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newsclips -- Newsclips for December 29, 2011

Posted: 29 Dec 2011 13:56:42
California Air Resources Board News Clips for December 29, 2011.

This is a service of the California Air Resources Board’s Office
of Communications.  You may need to sign in or register with
individual websites to view some of the following news articles.

No change in S.J. burn ban on the horizon. A surge in air
pollution across the San Joaquin Valley is making this a December
to remember for air quality officials - or, perhaps, one they
would rather forget. One federal pollution standard had been
shattered across various Valley locations for 25 days in a row as
of Wednesday afternoon. That's the longest streak since late
2002, according to state air quality data. Posted. 

Cold, stagnant air causing Bay Area pollution alerts. Unless
Mother Nature changes her pattern, the Bay Area — including most
of Sonoma County — is headed for a record number of
high-pollution days when home wood fires are banned. The
ceaseless dry cold weather has led to atmospheric conditions that
have trapped pollutants close to the ground, resulting thus far
in 10 so-called Spare the Air bans. That's more than the past two
winter seasons and about as many alerts as there were during the
first season three years ago when the crackdown started. Posted. 

Air pollutants rise in Lake, Mendocino counties, but no fireplace
bans. Like the Bay Area, Mendocino County is suffering a spike in
air pollution caused by chilly weather and an inversion layer
that’s keeping fireplace smoke and other pollutants low to the
ground. “We have been seeing the numbers go up,” said Mendocino
County Air Pollution Control Officer Chris Brown. The number of
tiny smoke-related pollution particles called PM2.5s found in the
air in Ukiah and Willits in the past week is nearly double last
year’s levels, he said. Posted. 


New Forms of Biofuel Fall Short.  Hopes for a surge in production
of alternative biofuels are falling flat, and the U.S. expects to
continue to rely on corn- and sugarcane-based ethanol to meet a
national mandate for renewable fuels in 2012.  The Environmental
Protection Agency said Tuesday that a tiny fraction—less than
one-tenth of 1%—of renewable fuels required to be used in the
U.S. next year will come from cellulosic biofuel, based on
projected production volumes, despite a congressional target that
the fuel made from plant stalks and other inedible materials
account for more than 3% of the total.  Posted. 


In Solar Power, India Begins Living Up to Its Own Ambitions.
Solar power is a clean energy source. But in this arid part of
northwest India it can also be a dusty one. Every five days or
so, in a marriage of low and high tech, field hands with
long-handled dust mops wipe down each of the 36,000 solar panels
at a 63-acre installation operated by Azure Power. The site is
one of the biggest examples of India’s ambitious plan to use
solar energy to help modernize its notoriously underpowered
national electricity grid, and reduce its dependence on
coal-fired power plants. Posted. 

India Asks State-Run Firms to Build Renewable Energy Projects. 
India has asked all state-run companies to set up renewable
energy projects as part of efforts to combat climate change, the
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy said Thursday.  The
companies can also buy renewable energy certificates "to offset
their carbon footprints," the ministry said in a statement,
adding that this can boost trading of such certificates in India.

All eyes on German renewable energy efforts. This tiny village of
37 gray homes and farm buildings clustered along the main road in
a wind-swept corner of rural eastern Germany seems an unlikely
place for a revolution. Yet environmentalists, experts and
politicians from El Salvador to Japan to South Africa have
flocked here in the past year to learn how Feldheim, a village of
just 145 people, is already putting into practice Germany's
vision of a future powered entirely by renewable energy. Posted. 

AP Newsbreak:





Forget the Prius. The Future Of Electric Is the School Bus.  As
long as Americans love to drive far and fast, electric cars may
never be the perfect answer to the country's green transportation
needs. But the routine runs of electric school buses are another
thing altogether.  Bus maker Trans Tech Bus this year said it
would start making an electric school bus in a partnership with
Smith Electric Vehicles. The eTrans bus is one of a new
generation of zero-emission electric and hybrid-electric models
that are slowly making their way to school districts around the
county.  Posted. 

Industry perspective on the uptake of EVs: 2011’s interviews at a
glance.  45 interviews from OEMs, suppliers, service providers,
utilities, and battery manufacturers have been published on
cars21.com in 2011. Every interviewee has been asked to formulate
a 3-point global action plan for the rapid introduction of EVs on
the market. Find here the summary of their answers.  All OEMs
agree that cost is a current issue for EV uptake. OEMs would like
to see more subsidies for EV manufacturers, more incentives (both
financial and non-financial) for consumers and the roll-out of a
charging infrastructure.  Posted. 

I-5 highway to get 100 new electric car charging stations. 
Vancouver is putting in charging stations to promote the local
use of electric cars - but you may soon be able to drive one to
Disneyland.  Tonia Buell with Washington State's transportation
department says by spring there will be at least 100 electric car
charging stations along the Interstate 5 (I-5), from the southern
border of Oregon all the way to the Peace Arch. The goal is to
eventually have those stations reach all the way down to the
California-Mexico border.  Posted. 

Mitsubishi Motors to launch electric light truck, report says.
Mitsubishi has begun development of an electric light truck it
hopes to launch by April 2013, according to report in the Nikkei
Japanese business daily. The electric truck will be targeted at
farmers, contractors and others who use light trucks for their
work, the paper said. Plans for an electric light truck designed
for work duties highlight the variety of electrified vehicles
Mitsubishi hopes to launch globally by 2016. A plug-in hybrid
crossover, widely expected to be based on its Outlander
crossover, is slated for sale in global markets by April 2013.


Finally, polluters pay. Without any last-minute meddling by the
White House, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week
published a long-awaited final rule strictly limiting how much
mercury, arsenic, hydrochloric acid and other deadly toxins
coal-fired and oil-fired power plants can spew into the air. The
rule will save America billions more dollars in health care costs
than industry will pay to comply with it, to say nothing of the
suffering it will spare children, adults and families by reducing
the avoidable deaths, developmental disabilities and disease
caused or worsened by exposure to the plants' poisons. Posted. 


Carbon standard will be costly.  Re "Low carbon fuel standard
aids economy, saves consumers cash" (Viewpoints, Dec. 15): Under
the proposed timelines, the standard is unrealistic and harmful
to Californians and our economy at a time of high unemployment.
Technological, market, and practical challenges makes the
large-scale adoption outlined in the current standard timeline
difficult, according to a recently released report by Fueling
California.  Posted. 


L.A./Long Beach ports struggle to meet Panama Canal challenge. A
major expansion of the Panama Canal is raising alarms in Southern
California, where business, labor and public officials are
warning that the project threatens to dent the region's role in
international trade...a video the group has on its website that
makes the case for expediting infrastructure improvements. It
ends with several politicians and others, even Mary Nichols,
chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, chanting, "Beat
the canal." Posted. 


Early-Adopter Pilots Drive Volts and Leafs. The first person to
take delivery of a Chevrolet Volt was Jeff Kaffee, a retired
airline pilot. Mr. Kaffee was only first in line. A number of
other current or former pilots are owners of either the Volt or
the Nissan Leaf. Dan Davids of Woodinville, Wash., is president
of Plug In America and the owner of a Leaf and an older Toyota
RAV4 electric car. He’s also a longtime pilot, a former flight
instructor and airplane dealer who still owns multiple aircraft,
from a glider to a twin-engine plane. Posted. 

Google’s Green Czar Leaves for Facebook. In November 2011, Bill
Weihl, left his post as the Green Czar at Google. Weihl oversaw
much of Google’s $700M investments in clean energy and was a
driving force behind Google’s Green Dream otherwise known as The
Impact of Clean Energy Innovation. Now, it seems that Dr. Weihl,
a former Computer Science professor at MIT, will be joining
social networking giant Facebook, with its 800 million users. He
told Fresh Dialogues that, “the focus will be on sustainability,
clean energy, energy efficiency, etc.” Posted. 

Red Double-Decker Buses to Return to the Streets of London as as
Fuel-Efficient Hybrids. London's red double-decker buses, called
the Routemaster, have long been a prominent feature of the
streets. What everyone loved about the old Routemaster was that
you could jump on and off the back at will, without having to
wait for doors to open. Sadly they were all taken off the streets
by 2005 because of cost: the buses were getting old and required
two conductors: one to drive and one to take tickets. Posted. 

Pike Research survey finds strong fundamental US consumer
interest in EVs; price remains a significant barrier.  To assess
consumer demand, preferences, and price sensitivity for plug-in
electric vehicles (PEVs) and electric vehicle charging
infrastructure, Pike Research conducted a web-based survey of
1,051 US consumers in the fall of 2011 using a nationally
representative and demographically balanced sample. The survey
found that, based on Americans’ driving and commute patterns,
PEVs should be a strong fit for a large number of consumers. 

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