On solar

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It's 8:35 in the morning. The first session of the second day has begun, and the fellow from SEBANE, the Solar Energy Business Association of New England, is telling the gathering crowd some not-so-interesting market and industry perspectives. I'm sure it will get better, or I will have some time to write.

To start, he asked the crowd to show hands on questions about why they are here, and a large number appeared to be homeowners (as opposed to installers) committed to, but early in the process of, installing photovoltaics and/or solar hot water systems.

Patrick announces net zero initiative

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Gov. Deval Patrick delighted an estimated 1,ooo people at this morning's opening session of Building Energy '08 by saying that he's forming a Zero Net Energy Buildings task force. He said he's asking the group to give him recommendations for construction practices in time for this conference next year and to have the specifications in force soon afterward.

Lester Brown

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Switching to lower-energy-use CFL lightbulbs and driving a hybrid car are good responses to the planet's climate crisis, says Lester Brown, the internationally recognized climate-change advocate, but the most important step a concerned citizen can take is to become politically active, he told a near capacity crowd at Cary Hall in Lexington Sunday night.

"Saving civilization is not a spectator sport," he said near the end of his hour-plus address, using the sort of sweeping language that characterized his remarks.

What’s wrong with this idea?

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An Orlando, Fla., company, Hydromatic Technologies, has been drawing blogosphere attention this week for what seems like a no-brainer, why-didn't-anyone-do-this-years-ago development for the clothes dryer, one of the home's worst energy hogs. It is so power-mad, in fact, that Energy Star doesn't list a single one.

For Big Coal, good news follows bad

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It's hard to know what's up with the Bush administration's decision to pull funding for the so-called "FutureGen" coal plant that was awarded only a couple of months ago to downstate Mattoon, Ill. The reason given by Energy Secretary Sam Bodman is that costs have grown beyond reason, but not surprisingly, the coal and oil companies behind FutureGen are disputing that.

Even Liechtenstein

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In case you missed it, Australia ratified the Kyoto accords, leaving only one industrialized country — US — refusing to join. Slightly amusingly, Andrew Revkin of the Times initially said that only two countries remained — the behemoth US and tiny Liechtenstein. But in this post, he apologizes to the postage-stamp European nation. It is, indeed, only US.


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