San Diego One of the Top Clean Technology Cities

Out of all 50 states in the union, San Diego remains one of the top known for its thriving clean technology industry. While it ranked third in 2014, 2015 showed a small drop to 4th, but the city still has one of the most populous clean technology industries in the country.

What is Clean Technology?

The Clean Technology Trade Alliance, which works to expand the clean technology sector on a global scale, describes the industry as such: “A broad base of processes, practices and tools, in any industry that supports a sustainable business approach, including but not limited to: pollution control, resource reduction and management, end of life strategy, waste reduction, energy efficiency, carbon mitigation and profitability.”

From environmental scientists to the layman, the popular consensus has shifted and placed a high value on developments in this industry. It is becoming vital on a worldwide scale to invest in advances in this field so that everyone may benefit from the progress in areas such as solar power, wind power, biofuel, water filtration and more.

San Diego Cleantech Landscape Report

Cleantech San Diego is a nonprofit organization dedicated to positioning and furthering the city’s presence in the clean technology field on both a nationwide and global scale. Chubb, a clean energy-focused insurance company, and Clean Edge, the world’s foremost clean energy research firm, contributed to the study.

The 2015 San Diego Cleantech Landscape Report examined many different aspects of the clean technology industry in order to assess San Diego’s current position in the field. For instance, the report examined how many buildings built recently were equipped with modern energy-efficient features. It looked at advances in renewable power and green transportation, such as the production of hybrid and electric vehicles and the installation of charging stations across the city.

On the production side, the report also examined how much venture capital was invested in the clean technology industry and how many patents were applied for by companies and organizations in the city.

Other Top Cleantech Cities

According to the same report, San Francisco is the top clean technology city, as it has been for 2013 and 2014 as well. San Jose, CA comes in as number two, with Portland, OR in third.

After San Diego, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, CA, Seattle, WA, Boston, MA, Austin, TX and Chicago, IL round out the top ten.

San Diego’s Cleantech industry has grown substantially since 2007. In 2007, there were only 125 companies in the area. In 2015, more than 800 clean technology companies call San Diego home. But San Diego dropping from third to fourth could mean good things for the industry: it means more and more cities are beginning to make developing clean technology a priority.

While it is important and admirable for San Diego to rank amongst the top clean technology cities in the U.S., it is vital for other cities to continue improving their own efforts in the sector. It is only when clean technology becomes competitive and common will the benefits truly have an impact both financially and environmentally.

Nasa Finds that the Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Gaining More Ice than It’s Losing



NASA reveals that Antarctica is actually gaining more ice than it is losing. The surprising find shows that  despite fears over global warming, Antarctica’s ice fields are growing faster than they are shrinking. The snow accumulation began 10,000 years ago and is adding enough ice to the southernmost continent to offset the increased losses from neighboring, thinning glaciers.

While known and monitored glaciers are shrinking because of global warming, the new study published in the Journal of Glaciology shows that recent ice gains at other glaciers more than offset the ice losses of the monitored ice fields. “We see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas,” affirms Jay Zwally, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center spokesperson and study author.

“We’re essentially in agreement with other studies that show an increase in ice discharge in the Antarctic Peninsula and the Thwaites and Pine Island region of West Antarctica,” he says. “Our main disagreement is for East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctic, there, we see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas,” added Zwally.

Measuring ice in Antarctica is a challenging task. Ice gain or loss is normally measured by tracking elevation changes. Changes in the elevation of ice across the Antarctic ice sheet is measured using primarily laser and also radar altimetry. Scientists have previously wrongly attributed gains in elevations in East Antarctica to recent snowfall due to the use of lasers and satellite altimetry to measure ice gain.

Lasers and sensors measure distances from the satellite to the ice surface. Radar altimeter signals provide very good coverage for ice sheets but have difficulty in accurately measuring sloped and rough terrain, due to some of the satellites’ outdated, low resolution equipment. The low resolution shortfall also makes it difficult to measure smaller glaciers where much of the ice loss in Antarctica occurs.

To avoid error this time, The NASA team led by Zwally used data from 1979 to prove most accurately that the ice cores in the area have actually been thickening, making the study’s findings of ice gain promising.

The findings challenge previous research by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s findings that Antarctica is losing land ice overall and is set to flood coastal cities around the globe. Its 2013 study had concluded that the sea is rising by 0.27 millimeters annually because of the ice melting in Antarctica.

But coastal cities are not out of danger yet. According to Zwally: “The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away,” he said. “But this is also bad news. If the 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise attributed to Antarctica in the IPCC report is not really coming from Antarctica, there must be some other contribution to sea level rise that is not accounted for.”

The Google Time Travelling Car Leaked

Google recently had an “oops” moment and leaked their mega plan of building a time travelling car. With Google, a company that’s actively developing self-driving cars, we all believe that they have the resources and genius minds to comfortably come up with anything — including a time travelling car.

So, when will it be in production? Will we actually be able to travel to both the future and past?

Slow down now — not so fast there. Unfortunately, although we wish Google were serious about it, it was just a marketing antic. We are probably light years away from someone possibly ever coming up with a machine that can bend time through space and make time travelling possible.  Maybe they will travel back to 2015 and ferry us to the oblivion of futures…or, maybe not.

Google was only lost in the excitement of the moment- The Future Day. Just like other companies that capitalized on the moment to market themselves, Google came up with a rather remarkable idea of brewing an online storm from a simple “project leakage”. While Nike announced its Michael J. Fox collaboration plans to come up with state of the art limited edition Nike Mags, and Lyft offered free New York DeLorean rides, Google took to twitter to “leak” their plans.

To make it believable, they embedded a link in a tweet that was to introduce Gmail users to a host of new email account themes. However, instead of being directed to a theme page, the link redirected social media users to a “confidential” PDF file called “Project Flux”

Project Flux- get it? If you remember the movie Back to the Future 2 correctly, Marty McFly, the character played by Michael J Fox, travelled through time in a DeLorean DMC-12 from 1985 to 2015 with the help of a “Flux capacitor”.

The PDF file got many people fooled, with some even going ahead to download the entire document and taking screenshots of Google’s ultimate “secret”. It contained drawings and pictures of the said “time travelling” car, whose prototype looked like a spawn between the company’s self-driving car and the DeLorean. Additionally, there were several details which were in line with the film’s storyline. The car, for instance, had been scheduled for production in Ireland, from the 21st of October. After that, it was expected to undergo “88 public tests” before June 2016. But that was just another trick by Google, coming from the fact that in the movie, the DeLorean had to move at a speed of 88 miles hour to effectively jump through time.

That was indeed a remarkably good gag by Google- although we all hope that some executive, in the near future, walks to the boss’ office and pitches an idea to build a time travelling machine. It may seem like a crazy idea, but Google clearly has “crazier” genius minds.


70% of New U.S. Generating Capacity in First Half 2015 is From Renewables


Newly released data from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) highlights a promising trend: newly added renewable capacity for 2015 is 70 percent higher than all new generating capacity and 900 times more than coal output.

The recently released “Energy Infrastructure Update”  report revealed that almost 70 percent of the newly installed electrical generation came from clean-tech geothermal, biomass, wind, hydropower and solar sources this year.

But the promising figures are underestimated and could be higher. The FERC does not include distributed solar energy generated from residential and commercial rooftops figures in its data.

In order of most renewable energy output:

  • Wind accounted for more than half of all new capacity at 1,969 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity
  • Solar followed with 549 MW although the amount is likely higher if commercial and residential energy collected would be included
  • Biomass comes in third with 128 MW
  • Geothermal steam added 45 MW to the figures
  • Hydropower contributed 21 MW

To add to the great news, there have been no new installations of oil-based electricity generation plants or nuclear power installations, and just one coal facility installation in the US this year. The report findings also show that this year’s renewables amounted to more than 50 percent of the new capacity derived from gas, which contributed 1,173 MW.

The US has finally embraced renewable energy. And as the US grows its renewable energy output, other parts of the world are likely to follow. In contrast to other energy sources, renewable energy resources are able to exist over wide geographical areas, in contrast to other energy sources, which are concentrated in a small number of countries.

While many renewable energy projects are large-scale, renewable technologies can also be effective in remote areas and developing nations, where energy is often a vital component to a developing nation’s progress.

United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, a strong supporter of clean, renewable technology has said, “What we need most is strong, sustained political leadership to drive this clean energy revolution forward at the speed and scale necessary. We need to ensure that the right policy incentives and policies are in place to let the market do what it does best: innovate down the cost curve, and satisfy demand.”

More than 30 nations worldwide have renewable energy contributing at least 20 percent to their energy supply. And these renewable energy markets are projected to continue to grow strongly in the coming decade and beyond.

While the US is making positive strides forward, it has yet to catch up with the 30 nations with at least 20 percent of energy coming from renewable sources. According to the US Energy Information Agency, preliminary data shows that renewable sources of energy accounted for 13 percent of US electricity generation.

As the federal government reviews whether or not to renew its federal tax incentives geared towards promoting clean and renewable energy resources, SUN DAY Campaign executive director Ken Bossong, said: “With congress now debating whether to extend the federal tax incentives for renewable energy sources, it is reasonable to ask whether the American public has gotten a good return on these investments,” he commented. “The latest FERC data confirms that the answer is a resounding yes.”


Innovative Clean Technology for 2016

Businesses and everyday people are becoming increasingly more tuned into using things that are efficient and environmentally friendly. Clean tech innovations aren’t limited, and can have a positive impact on everyone. Some innovations are already finding a place in the homes of environmentally-conscious individuals, while others are working to make institutional changes in the power industry. In sum, there are many remarkable innovations coming up the pipeline that are worth noting.

SolarCity’s Solar PV Panel

This panel, which was introduced on the heels of Tesla’s electric SUV named Model X, boasts an efficiency rate higher than 22%. This clean tech innovation is important, as it’s directly related to lowering the cost of using solar-based products.

GreenEgg Smart Home Hub

Shown off at Cleantech Innovate, an opportunity for companies to connect with investors, the GreenEgg Smart Home Hub puts energy consumption front and center in the family home. For most families, TVs are essential and it’s common to gather around them. For that reason, it makes sense to display energy consumption on there, making it just as easy to catch a show as it is to catch patterns in energy consumption. The device is user friendly and communicates high energy use with the color red.

2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21)

In anticipation of the Paris Climate Conference in December, the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP) released a report that was signed by 11 of the top electricity company executives across the globe. Recommendations include concentrated solar power (both on its own to lower the attachment to water for air-cooling systems and to make conventional plants more efficient via combined gas cycling); biomass (for power plants that run on this, the key to better electricity output could be found in organic liquids that vaporize at 70 degrees Celsius); and both onshore and offshore wind (they would expand the types of places that could be used to generate energy).

Utilities: What’s Up For the Future

In a Huffington Post article, Clint Wilder talked about the transformation that needs to happen with electric utility model—something that is “less sexy,” but certainly just as important. Companies like Google are leading the way. Currently, they’re at 35% of their 100% goal of using renewable energy to power their worldwide network. Though it’s a long process, by demanding change from the utility companies and regulators they’ve been able to make strides, like powering their facilities using a wind farm and a new one that will use renewable resources.

Wilder notes that New York, California, and Hawaii are ahead of the curve, and applauds New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative. “New York seeks to fundamentally change the way its power market values assets. Utilities (and all other market players), after decades of focusing almost solely on centralized generation assets as value creators, need to see the demand side—microgrids and load reduction, plus DG—as even more valuable.”

Without a doubt, the work to amend how utilities and regulatory agencies work requires just as much innovation on the people side as the scientific side.