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The Big Green Apples: The Week In Cleantech, Jan 11, 2013

Jeff Siegel

This Car gets 108 Miles per Gallon

Although it's little more than a compliance car (which is why it's only being sold in California), the electric Fiat 500e actually offers some pretty impressive fuel economy numbers.

The official EPA numbers indicate 108 MPGe. This makes it the most efficient highway car in the marketplace. The range clocks in at around 87 miles, so that means it probably gets anywhere from 60 to 90 miles, depending on driving style and conditions. With a level 2 charger, you can juice it up in about 4 hours.

I-wind

Although the patent was filed back in June, 2011, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) media machine kicked into gear last week as it began to spread the news of the company's new wind turbine.

The technology, which allows for the generation of electricity by converting heat energy, instead of rotational energy, offers on-demand power by way of stored wind energy.

According to the patent, the new generation system can reduce costs associated with natural variations in wind supply. As well, it can be used as a replacement for conventional energy storage systems.

Of course, this isn't Apple's first investment in renewable energy. You may remember last year when Apple filed plans with the North Carolina Utilities Commission to double the number of fuel cells the company operates at its Maiden data center.

These fuel cells, which are manufactured by Bloom Energy, use methane from a nearby landfill as a feedstock. Apple also owns and operates a 20 megawatt solar farm in North Carolina for the same data center. That solar farm, by the way, is the largest end-user-owned onsite solar array in the nation.

Mitsubishi Soleil

Mitsubishi Corp. has recently announced that it has acquired a 50 percent stake in a solar power plant in France. This particular power plant boasts a capacity of 55 megawatts, and has been operational since June.

Interestingly, this news comes around the same time we learn that France has doubled the production capacity target for solar. The government intends to offer more financial support to small solar farms that use European-made panels.

Although I'm always happy to see the solar sector get some love in the policy arena, I have little faith in the ability of the new French government to avoid continued fiscal hardships. New regulations and extremely high tax rates for the wealthy are likely to accomplish little more than chasing out those who provide employment for French workers.

Of course, I could be wrong. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, I expect we'll see a nice little bump in solar installations in France this year.

The Big Green Apple

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed a $1 billion Green Bank in an effort to further develop the state's clean energy economy.

Cuomo said the “Green Bank” would help lower capital costs and bring cleaner energy solutions to scale. He went on to say. . .

“The NY Green Bank leverages private capital in a fashion that mitigates investment risk, catalyzes market activity and lowers borrowing costs, in turn bringing down the prices paid by consumers. Through the use of bonding, loans and various credit enhancements, a Green Bank is a fiscally practical option in a time of severe budget conditions. The NY Green Bank is another forward-looking way for our state to lead on energy policy and improve our residents' economic prospects and quality of life. The benefits of early innovation will be tremendous, as we see states around the nation moving quickly to catalyze their clean and renewable energy sectors.”

Kudos to Cuomo for manning up on this one!

China and India Will Lead Global Solar Market Growth in 2013

In a recent note to investors, Deutsche Bank predicted the global solar market to rise 22 percent to 33.4 gigawatts this year as a result of increased investment in China and India.

Although declines are anticipated in Germany and Italy, those are expected to be offset by aggressive solar agendas elsewhere.

China is also moving forward to cut its idled wind farm capacity this year.

As you know, China's race to install wind turbines at such a rapid pace left many without connections to the grid due to lack of transmission and distribution. This, perhaps, was one of the worst cases of planning we've ever seen in this space.

However, China's State Grid Energy Research Institute claims that the rate of wind capacity still sitting idle could fall from over 20 percent to ten percent this year. It'll be interesting to see how this pans out over the course of the year.

DISCLOSURE: No positions

Jeff Siegel is Editor of Energy and Capital, where his notes were first published.



was posted on AltEnergyStocks.com.


       

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