Friday, October 31, 2008

GE Smart Appliances Reshape Energy Use

GE Announces Program To Reshape Energy Usage With Smart Appliances

"Now that ENERGY STAR® appliances are recognized by 75 percent of American consumers, the next step is to reshape when energy is being used," said Kevin Nolan, Vice President Technology for GE Consumer & Industrial.ecoimagination

"Peak hour energy demand is growing faster than total energy demand.

It is imperative that we begin to shift some of the energy load from peak hours to other parts of the day -- helping to avoid the need to build new power plants to meet the demand," he explained.

These "smart" or Energy Management Enabled Appliances and the utility "Smart Meters" help consumers manage their utility bills by enabling them to avoid peak hour energy usage and benefit from pricing.

For example, the automatic defrost feature on GE refrigerators is initiated by the internal electronics based on the number of refrigerator door openings and other input signals. If the refrigerator can delay the defrost cycle from occurring during peak energy usage hours, consumers will save money by paying for the same amount of energy, later in the day and at a lower rate.

A pilot program is already underway with Louisville Gas & Electric.

WiFi Thermostats Eliminate Need For Smart Grid

The "Information Superhighway" will connect all types of devices and deliver ALL types of data.

Energy efficiency through telematics is here.

Toronto-based Ecobee thinks it has a winning plan for reducing everyone's cost of heating and air conditioning, while giving utilities greater interaction with customers when needed

From ARS Technica WiFi thermostats set to change energy industry
The Ecobee connects to a thermostat through a standard HVAC interface, and hooks in to the Internet via a home WiFi network.

The thermostat regularly synchronizes its data with a secure Web portal.

Once networked, the thermostat can receive alerts, too, from whoever installed the device.

Previous smart thermostats required a smart grid, an electrical network also capable of passing data. Ecobee goes out of band, using the ubiquity of WiFi to pass data. The system can tie into home meters that track usage.

The kicker:

Because utilities pay for more power during peak periods—whether they generate that power themselves or buy it on the open market—being able to send an alert to a customer asking them to participate in backing off usage could have a disproportionate effect.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

FCC Commissioner Says White Space Will Win Approval

White spaces, or as Google's Larry Page calls it,"Wi-Fi on steroids" is close to reality.

A top federal regulator said on Wednesday he is optimistic communications officials will approve a plan, backed by Microsoft (MSFT) and Google, (GOOG) to open soon-to-be vacant television airwaves.

From Investor's Business Daily FCC Commissioner Says White Space Use Will Win Approval

The FCC, made up of three Republicans and two Democrats, is due to vote (Nov 4) on the white spaces proposal drawn up by Republican commission Chairman Kevin Martin.

there is great potential for a new wave of innovative and faster devices to be developed by the private sector with the new spectrum.

I have pondered at great length about the enormous opportunity White Space represents.

One Silicon Valley player is already receiving white space radio orders.

More White Space ponderings.

Visionary Innovations uncovered a small company with modulation techniques (and over $200m in VC funding from Cisco, SBC Communications, US Venture Partners, ComVentures along with $100m from US Govt) that is positioning themselves to be the "Qualcomm of 700MHz and White Space" (modulating standard).

The report is titled "White Space Represents A White Hot Opportunity"

A Smart Grid Relies On Demand Response

SmartGrid offers an Industry News summary
Their take: That new transmission has to be smart and self-healing to better accommodate the stresses of intermittent wind.

NERC cites improving Demand Response and lagging grid

Highlights I found in the 2008 Long-Term Reliability Assessment from the North American Electric Reliability Corp

To consistently validate and measure the results of the demand response programs, NERC is inaugurating a demand response event analysis system (Demand Response Data Task Force), expected to be launched in 2010.

Significant increases in demand response programs over the next ten years are projected to reduce growth in demand and provide ancillary services across North America.

Demand response will become a critical resource for maintaining system reliability over the next ten years.

Though demand continues to grow, new development of supply-side options are becoming increasingly limited – many coal plants have been deferred or cancelled, nuclear plants are becoming more and more expensive, and transmission lines increasingly difficult to site.

Further, demand response also has an important role to play as more variable resources (such as wind) are added to the system. Variable resources, for example wind generation, often need a “dance partner” which can provide operational flexibility to maintain reliability during resource down-ramps that can be ssociated with them.

Demand response can provide all or a portion of the flexibility required for this integration.

Brattle Group consultant Ahmad Faruqui revealed that his firm has updated its 2007 assessment of DR’s present value. The previous assessment, called The Power of Five Percent, concluded that if DR could reduce peak demand by five percent it would produce a benefit stream over twenty years with a present value of $35B.

Since then, says Faruqui, the cost of providing peak energy has doubled. Meanwhile, DR technology costs have come down and regulators have started promoting faster adoption. Even at a five percent reduction, the present value jumps to $66B.

If DR can reduce peak demand by 25%, says Faruqui, the present value is $332B.

2008 Long-Term Reliability Assessment from the North American Electric Reliability Corp

CleanTech Opportunities Offer Inflection Point For American Economic Turnaround

M.R.Rangaswami at Earth2Tech outlines 3 opportunities to set America on a new path.

The resolution of the presidential election next week will be an opportunity for a fresh start.

1. Rebuild the national grid
2. Stimulate the Green Economy
3. Move to a sustainable economy


America is at a Tipping Point and here are my 6 points (with some government incentives).

1. Reduce our dependence on oil..oil supply is finite. Solar and wind are free and supply is infinite.

2. Utilize our own natural resources (offshore drilling, ANWR) that buys us time (and lowers prices) until renewable energy becomes grid parity or competes with coal.

3. Reduce money going to oil producing countries (terrorist nations) and keep the money within our country (massive trade deficit reduction)..higher GDP,

4. Create millions of jobs (some that include manufacturing)

5. Allow people to be producers of energy in addition to consumers of it (HUGE transformation)..imagine the income change when Joe Consumer can sell power back to the grid while he's working at his job

6. Renewable energy technologies can be licensed to other countries...instead of buying oil, we can sell our own "oil" to other countries.

7. Profits generated by renewable energy companies (instead of foreign countries) can be put back into R&D and the economy.....the money stays here in the U.S.

The Land of Eco-Opportunity

U.K Creates Smart Meter Mandate

The U.K. Government announced yesterday that it will require all households to have smart meters installed over the next decade.

Announcing the mandatory smart meters roll-out, Lord Hunt said: “This is a major step forward; no other country in the world has moved to an electricity and gas smart meter roll-out on this scale.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Verizon Sees Physical World Connection With 700 Megahertz Spectrum

Physical World Connection can be static or dynamic.

From Technology Review
Verizon Sees All Kinds Of Devices Connect

"It's about connecting any- and everything that could be connected," Verizon VP Tony Lewis said at the Mobile Internet World Conference.

In addition to cell phones, Lewis expects to see an explosion of devices that connect to cellular networks, such as industrial machinery and home appliances.

He talked about home health monitors that might track, for example, whether an elderly person is taking medicine at prescribed intervals and then notify family members via the wireless network if a dose is missed.

He also talked about home appliances that would automatically send for a repair person if a key part fails, or order new supplies, such as groceries, when they run out.

What Happens When Electric Motors Go Green?

Each year billions of dollars and electricity are wasted from electric motors electricity that can only run at 2 speeds, ON or OFF.

Their inability to adjust power to varying loads, makes them one of the biggest “wasters” of electricity.eSave

Improving motor efficiency is a huge and the easiest to implement untapped “green resource” and represents a multi-billion dollar opportunity.

Power Efficiency has developed a patented and patent-pending technology platform, called E-Save Technology™, which has been demonstrated in independent testing to improve the efficiency of electric motors by up to 35% in appropriate applications.

Electric motors consume over 25% of the electricity in the U.S., and many operate inefficiently.

Power Efficiency is also developing a new product based on E-Save Technology™ for the tens of millions of small motors found in applications such as residential air conditioning, pool pumps and clothes dryers.

The company is working with manufacturers to incorporate this technology directly into new motors and appliances.

Read our complete report on how Electric Motors Go Green

Google's Energy Ideas...What Is A Kilowatt Worth?

Do you roughly know what the price of kilowatt per hour (kWh) is, and that it fluctuates daily?

Would your your consumption habits change if you did?

Informed consumers are efficient consumers.

The N.Y. Times has a piece titled Google's Energy Ideas Might Emerge Under Open Source Licenses

Ed Lu, who works in advanced projects at Google said “the big area that we are looking at is energy information,”.

Buying electricity today, he said, is a bit like going to a grocery store where the items have no prices and where you get billed a month later for your purchases. Some engineers in Mr. Lu’s team, are working on tools to turn energy buyers into more informed consumers, he said.

VCs Discuss Cleantech At Seattle’s Renewable Energy Finance Forum

Gregory Huang at Xconomy gives us his highlights at the Top 10 Takeaways from VCs At Renewable Energy Forum

Key points I found of interest:

Record investment levels in energy

Cleantech isn’t a sector. It’s many different sectors with very different markets

Solar is dead. “We’ve placed our bets in solar already,” said Atluru of Draper Fisher Jurvetson. “You’re going to see solar drop off.

Smart grid is getting a lot of attention from info-tech investors, in part because it’s capital-efficient.

Waste, water, and recycling aren’t getting as much investment as they deserve, but that may change given the enormous market opportunities worldwide

time horizons for exits have increased to 7-9 years, up from 5-7 years not too long ago

The needle has moved from optimism to skepticism in cleantech

The enthusiasm of entrepreneurs in this sector is an order of magnitude higher than any other sector.

the panelists agreed that entrepreneurs are ahead of investors when it comes to dealing with the economic downturn

The full story.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

700Mhz..The Frequency For Energy Efficiency?

I've discussed how I think the smart meter will be The Next PC.

Smart meters give energy consumers the ability to better manage their individual power consumption. It is the management of energy consumption by individuals that will bring one of the largest sources of carbon emissions in the world under control.

These "mini computers" will need to be connected to the Net continuously,

The question is....Who or what will be the service provider for them?

Data and energy-consumption choices are being offered to consumers like never before.

Utilities are investing in smart meters and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) at a rapid pace. Engineering giants are partnering with smart grid start ups.

Utilities are deploying smart meter technology at a rapid rate to avoid the difficulty of building and permitting new power plants, to prepare for impending carbon regulation and more importantly because managing electricity use at a granular level opens up new business opportunities with customers.

Efficiency gains achieved by upgrading to a smarter grid from a conventional one would be like switching from a typewriter to a word-processor.

The smart grid is not “one” product, but rather, a solution suite of products and software technologies improving the grid’s overall performance. Thomas Friedman calls it the "Energy Internet".

As the Smart Grid grows, with digital devices (meters, relays, switches, routers, circuits) sending out more and more data, unlicensed spectrum could be the Achilles heel of your communication backbone.

In order for this data to be accurate, it has to be delivered over the Net without latency.

The real problem is that utilities have no dedicated spectrum.

700 MHz spectrum, a former television frequency, can carry between 20-25 miles without relays and requires less power to carry the signal (approximately 1250 sq miles per base station.)

Arcadian Networks provides “last mile” wireless carrier services to the energy sector (electric, water, and gas utilities and oil and gas companies). The company’s 700 MHz licensed spectrum delivers a converged IP network with voice and data communications for fixed and mobile applications.

The real-time broadband communications platform reduces operational costs, improves resiliency, and transforms electric grids into efficient “smart grids” and oil fields into optimized “smart fields”.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Fingerprint, A Physical World Hyperlink, And Physical World Connection Help Police


How is a fingerprint like a website (URL)?

When an Internet enabled device scans a fingerprint (retrieves a match using a database through the Net) and delivers information, it (fingerprint) has acted as a Physical World Hyperlink.

A computer resolves a machine readable identifier and delivers information through the Web.

From Guardian Police use fingerprints in the street

Every police force in the UK is to be equipped with mobile fingerprint scanners - handheld devices that allow police to carry out identity checks on people in the street.

The new technology, which ultimately may be able to receive pictures of suspects, is likely to be in widespread use within 18 months. Tens of thousands of sets - as compact as BlackBerry smartphones - are expected to be distributed.

What CleanTech Industries Benefit From New Tax Incentives?

From IBD New Tax Incentives Highlight Big Winners In CleanTech

As part of the $700 billion economic rescue package, solar, wind, geothermal, fuel cells and other clean-energy firms received tax incentives that help them compete with traditional forms of energy

Incentives are key for clean energy, which usually costs more to produce than traditional sources of power such as natural gas, coal and nuclear plants.

The clear winners: solar and emerging fuel-cell technology for providing electricity for industrial and commercial buildings.

Even more important, power utilities can now access the tax credit under the new bill. That will help create demand for larger-scale projects that deep-pocketed utilities can roll out, analysts say.

Analysts also point out that wind is closer to becoming competitive with traditional power sources

I've compiled a list of:

Solar Stocks

Wind Energy Stocks

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Internet Of Things..Physical World Connection Right Around The Corner

"In five years it will be hard to find an electronic device that is not connected to the Internet," ZeroG Chief Executive John Cummins predicted.

More than 9 billion micro-control devices are shipped every year, he said, suggesting a huge market opportunity.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Creating Energy By Efficiency

the cheapest and most available source of new energy is the energy we waste”...... U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman

The death of broadband over powerline (BPL) opens up other possibilities.

Another bit of energy efficiency trivia.

Shedding just 5 to 10 percent of utility's load at peak times on demand could reduce or eliminate turning to the expensive spot power market or powering up dirty old power plants.

Shaving that usage can have enormously disproportionate cost and environmental savings.

Improved energy efficiency and so-called demand response programs that curtail power consumption on hot days would reduce North America's total power demand 3.3 percent by 2016.

There's a unique opportunity to become part of the solution-and to profit from it at the same time. By leveraging Internet-enabled electricity load management technologies, businesses can help to save the grid by automatically reducing peak demand during critical periods.

This is all due to this government mandate.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Did You Know?

light bulb
Incandescent light bulbs, which convert heat into light, use only about 2% of the electricity they consume and wasting the rest as heat.

Lighting accounts for nearly one quarter of the world's electricity use, the potential energy savings are prodigious.

The most powerful light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which are not expected to enter commercial production until 2010, use only a fraction of the electricity used by incandescent bulbs and often outperform compact fluorescent bulbs in terms of energy efficiency.

The U.S. plans to ban the bulbs beginning in 2012.

Here are some more Bright Ideas For Lighting

U.S. Department Of Interior Launches Geothermal Energy Initiative

Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today announced a plan to make more than 190 million acres of Federal land in 12 western states available for development of geothermal energy resources, an initiative that could increase electric generation capacity from geothermal resources ten times over.

Under the development scenario outlined in the plan – known as the Final Geothermal Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement – the initiative could produce 5,540 megawatts of new electric generation capacity from geothermal resources by 2015.

That’s enough to meet the power needs of 5.5 million homes. The plan also estimates an additional 6,600 megawatts by 2025 for a total of 12,100 megawatts – enough to power more than 12 million homes.

Clean Energy Will Depend On A New Smart Grid

smart grid
Renewable energy is only as effective as the infrastructure that moves it around: the electrical grid.

Parts of the current grid are over a half century old, predating the personal computer.

From WSJ Renewables Need A Smart Grid

Even at today's levels, renewable energy is straining an electrical grid already showing signs of fragility.

The current electric grid has two basic shortcomings.

It's not big enough to accommodate all the new electricity the nation is likely to need in coming decades,regardless of how that electricity is produced. And it's not flexible enough to handle the inconsistencies of renewable energy, which is less steady than the workhorses of coal and natural gas; the wind doesn't always blow, and the sun doesn't always shine.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Most Revolutionary Phase Of All...Physical World Connection

When every physical object is, or can be connected to the Internet, ie (Physical World Connection), is when a revolution occurs.

Some call it the "Internet of Things", I also call it the Internet Phase 2.

Cars, refrigerators, billboards, tennis rackets, water heaters, digital cameras, stop signs, airplanes, sprinkler systems and any physical object you can think of, will soon be "connected" to the Internet. This occurs with various types of Physical World Hyperlinks.

A Physical World Hyperlink is any sensing device (RFid, GPS, ZigBee etc) or a machine readable identifier (barcode, image, sound etc) that when initiated or scanned provides an Internet connection (or a connection through the Net).

The ability for devices (more than PCs and mobile phones) to connect (or have the ability to connect to the Net) will offer some exciting applications. The ability for individuals and corporations to connect/interact via the Net, created new multi-billion dollar companies/industries (Google, eBay, Amazon, YouTube). This also allowed economies to become so much more efficient.

The areas to watch for Physical World Connection:

1. software/hardware (solution) that resolves any type of physical world hyperlink

2. a "registry" for domains that will be issued for every device (that will dwarf the number of website domains) Verisign

3. a network provider that can ensures a secure network for these devices (it's one thing if your website is hacked, it's something completely different if your machinery or car is)

4. a delivery system/platform that can move any sized data from a physical object through the network (what good is having objects connected and providing data if they cant transmit and receive it)

On the advertising side of PWC here's how Google Can Connect The Physical World

Even Microsoft is developing the RFID browser.

Internet enabled everything

In the 15 years since Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, the life of almost everyone in the industrialised world has been touched by it. But just as many of us are getting to grips with its second stage, the mobile internet, few are prepared - or even aware - of the third and potentially most revolutionary phase of all: the internet of things.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rent A Solar Panel For Your Home

What a great idea.

From CNN Money Solar power your home, for cheap

A Silicon Valley startup rents solar panels to homeowners - a strategy that is both cost-effective for customers and, thanks to generous tax breaks, a boon to its bottom line.

"The biggest barrier for solar is the upfront cost," said Lyndon Rive, CEO of Foster City, Calif.-based SolarCity.

Rive's company may have hit on a solution. Instead of selling solar panels to homeowners, SolarCity's main business is leasing the panels. The consumer pays SolarCity a monthly lease payment - about $75 for a 2.8 kilowatt system - which, when combined with his newly-lowered electric bill, typically adds up to a savings of 10% to 15%.

SolarCity does all the installation work, and there's little risk for the consumer since SolarCity guarantees a minimum level of power production.

An Area To Watch..The HAN (Home Area Network)

You've heard of WAN (wide area network) and LAN (local area network), well there's a new one to start monitoring.

The HAN, "Home Area Network" is the next industry set to explode, and this is the computing device for it.

Who will become the Microsoft, Dell, Cisco for this space?
smart grid
From PR Inside:

Tendril, a leading provider of Residential Energy Management Systems (REMS) for the utilities industry and their customers, today announced the successful integration of a metering solution leveraging the Tendril Residential Energy Ecosystem (TREE) and the OpenWay by Itron advanced metering infrastructure (AMI).

Through its collaboration with Itron, Tendril is utilizing the Itron AMI network to provide real-time, two-way communications beyond the smart meter and into the home through a home-area network (HAN).

Energy providers looking to invest in AMI can now take advantage of the TREE to achieve reliable two-way communications over an advanced metering network.

With OpenWay, Tendril integrates with the utility infrastructure at the head-end, providing unprecedented ability to communicate directly into the home through the electricity meter. This allows utilities to extend interactive and consumer-centric energy efficiency, demand response and variable pricing programs to their customers.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Could The Smart Meter Be "The Next PC"?

As more computing functions take place on the "cloud", there is a new computing device that will be required to stay at home to function properly.

Given all the functions the smart meter can perform, and money it can save, will it be considered the "Next PC"?

From N.Y.Times Smart Meters Open Market For Smart Apps

embedded in the promise of an improved, 21st-century “smart grid” are “smart meters,” which are quietly gaining ground in American households as utilities replace aging meters with high-tech, networked versions.

The units provide real-time, two-way communication between customer and power company.

And as the smart-meter market grows, so too does the demand for networking, software and hardware tools to make it all work.

Yesterday Pacific Gas & Electric announced they would be spending $1.7 billion to replace 5.1 million electric meters and 4.2 million natural gas meters with so-called smart meters by 2011.

Pennsylvania to give every home and business a smart meter.

Monday, October 20, 2008

AT&T Looks To "Internet Of Things" For New Stream Of Revenue

What is the "Internet of Things", or as I call it "Physical World Connection"

When every physical object is, or can be, connected to the wide web

From N.Y.Times AT&T wants more web-enabled devices

AT&T has created a new division within the company to help devise new consumer devices – digital cameras, devices for cars, even dog collars – which they hope will make it easy to access the Web using AT&T’s network.

Because nearly nine out of ten people already own a mobile phone, AT&T can’t grow fast enough by selling more phones. It needs to find new sources of revenue, particularly devices that use data.

More Physical World Connection discussion.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Interview With Google's Chief Environmental Policy

The International Herald Tribune interviews Dan Reicher, Google's Chief of Environmental Policy.

Recently Google and General Electric forged a pact to push for an upgraded U.S. electricity grid and Google presented a $4.4 trillion plan to wean the United States off coal and oil by 2030. (21st Century Electricity System)

The deal combines each company's strengths:google cleantech

GE will make the hardware -- from wind turbines to metering switches, and Google will make the software -- applying network technologies to the grid.

Dan Reicher:

We're interested in the whole spectrum, from grants for energy research, to "valley of death" ventures, to scaling up projects, to standard commercial investments.

We focus on solar thermal, advanced geothermal and wind energies, plus the "enablers," such as transmission and distribution.

In transit, we're focused on electric vehicles and the enabling infrastructure. That includes batteries, smart grids and applications to monitor and bill folks who plug in

Our focus is on transmission and the "smart grid" and the policy around both areas. The U.S. grid is seriously inadequate. Much of it dates from the '50s and '60s. We need to build a bigger and smarter grid to get renewable energy to big cities and for millions of vehicles to plug into the grid.

Plastic Solar Cells Move Into Large-Scale Production

From Technology Review:
Mass Production of Plastic Solar Cells

In a significant milestone in the deployment of flexible, printed photovoltaics, Konarka, a solar-cell startup based in Lowell, MA, has opened a commercial-scale factory, with the capacity to produce enough organic solar cells every year to generate one gigawatt of electricity, the equivalent of a large nuclear reactor.

plastic solar
Organic solar cells could cut the cost of solar power by making use of inexpensive organic polymers rather than the expensive crystalline silicon used in most solar cells.

The technology has several drawbacks that will initially limit its applications. The solar cells only last a couple of years, unlike the decades that conventional solar cells last. What's more, the solar cells are relatively inefficient.

Window tinting becomes energy producing.

Because the solar cells can be made transparent, Konarka is also developing a version of its solar cells that could be laminated to windows to generate electricity and serve as a window tinting.

Publicly Traded Solar Stocks

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Associated Press....Dying On The Net And Now In Print

Through pricing issues and the inability to adapt to the Internet, the world's largest and oldest news gathering organization is becoming extinct.

Tribune Company has given a two-year notice to the Associated Press that its daily newspapers plan to drop the news service, becoming the first major newspaper chain to do so since the recent controversy over new rates began

Tribune, which owns nine daily papers including the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, joins a growing list of newspapers that have sought to end AP contracts, or given notice of that, following plans to introduce a new controversial rate structure in 2009.

In addition, the Associate Press pretty much eliminated any Internet traffic with this move

Google Taps Harris Corporation For TV Ad Penetration....What Market Is Next?

Google is embedding their TV advertising software operating system/platform into the communications equipment Harris sells to business and government clients.

What other markets does Harris provides communication equipment for?

Harris offers a complete portfolio of cost-effective digital technology solutions that enable broadcasters to easily and affordably transition from standard definition (SD) to high definition (HD) and all the way to 1080p broadcasting.
google tv
From Google's Traditional Media Site Google Announces Partnerhip With Harris Corporation

Today, Google has partnered with Harris Corporation to enable media companies to more easily make their inventory available to Google TV Ads advertisers through Harris' current traffic systems' inventory tools.

Harris Corporation is a worldwide leader in TV advertising traffic, scheduling and billing systems. This partnership will make it easier for our television inventory providers to manage their media sales through the Google TV Ads platform within the existing Harris system.

As advertisers upload their ads and bid the clearing price for your inventory, the spots are delivered from Google's system to the Harris traffic system where they follow the spot placement rules you've already set up. As spots are approved and aired the Harris service returns verification details to Google's system.

Each week, Google processes data from millions of anonymized set-top boxes (STBs), including which channels each STB was tuned to, second-by-second.

This data is provided by our partner, EchoStar. We're then able to provide advertisers with next-day reports of how many impressions were delivered to each ad airing, as well as tuning metrics, such as what percentage of the audience stayed tuned to their ad from beginning to end.

I can see this relationship expanding to the radio industry as well as the aviation broadband space.

What does this mean for Google and their IPTV penetration?

Google proposes TV monitoring

Google could partner with telcos and cable companies in their respective efforts to deliver next-generation interactive television using Internet-style networking. The only problem is that IPTV, as the marriage of television and broadband networking is called, belongs to Microsoft. Microsoft is the major vendor of software for IPTV network operators and it has plans to be the Google of IPTV.

Could this partnership change that?

White Spaces, Or Wi-Fi On Steroids Almost Here?

From Washington Post:

FCC Chair Wants To Go Forward With Use OF White Spaces

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin said he wants to allow portable devices to use the airwaves between TV channels for wireless broadband service (White Spaces)
white space
After months of testing and over a year of lobbying by tech firms Google, Microsoft, HP, Dell and others, the FCC's engineering office is releasing a report today that spells out the standards devices must meet in order to use the empty airwaves.

Martin said he is circulating the report with other commissioners and hopes to vote on the item at the FCC's Nov. 4 meeting.

He said the portable devices must have sensing technologies as well as a geo-location database. This would make sure the devices would be able to detect nearby broadcasts in order to avoid those frequencies.

Google's Larry Page said:

Utilizing the unused TV "white spaces" for broadband access would be a tremendous opportunity to bring the Internet to more Americans -- including those in rural areas and first responders.

Because of the much longer range of these spectrum signals, wireless broadband access utilizing the TV white spaces could be brought to more consumers using fewer base stations -- in effect, "wi-fi on steriods"

For more pondering about white spaces

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Texas And Pickens Plan Making Wind Energy Progress

A billionaire oilman and the 'Lone Star State' of Texas are driving wind to new heights of acceptance and growth in the United States.

Pickens Plan blog has a great story titled High Winds For Texas

Some highlights I found.
wind power
Or as put by Paul Sadler, executive director of The Wind Coalition, the decision solves the infamous ‘chicken and egg’ issue that stymies wind energy growth.

The resource needs transmission to grow, but transmission owners do not want to build unless they know for sure that wind generators will come on line.

At the same time, wind developers do not want to commit to projects unless they know the transmission will exist

Oil fields have a decline curve, a finite supply.

Pickens said that the development of wind power is critical as oil supplies decline. ‘You find an oilfield, it peaks and starts declining, and you’ve got to find another one to replace it’, Pickens said. ‘It can drive you crazy. With wind, there’s no decline curve

Pickens, and others pushing for an expanded transmission system, miss another key point, according to Kurt Yeager, former president and CEO of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and now executive director of the Galvin Electricity Initiative.

Yeager says it is not enough to make the grid bigger, it needs to be better, specifically upgraded from a ‘dumb’ 1950s mechanical switch-based system to a digital technology befitting the times.

To that end, Yeager and former Motorola chief Robert Galvin are attempting to convince industry thought-leaders and policymakers that as a first step they need to pursue a smart grid, particularly on the distribution level

In today’s power system, the ability to accommodate that kind of intermittency is not possible unless we have large quantities of back-up power or storage.

In a smart grid, I can use silicon as my back up energy source’, Yeager said

Up-to-date digital controls and communications technology allows the grid to anticipate the natural fluctuations in wind and solar power and keep power supply in step with consumer demand, according to Yeager.

If such a system is developed, the US would find it could use the existing transmission system more, ‘rather than stretch new wires that nobody wants in their backyard’, Yeager said in an interview

Publicly Traded Solar Stocks

Cisco To Invest In Smart Grid

From Venture Beat Cisco Ventures In Smart Grid Space

Cisco made the announcement of a fledgling venture in the smart grid space.
smart grid
The winning idea that Cisco selected for their business plan called iPrize was the smart grid, the general name given to companies that try to add intelligence to the electricity networks spread between utilities and users.

Guido Jouret, Cisco’s chief technology officer at the Emerging Tech Group, argued that Cisco is actually better-positioned than a startup to explode in the smart grid, since it’s sizable enough to approach the entire market, rather than just catering to customers or utilities.

It’s a lot like VoIP,” he told me. “If you look at who’s cleaning up now, it’s not the startups, it’s more the traditional telcos.”

Monday, October 13, 2008

Publicly Traded Photovoltaic Companies (Solar Stocks)

solar cell

Publicly Traded Solar Companies

AKNS Akeena Solar
ASTI Ascent Solar
BSRC BioSolar
CNUV China Nuvo Solar
CSIQ Canadian Solar
CSKH Clear Skies Solar
CSOL China Solar and Clean Energy
CSUN China Sunergy
DSTI Daystar Technologies
EMKR Emcore
ENER Energy Conversion Devices
ESLR Evergreen Solar
ESRG Electron Solar Energy
FSLR First Solar
GRSR Girasolar
GWSI GWS Technologies
ICPR ICP Solar Technologies
JASO JA Solar Holdings
OCTL Octillion Corp
OEGY Open Energy Corp
PVSO Photovoltaic Solar (very slow loading site)
PSPW Prime Sun Power
QTWW Quantum Fuel System
RSOL Real Goods Solar
SLH Solera Holdings
SLTN Solar Thin Films
SOEN Solar Enertech
SOL Renesola
SOLF Solarfun Power Holdings
SOPW Solar Power
SPIR Spire Corp
SPWRA Sunpower Corp
STP Suntech Power Holdings
SUNV Sunovia Energy
TAN Solar Industry Exchange Traded Fund ETF
TPCS TechPrecision
TSL Trina Solar
TSSP TrendSetter Solar Products
WWAT WorldWater & Solar
WFR MEMC Electronic Materials
YGE Yingli Green Energy

If you would like to include your company, or know any that I have missed, please email me.

Smart Grid Systems A Near Term Possibility

At the surface ‘smart grid’ concepts sound like a logical next step for the modern day utility grid: minimizing downtime, managing peak demand, improving efficiencies, and anticipating problems before they occur all sound like a positive step for the world.

But underneath it all the ‘smart grid’ is incredibly disruptive to the regulatory framework, operational standards, capital investment strategies and business models of most large utilities.

A Guide to the Smart Grid
smart grid
The two stages for development:

1. Software to manage infrastructure:
utilize the power of software to maximize the efficiency of the grid. Simply put, we add a layer of information technology to improve management of existing one-way grid infrastructure to improve performance and reduce costs

2. Onsite power generation and electron storage:
The real disruptive potential of smart grids could occur when we actually produce energy locally, and store electron energy at the edges of the network. This future transforms this one-way grid into a two-way flowing ‘web’.

Full story at The Energy Roadmap

Sunday, October 12, 2008

How Much Potential Solar Energy Does Your House Or Neighborhood Have?

Englewood, Colo.-based engineering giant CH2M Hill provides raw data on solar power potential under the U.S. Solar America Initiative.

Punching an address into the city's search engine pulls up data on the estimated amount of solar photovoltaic energy that could be installed on a specific roof, potential electricity cost reduction, and potential carbon dioxide/greenhouse gas reduction.

Check out the search engine for the city San Francisco.

"Right now, to get a solar assessment on a roof, you have to call up the solar installer, they bring their ladder, a guy wonders around on your roof, and two or three weeks later you get a report," Herrmann said.

"With this technology, you could do it accurately and quickly without having to roll a truck."

Full story from CBS Marketwatch.

Publicly Traded Solar Stocks

Friday, October 10, 2008

Renewable Energy's Rising Star

Current growth and technological innovation make this the rising star of the renewable energy industry.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Google Could Help You Save Energy

smart meter
Power grids throughout the world will need to undergo a dramatic buildout and restructuring to accommodate both an increased demand for energy and a switch to renewable power.

Eric Schmidt of Google once stated

"The opportunity to remake the (power) grid is not unlike the opportunities of the Internet and the PC".

From Yahoo News Google Could Help You Save Energy

At a speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco last week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that as part of its recently announced collaboration with General Electric, the search engine giant is currently looking at designing tools to help consumers understand their energy consumption.

Google has also been actively looking at utilities' smart meter projects, he said, and at using its strong connection with consumers to play a role in consumer energy management.

In fact, out of all of Google's grand energy schemes -- among them its $4.4 trillion energy proposal, its $45 million investment into energy-related startups, and its plug-in vehicle project -- energy data management could be one of the only places where Google plans to generate revenues.

9 Sexiest Electric Cars

The Paris Auto Show had car makers from all over the world introducing their electric vehicles.

Earth2Tech has a list (and images) of the top 9 sexiest electric cars.

My favorite, the Volage.

A New Class Of Fast, Power-Saving Electronics

U.S. researchers have developed ultrathin films that when sandwiched together form a superconductor, an advance that could lead to a new class of fast, power-saving electronics.

From N.Y. Times Scientists Make Ultrathin Superconducting Films

If cooled to the material's critical operating temperature, they have no resistance to the flow of electrical current, unlike ordinary electrical wires, which can eventually overheat.

"What we have done is we have put together two materials, neither of which is a superconductor, and we found their interface -- where they touch -- is superconducting," said physicist Ivan Bozovic of the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory.

What is Superconductivity?

Superconductivity is a phenomenon observed in several metals and ceramic materials. When these materials are cooled to temperatures ranging from near absolute zero (-459 degrees Fahrenheit, 0 degrees Kelvin, -273 degrees Celsius) to liquid nitrogen temperatures (-321 F, 77 K, -196 C), they have no electrical resistance.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Lightbulbs To Replace Wi-Fi Hotspots?

Internet connections at the speed of light.

Smart LED lighting and lightbulbs could become Wi-Fi hotspots. Could this be the service provider for Internet Phase 2?

From Cellular News Lightbulbs to replace Wi-Fi hotspots

Boston University's College of Engineering is launching a program, under a National Science Foundation grant, to develop the next generation of wireless communications technology based on visible light instead of radio waves.

Researchers expect to piggyback data communications capabilities on low-power light emitting diodes, or LEDs, to create "Smart Lighting" that would be faster and more secure than current network technology.

This initiative aims to develop an optical communication technology that would make an LED light the equivalent of a Wi-Fi access point.

"Imagine if your computer, iPhone, TV, radio and thermostat could all communicate with you when you walked in a room just by flipping the wall light switch and without the usual cluster of wires," said BU Engineering Professor Thomas Little.

"This is a unique opportunity to create a transcendent technology that not only enables energy efficient lighting, but also creates the next generation of secure wireless communications," Little added.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

America Is At A Tipping Point....Google's Clean Energy 2030 Proposal

America stands at a tipping point. A huge transformation and opportunity is available with the right thinking and execution.

Our country is massive and loaded with natural resources. In addition, we have the best engineers in the world that can get us out of this "hole". A drastic economic shift can occur when we go from being a sole consumer of energy to "producing" it ourselves.

With some government incentives, we have the ability to:

1. Reduce our dependence on oil

2. Utilize our own natural resources (offshore drilling, ANWR) that buys us time (and lowers prices) until renewable energy becomes grid parity or competes with coal.

3. Reduce money going to oil producing countries (terrorist nations) and keep the money within our country (massive trade deficit reduction)..higher GDP,

4. Create millions of jobs (some that include manufacturing)

5. Allow people to be producers of energy in addition to consumers of it (HUGE transformation)..imagine the income change when Joe Consumer can sell power back to the grid while he's working at his job

6. Renewable energy technologies can be licensed to other countries...instead of buying oil, we can sell our own "oil" to other countries.

7. Profits generated by renewable energy companies (instead of foreign countries) can be put back into R&D and the economy.....the money stays here in the U.S.


Google, a company that is creating the best methods for information retrieval in the Internet Age, has fantastic insight on how to thrive in the Renewable Energy Age.

Google Public Policy outlines Google's Clean Energy 2030

Right now the U.S. has a very real opportunity to transform our economy from one running on fossil fuels to one largely based on clean energy. We are developing the technologies and know-how to accomplish this. We can build whole new industries and create millions of new jobs. We can reduce energy costs, both at the gas pump and at home. We can improve our national security.

Highlights of their proposal:

(1) Reduce demand by doing more with less
reducing energy demand through energy efficiency -- adopting technologies and practices that allow us to do more with less

(2) Develop renewable energy that is cheaper than coal We want to help catalyze the development of renewable energy that is price competitive with coal. At least three technologies show tremendous promise: wind, solar thermal, and advanced geothermal

(3) Electrify transportation and re-invent our electric grid
Much of the technology in our current electrical grid was developed in the 60s and is wasteful and not very smart

For the full Clean Energy 2030 Proposal

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Photovoltaic Paint Provides Disruption For Renewable Energy Industry

Photovoltaic paint, also known as liquid solar cells, has the potential to disrupt not only the solar cell space, but the entire renewable energy industry too.

From Renewable Energy Solar Paint on Steel Could Generate Renewable Energy Soon

In three years, buildings covered in steel sheets could be generating large amounts of solar electricity, thanks to a new photovoltaic paint (liquid solar cells) that is being developed in a commercial photovoltaic paintpartnership between UK university researchers and the steel industry.

The photovoltaic paint is made up of a layer of dye and a layer of electrolytes and can be applied as a liquid paste.

The paste is applied to steel sheets when they are passed through the rollers during the manufacturing process.

Because the photovoltaic paint has none of the material limitations of conventional silicon-based solar cell, it could, at least in theory, provide terawatts of clean solar electricity at a low cost in the coming decades.

These new solar cells also have the advantage of being able to absorb across the visible spectrum. That makes them more efficient at capturing low radiation light than conventional solar cells.

Publicly Traded Solar Stocks

The "Pollypill" (Red Heart Pill) Is Ready For Human Trials

A strategy to reduce cardiovascular disease by more than 80%.

A new "Four In One" Pill will halve strokes and related deaths.

The most awaited drug, a polypill is ready for human trials.

This polypill named as New Four-In-One Pill Will Halve Strokes And Related Deaths the Red Heart pill, is a combination of four effective medicines. The human trials for this pill will start this week. Researchers who made the pollypill believe that this drug has potential to half strokes and heart attack related deaths.

The aid for the polypill reaserch were provided by the Wellcome Trust and the British Heart Foundation.

The four drugs combined in this pill are aspirin, statin to lower cholesterol, an ACE inhibitor and a thiazide to counter high blood pressure.

Wald and Law postulated that by using a combination of well known, cheap medications in one pill (the "Polypill") would be a particularly effective treatment against cardiovascular disease.

They presented a statistical model which suggested widespread use of the polypill could reduce mortality due to heart disease and strokes by up to 80%

Could Broadcom Offer The Ideal Chip For Location Based Services?

Could this chip from Broadcom be the solution to location based advertising and jump start mobile marketing?

Will the ability to determine location using Wi-Fi hotspots impact the GPS stronghold service providers have?

Broadcom and Skyhook Wireless partner to bring Wi-Fi positioning to mobile phones.

Broadcom, which makes many of the GPS, Wi-Fi and other types of chips in a vast array of phones, is adding Skyhook's Wi-Fi positioning to its chips as well.

Skyhook Wireless, which makes a geolocation system that uses WiFi, not GPS satellites.

C/Net explains:
There are big advantages to WiFi over GPS. For one thing, more people have WiFi radios than GPS receivers. Also, WiFi works indoors, where GPS often fails.

Skyhook has a consumer application, Loki. It's a toolbar add-on for Firefox or Internet Explorer that will pinpoint your physical location on a Google map, and, if you want, also connect you to other "geotagged" databases of restaurants, photos, people, and so on.

This data will also enable location-focused online advertisements, which might be more relevant that current ads. It might also creep you out to get an advertisement that knows where you are

US Geological Survey Suggests Geothermal Offers Greater Potential Than Previous Assessments

The U.S. Geological Survey assessment released today is the first national geothermal resource estimate in more than 30 years.

The resource estimate for unconventional EGS is more than an order of magnitude larger than the combined estimates for both identified and undiscovered conventional geothermal resources and, if successfully developed, could provide an installed geothermal electric power generation capacity equivalent to about half of the currently installed electric power generating capacity in the United States.

"The results of this assessment point to a greater potential for geothermal power production than previous assessments," said Dirk Kempthorne, U.S. Secretary of the Interior. "Geothermal energy is not only a renewable resource, but could significantly contribute to our domestic energy resource base."

Google recently invested in breakthrough geothermal technology.