Green Power 2009 – International Renewable Energy Congress

Poznan, Poland – On the 19th-20th May the International Renewable Energy Congress “Green Power 2009″ shall be held in Poznan. It is to be the biggest international event of the renewable energy sector organized in 2009 in Poland. The Congress shall host high representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament, European Union Council, the European and world RES organizations, representatives of the Polish Government and the Parliament, representatives of local authorities, representatives of the European research institutions and above all the representatives of the most significant Polish, European and world companies which operate in the sector.

Prestigious Sponsorship The event shall be organized under the patronage of the: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy – Mr. Waldemar Pawlak, Minister of Environment – Professor Maciej Nowicki, Minister of Agriculture – Mr. Marek Sawicki and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC).

Scope and objectives Congress shall be divided into two parts. The first, entitled “POLITICS and ECONOMY – Perspectives for the world development of renewable energy in Europe and Poland till 2030 and later in the perspective of the world economical crisis” and the second: “FINANCE AND TECHNOLOGY – Modern technologies and financing of the RES investment projects in the times of the economical slowdown”.

It is the main goal of the Congress to discuss the possibilities for the RES sector growth in Poland and European Union in the light of the current economic situation. Moreover, the significance of investments in the renewable energy to stimulate economics, challenges connected with the introduction of a new RES directive and possibilities for the growth of the sector until 2030 are to be discussed.

Organizers: Polish Economic Chamber of Renewable Energy (PIGEO) is an organization of economic self-government, appointed on the 12th of October 2004, bringing together around 70 national and foreign members. This is a group of businessmen who have expressed their will to work together to develop a market for renewable energy sources (RES). It represents companies involved in energy production, preparation and execution of investments and as well advisory and consulting on the use of wind, water, biomass, biogas, geotherm and solar energy, as well as heat pumps. PIGEO is a member of the National Chamber of Commerce (KIG), the European Wind Energy Association (EA), the European Renewable Energy Federation (EREF), the World Alliance for Distributed Energy (WADE) and the Coordinating Council of Polish renewable energy sources (RES PRK).

The Poznan International Fair is the leader of the Polish trade fair. It holds nearly 50% shares of the fair market in Poland and is the second fair organizer in Central and Eastern Europe. As the only city in Poland, Poznan has been included in the global ranking of fair cities AUMA (33 in 2008). Every year, more than 13 200 exhibitors including about 3,000 foreign companies from 70 countries of the world participate in 80 trade fair events organized on the grounds of the Poznan fair. Last year, the shows and exhibitions were also visited by 360,000 attendees, including visitors from abroad. All trade shows, congresses and conferences organized on the MTP grounds are annually visited by over half a million attendees, which makes MTP the leading centre of business tourism in Poland.MTP belongs to an organization bringing together trade fair leaders from all over the world (UFI – Global Association of Exhibition Industry and Centrex – International Association of Statistics fair).

The Congress shall answer following questions: ” What are the prospects for development of RES in Europe? ” What conditions for the development of the RES must be met so that the renewable sources of energy are a realistic answer to the problems related to the energy safety and global warming? ” What technologies have the best development opportunities? ” How the world financial crisis shall affect the development of RES in Poland and Europe?

Business Prospects During this Congress the issue of finance and investment support schemes for RES in the times of the economic slowdown shall be discussed, furthermore, the Congress shall provide analysis of the major barriers to RES market development and current legislative undertakings aimed at improvement of connected with RES environment. During the second day a special theme conference shall take place, which is to be organized along with the Association of Polish Banks and entitled “Financing investment projects in the renewable sector”. Speakers of the conference are experts from public institutions, banks and other financial institutions as well as consulting companies.

“Renewable Energy Sector (RES) has the greatest potential for growth in times of economic downturn and will be the main driver for future growth. Congress will show how to use it in the most efficient way”- believes Mr. Wies?aw Wójcik, President of PIGEO.

ACCOMPANYING EVENTS The Congress shall be accompanied by: International Renewable Energy Trade Fairs (19-21 of May), the adjudication of the National Competition for Young People for the most interesting essay on “Why the world needs energy from renewable sources?” Which is a part of the RES National Promotional Campaign, and the 2nd Forum on Solar Energy Industry and the European Sun Day. Organizers expect several hundred participants to attend.

For Complete Event Details Visit www.kongresoze.eu
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Obama’s E.P.A. To Re-examine Bush’s Coal Policies

As most people know, in his final hours, ex-President GW Bush’s administration threw a few extra wrenches in the protecting of the natural resources of the nation.  From unlikely oil leases near some of the most pristine parts  of the nation, to carte blanche for coal mining operations and extremely suspect orders that give the USFWS nearly unlimited and  broad-reaching power over what to deem safe to molest.

Recent orders from President Obama’s administration put these last minute actions on hold, while they’re examined and appraised.  If it is determined that they were not acting in the best interest of the People of the United States, it’s likely they’ll be countermanded altogether.  That President Obama would make such an order demonstrates that the U.S. is clearly in much safer, more responsible hands. 

What’s at risk?  Polar bears,  land near National Parks, and now this latest examination of Bush’s instructions that the E.P.A. should NOT consider the effects of pollution when deciding on regulations regarding coal-generated power plants.   Go ahead and blink along with the rest of us as we reread it.  Bush did that?  Yes, he did. 

The past eight years have been hell on the environment.  The previous President clearly held the extremely unscientific view that it doesn’t matter what we do. Lisa Smith, the incoming E.P.A. Administrator, is a breath of fresh air, in that she will have the government looking at the facts and realities, rather than rubber-stamping anything that stands to make money. Obviously, we’re glad to see this. The toll of using carbon-based fuels is clearly unacceptable as well as unnecessary. Some say that the coal and oil industries will take a hit in such circumstances. It’s hard to imagine any other result, but that changes nothing. Plantation owners took a hit, per se, as well, when their ability to own other human beings was revoked as well.

Investing in Green energy sources will make this issue all the more obsolete. It is important that Green energy supporters continue to be outspoken. So long as President Obama continues to have support for this change of direction, he is able to continue to carry us into a new energy age.

And the PVSEC Goes TO…

The PVSEC award honors individuals for outstanding contributions to the development of science and technology of photovoltaic solar energy conversion. This year’s PVSEC goes to Dr. Subhendu Guha for his PhotoVoltaic research and development. It was Energy Conversion Devices which was wise enough to hire Dr. Guha. We offer our congratulations to Dr. Guha, and to ECD as well.ECD is the leading global manufacturer of thin-film flexible solar laminate products for flat-roof commercial buildings.

Dr. Subhendu Guha is their Senior Vice President, as well as Chairman of United Solar Ovonic, their subsidiary.Dr. Guha’s innovative work in both development and production of multi-junction amorphous silicon-based materials, devices and products contributed to his being the recipient of the distinguishing award.”I’m honored to receive this award. It is personally gratifying, and I particularly appreciate the collaboration of my colleagues to carry out cutting-edge research to develop products that have great societal values,” said Dr. Guha.Having written more than 250 technical papers, and holding over 30 patents, Dr. Guha is indeed a world expert on such subjects.

He sits on many national and international committees, including the Advisory Board of National Center for Photovoltaic, which directs and implements the U.S. Department of Energy’s strategy in photovoltaic progress. His work has received recognition from the U.S. Department of Energy, Bright Lights Award, and the Discovery Magazine, Environment Category. He was also the recipient of World Technology award in 2005 in the Energy category.ECD’s UNI-SOLAR(R) brand products are unique in that they employ flexibility, minimal weight, ease of installation, durability, and real-world efficiency to make a practical solar solution. ECD is also a pioneer in other alternative technologies. Amongst other innovations is their nonvolatile digital memory technology, which is significantly faster, more cost-effective, and well-suited for use with cell phones, digital cameras and PCs.We’re pleased and proud to see Dr. Guha receiving recognition for his many contributions to a better, Greener world!
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Bolivia’s Vast Lithium Resources

Beneath the salt desert of Uyuni in northern South America’s Bolivia, lies more than half of the world’s lithium.  Previously used in small quantities for certain psychological disorders caused by brain chemistry imbalances, lithium has found a new use in battery technologies.  Lighter than nickel, lithium makes cell phone and digital camera batteries more compact, and is state-of-the-arts when it comes to Electric Vehicle (EV) power packs.  At this time, the hopes of plug-in vehicles hang upon Lithium Ion (LiIo) batteries. In years to come, the world will be demanding a lot of lithium, and Bolivia has most of it.  

They’re not about to let loose of it freely or for a pittance, nor should the world expect it of them.  Bolivia is a very poor country.  People live from day to day, hand to mouth.  If they don’t have a job, they face starvation.   They’re poor, but they’re not stupid.  They realize that the world wants what they have, and they’re willing to allow others to be partners in their lithium business, but they’re not about to let us just go marching in there, dig up all the lithium and leave with it.  They will want a decent price for the material itself, and jobs for their people as well.    The only complication that might be cited is the elevation, which may make some lithium processing  difficult in some places within the country.   Aside from that, there’s little reason that the wold should not become their trading partners.  Bolivians can make batteries just as well as any other labor force, given the opportunity to do so.   

So it is that the most important test of fair trade goods may be found there in Bolivia.  We must be willing to give them a fair price for their ore, but we must also be willing to allow them to capitalize on their fortune.  Why should Bolivia NOT be a battery capital of the world?  Why shouldn’t they take from their own lands, turn it into the batteries we want, providing their people with much needed jobs and prosperity? In the days and years to come, much will be needed, and we’ll all be expected to pitch in and do our share.  That doesn’t mean that poor countries must stand by and watch as the rich become richer.  Today’s lithium is the oil of decades past.  Let us treat the people of Bolivia fairly and seek good relations with them, that they will treat us fairly as well.

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Renewable Energy Savings Bonds?

His isn’t a new idea.  Rather, it’s back to the future again. The notion: U.S. Treasury Savings Bonds earmarked for Renewable Energy  projects.  Michael Shawn Kendall, (an Electronic Technician Chief with 27 years of overseas service in the U.S. Navy,/u== and long-time alternative energy guy, wrote to share what sounds like a good idea pretty much all the way around.

Normally purchased in $25 increments, they’d provide us with a way of putting some money away safely and with a good return on the investment, while providing funds to support a renewable energy project.  They can even be designated for specific purposes (buy a RE-W bond for Wind Turbines, a RE-S bond for Solar, RE-I bond to help fund                                                                                                                                                                        infrastructure, RE-T for bullet trains,  RE-C co-op bonds for small communities needing a few wind turbines, etc.  The bond certificates would have their designation and and an artist’s depiction of that project printed on them, along with the American flag. Great idea, huh?

As one might expect of any sensible idea, government’s bureaucracy is staunchly planted in the way.   How could that be?  After all, U.S. Savings Bonds were sold during WWII, and earmarked to fund a tank, etc.   contacted the US treasury department and was told that the marketing department for savings bonds closed several years ago.  Why would this be a problem now?  The Chief Technician inquired at the Treasury Department, but was told there would be problems because savings bonds are at the federal level while the projects will be at the state and local level.  Such concerns can easily be addressed.  The US RE bonds could fund grants to the state and local level, earmarked for those specific projects.

If given the tools to participate directly, the power of the citizens of the United States to help achieve energy independance is undeniable.  Americans mean well and the Energy Independance Savings bond program will give citizens the power to make it happen. If marketed through a web page, commercials, and to federal employees the word would get out and participation would very likely spread like wildfire.

Especially in these tough economic times where banks are seen as questionable and other investments are shaky, while the Obama administration and Congress struggle to find funds to prime the pump and restart our economy, these bonds could provide a very welcome investment opportunity, while making U.S. energy independence a reality much more rapidly than the government could afford to do by itself.

We applaud this veteran’s ingenuity and efforts, and support the idea. This is a prime example of the kind of involvement and self-help that President Obama was talking about in his inauguration speech.  Now all we need is the Congress to remove the roadblocks and put it in action.

Please voice your support by commenting here, and by writing to Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman and Speaker of the House, at http://speaker.house.gov/contact/

Thank you!

Refineries claim a Loss? What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Valero Energy announced today that it is closing down an entire US refinery this quarter.reducing capital spending to manage the economic slowdown. (It’s just coincidental, I suppose, that this also reduces production, which brings prices back up.) Reportedly the biggest U.S. refiner in the country, Valero would reasonably be expected to be doing very well, yet they’re crying the blues, claiming billions in losses, less than a year after Exxon reported huge profits.

Valero yesterday reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $3.3 billion. What is that based on? Are they counting as a loss all the money they’re not charging, writing it off as advertising and good will gestures?

They’re not stupid. The oil companies see us getting serious about alternative energy. Suddenly, dramatically and drastically, the prices crash from nearly $150 a barrel to $40, and that’s because of supply and demand, too? There’s something wrong with this whole ugly picture. The only thing that’s clear is that we must not be distracted by this dog & pony show. We need to keep on pushing for non-combustion fuel sources. It does’t matter if they start giving the gas away or buying everyone cars to burn the fossil fuel in, we still can’t afford to be at the mercy of these companies any longer, and we definitely cannot afford to be forgetful of the raking over the coals that they gave us less than a year ago.

The great thing about statistics is that they can often be twisted around to fit whatever spin their author wants them to. When gas refineries claim they’re losing billions selling gas, it’s time to get out the hip boots and head for high ground, because the dark smelly loose stuff is getting deep.

As Bush was so fond of suggesting, stay the course, Alternative Energy folk. We’ve got ‘em on the run!

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Tax Issues — Alternative Energy’s Albatross

Finally the people and the governments agree that alternative energy is essential, and are willing to put a bit of money where their mouths are. So why are investments in alternative energy sources diminishing, both from corporations and the government? The problems are legion, and one way or the other, it’s all about taxes.

For the established corporations, the government’s facile use of tax deductions has lost a lot of its value of late. In an economic time such as this, with huge layoffs, losses, and folding giants, there just isn’t much profit to shelter, and developments can’t be bankrolled unless the money is coming from SOMEwhere.

Tax break incentives work on the idea that the government will give the money up in arrears, after the funds have been invested, in lieu of taxes that the company would otherwise have been obligated to pay. But those tax obligations are only levied upon profits, so… no profit, no taxes owed, so no incentive after the investment is made. That part is relatively easy to remedy. The government can use grants instead, since it’s out the same amount of money either way. (This is a bit of an oversimplification, in that the government’s income is also down during times of little or no profit, but the initial concept remains valid.)

Using grants adds an advantage: It allows the little guys, start-up companies with great ideas, abilities and know-how, to become involved in alternative energy solutions. Such companies would otherwise pretty much be out of the running under other circumstances, unless they had huge backing from some invest who expected… well… to get the money back from tax incentives…. you see the problem?

The other way that taxes are an issue is a bit less comfortable to ponder. The government gets a LOT of money from taxes on gasoline. With alternative energy aimed at reducing (or ending) the use of fossil fuels, where will that tax money come from? When people generate their own electricity, that tax also goes away. How can the government continue to run and provide services without that income? Obviously, it will need to levy taxes in some other fashion in the long run. Meanwhile, though, taxing alternative energy producers is counterproductive, even if it could be accomplished, the balance between fossil fuel and alternative energy generation is in nearly constant flux (so a fair new system can’t yet be put into place,) and the governments are bleeding tax losses all over the place.

That we’re all finally getting friendly with Going Green is good news. Unfortunately, a river runs through it, as well – a river of tax dollars. Nobody said the transition was going to be entirely trouble-free. Eventually we will shed the albatross around our necks. The savings found in using alternative energy will help ease the change. Meanwhile, we can take good, sound comfort in knowing that we’re not going through these growing pains for no good reason. Petroleum and Europe’s recent gas crisis both prove that, though transitions may not always be easy, there’s still far more sense in Going Green.

Energy Bear’s Rampage Kills 12

If this latest deal holds, Russia’s Vladamir Putin and Ukraine’s Yulia V. Tymoshenko will finally have put to bed the natural gas dispute that left 20 of Europe’s countries without heating gas for two weeks during the coldest part of the year, and cost at least a dozen lives as people literally froze to death. Is there a devil in the deal? This objective observer recognizes that Russia is clearly the antagonist, and directly responsible for the suffering and deaths of those who were pawns caught in the geo-political posturing. One certainly can’t blame Ukraine for not capitulating to demands that would have caused an immediate 240% increase in their gas prices, nor can one say that it was strictly business.The entire affair was clearly about that Ukraine left the former USSR and made application to join NATO.

While the rest of the world seems to have accepted the fall and passing of the USSR and moved on to the world of the European Union, Russia, China, and the U.S.A., Russia reminds mostly of a southerner in the U.S. who flies his Confederate flag and truly believes the South will rise again. Their bullying tactics haven’t changed a bit, and for all of their arrogance, their own well-being is as tied to the sale of that gas as are the lives of those who receive the gas from them. Perhaps that is at the crux of the entire situation. The Russians can’t stomach that their success might be contingent upon such peons as Ukraine and European nations.

Whether they like it or not, this is the new world, and we’re all inter-related within it.  The real question, as they (may) conclude their treaties amicably, isn’t about how much more they paid for the gas. In the deal on the table now, the difference is negligible, nearly back where it started from. But for a dozen human beings, the least fortunate of the western world, the difference cost them their lives.  To dismiss their deaths without giving them their fair due would be vulgar sacrilege. Rather, as the flags fly and people come to celebrate the return of the heat that comes from natural gas, they should be flown at half mast for those twelve people who gave their lives in a fight that was neither of their making nor their choosing. A memorial should be dedicated to them, and along with it a firm and renewed commitment to energy independence.
  
It was just three years ago that Russia last cut off the gas supply to Europe. The odds are better than even that they will do so again. The only way people can safeguard against further rampages by the Bear is to achieve energy independence. Look to the sun, the wind, and the tides for our solutions, and seize those opportunities now. Let us not forget these twelve who lost their lives as Ukraine stood fast against the bully. Let their deaths become the impetus that sets our resolve in the fight for freedom from such tyranny. Let us take steps to prevent Russia’s rampages from ever threatening lives again. Read more

The Government’s Green Scammers

Kermit the Frog may know better than most that it’s cool to be Green.  Maybe we should look to him for advice on how to avoid being scammed by those who want to make a buck or three off of calling something Green or Alternative.  The problem isn’t just one of unscrupulous or self-serving entrepreneurs selling snake oil either.   Presumably well-intending government officials are getting in on the act now, too. 

It seems no one is above trying to push a product by calling it Green.In Illinois’  Winnebago County, the Soil and Water Conservation District is pitching a 55 gallon rain barrel for $75, and even claiming that the barrels will pay for themselves.  Jessica Vandeboom, representing the county, brags that the barrels ”are made out of recycled food grade plastic, so they were once used to ship food products.”   One small problem: Barrels like this are found all over the country, used once (as law prohibits their being reused, for some reason,)  for $10-20 retail.  To a hydrogen perioxide company, they’re a waste byproduct.  Dialysis fluids are also shipped in the barrels.  A rinse or two, and they’re perfectly safe to drink out of, and certainly just fine for catching run-off.   But if you ship them to a Recycling company, cut and melt them down and reform them into the same 55 gallon capacity barrel, then ship them back out, you can buy these $10 barrels for $75.  What a deal!

Then there’s the snake oil and pseudo snake oil.  Things are just too easy to scam with.  The little gadgets that you put in your car, a resistor, this or that, to supposedly give your car an extra 30 mpg.Most of the time, such scams are pretty obvious, and yet we feel the need to warn people not to trust every person — or government agency — who wants to sell you something they’re calling Green.  Going Green doesn’t really cost any more.  Don’t be deceived. 

You can do plenty to Green up your home or life without spending a dime.  In fact, going Green usually SAVES you money.  Turn off lights when you’re not using them.  Switch to florescent bulbs — they last longer since there is no filament to break.  Same with heat and air.  This winter, consider wearing a sweatshirt or sweater or even warm pajamas and you’ll be able to turn your house down another 5-10 degrees!

When all’s said and done, it’s still keen to be Green!

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Oil Giants Invest in Green Energy

A place where people pay 45 cents a gallon for gasoline seems like an unlikely spot to find proponents of alternative energy — especially when that place’s vast wealth comes from selling oil.  Yet the Arabian Gulf countries, with their huge unbridled energy consumption, have a firm grasp on the fact that their oil is going to run out one day; They know that they, too, will need renewable energy sources one day in the not too distant future, and they’re making good use of their current wealth to see to it that they’re at the forefront of the next energy supply. 

That’s a really good thing for them, because their people burn fossil-fuel generated energy like none other.  Public transport is almost non-existent, and when it’s 130 degrees F. outside, it’s understandable that everyone lives in air conditioned housing and drives to air-conditioned shops in air-conditioned Mercedes Benz cars.  They’re going to need alternative energy more than nearly anyone else on the planet, so they’re taking the steps now to procure it. The United Arab Emirates (UAE,) Qatar and Saudi Arabia are working together to be at the heart of solar power.  Their abuntant sun is almost as seemingly limitless as their oil was, so it’s a good idea.  

Billions have flowed from these most wealthy people into Green technologies.  They’re funding research projects at universities all over the world and building research parkes there in the deserts of the Middle-East.  These oil producers aren’t taking any chances.  They’ve invited the world, from pure research to businessmen, to the second annual World Future Energy Summit.  It’s a Who’s Who, and the world is attending.  Tony Blair, Andris Piebalgs, the EU Energy Commissioner, leaders from other desert nations, and executives of hundreds of companies, large and small, will all be there. While other markets flounder, Going Green continues to be steady business.  But the West may not always be in the forefront of alternative energy development.  “The leadership in these breakthrough technologies is a title the U.S. can lose easily,” said Peter Barker-Homek, chief executive of Abu Dhabi’s national energy company.  Citing advantages of low taxes, an educated and youthful population, abundant natural resources and a willingness to invest, he points out that the Gulf nations could easily take the lead, and that they’re planning to do so.  

Mr. Awad of Masdar shares that they’re already involved in field-testing many solar panels, and adds “We know we can’t continue with this carbon footprint,” he said. “We have to change. This is why Abu Dhabi must develop new models — for the planet, of course, but also so as not to jeopardize Abu Dhabi.” The world is now consuming 80 million barrels of oil a day, a figure expected to rise sharply as the population increases.  

Even oil producing nations can’t keep up with anywhere near that demand, and so they’re working feverishly to replace the supply with clean energy sources.  Masdar, a model city designed to generate zero carbon emissions, is but one of the projects being funded with tens of billions of dollars in oil money being reaped now.  Often these plans include working with the best and brightest on the planet, M.I.T., the Imperial College of London, Stanford, Berkeley, Caltech, Cambridge, Cornell, Imperial, La Sapienza, Oxford and Utrecht amongst them.  Qatar invested £150 million, ($220 million) in a low-carbon technology fund within the UK —  far more than the UK itself has afforded for the research. 

In a place where the sun shines intensely literally every day of the year, this may make both dollars and sense, but it’s also showing nobility of intent that some may not have realized the Arab nations were capable of.  The futuristic city of Masdar, for example, is expected to present a model for renewable resource cities all over the world.  The new materials and technologies that will allow 50,000 inhabitants to live and make no carbon footprint will certainly be an inspiring example.  

Masdar will be using a system of subterrainian public transport and no cars, use only 1/4 of the energy of most cities that size, and will generate all of that energy itself, from the sun.  While the rest of the world drags their feet, worrying about cost-effectiveness of Green technologies, the Arab nations have jumped right in, and are providing the much needed impetus, the seed money to make 100% renewable energy sources a solid reality within the next decade.   If this is what they’re doing with the wealth they’ve gained from selling oil the world wants, they may prove to be the Angels that the planet has needed all along.  Meanwhile, it’s time for the West to jump in with both feet as well, in going Green.
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