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Decorated kayaks light up Copenhagen canals on Saint Lucia's Day
14 December 2017 - A flotilla of kayaks decked in lights and Christmas decorations floated through the canals of central Copenhagen on Wednesday evening to celebrate Saint Lucia's Day. Thousands watched from streets and bridges as around 400 kayaks illuminated the Danish capital's dark canals. The light-bearing procession in honor of the 3rd-century saint originated in Sweden and was later adapted by the Danes. (more)

L'Oreal turns to plant-based hair dye as natural cosmetics thrive
14 December 2017 - L'Oreal is launching its first wholly plant-based hair dye as cosmetics companies look to win over customers who are becoming increasingly wary of chemical ingredients. The French company, the world's biggest maker of skincare and beauty products, said on Wednesday (13 December) the new range based on ingredients such as henna would be aimed at professionals for use in salons across Europe from May 2018. The organic cosmetics boom has been driven by rising numbers of younger consumers rejecting chemical-based products in favor of plant-based ones. (more)

India's rooftop solar market is on fire
13 December 2017 - The solar revolution on India's rooftops is gaining momentum. The country added more rooftop solar power capacity in the last financial year than in the previous four years combined, making it the fastest-growing segment in the country's clean energy space. ... This has happened largely because rooftop solar power is now cheaper than commercial and industrial power in all major Indian states, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). (more)

Super big black hole from early universe farthest ever found
13 December 2017 - Astronomers have discovered a super-size black hole harkening back to almost the dawn of creation. It's the farthest black hole ever found. A team led by the Carnegie Observatories' Eduardo Banados reported in the journal Nature on Wednesday (6 December) that the black hole lies in a quasar dating to 690 million years of the Big Bang. That means the light from this quasar has been traveling our way for more than 13 billion years. (more)

Dead coal mines everywhere are being reincarnated as solar farms
12 December 2017 - The world is quickly abandoning coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels. But that's not the end of the road for coal mine -- in many countries they're coming back to life as solar farms. Building solar power plants atop defunct coal plants has several advantages, including putting otherwise hard-to-use lands to productive use. ... (more)

Menorah lightings planned around the world for Hanukkah
11 December 2017 - Public menorah lightings for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah are planned around the world in locations ranging from ski towns and Caribbean islands to famous landmarks and sports arenas. Hanukkah begins Tuesday night (12 December) and lasts for eight days. The Jewish outreach organization Chabad-Lubavitch plans Hanukkah events in hundreds of cities, from the 50 U.S. states to 100 countries. (more)

France: EDF announces big push into solar, sees cost at 25 billion euros
11 December 2017 - French state-owned utility EDF announced on Monday (11 December) plans for a big push into solar energy in France that is likely to cost around 25 billion euros as the government tries to meet its climate goals. Speaking a day before Paris hosts a climate summit, , the company's CEO said EDF aimed to build 30 gigawatt (GW) of solar capacity from 2020 to 2035 ... France wants to reduce the share of nuclear in power generation from 75 percent today to 50 percent by around 2035 and wants to massively boost renewables investment. (more)

'People seem happier': how planting trees changed lives in a former coal community in the UK
8 December 2017 - The National Forest has not only transformed an industrial landscape, it has given people a new sense of belonging and wellbeing, created jobs, and boosted wildlife -- benefits that could be replicated across the country. The first tree in the National Forest was planted more than 25 years ago and now much of the land that spans Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Staffordshire is unrecognizable. (more)

Antibiotics sales for use in U.S. farm animals dropped in 2016: FDA
7 December 2017 - The sale and distribution of antibiotics approved for use in food-producing animals in the United States decreased by 10 percent from 2015 to 2016, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report said on Thursday (7 December). It was the first decline in year-to-year sales since the FDA began collecting the data in 2009, according to food and consumer health groups. (more)

Colossal distant black hole holds surprises about early universe
7 December 2017 - The oldest and most distant black hole ever observed -- a celestial brute 800 million times more massive than the sun -- is providing scientists some surprises about the nature of the universe when, on a cosmic scale, it was a mere toddler. Astronomers on Wednesday (6 December) said the black hole, residing at the center of a highly luminous celestial object called a quasar, is located about 13.1 billion light years away from Earth. The quasar's light detected by the researchers dates back to about 690 million years after the Big Bang that created the universe, when the cosmos was only 5 percent of its present age. (more)

Senegal opens new international airport with economic hopes
7 December 2017 - Senegal's new international airport was opening its runways Thursday [7 December] as the West African country hopes to become a travel hub for the region. The airport, with an estimated cost of $575 million, is five times larger than the old one. It is expected to see 3 million passengers in its first year. A number of cities in West Africa are competing to be the region's air hub including Lome, Togo, which is the base of operations for ASKY Airlines, and Abidjan, Ivory Coast. (more)

More than 200 nations promise to stop ocean plastic waste
6 December 2017 - More than 200 countries signed a U.N. resolution in Nairobi on Wednesday (6 December) to eliminate plastic pollution in the sea, a move some delegates hoped would pave the way to a legally binding treaty. Eight million tonnes of plastic ... are dumped into the ocean every year, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, said the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) which organized the meeting. (more)

Puerto Rico is being rebuilt with the aid of solar companies
6 December 2017 - The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico is still devastated and is struggling with basic needs, including a widespread lack of electricity. It has been two months since Hurricane Maria devastated the island ... In early October, Digital Journal began reporting on the number of entrepreneurs, volunteers solar energy companies, and tech companies that had stepped up to aid Puerto Rico in restoring the power grid and cell phone access. And the efforts have not stopped. For example, OHorizons is sending 25,000 solar lights with batteries and charging systems that generate up to 15 hours of power per charge, as well as 75 solar refrigeration units ... (more)

US: Tucson airport marks completion of 'iconic' solar array
6 December 2017 - The Tucson (Arizona) Airport Authority on Wednesday (6 December) the completion of a solar-energy array over its hourly and daily parking lots. The solar array will offset upwards of 50 percent of energy needs for Tucson International Airport's terminal. The project was started in 2013 with a first phase of 1 megawatt (AC) of photovoltaic panels going up in an arced array that shades hundreds of hourly and daily parking spaces in from of the terminal. (more)

Some of the UK's trains could be running on solar power by 2020
5 December 2017 - If you live south of London, chances are your train journey could soon be powered by solar energy. ... New research by Imperial College and green energy charity 10:10, has found that solar energy could supply ten per cent of the power needed to fuel the UK's DC-powered rail routes. On top of this, six per cent of the London Underground's energy demand could also be supplied by solar-power. (more)

Solarcentury and the chocolate factory; company to build 2.35MWp of solar in Nigeria
4 December 2017 - UK based developer Solarcentury is constructing a 2.35MWp solar project for a Tulip Cocoa Processing (TCP) chocolate factory in Nigeria, North East of Lagos. The project is under a turnkey contract where Solarcentury will also take responsibility for maintenance and operations. The project will consist of solar installations part of which will be roof-mounted and partly ground-mounted, within TCP's operational factories. Solarcentury's Nigeria project is unique as there are very few MW-scale distributed generation and energy storage projects in sub-Sahara Africa. (more)

Spanish and Indian solar associations collaborate
4 December 2017 - Spanish solar association UNEF has signed a cooperation agreement with the National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) to support each other in promoting solar energy and defending the interests of the sector in both countries. The collaboration agreement includes cooperation in commercial missions as well as exchange of good practice and technical and regulatory information. (more)

US: Steve Case's $150M Rise of the Rest seed fund launches with an impressive roster of investors
4 December 2017 - A long list of prominent American businesspeople have joined AOL co-founder Steve Case's new Rise of the Rest seed fund for startups in the Midwest and other areas that are often overlooked by investors. Case told the New York Times that the fund has secured $150 million from backers including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Alphabet. Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio is also a backer. (more)

US: New York Governor announces $3.5 million in funding for EV adoption support initiatives
3 December 2017 - The Governor of New York State, Andrew M Cuomo, has announced the availability of $3.5 million in new funding for those pursuing means of increasing the rate at which plug-in electric vehicles are adopted; those pursuing the price reduction of electric vehicle charging station installation and operation; and those pursuing ways of using electric vehicles to improve the resiliency of the grid. The new funding is intended to help in the achievement of the New York State governor's goals to slash the state's greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 (as compared to 1990 levels). (more)

US: Tim Belk's new adventure turned the former retailer into an organic farmer
2 December 2017 - Tim Belk always likes to have some kind of project to keep himself busy. ... It's on that 200-plus-acre property [his family's property in Chester, S.C.] that Belk, the former CEO of the Charlotte [North Carolina] department store chain that bears his family's name, is working on as his latest, albeit unexpected, project: Starting an organic farm. Belk described organic farming as a fast-growing industry that's especially attractive to young people willing to invest in sustainability and their well-being. (more)

US: New York claims country's largest solar project dedicated to a ski resort
1 December 2017 - The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), and Borrego Solar have announced the completion of Gore Mountain Ski Resort's 5.3 MW solar array in Washington County, New York. According to NYSERDA, the state-backed project represents the largest solar installation dedicated to a ski resort in the nation and supports Governor Andrew Cuomo's goal to have 50 percent of New York's electricity come from renewable sources by 2030. (more)

The beauty industry now has its own green 'seal of approval'
30 November 2017 - It may soon be easier for shoppers to find beauty products without toxic chemicals. The Environmental Working Group has launched EWG Verified, a label that will help consumers spot products that meet stringent ingredient and transparency requirements. The Environmental Working Group nonprofit launched a new label this month [November] called EWG Verified, which certifies personal care products as free from chemicals of concern. (more)

Germany to invest 1 billion euros in lowering air pollution
30 November 2017 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the federal government will provide 1 billion euros (1.2 billion dollars) to cities and towns across the country in 2018 in an effort to make traffic more environmentally friendly. The funds are to be invested among other things into electric buses, electric charging stations, and a more environmentally friendly traffic infrastructure. (more)

India's new 'power for all' scheme launched in Manipur for 175,000 households
30 November 2017 - The Saubhagya scheme to bring electricity to every household in India has been launched in the state of Manipur by Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy, R.K. Singh. Singh said the Manipur government is performing well in terms of power and that Manipur is the fastest reforming state in the sector. A total of 175,000 households will be included in the scheme, 162,000 rural homes and 13,000 urban homes. Singh said that it is Prime Minister Modi's vision to provide electricity to every household in the country. (more)

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