Recent Posts:

Obama, GM’s New Chairman

Scott McKain: June 16, 2009, 10:55 AM

If my very future depended upon selecting a single person to sink just one basketball shot, I'm picking Michael Jordan.  If my life hung in the balance, and one individual from our history had to present an oration that would determine my survival, I would beg Martin Luther King to speak on my behalf. 

So, why in the moment of its greatest trial would General Motors – described by now-CEO Fritz Henderson as desperately needing to succeed in two areas: "product and customers" – turn in its time of crisis to someone with 43 years experience at the phone company?  Don't get me wrong. Edward Whitacre, Jr. changed the landscape of that great American institution, AT&T, re-shaping it from a...

U.S. Could Get 10% Renewable Energy by 2020, If Money, Policy Line Up Behind It

Jeff St. John: June 15, 2009, 7:02 PM

Studies claiming that renewable energy could supply a much larger portion of the nation's power needs – if the money and policies can be built to support it – are all the rage these days.

The latest arrived Monday, projecting that The United States could get 20 percent of its power from renewable energy (excluding hydropower) using today's technology by 2020, up from its share of about 2.5 percent today.

The report from the National Research Council says that today's technology could get the country to 10 percent non-hydro renewable energy by 2020 and 20 percent by 2035.

To get beyond that, "major scientific advances, and changes to the way we generate, transmit, and use electricity,...

When Martin Eberhard Was Non-Personed at Tesla

Michael Kanellos: June 14, 2009, 11:18 PM

Sometimes, that arcane boilerplate language in press releases can be interesting.

Solar thermal vendor Ausra earlier this year announced it was going to switch from trying to build power plants in the desert to selling solar thermal equipment to industrial customers and hospitals for boiling water and making steam. It was a big surprise, but if you look in the boiler plate language at the bottom of their press releases, you can see how industrial steam sort of snuck in there a few months in advance.

And that brings us to the Martin Eberhard versus Elon Musk lawsuit. To summarize: Eberhard says Musk takes too much credit for the idea behind the company, blames Eberhard too much, and...

BigBelly Solar’s Trash Cans Find a Dealer in Waste Management

Ucilia Wang: June 12, 2009, 6:04 PM

BigBelly Solar, which makes solar-powered trash bins, is lining up Waste Management as a North American distributor. 

Each trash bin comes with a compactor for compressing trash, a sensor and LED lights to gauge its fullness, and a wireless device to send that information to the garbage collector. A solar panel on top of the receptacle charges a 12-volt battery so that the compactor can work at night.

Before the Friday announcement with Waste Management, BigBelly, based in Needham, Mass., had deployed about 2,500 compactors. Its biggest deal was with the city of Philadelphia, which is scheduled to install 500 of them in its downtown this year. Check out the photo of a BigBelly in...

Update: Silver Spring Nabs Cisco’s Ethernet Queen

Michael Kanellos: June 12, 2009, 4:07 PM

Judy Lin, the Senior Vice President of Cisco's Ethernet Switching Technology Group, has joined Silver Spring Networks.

Earlier in the week, we first reported that Silver Spring had nabbed a higher up at Cisco and a source close to situation confirmed the name. The non-personing of Lin at Cisco, in fact, has already begun. She's been removed from the executive bio page at the networking company, which is the equivalent of having your face chiseled off a monument in ancient Egypt.

The melodrama between the two companies will be one of the more entertaining issues in the greentech world. Not as fun as the Elon Musk-Martin Eberhard feud, but the outcome will likely be far more important....

The Cream of Europe’s Green Startups to Meet in Geneva Next Week

Michael Kanellos: June 12, 2009, 3:16 PM

When it comes to high tech, Europe is often overlooked.

The U.S. mints most of the world's high-tech startups and pulls in the most venture capital. Asia, meanwhile, dominates consumer electronics and manufacturing and has become a huge market in its own right. Europe has a few giants – SAP and Nokia, for instance – but you don't see the same frentic level of activity. Restrictive university policies regarding tech transfer, a greater emphasis on lifetime employment, and regional competition have hindered the industry. Israel, which geographically is not in Europe, is the recipient of more VC funds than any country that is in Europe. As one Brit told me, Cambridge is one of the best...

Beacon Power Lands $2M Flywheel Deal With New York

Jeff St. John: June 11, 2009, 4:46 PM

Beacon Power Corp. (NSDQ: BCON) has landed a $2 million contract with the New York State Research and Development Authority to deliver a 1-megawatt flywheel energy storage system to help regulate the frequency of the state's power grid, with the hope of 20 megawatts of storage to come.

The project calls for Beacon to provide a 1-megawatt flywheel energy storage system for utility NYSEG, but the company hopes to see the project eventually expand to 20 megawatts of storage for utility National Grid,

Beacon's flywheels are used for frequency regulation, which is the task of keeping grid power at a constant 60 hertz, or cycles per second, to ensure its stability. That takes up as much as...