Recent Posts:

Congress Approves $2B for Cash for Clunkers, Senate Likely to Go Along

Michael Kanellos: July 31, 2009, 4:45 PM

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to put $2 billion more into the Cash for Clunkers program and there is a good chance it will go on to become law.

The extension of the program has support in the U.S. Senate and the White House likes it too. The Senate will likely look at it next week.

Under the program, consumers can turn in their old cars for $3,500 and $4,500 vouchers toward the purchase of newer, cleaner cars. Ford says that consumers are gravitating more toward fuel sippers rather than trucks, according to Reuters, so that's a good sign. In the first part of the program, consumers turned in 250,000 cars. That first phase of the program cost $1 billion. Critics say it is a...

Quercus Update: Applied Solar Seeks Bankruptcy

Michael Kanellos: July 31, 2009, 1:49 PM

Thanks to Rob Day for pointing this out:

Applied Solar, which makes building integrated solar, filed for Chapter 11. The company had $17.6 million in assets and $29 million in liabilities.

It will sell its assets to the Quercus Trust, the secretive investment firm run by David Gelbaum. Quercus earlier loaned money to Applied.

The news came out of Applied. Quercus does not issue news releases. They don't even confirm or deny rumors.

So with that in mind, here is some unsubstantiated Quercus rumors (set to the lyrics of popular songs):

Who wrote the Book of Love? David Gelbaum.

He's a drifter born to walk alone.

Gelbaum prepares for the Final Countdown.

General Fusion Touts Technology, But Deadline Pushes Out to Future

Michael Kanellos: July 31, 2009, 12:42 PM

Nuclear fusion is the ideal energy – it is carbon free, it is virtually limitless, and it creates no nuclear waste.

Too bad it doesn't exist yet.

Still, that isn't stopping people from trying. Earlier this year, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories showed off a laser system that can potentially squish atoms together with such high intensity that it could set off a fusion reaction. The lab hopes to demonstrate it in 2010 or 2011.

Although national labs likely have a greater chance of demonstrating this, startups are trying too. Tri-Alpha Energy in Southern California has raised VC funds. Canada's General Fusion has as well. General uses a technique called Magnetized Target Fusion...

SolarTech Aims for 3GW of PV in California by 2017

Eric Wesoff: July 31, 2009, 12:04 AM

Most solar conferences are powerpoint marathons, interrupted by coffee breaks and low-grade lunch food.

SolarTech forums don't settle for that.  Except for maybe the food part.

These are not high-tech meetings with deep dives into Tellurium supplies – they are nitty-gritty forums for installers, utilities, and regulators to figure out how to bust through the roadblocks that prevent residential solar in the U.S. reaching wider and faster deployment (see California's Top Solar Cities).

SolarTech's charter is to effect change in the solar installation process – and the organization wants concrete results.  

One of its stated goals is a 50 percent decrease in interconnection cycle time by...

San Francisco, U.N. Plan Greentech Incubator, CalCEF Wants to Help

Jeff St. John: July 30, 2009, 5:48 PM

San Francisco wants about $20 million to build an incubator for green technology businesses at the long-neglected Hunters Point Shipyard – and it wants the United Nations Global Compact, a U.N. branch devoted to finding solutions to climate change, as an anchor tenant.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced the proposal Thursday, marking the beginning of a fundraising and diplomatic push to have the plan approved. If it is, the Global Compact offices could include a $20 million, 100,000-square-foot incubator for greentech startups, said Dan Adler, president of the California Clean Energy Fund.

Newsom said the project could be complete by 2012, though he didn't say what partners it...

Why Food Matters for Solazyme

Michael Kanellos: July 30, 2009, 5:22 PM

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- Algae oil companies nearly all dream about displacing the billions of fossil fuels the world consumes every year with oil from microorganisms.

But in the meantime, Solazyme is going to also see what it can do for people like Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The South San Francisco, Calif.-based algae oil company has created a food science lab where it experiments with substituting algae oil with olive and other types food oil, said Harrison Dillon, Solazyme's president, during a lunch break at the Western Energy Summit taking place at NASA Ames in Mountain View today. It is also in discussions with large food processors.

Economics and convenience are behind the wheel....

Solar Power: Our Smallest Source of Power

Michael Kanellos: July 30, 2009, 3:00 PM

Although the overall growth in capacity for solar and wind are growing faster than the capacity for nuclear or coal, renewables still amount to only a small percentage of the overall power generated.

And solar is still the smallest source of electricity, according to the monthly report from the Energy Information Administration.

In the first four months of the year, the U.S. consumed 1,314,683 million kilowatt hours.

Solar accounted for 205 million kilowatt hours. That's around 0.02 percent when you round up.

Wind accounted for 17,566 million kilowatt hours.  Or 1.3 percent.

Coal came to 658,750 million kilowatt hours, thereby accounting for about 50 percent still.

Nuclear and natural...