

Cape Town’s city council has scrapped its plans to install access points to create a wireless network capable of providing Wi-Fi to each home, as the project was deemed ‘too costly and complex’, BusinessTech reports.


Although the initial plan envisioned Wi-Fi internet access directly into homes, following a technical feasibility proofing and a trial phase in selected locations throughout the city, the city’s telecoms team established that boosters would need to be fitted to each house to deliver the planned results.


Patricia de Lille, Cape Town’s executive mayor, said: ‘This would not only have been costly to install, it would have also been complex to manage owing to a range of structural factors, as well as weather-related constraints and safety issues … It was also found that custom-building household access networks in this way results in a low number of users per access point. In addition, the deployment of such a network would be complex and too slow. The network would in time have become redundant, given the gradual proliferation of commercial mobile internet services.’


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Czech Republic: Vodafone CR steps up 4G coverage plans with 2100MHz LTE launch | TeleGeography.com

Mobile operator Vodafone Czech Republic is accelerating plans to cover Czech cities with 4G by using a block of 2100MHz frequencies to augment its current Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks – which operate in the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands.


In a press release Vodafone said that alongside the bandwidth it secured at the recent 4G auction, it will use its 2100MHz frequencies to cover cities with LTE, which will overlap its existing 3G service there. 3G will still remain in operation, it added.


The first customers will be able to enjoy LTE on 2100MHz in Kladno, Olomouc and Slany as early as in December 2014. All cities should be covered by the end of summer 2015.


The carrier will deploy LTE on the 2100MHz band using a 10MHz block of spectrum with a maximum theoretical download speed of up to 75Mbps, the same peak speed as LTE-800.

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Taiwan Mobile targets one million 4G subscribers by year’s end | TeleGeography.com

Echoing rival Far EasTone’s subscriber expectations, Taiwan Mobile Company has said it aims to have signed up some one million 4G subscribers by the end of 2014, the Digitimes reports.


With the operator’s president James Heng saying he expects there to be between 3.3 million and 3.4 million customers taking a LTE-based service across all operators by the start of 2015, the executive did, however, note that he does not expect cellcos to profit until the first half of next year, due in part to large subsidies for 4G-enabled handsets and tablets bundled as part of post-paid contracts, alongside amortisation of the costs for setting up 4G infrastructure and acquiring suitable spectrum.


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Ocean Spiral underwater city designed to harness deep sea potential | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com

Ocean Spiral underwater city designed to harness deep sea potential | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

An increasing world population means more strain on resources, and requires increasingly innovative solutions. Japanese firm Shimizu has come up with one such idea. Ocean Spiral is an underwater city that seeks to make use of the ocean's rich resources.

Shimizu is no stranger to moonshot ideas. It has previously proposed a ring of solar panels around the moon's equator to generate electricity for Earth and a self-sufficient, carbon-negative floating city in the Pacific Ocean. Its most recent idea, however, is more similar to Phil Pauley's Sub-Biosphere 2 self-sustainable underwater habitat.

Shimizu says the basis for the concept is rooted in the huge potential of the deep sea and of the cycles that link in with the air, sea surface, and seafloor. The company outlines five main reasons for developing the project in the deep sea: there is potential for sourcing seafood, producing desalinated water, generating energy, treating carbon dioxide and extracting resources from the ocean and the seafloor.

The Ocean Spiral takes the form of a huge sphere known as the "Blue Garden." It's 500 m (1,640 ft) in diameter, floating for the most part just below the surface, but with its very top breaching the surface. This will contain 75 floors with spaces allocated for hospitality, residential, commercial and research purposes. It is expected to accommodate a population of 5,000, with 4,000 permanent residents and 1,000 visitors.


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Underwater robot provides first detailed, high-resolution 3D maps of Antarctic sea ice | Richard Moss | GizMag.com

Underwater robot provides first detailed, high-resolution 3D maps of Antarctic sea ice | Richard Moss | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Antarctic scientists have combined measurements provided by an underwater robot with existing satellite data to show that Antarctic sea ice may be thicker than previously thought. Their first-of-a-kind high-resolution 3D maps cover over 500,000 square meters (5.4 million sq ft) in the Weddell, Bellingshausen, and Wilkes Land sectors of Antarctica, and they reveal heavy deformation in all three near-coastal regions that produces mean sea-ice draft (thickness of the submerged part of the ice) far in excess of ice drilling and ship-based measurements. This is a big leap forward in our ability to understand why and how the ice is changing on both small and large scales.

The 2-m (6 ft) long, 200 kg (440 lb) SeaBED autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) swam 20-30 m (65-100 ft) below the ice to previously-inaccessible areas on two separate expeditions, first in 2010 and then again in 2012. It moved in a "lawnmower" grid pattern at a rate of around 30 cm/s (12 in/s) as it mapped the complex topography of the underside of the ice in 400 by 400 meter (1,312 by 1,312 ft) chunks, with multi-beam (and upward-pointing) sonar that was compiled and converted into 3D maps of the surface beneath the ice floes.

These maps reveal large variability in ice thickness, more akin to inverted mountain ranges than the undulating plains you might expect. The mean thickness ranged from 1.4 to 5.5 m (4.6-18 ft), with the thickest point measuring 16 meters (52.5 ft) and an average of 76 percent of the ice volume displaying deformity.


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Blu-ray discs could help make better solar cells | Colin Jeffrey | GizMag.com

Blu-ray discs could help make better solar cells | Colin Jeffrey | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Blu-ray discs have proven themselves superior to DVDs as storage media in light of their high capacity, high definition, and higher transfer rate. Now researchers claim that Blu-ray discs have one more advantage over DVDs: they also have the ability to help markedly improve the efficiency of solar cells, when their etched information patterns are repurposed for use as light concentrators.

According to new research from a team at Northwestern University, Illinois, it has been discovered that the scattering effect on light shone through the arrangement of data etched on a Blu-ray disc improves energy absorption across the spectrum of light used by solar cells.

"We had a hunch that Blu-ray discs might work for improving solar cells, and, to our delight, we found the existing patterns are already very good," said Associate Professor Jiaxing Huang, of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern. "It’s as if electrical engineers and computer scientists developing the Blu-ray technology have been subconsciously doing our jobs, too."

The quasi-random pattern applied to Blu-ray discs – formed as part of the development of their higher-density makeup – has proven to be of the right texture to significantly improve the scattering effect of light when applied to the surface of solar cells. That is, the arrangement of troughs and peaks (zeroes and ones) etched into the surface are sized at between 150 and 525 nanometers, making them ideal for improved light-trapping and concentration.

In fact, the researchers claim, the overall broadband absorption improvement of a solar cell with its surface etched with a Blu-ray pattern was around 21.8 percent; much greater than a standard solar cell.


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Aegis Renewable Energy installs largest single rooftop solar array in Vermont | VTDigger

Aegis Renewable Energy installed the largest single rooftop solar array in the state at Ayers Brook Goat Dairy in Randolph, VT owned by Vermont Creamery. Generating 200,000 kWh of electricity per year, the array will power the farm and send excess energy through the GMP-Green Mountain Power regional grid to offset electricity used at the Creamery’s cheese making facility.


Vermont farms are increasingly investing in long-term sustainable and renewable energy like solar and wind power to reduce operating costs and support environmental and sustainability goals. More than 50 Vermont farms have installed renewable energy systems to offset their electricity usage and source their energy locally.

“In developing this project with Vermont Creamery we were able to find the best solutions to offset their electrical load and dramatically reduce their electric bill by installing a complete solar array on their new barn,” said Nils Behn, CEO of Aegis. “Keeping prime agricultural land open is a driving factor in our designs and we are proud that this project had zero impact on land usability. Vermont Creamery’s genuine commitment to the environment and social responsibility, while also being one of Vermont’s most successful agricultural based businesses, has been inspirational.”

The 181kW roof top solar array was installed on a newly constructed 21,000 square foot barn at Ayers Brook Farm and includes 572 solar panels.


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Kosovo: Vala launches 3G; Vala/IPKO unveil 4G plans | TeleGeography.com

Vala, the wireless arm of state-backed incumbent Post and Telecommunications Kosovo (PTK), has launched 3G services and unveiled plans to activate 4G in January 2015.


Vala’s 3G network covers Pristina and the surrounding area, including Pristina International Airport, although the cellco is working on expanding the system towards Vushtrri, Mitrovice, Ferizaj and Gjilan, whilst launches are also planned in Prizren, Gjakova and Suva Reka.


In order to support the new 3G network and the upcoming Long Term Evolution (LTE) platform, PTK is planning to invest in expanding the reach of its fibre-optic networks. The operator notes that the fibre routes are based on gigabit passive optical network (GPON) technology, and that the expansion programme will be focused on seven key areas.


PTK’s total CAPEX for 2014 and 2015 will exceed EUR100 million (USD124.4 million), the telco added.


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Professors plead with greens to accept nuclear power | Paul Brown | Climate News Network

Professors plead with greens to accept nuclear power | Paul Brown | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Seventy-five professors from the world’s leading universities have signed a letter urging environmentalists to re-think their attitude to nuclear power as a way to save the planet from climate change and preserve its animals, plants and fish.

Ironically, it is two Australian academics who came up with the research. They come from a country whose government has repudiated the Kyoto Protocol, reversed measures to cut climate change, is one of the world’s biggest coal exporters, and has no nuclear power. Australia has just recorded the hottest spring since records began 100 years ago.

The two professors are Barry W. Brook, Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania, and Corey J.A. Bradshaw, Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute. Their backers include many leading experts on ecology, biodiversity, evolution and geography from the US, UK, China and India.

The letter is significant because previous pleas for a role for nuclear power have mostly come from physics professors, who could reasonably be said to love the technology for its own sake.

But this group has no stake in nuclear power, and their argument is based purely on the need to save the planet and its species from overheating and excess use of valuable land for renewables. Professors Brook and Bradshaw have had a paper published in the magazine Conservation Biology, in which they evaluated all possible forms of energy generation. Wind and nuclear power had the highest “benefit-to-cost ratio”.


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Despite Persecution, Guardian of Lake Tai Spotlights China’s Polluters | Andrew Jacobs | NYTimes.com

Despite Persecution, Guardian of Lake Tai Spotlights China’s Polluters | Andrew Jacobs | NYTimes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

By autumn, the stench of Lake Tai and the freakish green glow of its waters usually fade with the ebbing of the summer heat, but this year is different. Standing on a concrete embankment overlooking a fetid, floating array of plastic bottles, foam takeout containers, flip-flops and the occasional dead fish, Wu Lihong, the lake’s unofficial guardian, shook his head in disgust.

“If you jumped into this water, you’d shed a layer of skin,” he said one recent afternoon. “The government claims they are cleaning up the lake, but as you can see, it’s just not true.”

Seven years after a toxic algae bloom forced millions of people who depended on the lake to find alternative sources of drinking water, Lake Tai, which straddles two provinces in the Yangtze River delta, remains a pungent symbol of China’s inability to tackle some of its most serious environmental problems.

Since the 2007 crisis, which drew widespread domestic news media coverage and prompted a special meeting of the cabinet, the government has spent billions of dollars cleaning up the lake, the country’s third-largest freshwater body. But environmentalists say it has little to show for the money. Hundreds of chemical plants, textile mills and ceramics workshops continue to dump their noxious effluent into the waterways that feed into Lake Tai.


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Elon Musk: The new Tesla Roadster can travel some 400 miles on a single charge | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Elon Musk: The new Tesla Roadster can travel some 400 miles on a single charge | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Car nerds, you just got an extra present under the tree.

Elon Musk has confirmed an upgrade for the Tesla Roadster, the electric car company's convertible model, and says that the new features significantly boost its range -- beyond what many traditional cars can get on a tank of gasoline.

There are three retrofits coming to the Roadster, according to Tesla. First is a battery upgrade that marks a 31-percent increase in capacity, letting the vehicle roll further on a single charge. Next is an "aero kit" that'll alter the car's profile slightly, producing a 15-percent reduction in drag due to wind resistance. Finally, the company said in a blog post Friday, the Roadster will be getting new, more efficient tires.

The result is an electric vehicle that can reliably travel about 350 miles before needing a recharge. That's pretty similar — or even better — compared to many conventional gasoline-powered cars. The University of Michigan estimates that the average fuel economy of a new car in 2014 was about 25 miles per gallon. With a 12- or 13-gallon tank, that gets you about 325 miles on a single fill-up.

"There is a set of speeds and driving conditions," said Tesla, "where we can confidently drive the Roadster 3.0 over 400 miles."


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New electrolyte to enable cheaper, less toxic magnesium-sulfur-based batteries | Eric Mack | GizMag.com

New electrolyte to enable cheaper, less toxic magnesium-sulfur-based batteries | Eric Mack | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

There's another promising contender in the race to supplant the dominance of lithium-ion and metal-hydride based batteries in the world of energy storage. New research from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology's (KIT's) Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU) details the development of an electrolyte that can be used in new magnesium-sulfur battery cells that would be more efficient and inexpensive than the dominant types of batteries in use today.

In the past year alone, we've seen research into water-based batteries, fast-charging "dual carbon" batteries, performance enhancing sand-based anodes, an aluminum-air EV battery, and even a nanodot-based smartphone battery that can recharge in 30 seconds.

Like all these, KIT's new electrolyte and the magnesium-based batteries it could enable come with their own list of benefits. The electrolyte's electrochemical window hits the sweet spot in terms of stability, a key characteristic desirable in materials used in batteries. It also plays well in various solvents and at high concentrations and works with a sulfur cathode, a material that is cheap and efficient when it comes to discharging maximum voltage.


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British Telecom Joins Complaints on AT&T Special Access Monopoly | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

British Telecom Joins Complaints on AT&T Special Access Monopoly | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Competing carriers for years have complained about AT&T and Verizon's more than 85% market dominance of the special access market -- or the fiber lines that help feed and connect cellular towers.


Add British Telecom to the list of companies lobbying for changes on that front; the UK company visited the FCC this week to protect its business services, complaining that AT&T and Verizon are charging "five or six times what it should cost" for companies to move from legacy TDM networks such as T1s to faster technology.


The complaints come at the same time BT is facing a fresh round of anti-competitive monopoly allegations across the pond.


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