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For more than two years, solar and semiconductor companies have predicted that a glut of polysilicon coming online in 2009 would drive down their costs. Today Suntech Power Holdings CEO Zhengrong Shi put a number on the shift, saying in an interview with Reuters that he […] Read more »

Electric-Vehicle Makers Struggle, Seek Aid Along With Detroit: Representatives from the EV industry sprang to action in Washington, D.C. last week before executives from Detroit’s Big Three arrived, calling for subsidized loans, expanded tax credits, a national push for development of advanced vehicle batteries, and more government purchases of electric cars. Read more »

IBM and researchers from Harvard University launched a joint effort today to identify more efficient and lower-cost solar cell materials using distributed computing. Leveraging small amounts of computing power from potentially hundreds of thousands of personal computers, this latest addition to the company’s World Community Grid […] Read more »

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After a year peppered with construction slowdowns, bio-refinery idlings, and more than a dozen bankruptcy filings in the corn ethanol industry, we have an early indicator of how it will shape up post-shakeout — with significantly less cozy alliances between grain growers and ethanol producers. The […] Read more »

New Mission for Iceland’s Geothermal Industry: Engineers in Iceland, where geothermal power provides 30 percent of the nation’s electricity, have learned how to keep a geothermal plant running smoothly at relatively low cost. But startup costs — surveying and extracting heat from below the earth’s surface […] Read more »

Delegates from 190 countries have gathered in Poznan, Poland, this week as part of negotiations for a climate change treaty expected to be finalized in Copenhagen next year. According Yvo de Boer, the top climate change official at the UN, delegates today focused largely on adaptation, […] Read more »

UK Electric Car Distributors on the Brink as EV Sales Plummet. NICE Car Company, one of London’s two electric-vehicle distributors, entered administration yesterday. That’s akin to filing for bankruptcy, a term that does not apply to companies in Britain. Going Green, which distributes the G-Wiz, a popular electric two-seater, is struggling to stay afloat. Read more »

Automakers aren’t the only companies seeking federal aid this week. Yesterday members of the Solar Energy Industries Association, or SEIA, urged Congress and President-elect Barack Obama’s administration to help tide over solar companies until January, when a 30 percent solar investment tax credit passed in the […] Read more »

GM Viability Plan Includes Smart-like Car: General Motors’ long-term viability plan, put together as part of its bailout plea to Congress, includes introducing a small four-passenger vehicle with better fuel economy than the Smart ForTwo. Read more »

EnerNOC, a Boston-based company that reduces electricity demand for power grid operators by automating energy conservation, announced today that General Mills has joined its demand-response network. The food giant will use EnerNOC software to cut its West Chicago Facility’s energy load by up to 5 megawatts […] Read more »

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American Electric Power Co., the country’s largest producer of electricity from coal, has begun studying the possibility of building a 1,000-mile transmission line to connecting wind farms scattered across the Upper Midwest, the company announced yesterday. The project, now in a “conceptual stage,” would involve high-voltage […] Read more »

Carbon Market Now Worth $48B: The world market in greenhouse gases grew to $48.26 billion in the first half of 2008, an increase of 41 percent over the same period last year, according to an International Emissions Trading Association estimate presented at this week’s UN climate […] Read more »

UPDATED In the interest of avoiding another Jetgate, Detroit’s Big Three auto executives are leaving their leased corporate aircraft on the ground this week. All three will drive to Washington, D.C. to present “viability plans” as part of their second bailout plea. Ford CEO Alan Mulally […] Read more »

Electric car startup Tesla Motors claims that all it needs to begin construction on a manufacturing plant in San Jose, Calif., is a $200 million loan guarantee from the federal government. CEO Elon Musk has described the loan guarantee as a “when, not an if,” adding […] Read more »

Startup Fisker Automotive has unveiled the first production version of its plug-in hybrid, the Karma, and said the car would be on display at the Detroit Auto Show in January. Not much has changed from the prototypes seen since last year’s event; according to the company, […] Read more »

Smaller Automakers Line Up With Big Three for DOE Loans: A $25 billion auto industry loan program from the Department of Energy is open to any company with a plan to make more fuel-efficient cars. Startups EcoMotors, XP Vehicles, and Tesla Motors have applied under the […] Read more »

A raft of startups has set out to harness energy from waves and tides, many of them in the turbulent waters of Scotland’s Pentland Firth. A subset of that group has emerged in recent months with plans (and prototypes) for tapping river flows. Rivers have powered […] Read more »

UK to Cut Emissions: The UK government’s Climate Change Committee issued its first report today, calling for greenhouse gas emissions to drop by at least one-fifth by 2020. — Guardian Mighty Cheap Wind: A new turbine design from FloDesign Wind Turbine based on jet engine technology […] Read more »

UPDATED: The Independent reported that Ireland’s state-owned utility, the Electricity Supply Board invested $20 million in electric car startup Tesla Motors. Update: Actually ESB’s investment wasn’t made directly into Tesla, but was made into a clean technology fund managed by VantagePoint Venture Partners, which is one […] Read more »

“When I am president,” President-elect Barack Obama said in a videogram sent to a participants of a climate change summit organized by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last week, “any governor who is willing to promote clean energy will have an ally in the White House.” And […] Read more »

Gas on the Cheap: Retailers in Missouri have slashed fuel prices by selling gas without ethanol, the grain-based alcohol that many states require as a gas add-in to reduce air pollution. — Reuters Environmental Investing: Some of the world’s biggest pension funds and foundations in are […] Read more »

Thin-film solar companies may not like questions about their conversion efficiency, but two new studies out this week from MIT and UCLA could eventually help solar cell manufacturers achieve numbers worth bragging about. In a study published in this week’s Journal of the American Chemical Society, […] Read more »

The Bay Area mayors who set out last week to make their region a capital of electric vehicles have a new rival overseas. Ireland’s government today announced a goal to have 10 percent of all cars running on electricity by 2020. Read more »

Daily Sprout: A victory for environmentalists in Rhode Island, economic concerns going into the upcoming climate conference in Poland, the buzz of innovation in the energy storage industry, and more news from around the web. Read more »

Tata Motors, India’s largest auto manufacturer and would-be maker of the ultra-cheap Nano and the electric Indica, shut down its factory in Jamshedpur today for the second time in less than a month. Set to last five days, the closure is an attempt to keep vehicles — and losses — from piling up as recession puts the brakes on demand. Read more »

Lights Out: Shell exec Jeroen van der Veer told the Confederation of British Industry today while the financial crisis will pass, the energy crisis (remember that one?) is here to stay for 50 years or more. Without urgent action, he said, “the lights will go out.” […] Read more »

Clear Standards, a developer of enterprise software for tracking greenhouse-gas emissions, water and energy use, and energy efficiency, has raised $4 million in Series A funding from the venture capital firms Novak Biddle Venture Partners and Kinetic Ventures. Novak Biddle also provided seed funding for the […] Read more »

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unveiled a proposal this morning to meet 10 percent of the city’s energy needs with solar power by 2020. The announcement was made at Solar Integrated Technologies, an company contracted last month to supply thin-film solar panels for a 1.1 megawatt project by Oregon utility Portland General Electric. Read more »

Fisker Automotive announced plans today to use a four-cylinder General Motors engine in its Fisker Karma, a four-door plug-in hybrid shown in prototype at the Detroit auto show back in January. The gas-powered engine would kick in on trips exceeding the electric battery’s 50-mile range, according to […] Read more »

Computing giant IBM and French electric utility EDF will together research ways to boost the efficiency of power plants and modernize electricity infrastructure, IBM announced today. The collaboration puts them in the thick of what’s known as the smart grid industry, a potentially $65 billion market […] Read more »

Silicon Valley electric car startup Tesla Motors has applied for about $400 million of a $25 billion government loan package designed to help automakers produce more efficient vehicles and meet new fuel economy standards. Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla’s V-P of corporate development, revealed the amount in an […] Read more »

Wal-Mart Bets on Wind: The mega retailer has signed a deal with Duke Energy to meet 15 percent of its electricity needs at hundreds of Texas stores with wind power, paying rates on par with current electricity prices. — WSJ’s Environmental Capital Dollar Surge Dings Solar: […] Read more »

Detroit’s top executives have other obligations this week, but in Los Angeles, the auto show must go on. In addition to electric-vehicle infrastructure initiatives, hybrid and all-electric vehicles figure large among more than 30 North American and world premieres at this year’s event, which opens to […] Read more »

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