Santa Clara University


Sustainable Energy News

  • Untitled-1Solar panels as inexpensive as paint? It’s possible

    Most Americans want the U.S. to place more emphasis on developing solar power, recent polls suggest. A major impediment, however, is the cost to manufacture, install and maintain solar panels. Simply put, most people and businesses cannot afford to place them on their rooftops. Fortunately, that is changing because researchers such as Qiaoqiang Gan, University at Buffalo assistant professor of electrical engineering, are helping develop a new generation of photovoltaic cells that produce more power and cost less to manufacture than what’s available today. 

  • UntitledQ&A: Steven Chu on returning to Stanford, his time as U.S. Energy Secretary

    After four years as the secretary of energy, Nobel laureate Steven Chu is returning to Stanford University as a professor of physics and molecular and cellular physiology. He talks about his work in Washington and how he thinks science and technology can better guide public policy.

  • windThe ABCs of Solar and Wind Project Development

    Successfully developing renewable energy projects comes down to twelve core areas, according to a research group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Public agency officials must understand the concepts "BEPTC" and "SROPTTC" to build the renewables they need to meet mandated goals.

  • chuEnergy Secretary Steven Chu is the latest member of President Obama's Cabinet to announce his resignation

    "I would like to return to an academic life of teaching and research, but will still work to advance the missions that we have been working on together for the last four years," Chu said in a letter to Energy Department employees.

  • viewerSustainability at Santa Clara University: Energy-clean 2013: Smart microgrid and renewable energy on campus

    With the 4th Annual Energy Challenge just around the corner, students should start thinking consciously about energy use on campus. Read about SCU's new smart microgrid project, its renewable energy sources on campus, and about
    Proposition 39, which adds clean energy jobs to California's economy.

  • Geo-TruckDrillersUse of Geothermal Heat-Exchange Systems is Rising

    April 2012, North Bay Business Journal

    With high heating oil, propane and electricity prices, more commercial and residential building are considering geothermal ground source heating and cooling as an alternative. Interest in this energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective technology is also on the rise due to 2010 CalGreen building code requirements, mandating a reduction of greenhouse gases by 3 million metric tons by 2020. 

  • nrgNRG Energy, Inc. to Build Unprecedented Electric Vehicle Fast-Charging Infrastructure in California

    March 2012, NRG Energy

    The California Public Utilities Commission and NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) have entered into an agreement where NRG will build a comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) charging network in California, investing approximately $100 million over the next four years.

  • SFChargersCalifornia Approves Statewide 'Electric Expressway'

    March 2012, hybridCARS

    California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced a $120 million settlement to go toward statewide infrastructure to help create an "Electric Expressway," making cross-state travel feasible for electric vehicles, and augmenting the goal of 1.5 million zero emission vehicles on California's roads by 2025. 

  • coalNew Plans for Coal Exports are Bad Business

    March 2012, The Huffington Post

    As coal use drops dramatically in the U.S. and clean energy continues to grow, King Coal is looking for new customers. The coal industry is now pursuing its corporate profits via coal exports at the expense of the health, safety, and quality of life of thousands of families in several states, including Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.

  • raleigh-500x307Is North Carolina's Research Triangle the Smart Grid's Silicon Valley?

    March 2012, CleanTechnica

    Silicon Valley has traditionally been the epicenter of American smart grid technology innovation, but a new report suggests North Carolina's Research Triangle may deserve the title and be key to the industry's economic future. 

  • twin-blog480Slicing Silicon Thinner to Cut the Price of Solar Cells

    March 2012, New York Times

    A Californian company has unveiled a radical new way to make the silicon wafers that are the basic ingredient of most solar cells, cutting silicon consumption by 90 percent and eliminating the need to use glass and heavy backing to keep the cells rigid.

  • solarpanelsSolar Installations Doubled Last Year, with California Leading the Way

    March 2012, San Jose Mercury News 

    The amount of photovoltaic solar panels installed in the United States more than doubled from 2010 to 2011, representing a historic year for the American solar industry. 

    A year-in-review report jointly released by the Solar Energy Industries Association and the GTM Research found that 1,855 megawatts were installed nationwide in 2011, up from 887 megawatts in 2010 - for a growth of 109%. 

  • fuelcellDepartment of Energy Announces up to $6 million to Collect Performance Data on Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

    March 2012, U.S. Department of Energy

    The Energy Department announced up to $6 million available this year to collect and analyze valuable performance and durability data for light-duty fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). The projects selected for funding will collect data from next-generation FCEVs as  they are operated in real-world conditions to identify ways to lower costs and improve fuel cell durability and overall vehicle performance. 

  • on_screen_gas_bar_blogOur Dependence on Foreign Oil is Declining

    March 2012, White House Blog

    America's dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year since President Obama took office. In 2010, we imported less than 50% of the oil our nation consumed - the first time that's happened in 13 years - and the trend continued in 2011. 

  • doeTurbines in U.S. Waters Will Soon Spin Wind into Electricity

    March 2012, U.S. Department of Energy

    Approximately 75,000 Americans are currently employed by the U.S. wind energy industry, and that's solely for projects on land. Imagine what will happen to job growth in this sector as massive turbines with innovative designs are fabricated on land and installed by ships well out to sea and in the Great Lakes.

  • fordFord Focus Electric Vehicle Earns Top EPA Mileage Rating

    March 2012, Ford Motor Company

    Ford Motor Company announced on March 2nd that its new Focus Electric was U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified as having a city rating of 110 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) and a highway rating of 99 MPGe. The Detroit automaker said that its rating makes it the most fuel-efficient five-passenger car in the United States. The car can travel 76 miles on a single charge. The EPA had not officially posted the numbers at the time of the announcement. 

  • ernstCalifornia is Top Renewable State: Report

    February 2012, Ernst & Young

    A new ranking of states released on February 28th gives California the lead in terms of overall renewable energy suitability. Ernst & Young issues United States Renewable Attractiveness Indices, which focuses on diverse renewable energy markets, energy infrastructures, and their suitability for individual technologies.

  • geenergyGE Energy Financial Services more than Doubles Global Solar Power Investments

    February 2012, GE Energy Financial Services

    GE Energy Financial Services announced today it has more than doubled its global solar power investment commitments in the past year to $1.4 billion, for nearly $5 billion in projects. Its latest deal is a $100 million investment in a 127-megawatt project that will be built in Arizona. GE Energy Financial Services announced at the Infocast solar Power Finance & Investment Summit in San Diego that its one-gigawatt portfolio spans 48 solar power plants - including 24 San Diego school rooftops -- in six countries: Australia, Canada, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the United States.

  • 68252824California Leads Nation in Green-Tech Venture Capital Funding

    February 2012, Los Angeles Times

    California companies received $2.8 billion of the $4.9 billion raised by the sector nationwide last year. Massachusetts was a distant second with $465.1 million. When it comes to U.S. venture capital funding for the most promising new green technology firms, there's California and there's everybody else. 

  • 68224701Turning Horse Manure into Energy

    February 2012, Los Angeles Times

    The Riverside County city, known as "Horsetown USA," has more miles of riding trails than paved roads. It's considering a proposal to cash in on all of that equine waste by building a manure-to-energy conversion plant from 65 tons of manure produced each day by its population of at least 17,000 horses.

  • usdoeEnergy Department and Department of Commerce Announce $1.3 Million for Clean Energy Workforce

    February 2012, U.S. Department of Energy

    As part of the President's blueprint for an American economy built to last, the energy Department and the Department of Commerce's national Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program have announced up to $1.3 million for  training programs to provide commercial building professionals with critical skills needed to optimize building efficiency, reduce waste, and save money. By offering valuable workforce training, these programs will help to reach the Better Buildings Initiative goal of improving energy efficiency nationwide in commercial and industrial buildings by 20% by 2020, reducing energy costs by nearly $40 billion and creating American jobs. 

  • 20120215__ssjm0216solartrade~1_GALLERYU.S. Solar Industry Divided Over Trade Action Against China

    February 2012, Inside Bay Area

    China is killing American solar manufacturers by illegally dumping cheap solar panels on the U.S. market, while others fear that tariffs against China would curtail solar adoption here and provoke a wider trade war with China.


  • 20120213122556-1Liquid Batteries Could Level the Load

    February 2012, MIT

    MIT team makes progress towards goal of inexpensive grid-scale batteries that could help make intermittent renewable energy sources viable. 

  • mn-geothermal22__WRE0106082823_part6Newberry Volcano site of Geothermal Tech Test

    January 2012, San Francisco Chronicle

    Geothermal energy developers plan to pump 24 million gallons of water into the side of a dormant volcano in central Oregon this summer to demonstrate new technology they hope will give a boost to a green energy sector that has yet to live up to its premise. 

  • ba-solar0125_gr_SFCG1327450644_part6San Diego Tops State in Solar Use

    January 2012, San Francisco Chronicle

    California's top solar city does not lie within the eco-conscious Bay Area. Instead, San Diego has more solar installations - generating more electricity - than any other city in the Golden State. 

  • 89296340-27141442California Orders Hike in Number of Super Clean Cars

    January 2012, Los Angeles Times

    The state's air board issues new rules to automakers as part of its effort to cut greenhouse gases. The California Air Resources Board is poised to vote on new rules that would require automakers to build cars and trucks by 2025 that emit about three-quarters less smog-producing pollutants, and also mandate that one of every seven new cars sold in the state be a zero emission or plug-in hybrid vehicle. 

  • waveenergyDOE Reports Ocean Resources can Provide 15% of Electricity by 2030

    February 2012, U.S. Department of Energy

    The U.S. Department of Energy released two reports in mid-January detailing the country's ocean wave and  tidal resource energy potential. Mapping and Assessment of the United States Ocean Wave energy Resource report is a follow-up to EPRI's 2004 study, with the most recent evidence suggesting a 26% increase in wave energy resources. 

  • 300494960-10153505Sempra, BP to Invest $1 Billion in Wind Projects

    January 2012, Los Angeles Times

    Sempra U.S. Gas & Power and BP Wind Energy announced plans to invest more than $1 billion in the joint development of the Mehoopany Wind Farm in Pennsylvania and the Flat Ridge 2 Wind Farm in Kansas.

  • 20120107_WBP003_0Brazilian Brew: America Opens up to Brazilian Ethanol

    January 2012, The Economist

    Import tariffs and tax credits have long sheltered ethanol distilled from corn in the United States, from the same compound made from sugarcane in Brazil. For the first time, the two countries that produce more than 80% of the world's ethanol can finally sell in each others' backyard at market prices. 

  • 67241671Renewable Energy Projects in California go Unused

    January 2012, Los Angeles Times

    Millions of dollars in projects intended to provide power to facilities in the state's national parks and forests are sitting idle because of a years-long squabble with Southern California Edison.

  • 20111229__EUGermanyMakingRenewablesWork~1_GALLERYAll Eyes on German Renewable Energy Efforts

    December 2011, Inside Bay Area

    Experts and politicians from El Salvador to Japan to South Africa have flocked here in the past year to learn how Feldheim, with just 145 people, is already putting into practice Germany's vision of a future powered entirely by renewable energy.

  • 344906840-16155903Breakthrough could Double Solar Energy Output

    December 2011, Los Angeles Times

    A new discovery from a chemist at the University of Texas at Austin may allow photovoltaic solar cells to double their efficiency, thus providing loads more electrical power from regular sunlight.