Monday, October 27, 2008

Meeting today on California SB 375

The San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association hosts a meeting today to discuss California Senate bill 375, which aims to address greenhouse-gas emissions and reduce carbon production through better land use, transportation and city planning.

As the bill's author, state Sen. Darrell Steinberg, told The Planning Report, SB 375 "requires the 18 metropolitan planning organizations across the state of California to show that their future planning scenarios will result in a reduction in carbon."

While SB 375 isn't about clean technologies per se, it certainly is linked to cleantech in many ways. Most literally, urban in-fill construction and densified new construction is more likely to use green building methods than traditional suburban construction.

More importantly, though, you might think of dense cities as clean technology writ large. Dense cities that are pleasant to live in enable residents and workers to walk or take efficient mass transit to their destinations, and they encourage people to live where the environment is already built up -- instead of in areas that serve important agricultural, environmental or even industrial purposes. People in dense cities are able to use energy and water much more efficiently than people living in most rural or suburban situations.

SPUR's meeting is for the members of its Housing Committee and Sustainable Development Committee, but the think tank could host a public presentation or publish an article on the bill in the future.

More about SPUR.

Read more of The Planning Report's interview with Steinberg.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

California green policies aid economy, says UC Berkeley study

Contrary to the fears of opponents, California's policies seeking to increase energy efficiency and fight global warming are actually good for the economy, according to a new study.

David Roland-Holst writes for the University of California, Berkeley's Center for Energy, Resources and Economic Stability that based on past state policies and practices, implementing California's historic "Global Warming Solutions Act" -- also known as AB 32 -- would create as many as 403,000 new jobs, boost household incomes statewide by as much as $48 billion and increase the Gross State Product by $76 billion.

Looking ahead, California’s ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as mandated by the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) puts the state on a more stable economic path by encouraging even greater investment in energy saving innovation.

The California Air Resources Board is on track to consider and possibly adopt an implementation plan for AB 32 in December.

Read the full report in PDF form here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Brea Mall hosts show of greener cars

BREA, Calif. /CalEPA-ARB/– The California Air Resources Board and vehicle manufacturers will be available Saturday and Sunday at the Brea Mall to showcase clean, efficient, advanced technology vehicles.

Vehicle experts will be on hand to provide details about each vehicle's smog score, global warming impact and fuel economy, and describe incentives offered by state, federal and local agencies.

Starting in 2009, new Environmental Performance Labels will be required on all new cars sold in California. The label displays a smog score and global warming score on a scale of 1-10, with the highest scores indicate the cleanest vehicles.

WHO: ARB spokespeople and vehicle experts from Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 18, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Sunday Oct. 19, 11 a.m. - 6: p.m.

WHERE: Brea Mall
1065 Brea Mall
Brea, CA 92821

Photo Opportunity: The following vehicles and technologies will be on display:

2008 Honda Civic GX: compressed natural gas
2008 Nissan Altima: hybrid-electric
2008 Toyota Highlander: hybrid-electric
2008 Volkswagen Convertible Beetle: clean gasoline

For more information on the cleanest, most efficient vehicles available today, visit

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sustainable Supply Chain Summit comes to San Francisco

San Francisco's Stanford Court Hotel will host the Sustainable Supply Chain Summit North America on Wednesday, Oct. 15.

The summit will run through Friday, Oct. 17. Click here for more information on the Sustainable Supply Chain Summit North America.

SunPower and GE install 1.1MW solar system for HP

SAN DIEGO, Calif. /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWRA) (NASDAQ:SPWRB), a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, and GE (NYSE:GE) recently announced the completion of a 1.1-megawatt solar-electric power system on the roof of HP's printing technology research and development facility in San Diego, Calif.

At the San Diego facility, SunPower installed a SunPower(R) T10 Solar Roof Tile commercial roof system, which is a non-penetrating product that tilts at a 10-degree angle to increase energy capture. The system will reduce more than 60 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over the next 30 years, which is equivalent to providing electricity to 3,800 homes or removing more than 5,250 cars from the road.

Gladstein, Neandross & Associates names Sean Turner VP

SANTA MONICA, Calif. /PRNewswire/ -- Gladstein, Neandross & Associates LLC has appointed Sean Turner as senior vice-president of operations.

Turner has experience in the arena of alternative-fuel vehicles, on both the policy and technical sides. He has worked in project management, marketing and operations management, with special emphasis on natural-gas vehicles (CNG and LNG). He has also represented the natural-gas vehicle industry on the state and national level.

"Having Sean on our team will allow us to keep up in the rapidly expanding alternative fuel vehicle and energy industries," said Cliff Gladstein, president of GNA. "We are extremely pleased to have him on board."

Turner previously served as president of the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition; senior engineer for Engine, Fuels and Emissions Engineering in Sacramento, Calif; and director of technology for the national Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition. Most recently, Turner has held several VP positions in a Fortune 500 company where he was responsible for managing client operations, including the development of several international operations.

Aquarium of the Bay names director of exhibits

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Aquarium of the Bay is pleased to welcome Jon Altemus as its new director of exhibits and special projects. With his multifaceted background creating and installing exhibits around the world, Altemus is well suited to enhance the Aquarium's current exhibits, as well as design three new ones which will open in the spring of 2009.

"With Aquarium of the Bay's new PG&E Bay Lab climate change exhibit, octopus exhibit and moon jelly exhibit opening next year, Jon is answering our call for a skilled in-house designer to help us enhance and expand our visitor experience," said Aquarium of the Bay Chief Executive Officer John Frawley.

"My goal is to create exhibits for Aquarium of the Bay that are both engaging and educational for visitors of all ages and backgrounds," said Altemus. "In addition to showcasing our animals and incorporating tactile displays, graphics and interactives, our new exhibits will provide a premier setting for the aquarium's interpretive naturalists to facilitate animal interaction, demonstrations and presentations."

Specifically, Altemus envisions naturalists playing a major role in the new PG&E Bay Lab, a climate-change exhibit that marks the first time that the aquarium will exhibit land-dwelling animals such as frogs, snakes, turtles and others. As part of the exhibit, the naturalists will lead thought-provoking presentations that demonstrate how the animals' ecosystems are being affected by climate change. Sponsored by PG&E and reflecting the aquarium's role as one of only a handful of attractions certified by the City of San Francisco as a green business, the PG&E Bay Lab will incorporate sustainable, recycled and reclaimed products, as well as solar power. Learn more at

Sunday, October 12, 2008

SoCap08 comes to San Francisco

SoCap08 gathers social entrepreneurs and investors from around the world at San Francisco's Fort Mason Center Oct. 13-15.

From the SoCap08 FAQ:

SoCap08 will be a convening of anyone who cares about doing well and doing good. If you are concerned about the impact of your investments, there is no more important conference to attend this year. Everyone from socially-responsible venture capital funds to CEOs thinking about the future of finance will be in attendance. ...

SoCap08 will be a broad platform to discover what is happening – and what will happen – at the convergence of private investment for public good. As investors and entrepreneurs realize that the current silos of public and private sectors are not adequate to solve the world’s most pressing problems, social capital will continue to take the forefront. SoCap08 will cover social capital, social entrepreneurship, clean and green technologies, hi-tech and microfinance.
Among the discussions at SoCap08:

Building a Business Plan
  • Kirsten Gagnaire, Social Enterprise Group
  • Kevin Braithwaite, RootSpace
  • Joe Sibilia, CSRwire

Panel: Building a Sustainable, Scalable Business

  • Moderator: Betsy Densmore, Social Enterprise Institute
  • Alan Gershenfeld, E-Line Ventures
  • Lauri Alpern, ROI Ventures
  • Paul Lamb, Man on a Mission Consulting
Clean and Green
  • Moderator: KoAnn Skrzyniarz, Sustainable Life Media
  • Lana Holmes, OM Direct
  • Rob Lapides, Pico Bonito
  • Joshua Levine, The Levine Social Investment Group, UBS
Panel: Sustainable Energy Investments for the Base of the Pyramid
  • Moderator: Mark Beam, Xigi
  • Ron Puryear, Halloran
  • Kurt Hoffman, Former Director of Shell Foundation
  • Niki Armacost, Arc Finance
  • Christine Eibs-Singer, E&Co.
The final day of SoCap08 is largely unformed as yet -- by plan. Organizers say that the Wednesday sessions will be led by moderators but given direction by conference participants based on what struck them as interesting and valuable in the first two days.

For more information about SoCap08 in San Francisco, visit the Social Capital Markets site.

Efforts against global warming feeling heat

The United States' economic crisis, spreading internationally, is threatening efforts to address global warming.

An anticipated cap-and-trade system on greenhouse-gas emissions may have to be significantly altered and could even be abandoned altogether, according to the Associated Press:

Democrats in both the House and Senate have unveiled draft climate bills. But their supporters acknowledge that the bills may have to be changed, given the economic situation. For example, a proposal to auction off emission permits — a source of money to help refocus the nation's use of energy away from fossil fuels — may have to be abandoned with permits distributed for free.

But some Republicans argue the whole idea of a climate bill ought to be scrapped for the time being. Limits of carbon dioxide would increase energy costs and lead the country "off the economic cliff," said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas.

More on this story here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Academy of Sciences gains LEED Platinum

The California Academy of Sciences has garnered a LEED Platinum rating for its new facility in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

The U.S. Green Building Council awarded its highest rating to the building, which was designed by Renzo Piano and opened to the public on Sept. 27. The council considers several factors in awarding its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design: sustainable sites; water efficiency; energy and atmosphere; materials and resouces; indoor environmental quality; and innovation and design process.

Among other green-building features of the Academy of Sciences' is a living roof composed of native California plants. The 2.5-acre roof uses 1.7 million native plants, and was produced as a collaboration among architecture and ecological habitat firm Rana Creek, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and SWA Landscape Architecture.

PRNewsFoto/Rana Creek

Photo by Tom Prete

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Solyndra captures $600M funding, rolls out new tubular panels

Fremont, California photovoltaics maker Solyndra took the wraps off an innovative twist on traditional solar panels recently, revealing a product that promises to make it easier and cheaper than ever before to install rooftop solar generation. Plus, some $600 million in funding is enabling Solyndra to greatly increase the capacity of its current Fremont manufacturing plant and make plans for another plant.

Where most photovoltaic systems use large, flat panels that require sturdy rooftop mounting systems, sometimes are vulnerable to high winds and require the panels to be angled and oriented toward the sun. Solyra uses a thin-film technology and wraps the film around the inside of a series of narrow tubes.

This not only allows the Solyndra system to turn sunlight into electricity efficiently, it also means the panels can be installed flat against the roof, without the need to position the panels as carefully traditional panels require. Plus, because its tubes are an inch wide and an inch apart, the Solyndra panels don't catch the wind like regular solar panels do and don't require such sturdy supports.
The upshot is that installation of a Solyndra system reportedly costs roughly half what it takes to put up most other rooftop solar systems.

VentureBeat reports that Solyndra investors include Virgin Green Fund, Rockport Capital, Argonaut Ventures, RedPoint Ventures, CMEA Ventures, US Venture Partners and the Masdar Clean Tech Fund, as well as Madrone Capital, which funded First Solar.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cleantech panel to examine growth opportunities

A panel of executives will discuss the opportunities and potential for growth in clean technologies -- even in the face of a down market -- at the annual Women and Technology Summit in Santa Clara.

The cleantech panel, titled "Clean Tech, THE Robust Global Growth Engine.. Even in Uncertain Times," is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 15 at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara. The Women and Technology Summit's will follow.

From Women in Technology International about the Women and Technology summit:

Keynote Breakfast: Clean Tech, THE Robust Global Growth Engine.. Even in Uncertain Times
Dr. Cheemin Bo-Linn, CEO, Peritus Partners
Marianne Wu, Partner, MDV
Laurie Yoler, Managing Director, GrowthPoint Technology Partners
Elise Zoli, Partner, Goodwin Procter
Kjerstin Barley, Sr Vice-President and Industry Leader, Technology and Electronics, GE Commercial Finance
October 15, 7:30 am - 9:15 am

The Top Women in Clean Tech share their perspectives with straight talk on how clean tech will continue to be the sustainable global growth engine. Hear and interact with the leaders recognized for being the top in their field with domain expertise in:

* Capital markets (Kjerstin Barley, SVP GE Capital and Industry Leader for Technology and Business Services; overall GE capital fund with over $7b in assets)

* Marketing, Ecosystem Alliances, Rapid Market Entry /New Product Growth (Dr. Cheemin Bo-Linn, CEO, Peritus Partners; Lead Venture advisor for Clean Tech Start-ups and Global Corporate Energy Efficiency Initiatives)

* Venture Capitalist (Marianne Wu, MDV, $2b top ventures fund, leading portfolio investments spanning renewable power, biofuels & chemicals, transportation, coal, air & water, construction, and mining. )

* Investment Banking: (Laurie Yoler, Founding Board Member, Tesla Motors, and Managing Director, GrowthPoint Technology Partners, a firm leading hundreds of successful fundraising and M&A transactions for technology and clean technology entrepreneurs around the world )

* Legal (Elise Zoli, Partner, Goodwin Procter and Head, Clean Tech Law Practice, from the “Law Firm of the Year” in Fund Formation (2007) and Leveraged Buyouts (2008); and a leader in federal CO2 regulations)

After presenting the current state of the clean tech industry, the panel will provide straight talk on business opportunities for entrepreneurs and SMB and global Fortune corporate leaders. Get key market intelligence on where investments are made, activity levels across technology and other sectors, and trends. Participate in engaging discussions on what is required to drive innovation, to upgrade corporate citizenship, and seize profits for continued robust growth.

For more information about the cleantech panel and the Women and Technology Summit, visit WITI.