Month: April 2010

Resource Intensity – EU plans measures to curb demand for natural resources

EU plans measures to curb demand for natural resources


April 8, 2010

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik yesterday (7 April) announced that he is preparing new measures for 2011 to reflect the true cost of natural resources in products and services and substitute virgin raw materials for waste wherever possible.


Resource efficiency[intensity] is one of the flagship initiatives of the EU’s new strategy for sustainable growth and jobs, called ‘Europe 2020’.

The initiative’s stated objective is to “decouple economic growth from the use of resources, support the shift towards a low-carbon economy, increase the use of renewable energy sources, modernise our transport sector and promote energy efficiency”.

Next year the Commission will deliver “concrete plans to make Europe a resource efficient economy,” said Potočnik, addressing the European Parliament’s environment committee yesterday (7 April).

Resource efficiency is one of seven flagship initiatives under the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy for growth and jobs.

The commissioner said that the strategy’s explicit reference to sustainable growth and environmental concerns constitutes recognition of the fact that “there are not enough of the world’s resources to go round,” with global population projected to reach nine billion by 2050.

“We have no choice but to radically change our production and consumption patterns” if the earth is to sustain future generations, he added.

Full article at


What are Feed-In Tariffs and why have they been introduced?

By Matthew Easter, SEC Industrial Battery Company

What are Feed-In Tariffs and why have they been introduced?

In the broadest sense, the UK Feed-In Tariffs (or FIT’s as they have become known) are a financial incentive being introduced by the UK government to encourage home owners and businesses to fit renewable energy systems to their properties and generate electricity on a local scale. There are a number of reasons why they have been introduced but, at the most basic level, like many other countries we urgently need to address the fact that our energy consumption requirements continue to increase, whilst in contrast our ability to generate electricity using traditional methods will decrease in the years ahead, as fossil fuel and nuclear power stations are decommissioned but not replaced. The other key objective of this scheme is to facilitate a significant increase in the amount of power we generate nationally from renewable methods, with the aim of meeting the EU target set for the UK of 15% through renewable energy by 2020.

How do the Feed-In Tariffs actually work?

From April 1st 2010, the UK Feed-In Tariff scheme will start and homeowners or commercial businesses/property owners can apply to receive money for every Kilowatt Hour (kWH) of energy generated using approved renewable energy systems that they buy and have installed on their property. There are several different types of renewable energy system included within the FIT scheme, as follows……………

Fullarticle at

Pick a side

The War for Renewables Has Begun

By Chris Nelder
Friday, March 26th, 2010

Pick a Side

It’s becoming abundantly clear that if communities want to have a resilient, secure, local renewable supply, they’re going to have to fight for it–and fight hard.

The businesses that control the power sector now are not going to just give up their grip on it, nor are they going to lead the transition to renewables. They’re going to oppose it at every turn with delay tactics, dirty tricks, outright lies, and anything else that will give them an edge. And they have far deeper ties to policymakers, and far deeper pockets with which to wage the war, than anybody in the renewables business. By a wide, wide margin.

What’s good for them is not good for communities, and vice versa. There will be no bridging of that gap. Nor would it be rational to expect investor-owned companies to act against their own self-interests for the benefit of the public.

The residents of Marin County are already being asked to choose a side in the war for the future of energy. Soon the rest of the country will be asked too. Do you have the will to form a stone like MEA? And if you do, do you have the will to throw it?

I say: ¡Viva la Revolución!

I’ll close with a few more lines from the song I quoted above:

Since it cost a lot to win
and even more to lose
You and me bound to spend some time
wondering what to choose

Goes to show you don’t ever know
Watch each card you play
and play it slow
Wait until your deal come around
Don’t you let that deal go down.

– Robert Hunter, “Deal”

Until next time,

full article at

Riddles in the Dark: The age of cheap energy stumbles to its end

Riddles in the Dark: The age of cheap energy stumbles to its end

By John Michael Greer

(The Intelligence Daily) — Any number of metaphors might be used for the predicament today’s industrial societies face as the age of cheap energy stumbles to its end, but the one that keeps coming to mind is drawn from a scene in one of the favorite books of my childhood, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. It’s the point in the story when Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist, gets lost in goblin-tunnels under the Misty Mountains and there encounters a gaunt, slippery, cannibalistic creature named Gollum.

That meeting was not exactly full of bonhomie. Gollum regarded Bilbo in much the way a hungry undergraduate regards the arrival of takeout pizza, but Bilbo was armed and alert. To put his intended meal off his guard, Gollum challenged Bilbo to a riddle contest. So there they sat, deep underground, challenging each other with the hardest riddles they could think of.

I sometimes think the rock around Gollum’s lair must have been a Jurassic sandstone full of crude oil; if Gollum were around nowadays, his “Preciousss” would be made of black gold. Certainly, though, the world’s industrial societies right now are in much the same predicament as Bilbo, fumbling in the dark for answers to riddles that take on an increasingly threatening tone with each moment that passes.

I’d like to talk about three of those riddles now. None of them are insoluble, but they point to a profoundly unwelcome reality that will play a major role in shaping the economics of the age dawning around us right now – and unlike characters in a children’s novel, we can’t count on being bailed out of our predicament, as Bilbo was, by the unexpected discovery of a magic ring. Here they are:

First: It is the oldest machine in the world; it has raised the world’s greatest monuments and destroyed most of them, saved lives by the millions and killed them in like number; and when it is not in use, no one can see it. What is it?

Second: There is a thoroughly proven, economically viable way to use solar energy that requires no energy subsidy from fossil fuels at all, and every mainstream economist thinks that getting rid of it wherever possible is the key to prosperity. What is it?

Third: Two workers in different countries work in identical factories, using identical tools to make identical products. One of them makes twenty dollars an hour plus a benefit package; the other makes two dollars a day with no benefits at all. Why is that?

The last one is the easiest, though you’ll have a hard time finding a single figure in American public life who will admit to the answer………………

find the anwsers at

Going Green With Ford – Announcement Video


Going Green With Ford – Announcement Video

Today we’ve announced the infusion of Microsoft Hohm’s technology into Ford’s aggressive global electrification strategy. So if you missed the live announcement  from the New York Auto Show grab a seat and click play.

Building Online Communities or teams?

Companies Shouldn’t Build Online Communities

by Boris Pluskowski

Forget about Communities. Don’t do it. Don’t even think about it. Oh I know that communities are all the rage currently – companies are falling over themselves to create, build and own their very own communities: But with all of these efforts out there, how many of them are yielding real tangible results for the sponsoring organization? It seems that the very concept of communities is a flawed one for most corporations – leading to wasted time, money and effort – and I think I know why……………………..

It seems to me that the failure companies are making starts right at the beginning with a badly formed misconception as to what they really need – and it’s not an online community – it’s an online team.

It may seem as if I’m nit-picking or playing with semantics in making this differentiation – but consider what this simple change in mindset would mean to projects as you think about how to build a great online team instead of an online community. All of a sudden you add dimensions of:

  • Direction and Leadership
  • Shared Goals, Shared Failures, and Shared Successes
  • Ensuring Participation of Diverse Skill Sets
  • Tangible Achievement
  • Passion, Purpose and Loyalty

Whist still retaining all the collaborative, cooperative and creative structures usually associated with Communities.

I don’t know about you – but I know which one I’d rather build! You tell me – What’s the more  powerful concept?

Full article at