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Duke Energy’s New Solar Concept Has Potential to Supercharge Solar & Smart Grid Companies

Bill Paul, Energy Tech Stocks
… Duke Energy just said it plans to test a concept which, in’s opinion, has the potential to revolutionize the solar power industry even before it has taken root. Duke’s plan envisions turning rooftops into solar power collectors. Nothing new about that, right?

Wrong. Duke is going to test the idea of linking hundreds of solar-power-collecting rooftops into a unique kind of power plant, one that’s the opposite of today’s power plants. Today’s plants generate electricity from a central location and transmit it over lines into millions of homes, offices and factories. Duke’s idea is for a completely de-centralized power plant, one that generates electricity remotely and then feeds that power into the grid at the same point where power from a central plant is being delivered.
(17 September 2008)

Physicists release report pushing for greater efficiency in transportation and building sectors
(video and transcript)
Monica Trauzzi, OnPoint, E&E TV
With energy legislation discussions in full focus on Capitol Hill and the campaign trail, how can energy efficiency help fill in the policy puzzle?

During today’s OnPoint, David Goldston, a former House Science Committee chief of staff and chairman of the American Physical Society’s new report, “Energy Future: Think Efficiency,” explains why he believes there has been a gap between technological advancements and energy policy in recent years.

Goldston lays out a plan for the next president to address energy challenges through efficiency, and he discusses the main hurdles the efficiency sector needs to overcome in the short and long term.
(18 September 2008)

Ethanol Makers Hit by Cash Crunch, Corn Prices

Braden Reddall, Timothy Gardner report for Reuters
Shares of U.S. ethanol makers took a beating on Wednesday as they wrestle with unpredictable corn prices and dwindling cash piles at a time when capital markets look unlikely to provide easy financing. … The financial squeeze comes despite the sector’s rampant growth. Annual U.S. ethanol capacity has grown 60 percent since last year to 10.96 billion gallons as producers expect federal mandates and pricey oil to open up markets for the alternative motor fuel.
(17 September 2008)

Berkeley council to vote on solar tax district

Carolyn Jones, San Francisco Chronicle
Berkeley is expected to make a major leap forward Tuesday in its first-in-the-nation plan to allow homeowners to pay for solar energy systems through their property taxes.

The City Council is slated to approve a new tax district that residents could join voluntarily to finance solar energy systems for their homes. The city would reimburse the homeowner for the installation and material costs, and the homeowner would pay back the money at a fixed rate over 20 years. The advantages for homeowners are that the city can borrow money at a lower interest rate than an individual can and that the tax program would stay with the house if the homeowner sells.

Cities and counties throughout the United States, eager to reduce greenhouse emissions, have been watching Berkeley’s progress with the plan, which has been delayed by the slow economy and difficulty in finding a financial institution willing to invest in the program. City staff members have been negotiating with several institutions and will announce their selection next week.

“If this works, it’ll be the most important thing we’ve done to fight global warming and climate change,” said Mayor Tom Bates. “But the devil’s been in the details.”
(15 September 2008)