U.S. Unveils a $350-Million Energy-Efficiency Initiative at Copenhagen

December 17, 2009 · 1 comment

December 15, 2009 – Solar lanterns and more efficient appliances are part of a new U.S.-led effort to deploy clean energy across the globe to combat climate change and other ills

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu at the United Nations climate summit would focus on bringing everything from efficient refrigerators to solar lanterns to the developing world.

COPENHAGEN—Since the 1970s, refrigerators in the U.S. have swelled from 18 cubic feet to 22 cubic feet. But, at the same time, the energy consumption of such gargantuan coolers has dropped by 75 percent, down to roughly 40 watts, saving countless tons of coal from being burned. And a five-year global program that reached all the refrigerators in the world with similar efficiency improvements might save 1.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide over that span, a significant contribution to combating climate change.

And that’s exactly what U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Secretary Steven Chu unveiled here Monday at the United Nations’ summit on climate change: the Climate Renewables and Efficiency Deployment Initiative (Climate REDI)—a $350-million investment by major economies, including $85 million from the U.S., to bring everything from efficient refrigerators to solar lanterns to the developing world.

“The energy savings from refrigerators is greater than all U.S. renewable energy generation—all the wind, solar thermal and solar photovoltaics—just the refrigerators,” Chu said in a speech announcing the initiative, noting the refrigerators also cost less. “Energy efficiency is truly a case where you can have your cake and eat it too. [But] it was driven by standards; it didn’t happen on its own.”

In addition to coordinating global standards for efficient appliances, Climate REDI will also invest in further developing renewable energy sources—such as wind and solar power—in the developing world. The initiative will fund the deployment of “affordable home systems and LED lanterns to those without access to electricity,” according to a program fact sheet.

“We want to help turn the lights on where people live but also in a way that helps solve climate change,” Chu said, referring to the at least 1 billion people who lack access to electricity globally.

Jairam Ramesh, India’s minister of the environment, welcomed the effort and called for his country to be one of the recipients. But he also noted that “Indian companies have been pioneers in low-cost pharmaceuticals now being widely used in Africa. I see no reason why Indian companies in the next five or six years with the help of American counterparts cannot emerge as world leaders in renewable energy technology.”

The Climate REDI program is an example of the kind of technology transfer developing countries would like more of from the developed world as part of any Copenhagen agreement, along with a specific amount of funding for such measures.

Of course, the bulk of indoor air pollution is produced by cooking fires and there was no program announced here as of late Monday to address that issue. And the LED solar lanterns have a wide range of performance in terms of light actually emitted. “Quality control is not that good,” Chu admitted, but the program will work to address that as well as reducing the cost of the lanterns.

The major economies are also working on their own projects, such as a carbon capture and storage partnership between the U.K., U.S. and Australia. The goal there is to “broaden the range of uses [of the sequestered CO2] so the cost of capturing CO2 is minimized,” Australia’s Department of Climate Change Secretary Martin Parkinson says.

And Chu spoke of some of the “game-changing” technologies the DoE, which he called the “world’s largest [venture capital] firm for clean energy,” hopes will come to fruition in coming years, such as a liquid-metal battery that could be both relatively inexpensive and store megawatts of electricity. “Science and technology has given us game-changers in the past,” Chu noted, pointing particularly to the Green Revolution in agriculture led by Norman Borlaug that helped feed billions in the 1970s. “The prosperity of the U.S. is actually depending on how much we fund this research. We are serious about changing our direction.”

Source – Scientific American

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Marty Brown March 12, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Have you considered using solar power system as an electricity source for your home?

There are many reasons why you should be using solar power, but here are just the most important ones:

Solar systems are more efficient then other power sources

Yes, that is true! By using solar power for your home power supply, you will save up to 85% on your monthly electricity bill. Sun energy is captured through solar panels and converted into electricity which can be used to power your entire home. This is for sure also a great way to save money.

You reduce your electricity demands

We need electricity for so many things in our homes; heating, air condition, refrigerators, owens, computers… and when you use solar power panels you remarkably reduce your demands for electricity. This of course has a huge impact on lowering your monthly electricity bill. The more things there are in your home that need power to operate, the more it makes sense to use solar panels as a power source for your home.

Solar panels do not have a negative effect on the Planet

This is probably the most important reason why you should consider building solar panels for your home. They do not put off any pollutants such as carbon dioxide, so you don’t affect the Earth’s atmosphere in a negative way. Instead, you will be doing your part to help save the Earth.

Solar panels can be put pretty much anywhere

They can be placed on a lot of places, and when you place them on your roof, you do not see them or even know they are there. If for any reason they can not be placed on the roof you can place them anywhere as long as there is enough sun and no obstacles in the way.

These are not the only reasons for using solar power for your home electricity supply. If you do a little research you will discover even more reasons.

If you live in the US, you will find this interesting – you will get paid for implementing solar power in your home.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, solar tax credits are outlined as follows;

* Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credits
“Consumers who install solar energy systems (including solar water heating and solar electric systems), small wind systems, geothermal heat pumps, and residential fuel cell and microturbine systems can receive a 30% tax credit for systems placed in service before December 31, 2016; the previous tax credit cap no longer applies.”
Find out more, visit
Solar Panel Building


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