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Hypnotic video of wind turbine being erected in under 7 minutes

Turns out assembling a 364-foot-high wind turbine is just like playing with an impossibly enormous Erector set. This 1.5 MW turbine went up in Boston, where it will save its owner $350,000 in electricity costs every year.

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Hybrid power plant turns wind directly into automotive fuel

Enertrag is a new hybrid power plant whose parent company invites you to "drive to [your] local petrol station and fill up with 50 litres of wind … !!!" Three exclamation points! Renewable energy has made Germans so adorable. Their website even has a picture of German chancellor Angela Merkel showing off a tank of hydrogen gas like it's a baby panda. The idea is simple: Use tried-and-true methods to transform wind power into electricity, which is used to electrolyze water and strip out the hydrogen, which can then be used as automobile fuel or burned in a combined heat …

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Critical List: 7 billionth baby born; OWS to use green generators

The world's 7 billionth baby has been born in the Philippines. (How do U.N. arbiters know she's the seven billionth? They don't: it’s just symbolic.) It snowed on the East Coast, and "virtually every site north of Maryland to Maine … recorded their greatest October snowfall on record." An energy storage company that received a loan from the government filed for bankruptcy; fingers crossed that we can all talk about Herman Cain's (real, problematic) sex scandal instead of this. Occupy Wall Street could switch over to bike-powered generators. One's already running. Wind power wants its production tax credit extended. The …

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Cool energy-storage projects popping up; expect a lot more

Tracking the politics of clean energy can be a surreal and dispiriting experience. D.C. is so swamped in fossil-fuel money, fossil-fuel lobbyists, and fossil-fuel-owned pols that the conventional wisdom is absurdly pessimistic about clean energy: It's unreliable, it costs too much, it can never work, blah blah. Meanwhile, out in the real world, costs are plunging and the intermittency problem (insofar as it's actually a problem and not a talking point of the fossil crew) is being solved. There are two ways to solve it: one is connecting more renewables over a wide geographic area, which generally requires more transmission …

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Direct subsidies to fossil fuels are the tip of the (melting) iceberg

In recent years, energy subsidies have risen to become a first-tier political issue. Lots of folks are thinking and talking about them, which is absolutely a Good Thing. However, the discussion has remained narrow and legalistic in a way that obscures some larger realities. The usual question that gets asked is, who gets more direct subsidies -- fossil-fuel industries or renewables industries? The answer to that question can be found in an updated report from consultancy Management Information Services Inc., which tries to tally up every kind of direct subsidy -- tax credits, regulation, R&D money, etc. -- from 1950 …

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Critical List: Rina heads to Cancun; French wildflowers are disappearing

Hurricane Rina is heading towards Cancun. The U.S. wants to start trade wars all over the place. First, the solar industry goes toe to toe with China, and now the House of Representatives is mixing it up by trying to exempt U.S. airlines from the EU emissions scheme. Multinational energy companies who want to exploit Indonesia's geothermal resources are annoyed that Indonesia's government wants to regulate the process, and citizens have some concerns about the whole thing. Environmentalists in Bellingham, Wash., are fighting against a new terminal that would ship coal to China. Venture capitalists are shying away from investing …

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Wind turbine with Inspector Gadget arms makes twice the power

A simple new idea in wind turbines could increase their power production by 100 percent over the course of a year, and even make it possible to put turbines in places where they were uneconomical before. By giving turbines blades that extend -- longer for lower speed winds, shorter for faster winds --  researcher Rajnish Sharma, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, has found a way to allow them to take advantage of a wider range of wind speeds. The variability of wind speeds mean that wind turbine design is a compromise between making blades long enough to …

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Big wind farms cost more than small ones

This post originally appeared on Energy Self-Reliant States, a resource of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's New Rules Project. It seems obvious: Every extra turbine in a wind farm comes at a lower incremental cost, making the biggest wind power projects the most cost effective.  If you bet $20 on that proposition, you just lost $20. Instead, data from the U.S. Department of Energy's 2009 Wind Technologies Market Report by Ryan Wiser and Mark Bolinger (a must-read) blows a hole in the conventional wisdom that bigger is better.  The report shows that wind projects between five and 20 megawatts have …

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A positive energy vision for the future, from Amory Lovins

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. On Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry issued a "positive" video highlighting his environmentally disastrous energy policy: Drill more, mine more, burn more. Michele Bachmann, another candidate who has proposed opening the Florida Everglades to offshore oil drilling, said of Perry's plan: "I appreciate you endorsing my energy ideas." All the leading Republican candidates might as well be endorsing each others' plans. Except for centrist Jon Huntsman, they are all calling for a shutdown of the Environmental Protection Agency, a rollback of environmental regulations, a repeal of renewable energy programs, and a drill-everywhere-burn-everything-under-the-ground approach. Where's the …

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Critical List: Texas drought creating baby animal shortage; Keystone XL doc on Oscar shortlist

The Texas drought has meant fewer births of adorable baby animals. Maybe the new climate lobby can include all of the internet. Also joining the climate fight: yuppies and freelancers. Starbucks is worried about the future of its business model, as rising temperatures threaten coffee crops. Democrats aren't the only ones who back clean energy projects that don't end up saving the world. Orrin Hatch, for instance, backed a company trying to develop a hybrid Hummer, which collapsed under the weight of its own irony. China wants to dominate the global wind-turbine market, as well as the solar market. The …