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Want a Plug-in Hybrid? The DOE Will Pay for Most of the Surgery

Michael Kanellos: March 19, 2009, 1:09 PM
President Barack Obama said today that $2.4 in stimulus funds allocated to popularizing electric and hybrid cars is now available for the asking. And if you want to buy a plug-in hybrid, the DOE will pay $7,500 of the cost. It was the highlight of a tour of the "Garage of the Future" set up by Southern California Edison. Obama toured the facility, was shown some hybrids from Ford, and announced that the purse strings are open. The Department of Energy will also announce more billion dollar-range grants next week, according to sources. Some of the highlights of today's $2.4 billion grant:
  • $500 million to component makers for producing parts for electric cars. (The Dept. of...

Enerkem Plans $250M Mississippi Waste-to-Ethanol Plant

Jeff St. John: March 19, 2009, 1:02 PM
Canadian trash-to-ethanol maker Enerkem is heading south of the border — Mississippi, that is. The Montreal-based startup said Thursday that it plans to build a $250 million, 20 million gallon-per-year facility in Pontotoc, Mississippi to open as early as 2012. The plant will turn about 190,000 tons of municipal waste per year from the Three Rivers Solid Waste Management Authority — a landfill, that is —  into a high-quality syngas that can then be turned into a variety of biofuels. It would be the third plant that Enerkem hopes to bring to commercial-scale production. The first, in Westbury, Ontario, started making test batches of syngas from used telephone poles...

National Semi Buys Act Solar

Ucilia Wang: March 19, 2009, 12:51 PM

National Semiconductor has acquired Act Solar to expand its offerings of devices designed to minimize energy lost during solar electricity production.

National Semi, a long-time maker of power management chips for cell phones and other electronic equipment, has been eyeing the solar market for a while. It’s been developing a chipset that it says could improve the harvesting of the power produced by a system of solar panels, particularly in instances when some of the panels aren't able to perform well as a result of being in the shade or covered by debris. The company plans to launch the chipset, under the brand SolarMagic, at the Intersolar conference in Munich on May 27, said LuAnn...

Cal. Cleantech Open Goal: 100,000 Jobs Created by 2015

Michael Kanellos: March 19, 2009, 12:32 PM
It's not just about prize money, people, the California Clean Tech Open said on Thursday as it unfurled the 2009 contest. The organization, which gives cash, office space and publicity to green technology startups, has set a goal of creating 100,000 jobs by 2015 through the events and contests it holds to help incubate companies. While the contest so far has been focused on California, it is also spreading to Colorado and Washington. This 2009 contest will feature prizes totaling $1 million. The grand prize winner will get $250,000 in cash and other things that they'd have to pay cash for if they bought (i.e., office space.) Contests have an up-and-down history. Everyone...

Q-Cells Says Business Is Picking Up in March

Ucilia Wang: March 19, 2009, 7:48 AM

Q-Cells is seeing a gradual improvement in the solar energy market and expects to update its 2009 forecast in May, when it discusses its first-quarter earnings.

The German company on Thursday released the financial results for 2008, numbers that corresponded with the preliminary figures it released last month. Q-Cells generated € 1.25 billion in revenue last year, up 46 percent from 2007. It posted € 190.6 million in net income in 2008, a 28 percent jump from 2007. The company, which said it was the largest solar cell maker in 2008, produced 574.2 megawatts worth of solar cells last year.

Q-Cells’ CFO Hartmut Schuning said during a press conference that business improved in...

Shell Cuts Wind, Solar Spending

Jeff St. John: March 19, 2009, 7:03 AM
It looks like Royal Dutch Shell is backing away from its pledges to invest in a wide array of renewable energy projects. A Shell executive told the U.K. Guardian on Tuesday that it is cutting its spending on solar, wind and hydrogen power, and will concentrate instead on biofuels and cleaner ways to use the fossil fuels that make up its core business. That would include finding ways to capture and store the carbon emissions from Shell projects around the world.  "Wind and solar are interesting [but] we may continue to struggle with other investment opportunities in the portfolio even with big subsidies in many markets," Linda Cook, Shell's executive director of gas and...