Monday, July 2, 2007

Bold Solar Initiatives Could Boost Texas Economy

IC2 Institute's most recent study reports that solar technologies could potentially add 123,000 technology related and manufacturing jobs to Texas by 2030. According to the white paper:

The report evaluates the competitive benefits Texas has in the worldwide market and compares the overall results of Texan efforts against other states and international competitors. The study notes that although Texas consumed more energy than any other state and has the best overall climate for producing solar energy year-round, it ranked 8th in solar adoption in 2006, producing just 1/100th of the solar energy of California.
Green Options provides a useful overview of why Texas is in a prime position to make the investment now:
Texas has the sunlight, the land, and the backing of the people to make such alternative energy goals a reality. In a recent survey, 84 percent of Texas power consumers responded favorably to the question Do you think the Texas Legislature should encourage investment in solar power in Texas?" Combined with rapidly decreasing costs of production and installation of solar cells worldwide, the timing appears right for the Lonestar State to capitalize on its energy potential. Already, plans are coming together to build the largest wind farm in the world in Texas.

With renewable power receiving an intense amount of investment and publicity, I have a feeling that the next decade will usher in a boom for skilled workers looking to capitalize on the next energy revolution. One hopes that more schools and programs will be created to satisfy the massive demand that is coming. The United States cannot afford to ignore these trends -- especially in education -- while the rest of the world graduates tomorrow's skilled labor force. Pony up, Texas. Lead the way.

Obviously everything is bigger in Texas, and now the legislature has the opportunity to make a long-term impact not simply on the great state of Texas but make a BIG impact on the environment as well.

Thanks for the overview Michael!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Austin Among Top 13 "Solar American Cities"

The U.S. Department of Energy has named 13 "Solar America Cities" to receive up to $2.5 million in funding to further the adoption of solar technologies and Austin made the list. Qualifications included a "mature solar infrastructure" and high electricity demand. As reported by Green Wombat:
DOE also handed out $30 million in university grants for research to lower the cost of solar energy and improve its efficiency as well as $27 million to companies for "photovoltaic module incubator projects." Half of the 10 companies selected are Silicon Valley startups: CaliSolar, EnFocus Engineering, Solaria, SolFocus, and SoloPower.

Other cities included San Francisco, Berkeley, and New Orleans. Check out the full list here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Wynn Encourages Austin Commercial Real Estate to Go Green

Will Wynn is once again stepping up to the "green" plate and asking for the commercial real estate community to work with the Austin Climate Protection Plan in implementing sustainable building strategies. Wynn will speak before a consortium of real estate groups on June 12 as part of a forum presented by The U.S. Green Building Council that will take place from 5pm to 7 pm at the Frank Erwin Center, LoneStar Room. The mayor will be outlining specific goals. According to the Austin Business Journal:

Groups participating in the forum include regional chapters and affiliates from the U.S. Green Building Council, American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, the Associated General Contractors of America, Building Owners and Managers of Austin, the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, Congress for the New Urbanism and the International Facility Management Association.

Check out the full article here for more details.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dell: Greener Than The Rest

In celebration of World Environment Day, Michael Dell is announcing his plans to make Dell the greenest technology company on the planet. He pledged:
to reduce our own carbon intensity 15 percent by 2012. We have piloted power management initiatives throughout our global facilities that have shown tremendous energy and cost savings, we're investigating how we can share this with customers.
Dell has clearly been at the forefront of green initiatives in the PC industry. According to ecogeek, they're allowing customers to offset the lifetime carbon of their PCs (and even themselves) and they have developed an excellent recycling strategy and efficient desktop and laptop designs. In an effort to engage greenies far and wide, they are asking for consumers via the environment section IdeaStorm for ideas on going green.

Dell in many ways is the golden child to the Austin hi-tech industry, and with this current committment to green, we look forward to a whole new glow to the Austin and hi-tech communities far and wide!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Subdivisions Get Green!

Architects and developers are quickly jumping on the get green bandwagon with the announcement of a new project that is believed to earn 5 stars under the Austin's Green Building Program.

In addition to adhering to green building and energy standards, the community will attract the active and outdoor Austin resident with ammenities including: a 40-foot wide, pedestrian lane and park around which all of the homes have been designed. The park will include a garden, playground, hike and bike trails and a hammock court.

The development located in East Austin is scheduled to be ready in early 2008. Check out further information here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Wild Oats and Whole Foods Merger in Question

It seems that the FTC is fearful of Whole Foods taking over the world (and would that be such a bad thing:-?). Today's Austin Business Journal featured an article that highlights the pending merger between Wild Oats and Whole Foods and the FTC's attempts to block the merger. Check out the full article below:

The Federal Trade Commission will sue to stop a pending merger between rival natural foods grocers Wild Oats Markets Inc. and Whole Foods Market Inc.

Boulder-based Wild Oats (NASDAQ: OATS) has agreed to be acquired by Austin-based Whole Foods (NASDAQ: WFMI). The deal was announced in February.

Wild Oats said Tuesday it was informed the FTC will file a federal lawsuit to block the acquisition.

Greg Mays, chairman and CEO of Wild Oats, said in a statement that the company disagrees with the FTC's position. He said the company is confident that the court "will agree that this merger is pro-competitive and the FTC's application for an injunction will be denied, thus allowing us to proceed forward with the merger. "

He said Wild Oats would cooperate with Whole Foods in fighting the FTC in court.

Whole Foods is offering $565 million, or $18.50 a share, for all of Wild Oats' stock. The definitive merger agreement also calls for Whole Foods to assume Wild Oats' debt.

Wild Oats has 110 stores in 24 states and in Canada, while Whole Foods has 194 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Austin Chronicle Goes Green

This one speaks for itself, literally. Pick up a copy of this week's Austin Chronicle.

ps. don't forget to recycle or better yet, keep your paper and use it as gift wrap. Unique and soo austin!

Road to Austin: Green And Charitable

“Where the music matters” is a popular Austin slogan. From struggling one man-shows to elite headliners, Austin is the place where they all come together. In the recent Road to Austin Concert, headliners such as Bonnie Raitt and Delbert McClinton, performed with Austin acts as Ian McLagan and Bob Schneider. While the show was free (thanks to Freescale Seminconductor Inc.), it featured a covered pavillion that housed many local Austin community outreach, charitable, and green organizations including Keep Austin Beautiful and The Sierra Club. In addition, The event adpoted some green initiatives including all electric generators using biofuels and of course the appropriate recycling efforts that are now expected of these types of events.

Recently voted the top green city in America by MSN City Guides, Austin is embracing its musical and environmental awareness and serving as a green leader in a class of its own.

Crosspost with ecorazzi

Austin: The #1 Green City in America

What better way to kick off this blog than by highlighting Austin as number one of the top 10 cities doing the most to realize a sustaining metropolis according to MSN city guide. According to the article:

If you want to sign up for green power from Austin Energy, possibly the greenest power grid in the country, you can get in line—this year's demand was unpredictably high, and they're fresh out. Austin's growing list of proactive energy maneuvers is, to say the least, striking. Not only does Austin lead the country in wind power and biodiesel production, but it has built advanced plug-in hybrid vehicles into its energy strategy.

As part of the recently announced Austin Climate Protection Plan, all facilities, fleets and operations will be carbon-neutral by 2020, and 100 percent of city facilities will be powered by renewable energy by 2012. There will also be CO2 caps and reduction plans for all utility emissions, something the federal government hasn't dared do. According to Roger Duncan, Austin Energy's deputy general manager, the city is ramping up to make both residential and commercial building codes the most energy-efficient in the nation, starting by making all new single-family homes "zero net-energy capable"—meaning they could produce as much energy as they use—by 2015, and increasing energy efficiency by 75 percent in all other new construction. The Clean Energy Incubator, sparked by the National Renewable Energy Lab and managed by the University of Texas at Austin, works closely with the power utility and serves as a test bed for budding startup companies to develop green technologies ranging from solar, biofuels and wind to Internet-controlled irrigation systems.

While the green trend seems to be something new in other cities, it is simply a part of who Austin is. And no doubt, Austin's role as the greenest city in America will help guide other cities towards a healthier and more sustainable future. Get Green Austin!!!!

Note: Read more postings below on all things green about Austin previously posted on The Sunshine Chronicles.