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Crowdfunded solar panels aim to supercharge business in Africa
20 October 2018 - A system gives small investors cash and communities solar panels to launch businesses, without the big up-front costs. According to William Brent of Power for All, an organization that promotes broader access to clean electricity, crowdsourcing has become central in financing energy projects in Africa and Asia, raising millions of dollars. (more)

Istanbul vending machines offer subway credit for recycled bottles and cans
20 October 2018 - The city of Istanbul is installing 'reverse vending machines' at metro stations that allow passengers to add credit to their subway cards simply by inserting a plastic bottle or aluminum can into the machine. The initiative aims to encourage recycling in the city of more than 15 million people, where recycling practices are scant or indifferent. But the alternative way of paying to travel is sure to be welcomed by commuters ... (more)

Lidija Sekaric is solar's jack of all trades
20 October 2018 - Bucking convention that someone could only be a generalist or a specialist, Dr. Lidija Sekaric is solar's jack of all trades. Sekaric earned her PhD in applied physics, holds thirty U.S. patents, and has over forty scientific publications. In response to climate change, Sekaric brought her research scientist background to focus on solar in 2009, and she has been working in renewable energy ever since. (more)

US: 10 states now get at least 20 per cent of their electricity from solar and wind
19 October 2018 - Solar and wind energy now generate more than 20 per cent of electricity in 10 states, according to a new report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Iowa is at the top of the list, with 37 per cent of its electricity coming from wind and solar in 2017, followed by Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota, all above 30 per cent, PV Magazine reported. (more)

With solar farms and roof panels, Bangladesh inches toward green power goal
19 October 2018 - Bangladesh's electricity generation from renewable sources has passed the 5 per cent mark with the opening of a major new solar plant -- boosting hopes the country might meet its goal of getting 10 per cent of power from renewables by 2020, experts say. The new 28 megawatt solar power plant in Cox's Bazar District is the largest yet opened in the country, following the earlier construction of a 3 MW plant. (more)

India: 'Future' gold medal for Sikkim, the first 100% organic state
18 October 2018 - More than 66,000 farmers helped tourism; increased by 50% between 2016 and 2017; improved living conditions. These are the reasons why the Indian state of Sikkim, the first 100% biological state in the world, won the 2018 gold medal for 'policies that look to the future'. This is the 'Future Policy' award, given each year by the United Nations for political initiatives that 'create better conditions for present and future generations'. In 2016, the small state on the Himalayas chain was declared 'totally organic', after local governments decided to focus on organic farming by eliminating chemical fertilizers and pesticides. (more)

World's northernmost battery-powered bus route starts in Luleå, Sweden
14 October 2018 - Cold climate is no obstacle for green battery commuting in the largest city in Sweden's northernmost county. No smell of diesel, no noise, no shaking from the engines. Passengers commuting to Luleå city centre from the suburbs of Kronan or Porön on board one of the five brand new electric busses will have a comfortable ride, the municipality reports. (more)

In bid for healthier cities, Ethiopia aims to boost urban green
11 October 2018 - For the past few years, several regions and cities in Ethiopia have been planting trees and increasing green spaces to improve the lives of their residents. Now the Ministry of Forestry, Environment and Climate Change (MoFEC) wants to build an integrated approach among local, regional and federal government institutions to spread the benefits of urban greening to even the most congested cities. Those benefits can include a cooler and shadier environment; less noise pollution as trees muffle the sounds of traffic, loud music and factories -- and fewer climate changing emissions in the atmosphere. (more)

Inside the 'Nicest Place in America,' a refugee-owned falafel shop in Tennessee
11 October 2018 - A falafel restaurant opened by a Syrian refugee in Tennessee has become a pillar in his community, and a gathering place for people from all backgrounds and walks of life to come together over food. Yassin's Falafel House in Knoxville was the winner of this year's Reader's Digest Nicest Place in America accolade. The sign posted at the entrance to Terou's restaurant reads: 'All sizes, all colors, all ages, all sexes, all cultures, all religions, all types, all beliefs, all people, safe here at Yassin's Falafel House.' (more)

World: In two months, Ikea sold 1 million of its new veggie hot dogs
11 October 2018 - At the food counter past the checkout lanes at Ikea stores, where the company sells giant frozen yogurt cones for a dollar and other snacks to keep guests satiated and ready to buy more sofas, it's now possible to buy a hot dog for just 75 cents. And the hot dog has no meat in it at all. Made from a blend of kale, red lentils, carrots, and ginger, and served on a soft bun slathered in sweet and spicy mustard, pickled red cabbage, and crispy onions, the vegan dog (the bun makes it just vegetarian) is designed in part to appeal to a growing number of customers who want to eat healthier and plant-based food. But it's also part of Ikea's much larger ambition to cut its carbon footprint. (more)

Bankset Energy announces GW-scale plans for solar railways the world over
10 October 2018 - Bankset Energy Corporation has ambitious plans to install gigawatts of solar PV on railway sleepers across the globe. While the first installation took place in Switzerland, work is underway on projects in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, China and Italy; and gearing up in Austria and Spain. (more)

Netherlands: How Amsterdam's canal boats are going electric
9 October 2018 - By 2020, Amsterdam aims to have decreased energy consumption by 20 per cent and increased use of renewable energy by the same percentage. The electrification of canal cruise boats is a significant part of this plan. While retrofitting canal boats with electric engines and batteries is a time-consuming and expensive task, Amsterdam is hoping the cleaner air and waterways will attract more tourists, be better for wildlife, and contribute to carbon emission reduction targets. (more)

The Magic Kingdom is going green
9 October 2018 - The Walt Disney Company is just months away from generating enough renewable solar energy to fully power two of its four parks at the Walt Disney World Resort in central Florida, USA. However, Disney's solar and renewable efforts are not limited to Florida. In Tokyo, Disneyland's electrical parade light show is fueled by solar panels from eight building rooftops, which generate more than 600 kilowatts of power. In Europe, Disneyland Paris uses geothermal energy to power two of its theme parks and a hotel. (more)

Demand for Indian organic produce is high in global market: Radha Mohan Singh
8 October 2018 - Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh today (8 October) said that the demand for Indian organic produce is high in the global market. He was addressing at Jaivik Krishi Sammelan organized by the National Centre of Organic Farming at Pandit Deen Dayal Dham in Mathura. The Minister said, the Modi government is committed to promoting organic farming and is providing every possible help to farmers for the development of organic farming in the country. (more)

US economists win Nobel prize for work on climate and growth
8 October 2018 - The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said William Nordhaus and Paul Romer were being honoured for their research into two of the most 'basic and pressing' economic issues of the age. The academy said that the two men had won the prize, which is not one of those originally instigated by Alfred Nobel, because they had 'designed methods for addressing some of our time's most basic and pressing questions about how we create long-term sustained and sustainable economic growth'. The two men, it continued, had 'significantly broadened the scope of economic analysis by constructing models that explain how the market economy interacts with nature and knowledge'. (more)

US: Soon, gas stations will also have electric vehicle chargers
8 October 2018 - In the not-too-distant future, your local gas station may have chargers for electric cars near the gas pumps. Gilbarco Veeder-Root -- one of the largest suppliers of fuel dispensers to gas stations -- just invested in Tritium, an electric vehicle charging company. More electric cars sold in the U.S. in 2017 than ever before, and 2018 is on track to break that record. Tesla's Model 3 is the best-selling car, by revenue, in the country. In China last year, drivers bought nearly four times more electric cars than U.S. drivers. In Norway, electric cars and hybrids made up more than half of all vehicle sales. Overall, 40 per cent of Europeans say their next car will be electric. (more)

Electric cars feature strongly at Paris Motor Show
7 October 2018 - Electric models of leading car brands take the spotlight at the Paris Motor Show this year. Euronews science and technology correspondent Denis Loctier reports from the world's busiest automotive event. Tightening environmental regulations in many countries including France make zero-emission electric cars increasingly attractive. (more)

UK: 'A banking app helped me beat my addiction'
6 October 2018 - Tens of thousands of people have signed up to a new service from two mobile-only banks designed to help problem gamblers. One former addict says this 'gambling block', available on the banks' apps, helped him beat his addiction. Monzo CEO Tom Blomfield says the block was introduced because customers asked for it. (more)

Volvo installs solar power at Belgian factory
5 October 2018 - Autos giant Volvo has installed 15,000 solar panels at a car factory in Ghent, Belgium. 'Installing solar panels in Ghent ­adds to our broader efforts to minimize our environmental footprint,' Javier Varela, head of manufacturing and logistics at Volvo Cars, said in a statement. The company has said it wants its global manufacturing operations to be carbon neutral and fully electric cars to account for 50 percent of global sales by 2025. (more)

Ivory Coast gets financing for 37.5 MW solar plant
4 October 2018 - Germany's development bank, KfW signed two contracts yesterday (3 October) with the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Ivory Coast for the financing of a 37.5 MW PV project in Boundiali Department, in the northwestern part of the Ivory Coast. Although this is the first big solar park to secure financing in the country, the first PV project being developed there is a 25 MW facility planned for the town of Benguebougou, in the Korhogo department. The project, which secured government approval in May, and is scheduled for completion by the end of this year. (more)

2018 National Drive Electric Week was a huge success
4 October 2018 - Record-breaking 'National Drive Electric Week' drew over 180,000 attendees this year. According to Mary Lunetta (via Sierra Club's Compass), 'In its eighth annual celebration, National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) broke every record, with more than 180,000 people attending 321 events in three nations and all 50 states [in the United States].' (more)

Donna Strickland's long journey from laser jock to third woman ever to win physics Nobel
4 October 2018 - The 5 a.m. phone call changed Donna Strickland's life in an instant. It was Tuesday, October 2. A representative from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences was on the line from Stockholm calling to inform Strickland, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, that she had won the Nobel Prize in physics. In winning the coveted award, which she shares with American physicist Arthur Ashkin and Gerard Mourou of France, Strickland became only the third woman ever to win the physics prize ... (more)

Here are the winners of the 2018 MacArthur 'Genius' Grants
4 October 2018 - What could possibly bring together a painter, an economist, a pastor, and a planetary scientist? If you ask the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the answer is simpler than you may think: They've all shown creativity, potential for future achievements -- and the likelihood that $625,000, meted out over five years, will help them complete their grand designs. (more)

Private PPAs for solar are proliferating in Latin America
4 October 2018 - New deals or projects related to the sale of solar power to big energy consumers were announced in Brazil, Panama, Mexico, Colombia, and Chile over the past weeks. Auctions are not the only way for large-scale solar to gain shares in Latin America's energy mix. Indeed, an increasing number of recent deals closed for the sale of solar power to big energy consumers is showing that the private PPA [power purchase agreement] segment is gaining ground in most of the region's markets, and that projects under this regime are now becoming a viable option, although auctions for big renewable energy projects are still in place. (more)

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