Tuesday, June 26, 2012

IEA sees natural gas consumption climbing

KUALA LUMPUR: World natural-gas consumption could grow 17 percent by 2017 as Chinese and US demand rises, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday, potentially curbing growth in use of carbon-spewing coal.

“On the long-term, our world energy outlook sees gas demand growing faster than any other fossil fuel to 2035, and it’s likely to overtake coal as the second most popular fuel and can provide a bridge, a bridge to a clean-energy future,” IEA director general Maria van der Hoeven told reporters.

Van der Hoeven was speaking at the launch of a report by the Paris-based agency at the World Gas Conference in Malaysia.

The report said Asia will be a major force in driving natural gas use to a projected 3.94 trillion cubic metres in five years.

“Asia will be by far the fastest growing region, driven primarily by China, which will emerge as the third-largest gas user by 2013,” the IEA said.

The United States is currently the top world consumer natural gas, followed by Russia, according to the IEA.

In the medium-term, the report said Chinese consumption should more than double to 273 billion cubic metres by 2017, as it continues to look for imports of energy sources to power its huge economy.

However, it says the projections are based on the assumption China can continue to maintain high growth rates.

In the United States, an oversupply of natural gas due to ample resources has dragged prices down, increasing the energy source’s competitiveness compared to coal, it said.

Van der Hoeven said pricing was key to keeping gas competitive.

“The future role of gas depends on an investment-friendly environment not only in upstream production but also in mid-stream transport infrastructure to bring it to market,” she said.

A boom in gas use in the United States “may even herald the end of the hundred-year dominance of coal in US power generation,” the report said.

It said that in 2005 “coal produced almost three times as much power in the US as gas. By 2017, the race will be almost even.” The burning of natural gas emits much higher levels of the greenhouse gases blamed for causing global warming.

In a separate report released last week, the IEA said natural gas could be poised for a “golden” age if environmentally friendly extraction is used to boost production.

Higher gas output would moderate prices and could see global demand rise more than 50 percent between 2010 and 2035, overtaking coal as the second-largest primary energy source after oil that report said.

Source: http://www.sabahtoday.com/?p=8995

Photo source: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-06-27/markets/30008553_1_natural-gas-shale-drilling-reserves 

Geothermal power project a smart ‘green’ move

KOTA KINABALU: The State government has welcomed the plan by Tawau Green Energy Sdn. Bhd. to develop Malaysia’s first geothermal power plant project at Apas Kiri, Tawau.

When completed the project will put Malaysia on the world geothermal power map, noted Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun.
He said the RM480 million project which has been identified by the Minerals and Geoscience Department as a green project will be considered as qualified for carbon credits.

“We have made a smart decision to opt green energy when the whole world is talking about pollution.
“Sabah should be proud in taking this first major step to ensure the power plant will be based on green technology or less polluting.

“The State government also grateful to the Private-Public Partnership Unit (UKAS) of the Prime Minister’s Department for the access road and water treatment plant grant worth RM35million for this project,” he said at the signing ceremony between TGE and UKAS on the fund facilitation at at a leading hotel on Friday night.

Earlier in his speech, Masidi who witnessed the signing ceremony said geothermal energy is acknowledged by the United Nations as a green energy and therefore qualifies for carbon credit under the clean development mechanism.

The power plant, he said will reinforce Sabah Electricity Sdn. Bhd. (SESB) power generation capacity especially in the east coast of the State, while there will be employment opportunities for locals.
TGE signed a Renewable Energy Power Purchase Agreement (REPPA) with State utility SESB in November 2011. Under the terms of the REPPA, TGE will export 30MW to the Sabah grid from its geothermal power plant for a 21-year concession period at a fixed tariff of RM0.21/kWh.

Managing director of TGE, Ramzi Raad said with the REPPA in place and other supporting contracts and approvals either in place or in final stages of completion, TGE is now shifting the corporate focus to develop the Apas Kiri geothermal resources.

Ramzi said the 30MW from geothermal power plant project at Apas Kiri, Tawau is only the first phase of the project, and is expected to be completed by 2014.

The second phase of the project will be announced after the first phase succeeds, but the future plan will be more than 100MW in total. The second phase will be less in terms of the finacial capital because of the available infrastructure from the first phase.

Also present at the signing ceremony were the director general of UKAS Datuk Seri Dr. Ali Hamsa who signed on behalf of the federal government and managing director of Bank Pembangunan Malaysia who sign on behalf of the bank.
File:NesjavellirPowerPlant edit2.jpg

Learn more about Global Warming

Global warming is a topic that is never free from debate, whether you have heard about it by this main buzz word or in relation to others such as 'the greenhouse effect' or even 'climate change' as it is more commonly referred to these days, it is something that never fails to spark controversy when spoken about.
But what is global warming and is global warming real? This site provides a comprehensive guide to the subject of global warming and covers all areas including global warming causes and effects, a wealth of global warming information, as well as a global warming definition and details of the greenhouse gases that are responsible for the change in the earth's climate.

Is global warming real?

First things first, in order for us to talk about the subject, or problem if you like, we first need to acknowledge that it is genuine and science proves that global warming is real. I can assure you that global warming is something that is very real and is brought on by a natural process known as 'greenhouse effect' that sees both natural and man-made gases released into the earth's atmosphere, subsequently causing the planet to heat up. This natural phenomenon helps to sustain life on earth such as plants, animals and even us humans.
However, the big debate that has gone on in the world for years and continues to go on now is how much human activity has accelerated this natural process by causing more of these natural gases and also some unnatural ones too. These gases are know as greenhouse gases and are discussed in further detail on our what are greenhouse gases page. 
Depending on who you speak to will depend on the opinion of how much of an issue global warming is, material fact shows that it is real but scientists have one opinion on it where as climatologists another when it comes to how much of a threat it is and what, or who, is most responsible for it, man or nature? So in short the answer to the question 'is global warming real?' is a definite 'yes'!
Now that we have concluded that global warming is real we are now going to explain what global warming is in depth.

What is global warming?

global warming sign
So the key question if you are on this page is 'what is global warming?'. Global warming is what happens when the temperature of the earth increases. This temperature increase is something that happens naturally, although it is also contributed to by human activity. The natural process that leads to global warming is called 'the greenhouse effect' and this is where gases in the atmosphere such as methane and carbon dioxide build up and retain heat from the sun in the atmosphere, therefore increasing the overall temperature of the earth.

This process is called the greenhouse effect and is necessary for the survival of all life on our planet. Due to a larger increase of average global temperatures people are pointing at human activity for speeding up this process to a degree that is deemed unsafe, evidence of this is the melting of the polar icecaps and subsequent rises in sea levels. The gases in question are produced naturally but also by humans too, the big question is how much effect the amount that humans create has had already and will have in the future. For more information take a look at our 'what causes global warming?' page.

Many people think that global warming and the green house effect are the same thing but this is not the case, the green house effect is the process that occurs naturally and this leads to global warming and climate change.

The natural process that leads to global warming sees the sun radiate heat to the earth, some of the heat will make it to the earth and warm it up, some will bounce of the clouds in the atmosphere back into space, a certain amount of heat will be reflected from the earth back up into the atmosphere where it will be retained by the natural gases that we have mentioned, and some will just go back out into space past the atmosphere.

This 'greenhouse effect' as it is known, heats the earth enough to cater for the needs of all of life on earth and has done for as long as life has been here. The reason global warming is deemed as such an issue is because the more of the gases that are produced by man the more there will be in the atmosphere and this upsets the natural balance, retains more heat and makes the earth warmer. In a nutshell that is what global warming is.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Benefits of an environmentally friendly green roof

The movement to “go green” has invoked the interest of socially responsible businesses, as well as the general public. Also known as “eco” roofs, environmentally friendly roofs can bear both social responsibility benefits as well as cost savings on materials and energy consumption. Below are just some of the benefits of using green construction and technology for roof construction.

One major benefit of eco-friendly roofs is the construction savings. Using recycled materials reduces waste, while providing a cost savings for manufacturers, construction companies and their clients.

Energy conservation is another great benefit for green roofing. Because the materials are designed to keep dwellings both cool in summer months and warmer for cooler temperatures, environmentally friendly roofs can save on utility costs through less energy usage.

It is well established that environmentally friendly roofs reduce storm water runoff. Natural storms produce rain, which typically runs off of regular roofs. Quite often, this water includes pollution that contaminates sewer systems. This transmits into the natural water supply and can cause illness. Green roofs are designed to reduce or eliminate storm water runoff.

Environmentally friendly roofs are designed to reduce smog as a result of their lower rooftop temperatures. Smog reduction automatically improves air quality. Since smog is related to many health risks, less smog also contributes to better overall health.

Green roofs have been determined to provide more insulation, which also decreases building noise levels. This creates both better residential and business environments, for higher productivity and more peaceful living.

Roof systems built around green technology are made to be more durable, which not only makes them more protective, but they last significantly longer while decreasing maintenance costs.

New legislation has allowed for those who have environmentally friendly roofs installed on their homes to take advantage of certain tax benefit initiatives. These federal tax incentives are designed to encourage more green construction targeting energy efficiency for residential dwellings.

Source: http://www.theenvironmentalblog.org/2012/06/benefits-environmentally-friendly-green-roof/

Photo Credit: Some Rights Reserved by  jonathanvlarocca via Flickr.

RM700 mln to install hybrid solar units in Sabah rural schools

BELURAN: The government has allocated RM700 million for the implementation of the hybrid solar supply system for 179 rural schools in Sabah that have yet to receive electricity supply.

Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zakarshi said that out of the total, RM300 million had already been spent for the first phase involving 78 schools which had been fully completed.

He said another RM400 million was for the implementation of the second phase of the hybrid solar project involving 101 schools.

“For the second phase, 64 schools had already been installed with the hybrid solar system while another 18 schools were in the process of implementation.

“It involves 13 schools in Beluran, three in Ranau, and one each in Kota Belud and Sipitang with the total cost for the 13 schools amounting to RM70 million,” he said.

Speaking to reporters after opening the group general meetings of Umno branches in the Labuk state constituency, here today, he said the implementation of the hybrid solar system for rural schools reflected that the government took a serious view on educational aspects in the area. – Bernama

Source: http://www.sabahtoday.com/?p=8902 

Photo source: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=hybrid-solar-cells-photovoltaic-utilities

PM: World urgently needs new energy usage paradigm

KUALA LUMPUR: The world urgently needs a new paradigm of development that reflects changing times, namely the huge spike in demand for consumer items that will have an enormous impact on the way the world uses its energy, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He believed natural gas had an important role within the new paradigm, sustaining development at the same time decoupling it from rising emissions.

“We simply can’t afford to allow today’s emerging economies to follow the same ‘Grow First, Clean Later’ model that the early industrialisers adopted.

“It may not be the perfect solution but it is without doubt one of the best we have today, offering the lowest carbon footprint of all the fossil fuels and producing less than half the carbon dioxide of coal,” he said when opening the 25th World Gas Conference themed, ‘Gas Sustaining Global Growth’.

The prime minister said one of the strongest arguments in favour of increasing the use of natural gas was the fact that its environmental benefits would be felt immediately.

On gas prices, Najib said efficient pricing of energy needed to be seen in the broader context of economic reforms and properly sequenced in its implementation.

“This would generate a sufficient buffer of income growth that will in turn enable the population to more easily absorb higher end-use energy prices.

“This in turn will help ensure that price reform is more readily accepted by the wider population,” he said.

Najib also stressed the world was grappling with an economic slowdown in three years for the second time.

Unless more urgent steps are taken to address the systematic weaknesses that act as a barrier to self-sustaining global growth, nations would be mired in a protracted period of economic volatility, he said.

The premier also said the world economy remained sluggish three years after the 2009 financial crisis and the uncertainty continued to hold back demand and deter investment.

“More recent developments remind us that we are not yet out of the woods,” he added. — Bernama

Source: http://www.sabahtoday.com/?p=8983

Photo source: http://www.topnews.com.sg/category/people/najib-tun-razak

What is Global Warming?

Polar ice caps: a high-latitude region of the planet that is covered in ice

What are the Issues?
When you think of "ice caps" you think ice, Arctic and polar bears, but usually not Global Warming and disappearing. The polar ice caps are the arctic; they sustain a variety of animals such as polar bears, seals and species of fox. They are also are one of the most astonishing things you will ever see. The glaciers are taller then sky scrapers, the water is clear, and the land is almost untouched. Along with the beauty there is an unseen horror, Global Warming. Studies show that the ice's perimeter is shrinking 9% per decade and it is already contributing negatively to native plants and animals. Scientists are predicting summers will become completely ice free by the end of the century. While the beauty is disappearing, so are various animals. Polar bears are having a harder time getting to fish, thus causing them to starve. Polar bears are not the only animals being affected, many plants are not able to adapt fast enough to live.

What areas are being effected by Global Warming?
Alaska is already experiencing the affect of warmer weather by seeing forests slowly shrink. How? Pests breed twice as fast in warm weather, doubling there species numbers, doubling the trees they kill. An example: the Spruce Bark Beetle. Alaska is not the only region being affected. Due to the ice melting, ocean levels are rising causing rising tide which could potentially comletely submerge small islands, which would kill all land animals. Scientists are able to see how much the ice coverage has decreased, and predict how much will decrease in the future by NASA Sattelite photos. They are also stating that "What is happening in the Arctic will eventually happen everywhere else with time". The melting will also affect future weather patterns. The ice already cools down the atmosphere, so when it is gone the temperature will keep rising.

What is being done and how we can we help?
Although global warming is irreversable, many are trying to slow it down. There are new technologies coming out every day, such as cars where they give out less polluting egxast. All in all the fix is simple, save energy. Don't give large factories the excuse to burn more fossil fuels, ride a bike or even buy an electric car. Global Warming is everywhere, even though you may not see a large affect from where you are living. Scientists and biologists are all trying to save the animals by collecting research, samples, tracking them to see how fast they are reproducing, and what all is factoring them to go endangered and how we can protect them from poachers.

What is "feeding" Global Warming?
Human activity is not the most plentiful in the Arctic, but it seems that the Arctic is the most affected. It only seems this way because it has been the most juristically changed. Everyone can participate in small changes that will help reduce, reuse, and recycle. Reduce, reuse, and recycle are the three R's that anyone could do. Little things will eventually lead to big things. Every day factories and power plants burn fossil fuels which are turned into toxins. Toxins, exhuast, and smoke are all pollutants which are the main cause of Global Warming,

Affects on other Ice structures:

We have all seen what the warming is doing to the Arctic ice caps, but it is also affecting almost all glaciers. Some of the worlds' largest glaciers have been slowly decreasing in size every year to the irregular occurance of rapidly increasing global tempuratures. The Global Warming has increased to twice its normal rate and up to three times near the North and South Poles. Even though the tempurature has only increased by a few degrees, only one degree can affect world weather patterns. The fact of the matter is that glaciers are slowly decreasing in size to the extent that all glaciers would completely melt, causing the water levels to spike way over the highest record.

Affects on Biodiversity:

Along with the ice melting, animals are starting to become endangered. Since the water is warming the fish are migrating into cooler water, thus leaving a wide variety of animals who depend on the fish starving. An example would be the Polar bear. Even though the polar bear doesn't only eat just fish, many of its prey do also, such as the seal. Some of the seals are leaving with the fish and some are dying of starvation and the chain continues. When there is a lack of adult animals their reproduction numbers obviously decline.

What species are being effected?

All species in the Arctic are being affected by the ice melt. If one species is suffering, then it continues down the food chain and affects all animals. An example would be if fish are migrating into cooler water, that would mean birds wouldn't be able to eat the fish and starve, then the foxes wouldn't be able to eat the birds and it continues. Animals are not the only organisms being effected, many species of plant are being completely submerge by water and being drowned out. They are also not being able to adapt fast enough to the warm weather along with not being able to grow fast enough do to the animals new needs.

Source: http://thinkingaboutchange.wikispaces.com/Ice,+Arctic,+and+Polar+Ice+Caps

Friday, June 22, 2012

Types of Geothermal Heat Pump Systems

There are four basic types of ground loop systems. Three of these—horizontal, vertical, and pond/lake—are closed-loop systems. The fourth type of system is the open-loop option. Which one of these is best depends on the climate, soil conditions, available land, and local installation costs at the site. All of these approaches can be used for residential and commercial building applications.

Closed-Loop Systems

Most closed-loop geothermal heat pumps circulate an antifreeze solution through a closed loop—usually made of plastic tubing—that is buried in the ground or submerged in water. A heat exchanger transfers heat between the refrigerant in the heat pump and the antifreeze solution in the closed loop. The loop can be in a horizontal, vertical, or pond/lake configuration.
One variant of this approach, called direct exchange, does not use a heat exchanger and instead pumps the refrigerant through copper tubing that is buried in the ground in a horizontal or vertical configuration. Direct exchange systems require a larger compressor and work best in moist soils (sometimes requiring additional irrigation to keep the soil moist), but you should avoid installing in soils corrosive to the copper tubing. Because these systems circulate refrigerant through the ground, local environmental regulations may prohibit their use in some locations.


This type of installation is generally most cost-effective for residential installations, particularly for new construction where sufficient land is available. It requires trenches at least four feet deep. The most common layouts either use two pipes, one buried at six feet, and the other at four feet, or two pipes placed side-by-side at five feet in the ground in a two-foot wide trench. The Slinky™ method of looping pipe allows more pipe in a shorter trench, which cuts down on installation costs and makes horizontal installation possible in areas it would not be with conventional horizontal applications.
Illustration of a horizontal closed loop system shows the tubing leaving the house and entering the ground, then branching into three rows in the ground, with each row consisting of six overlapping vertical loops of tubing. At the end of the rows, the tubes are routed back to the start of the rows and combined into one tube that runs back to the house.


Large commercial buildings and schools often use vertical systems because the land area required for horizontal loops would be prohibitive. Vertical loops are also used where the soil is too shallow for trenching, and they minimize the disturbance to existing landscaping. For a vertical system, holes (approximately four inches in diameter) are drilled about 20 feet apart and 100–400 feet deep. Into these holes go two pipes that are connected at the bottom with a U-bend to form a loop. The vertical loops are connected with horizontal pipe (i.e., manifold), placed in trenches, and connected to the heat pump in the building.
Illustration of a vertical closed loop system shows the tubing leaving a building and entering the ground, then branching off into four rows in the ground. In each row, the tubing stays horizontal except for departing on three deep vertical loops. At the end of the row, the tubing loops back to the start of the row and combines into one tube that runs back to the building.


If the site has an adequate water body, this may be the lowest cost option. A supply line pipe is run underground from the building to the water and coiled into circles at least eight feet under the surface to prevent freezing. The coils should only be placed in a water source that meets minimum volume, depth, and quality criteria.
Illustration of a pond or lake closed loop system shows the tubing leaving the house and entering the ground, then extending to a pond or lake. The tubing drops deep into the pond or lake and then loops horizontally in seven large overlapping loops, then returns to the water's edge, extends up near the surface, and returns back to the house.

Open-Loop System

This type of system uses well or surface body water as the heat exchange fluid that circulates directly through the GHP system. Once it has circulated through the system, the water returns to the ground through the well, a recharge well, or surface discharge. This option is obviously practical only where there is an adequate supply of relatively clean water, and all local codes and regulations regarding groundwater discharge are met.
Illustration of an open loop system shows a tube carrying water out of the house, into the ground, and over to a well, where it discharges into the groundwater. A separate tube in a well some distance away draws water from the well and returns it to the house.

Hybrid Systems

Hybrid systems using several different geothermal resources, or a combination of a geothermal resource with outdoor air (i.e., a cooling tower), are another technology option. Hybrid approaches are particularly effective where cooling needs are significantly larger than heating needs. Where local geology permits, the "standing column well" is another option. In this variation of an open-loop system, one or more deep vertical wells is drilled. Water is drawn from the bottom of a standing column and returned to the top. During periods of peak heating and cooling, the system can bleed a portion of the return water rather than reinjecting it all, causing water inflow to the column from the surrounding aquifer. The bleed cycle cools the column during heat rejection, heats it during heat extraction, and reduces the required bore depth.

Residential Home Geothermal Systems

A home geothermal system works much more efficiently then ordinary heating and air conditioning units by using the earth’s energy to heat and cool your home. Geothermal systems emits no carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or other harmful greenhouse gases.

These are very different from conventional air conditioners and heat pumps, as geothermal units are installed indoors, so they are not subject to wear and tear caused by the elements. Water Furnace geothermal units are generally very reliable and require significantly less maintenance than conventional heat pumps.

Residential geothermal projects are typically completed with one drilling rig and crew. Installers work with your heating contractor to select the proper method and location of drilling to complete your geothermal system. Most bore holes are 6-inch diameter and are approximately 300 feet total depth.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Google Founder Building Eco-Mansion

Famed progressive thinker and Google co-founder Larry Page is working out the details as he plans his new 6,000-square-foot, eco-friendly house on an acre sized lot in Palo Alto. 

The Google house will include solar panels, materials that do not emit toxic chemicals, and paving that allows the rain to seep through, which is a major plus in California, where water planners are looking to fill up aquifers. 

The exterior of the house will have zinc cladding and plenty of enormous windows, including a wall of sliding-glass doors in the back. Page is also working with an arborist to replace some trees in poor health with those that use less water.

Building this eco-house adds to Page’s forward thinking work in areas such as alternative energy companies (he was a major investor in Tesla Motors, which developed the Tesla Roadster, a 220-mile (350 km) range battery electric vehicle.) 

Larry Page, with the help of Google’s philanthropic arm, promotes the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric cars and other alternative energy investments.

Habitat for Humanity Building 5,000 Energy Efficient Homes

Habitat for Humanity International (which has built over 300,000 homes) and The Home Depot Foundation are now working together to build 5,000 energy efficient homes over the next five years. 

The $30 million Partners in Sustainable Building program will issue grants to Habitat affiliates for homes built following Energy Star, LEED or other nationally recognized green building guidelines.

In 2009 and 2010, 1,500 sustainable homes will be built by 120 Habitat affiliates in 45 states. The program will grant $3,000 per home built to Energy Star standards and $5,000 per home built to a higher standard, like LEED.

In a pilot program tested in 2008, the sustainable features led to energy savings of 15% to 30%. For those that were built to LEED Platinum standards, energy savings have hit 50%.

London Planting 2 Million Trees By 2025

London Mayor Boris Johnson’s environmental adviser, Isabel Dedring, said climate projections show that the average summer temperatures in London could be at least 3.9C higher by 2080, and as much as 6C to 10C on the hottest days. 

A recent study suggested that increasing the amount of greenery in a city by 10% could offset the higher temperatures.

This caught the attention of Johnson, who’s aiming to increase tree cover across the capital by 5% by 2025.

The program, Leading to a Greener London, included detailed plans for green roofs and more trees in streets. A green roof features waterproofing and drainage layers topped with soil and plants.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

EPA Wants Companies to Audit Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency is working with the federal government to require companies to start disclosing the amount of greenhouse gases they release into the atmosphere.

On Tuesday, the EPA proposed mandatory reporting of the gases blamed for global warming from approximately 13,000 companies that are large emitters of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, such as oil refiners and automobile manufacturers, in the U.S. Under the new regulations, companies would be required to begin auditing their own greenhouse gas emissions as of 2010.

“We do not expect to have a significant impact on small businesses,” said Dina Kruger, the director of the agency’s climate change division.

Currently, the EPA only requires reporting of greenhouse gases only from power plants. It also releases an annual inventory that merely estimates the CO2 released from other large corporations such as those in transportation and electricity production.

“Our efforts to confront climate change must be guided by the best possible information,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a statement announcing the proposed regulation.

Google US’s Largest Geothermal Research Investor

Google, which has a huge interest in affordable power to run its ever-growing numbers of server farms, is heavily investing in research into the development of geothermal power. In the US, Google is the largest funding source for geothermal research.

MIT researchers estimate that the America could develop 100 gigawatts of generating capacity from geothermal over the next 40 years at a cost of US$1 billion. Australia is trying something similar, but its timetable is much more aggressive, and costs more.

“The association estimated A$12 billion would need to be invested to develop the 2,200 megawatts of power, but added the cost of generating electricity would fall to acceptable levels by the time commercial projects were up and running.”

The amount of energy that could be generated from geothermal power is has massive potential. The Australian group estimates that just 1 percent of the country’s geothermal capacity could provide 26,000 years worth of clean electricity.

Renewed Interest in Renewable Energy


The Obama economic stimulus package, which invested so heavily in renewable energy like wind and solar power, is finally having an effect on the green industries.

In a statement to the NY Times the vice-president of Sharp Solar, Ron Kenedi, said that although December, January and February had been “miserable,” things are starting to pick up.

“I call this the green shoots period. We’re seeing new growth,” he said.

Kenedi went to allude to a large-scale, unnamed solar project, which lost its financing late last year. Now, with banks willing to invest “they’ve unstuck their project.”

He also made mention of the stimulus money that will soon be flowing to state governments via conservation-oriented block grants. This should show a marked influence on small-scale solar projects.

However, he added, the industry is still looking for clarity on how a new Treasury grant program (an important stimulus measure for renewable energy that turns tax credits into straight grants) will work. “We are also noting that the financing of projects already slated to go forward is taking extra time to get done,” he said.

Lawyer with Chadbourne & Parke, Keith Martin, stated in an email that a recent call he had conducted with bankers indicated a consensus that the stimulus package is resulting in more activity, if not yet money, in the renewable energy sector.

“There are lots of proposal letters and term sheets circulating,” he said in an e-mail message. “The mood is improving, but it has not translated yet into closing and fresh capital flowing into deals.”

Sabah poised to be world’s 3rd largest palm oil producer

LABUAN: If Sabah were an independent country, it would be the world’s third largest pro­ducer of palm oil.
Such a statement was an indication of how important the role palm oil has played in the state’s growth to date – and what is in store for the future.

According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), in 2009, Sabah had the largest area under oil palm cultivation than any state, at 1.36 million hectares out of the national total of 4.69 million hectares (ha).
Yields, too, were generally stronger at an average of 4.3 tonnes per ha in 2010 – the highest of any state in the fed­eration.

Eastern Sabah has been identified as being an extremely good location for oil palm, particularly in Tawau, Lahad Datu and Sandakan.

“This area is where most plantations and smallholders are located, with two major downstream projects provid­ing increasingly sophisticated downstream services for the sector,” said Jerel Soo, managing director of Fireworks Event (M) Sdn Bhd, an event management consulting group, specialising in palm oil exhibition.

He said palm oil, being one of the federal government’s NKEA (National Key Economic Area), meant that this sector would receive special attention via incentives and programmes in the years ahead.

“Therefore, we are in the move to help organise the largest Palm Oil Exhibition (Palmex) 2012 to assist in bringing in more business to the local players,” he said.

Soo confirmed a total of 130 booths were taken up, of which more than 80 comprised overseas exhibitors.
The Singaporean government has subsidised over 10 companies to help promote downstream technologies in palm oil industries.

“The NKEA covers everything from growing trees to sophisti­cated downstream industries such as oleochemicals, alongside increasing the number of appli­cations for what was once seen as waste products like empty fruit bunches.

“Expanding the sector further would mean tackling some major challenges, however. Issues such as the scarcity of land in Sabah, challenges in seeking skilled workers, lack of mechanisation and so forth were hampering the growth of this sector, and this need to be given special attention.”

“As far as we are concerned, to combat this, several key initiatives have been put in place under the NKEA via entry point projects,” he said.

“It is noted and was made to understand that the government has an obligatory replanting scheme under way.

Through this scheme, all trees over 25 years of age must be replaced with younger ones.
“The MPOB would provide financial support for smallholders to do this, with the new trees to be of new strains, further boosting yields.

Some RM1 billion has been earmarked for this purpose,” he said.

All in all, Sabah’s oil palm industry is poised for major new developments that are set to impact industry players, from growers to exporters.

Meanwhile, Soo said, downstream processes was another segment under palm oil which was receiving great focus.

“It is learnt, however, the importance of the palm oil industry to Sabah cannot be merely measured by the direct revenue stream it generates as it has much more wide-reaching and important contributions to the state,” he said.

“The palm oil industry will have to take a leading role be­cause of the linkages it has with other sectors – from energy to construction and manufactur­ing – and of course, due to the sheer size of the industry compared with the others in Sabah.” Palm Oil Industry Cluster of Sawit Kinabalu Bhd (POIC) Lahad Datu was also promoting industries that would use the large volume of biomass generated from Sabah’s oil palm plantations.

One particular independent power producer has taken the initiative towards making POIC more environmental friendly by signing up to generate power and steam on site using biomass.

“Investors such as these thus solve two problems for POICs: providing a reliable source of power and making use of the many forms of waste from palm oil processing.” As a result, Sabah’s POICs should therefore be able to look forward to varied investors knocking on their doors in years to come, in addition to adding value to the palm oil industry in their own backyards. — Bernama

Source: http://www.sabahtoday.com/?p=8909

Photo source: http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/seventh-generation-buys-sustainable-palm-kernel-oil-credits-for-its-entire-product-line.html

Amir launches marine environment protection campaign

local2 Amir launches marine environment protection campaign

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, in the presence of HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, inaugurated yesterday the national campaign to preserve the marine environment “Sinyar 6″ at Bayan Palace. 

His Highness the Amir received President of the Voluntary Work Center Sheikha Amthal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who was accompanied by the voluntary diving team members of the Sinyar 6 campaign.

HH the Amir praised their efforts in protecting the marine environment. He encouraged them to keep up the good work and to set an example for others to follow. He also stressed the importance of cooperative efforts to preserve the environment and to spread awareness among members of the society.

Later, Sheikha Amthal breifed the Amir on their concluded projects, which include a marine-related map and a guidebook for diving spots in the country, which they said illustrate the high capabilities of Kuwaiti youth.

She also expressed her sincere appreciation of the Amir’s interest on the matter. The team presented a commemorative gift to the Amir and the Crown Prince, during the meeting attended by National Assembly Speaker Ahmad Al-Sadoun, HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan Affaris Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah and other state officials. – KUNA

Asia Leading the World In Solar Cell Manufacturing

Asia will produce over 80% of all crystalline silicon solar cells by 2012, according to Greentech Media Research. As of last year, Asia manufactured just over 70% of all solar cells on the planet.

With continued and increased assistance from government programs and lower labor costs, Asia will expand their production and hopes to become the global leader in this increasingly important and relevant technology.

Most international solar cell makers are looking for ways to keep costs low so they can get solar power work out to be of the same input and output value as traditional sources of energy. Inexpensive labor is one of the simplest ways to keep costs relatively low.

China, Taiwan and Japan are on their way to being the world leaders in solar cell production, producing 44% of all solar cells by 2012, which is the equivalent of 12 MW of power.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

2.65M Solar and Wind Energy Jobs in Nine Years

A Clean Edge report released today says that the wind and solar energy industries will be responsible for generating 2.65 million jobs globally in less than a decade. This expected number is about four and half times more than the current number of wind power and solar energy jobs which is approximately 600,000.

This positive predication is tempered by a less sunny short-term outlook, which predicts that renewable energy investments will plateau or even dip this year.

Chaos in the American economy is expected to seriously hamper what would’ve likely been massive, record-setting growth in the wind and solar power industries this year, but hopefully the rosey long-term outlook will keep the renewable energy jobs ball rolling at least somewhat.

The Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997

The Wildlife Conservation Enactment (No. 6 of 1997) was gazetted on 24th December 1997. It makes provisions for the conservation and management of wildlife and its habitats in the State of Sabah for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations of the people of the State of Sabah. 

Part I: Preliminary
    Section 1  Short title and commencement
    Section 2  Interpretation
Part II: Administration
    Section 3  Sabah Wildlife Department
    Section 4  Duties and functions of the Director
    Section 5  Powers of the Director
    Section 6  Delegation by the Director of his powers
    Section 7  Honorary wildlife wardens
    Section 8  Wildlife guides
Part III: Protected Areas
    Section 9    Wildlife sanctuaries
    Section 10  Consultation and compensation procedures
    Section 11  Cessation of alienation of land, cultivation and hunting
    Section 12  Compulsory acquisition of land
    Section 13  Management plans
    Section 14  Demarcation of boundaries of wildlife sanctuary
    Section 15  Restriction of residence in and entry into a wildlife sanctuary
    Section 16  Hunting of animals and harvesting of plants in a wildlife sanctuary
    Section 17  Other prohibited acts within a wildlife sanctuary
    Section 18  Environmental offences in wildlife sanctuary
    Section 19  Flying restriction relating to wildlife sanctuaries
    Section 20  Exceptions to restrictions and prohibitions relating to wildlife sanctuaries
    Section 21  Conservation areas
    Section 22  Declaration of provisional wildlife sanctuaries
    Section 23  Period of grace
    Section 24  Impounding of domestic animals
Part IV: Protection of Animals and Hunting
    Section 25  Animals that should not be hunted
    Section 26  Animals that may be hunted in limited numbers
    Section 27  Other animals that may be hunted under license
    Section 28  General provisions relating to all hunting licenses
    Section 29  Categories of hunting licenses
    Section 30  Sporting license
    Section 31  Commercial license
    Section 32  Animal kampung license
    Section 33  Prohibited methods of hunting
    Section 34  Restriction on hunting in vicinity of dwelling, road or track
    Section 35  Records and reporting
    Section 36  Wounding of animals and reports
    Section 37  Reckless injury or killing of animal
    Section 38  Animal rescue operations
    Section 39  Protection of land and property and self defense
Part V: Possession of and trade in animals
    Section 40  Animals the property of the Government
    Section 41  Possession of protected animals and animal products
    Section 42  Wounded and orphaned animals to be surrendered to the Government
    Section 43  Keeping animals in captivity
    Section 44  Inspection and cancellation of permit to keep animal
    Section 45  Security of captive animals and limitation of danger to public
    Section 46  Causing suffering to animals
    Section 47  Certificate of legal ownership
    Section 48  Control of sale and purchase of protected animals and animal products
    Section 49  Power to prohibit transfer of animals and animal products
    Section 50  Registration and marking of animal products
    Section 51  Animal dealer's permit
    Section 52  Control of trade in meat
    Section 53  Control of movement of protected animals into or out of the State
Part VI: Protection of Plant
    Section 54  Plants that may not be harvested
    Section 55  Special exemption
    Section 56  Plant collection license
    Section 57  Categories of plant collection licenses
    Section 58  Collector's plant collection license
    Section 59  Commercial plant collection license
    Section 60  Control of sale and purchase of plants
    Section 61  Plant dealer's permit
    Section 62  Possession of protected plant
    Section 63  Control of movement of protected plants into or out of the State
Part VII: Utilization of Wildlife
    Section 64  Wildlife hunting areas
    Section 65  Consultation and compensation procedures
    Section 66  Cessation of alienation of land, cultivation and construction
    Section 67  Compulsory acquisition of land
    Section 68  Management plans
    Section 69  Demarcation of boundaries of wildlife hunting area
    Section 70  Restriction of residence in and entry into a wildlife hunting area
    Section 71  Hunting of animals and harvesting of plants in a wildlife hunting area
    Section 72  Other prohibited acts within a wildlife hunting area
    Section 73  Environmental offences in wildlife hunting area
    Section 74  Flying restrictions relating to wildlife hunting area
    Section 75  Exception to restrictions and prohibitions relating to wildlife hunting area
    Section 76  Wildlife tour operators
    Section 77  Commercial filming, sound recording and photography
    Section 78  Animal farming
    Section 79  Plant cultivation permit
    Section 80  Period of validity of animal farming and plant cultivation permits,
                       waiver of fees and royalties
    Section 81  Transfer of animal farming or plant cultivation permits, exclusivity of
                       harvesting and conditions applicable to such permits
    Section 82  Records to be kept by animal farmers and plant cultivators
    Section 83  Private zoological gardens
    Section 84  Control of collection of animal products
    Section 85  Edible birds' nests and guano
    Section 86  Disputes over ownership of caves or rights to harvest nests
    Section 87  Declaration of turtle egg traditional collection area
Part VIII: Enforcement
    Section 88  Power of inspection
    Section 89  Power of search, seizure, demolition and arrest
    Section 90  Warrant to enter a dwelling place
    Section 91  Authorised officer to give receipt
    Section 92  Disposal of perishable goods and live animals
    Section 93  Disposal of persons arrested and things seized
Part IX: Offences
    Section 94  Personation
    Section 95  Obstruction of authorised officers, false information and alteration of
                       licenses and other documents
    Section 96  Offences, penalties and proceedings
    Section 97  Protection and reward of informers
    Section 98  Evidence and presumptions
Part X: Liability of company members, administrative penalties and other penalties
    Section 99    Liability of members of companies and firms.
    Section 100  Mandatory cancellation of licenses and disqualification on conviction
    Section 101  Compounding of offences
    Section 102  Forfeiture by the Court of things connected with offences
    Section 103  Return of seized things
Part XI: Powers of the Minister
    Section 104  Amendment of schedules
    Section 105  Regulations
Part XII: Miscellaneous
    Section 106  Closed seasons
    Section 107  Applications, fees and charges
    Section 108  Wildlife areas
    Section 109  Licenses to be carried
    Section 110  Power of the Director to suspend or cancel licenses
    Section 111  Power of the Director to make by-laws
    Section 112  Introduction of exotic animals and plants into the State
    Section 113  Research permits
    Section 114  Power to exempt pre-Convention animals, animal products and plants
    Section 115  Exemptions of wildlife officers, indemnities and exclusions
    Section 116  Rights of entry on land by wildlife officers
    Section 117  Investigations and prosecutions
    Section 118  Application to Government
    Section 119  Amendments, repeals and transitional

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pakistan Breaks Tree Planting Record

Three hundred volunteers in Pakistan planted 541,176 mangrove trees (by hand) in one day, subsequently breaking the Guinness World Record for tree planting. 

The volunteers managed to do it all without the aid of mechanical equipment. They planted the mangroves in the Indus River Delta wetland ecosystem in the Southern Sindh Province of Pakistan.

WWF awarded Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi, Pakistan’s Environment Minister, the title Leaders of the Planet, which recognizes people who are making a significant personal contribution to sustainable development and conservation of the natural world.

“This is a wonderful example of partnership between government, local communities and the private sector for a common cause, for conservation.” – Richard Garstang, head of WWF Pakistan Wetlands Program.

The previous record holder was India for most trees planted in one day was India with 447,874 trees.

GreenSabah says: These tree planting records are very inspiring, hope that more countries will set out to make their own records while saving the environment at the same time. More inspiring stories to come, stay tuned to Sabah-go-green.blogspot.com

What is Buckypaper?

Buckypaper is a material that ten times lighter than steel, but 500 times stronger when sheets are pressed together to form a composite material. 

Made of carbon nanotubes that have been disbursed in a liquid suspension and filtered through fine mesh to make a thin film, scientists think buckypaper will lead to consumer applications possibly within a year.

Buckypaper is excellent at conducting electricity and dispersing heat, and could be used in electromagnetic shielding and lightning protection on airplanes, for fuel cells, batteries and a more efficient ways to disperse heat in laptops.

 In the near future, the Buckypaper’s best potential could be in building light-weight, energy-efficient airplanes and cars.

GreenSabah says: The Buckypaper is still in an prototype, but once this is made commercial, it will be widely used in building cars and airplanes. Lightweight transportation can help save more fuel, that's for sure. Hope that the scientists working on Buckypaper will see better success in the near future.

Sabah may become No.1 ginger State

Kota Kinabalu: The State Government is currently formulating strategies to make Sabah the biggest producer of ginger in the country.

Assistant Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Musbah Haji Jamli said this was following the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman’s recommendation, considering Sabah’s ginger is known to be the best of its kind in the country.
“This is part of the State Government’s effort to ensure Sabah is no longer viewed as incapable to compete with the other states.

The Chief Minister is also very concerned over agriculture development in the State and aspires to bring it to a level that we can be proud of,” he said at the launching of the Sabah zone-level Kor Tani by the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry at the Kota Kinabalu Sports Complex here Monday.

Musbah, who represented Deputy Chief Minister cum Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin at the event, said the State Government is also hoping that the Federal government can channel more allocations to Sabah.

Photo source: http://quintessentialruminations.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/its-a-ginger-thing/

5 Tips for Green Office

Guest column by Rubela Jhonnie.

There has been a lot of hoopla around sustainable living lately. To give a push to this eco friendly drive, one must adopt green living diktats on a larger scale. This can be done by taking on green living fundamentals not only at home but also in office. Countless items such as newspapers, magazines, tissues, cartons, eatables and cutlery are used in offices daily along with resources like water and energy. A few tricks to pare down excessive usage of consumables in offices are given below.
1. Cut back on paper consumption
There are so many ways to economize the use of paper in offices. Recycle stacks of newspapers, magazines and official documents or give them out to a charity. Make new objects like dustbins or table mats from them. To minimize the scores of printouts taken, read from soft copies as far as possible. If you cannot do without a printout, then take it on both sides of the sheet and choose a smaller font size so that lesser amount of paper is utilized.

2. Green tagged supplies
Buy clean and green products for your office. Chuck the disposable cups for ceramic ones and avoid drinking bottled water to reduce the amount of litter generated. Soaps and cleaning products should be biodegradable and free of chemicals. Office paraphernalia like pens, pencils, envelopes, printer cartridges and folders should be purchased from companies selling eco friendly merchandise. Even tea, coffee, biscuits, chips and other victuals for offices should be purchased from companies vending organic and Fair Trade certified eatables. Try to procure office supplies in bulk to reduce packaging and waste created during shipping.  

3. Eco-chic layout Go green while furnishing your office by doing up the place with chairs, desks, conference tables and drapes made from recycled and reclaimed material. Buy second hand furniture from thrift stores. Bulbs burn up a lot of energy and should be swapped with energy saving gadgets like florescent lights and LEDs. Indoor plants, which can purify air, should be added in and around the office. Towels, table covers and coasters made from bamboo, jute or recycled cloths are a great pick. 
4. Conserve resources Make sure you do something about the oodles of water and energy used in offices. Unplug appliances like printers, scanners and microwaves that are not used all day. Tune energy saving settings on your computer and shut down the workstation when you are at a meeting, out for a lunch break or leaving for the day. Install large windows that keep the interiors well lit and airy to reduce dependence on lights and air conditioners. Do not leave taps running and fix all leaky faucets.  

5. Green commute
There is no need to burn the fast depleting fossil fuels by driving your car to office everyday when you can opt for greener modes of transportation like public buses and trains. If your office is nearby then try biking or walking. If you have colleagues living nearby then try carpooling. Use a motorbike, hybrid auto or electric vehicle instead of your gas guzzling car.
People spend a lot of time at their offices; even more than they spend at home. Therefore, society just cannot do without embracing green living at the workplace. Expanding the green movement to offices is definitely a good thing for everyone.

Source: http://ecolibris.blogspot.com/2012/02/5-best-tips-to-make-green-office.html

Photo Source: http://www.enjoygoinggreen.com/all/going-green-for-offices/ 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rehabilitation and breeding centre for wildlife on the horizon

KINABATANGAN: Sukau assemblyman Datuk Saddi Haji Abdul Rahman disclosed yesterday that a world-class rehabilitation and breeding centre for wildlife on the verge of extinction and unique to Borneo, is currently being set up in an area covering 3,000 acres in a forest reserve.

Saddi said the centre to be located at the Situ Forest Reserve, 20km from Bukit Garam, would take a year to fully develop the programme, which is a collaboration of several bodies led by the Sabah Wildlife Department, the Asahiyama Zoo from Japan, various wildlife rehabilitation bodies and several international non-governmental organisations.

The first of its kind in Malaysia and South-East Asia, the centre will be like a breath of fresh air in wildlife conservation and at the same time, a boon to the State tourism industry.

Speaking to reporters after attending a briefing given by the Wildlife Department, Saddi said he was impressed with the proposal because the proposed centre would be close to several eco-tourism attractions which include the rainforest, the Gomantong cave, the ancient cemeteries, the proboscis monkeys, birds, the orangutan, the crocodile of the Kinabatangan River.

“These tourist attractions would certainly complement the centre and an existing forestry school,” he said.

Meanwhile, in his briefing, Wildlife Department director Dr Laurentius Ambu said pygmy elephants, orangutans, proboscis monkeys, Sumatran rhinos and Asian gaurs (seladang) living in the forest need to be saved from extinction.

Ambu said the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the National Geographics had documented the possible extinction of the pygmy elephants in the state and this had raised concerns prompting the issue to be dealt with collectively and consistently.

The Taisei Corporation, an environmental planning and administration group in Japan, along with several private corporations, volunteer organisations, the WWF and other international environmental organisations, will bear the cost of setting up the centre.

“It will cost at least between RM5 million to RM6 million for the first five years and we plan to turn it into a world class rehabilitation centre in the future. But that depends on the funding,” he said.

He added apart from conserving the wildlife, the centre would raise awareness of the community of its mission, quoting accusations hurled by some international bodies at the state for giving priority to agriculture than the wildlife.

Present during the briefing were Ir. Frank C.S Fan and Seiji Tange of Taisei Corporation to assess the implementation, technical needs and the function of the project.

Sorce: http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/06/09/rehabilitation-and-breeding-centre-for-wildlife-on-the-horizon

Friday, June 8, 2012

What Are Solar Cells?

Photovoltaic cells, better known as solar panels, are plates made of extremely sensitive semiconductors – which are special silicone based compounds – that are able to absorb electrons transmitted from sunlight rays.

The energy rattles the electrons loose, allowing them to flow freely, and then be absorbed to flow in a specific direction and create electric current that later on can be used to power equipment.

Photovoltaic arrays, or arrays of solar panels, generate a powerful form of renewable electricity.

GreenSabah says: More articles about solar energy will be coming to Green Sabah soon. Many thanks to Sustainability Ninja (http://www.sustainabilityninja.com) This site is one of the best source for more information about environment and green products.

Making A More Sustainable Office

The best way to reduce office waste is not to produce it in the first place. Before buying any kind of supplies for your office, ask yourself if you need to buy the goods or materials, or if you are simply buying too much. 

Use electronic communication whenever possible to reduce printing and faxing, and try to encourage staff not to print out documents or emails if possible. Reuse or recycle paper, printer toner and ink cartridges that you would normally just toss out. 

If you are replacing computers, look into computer recycling. The amount of office paper currently sent to landfills is huge, and totally unsustainable for the planet. 

Here are some startling numbers:
A typical business office will produce about 1.5 pounds of paper waste per employee each day.

The paper industry ranks 4th in contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, and contributes 9% of the manufacturing sector’s carbon emissions.

For every ton of recycled paper it can save up to 17 trees.

40% of the solid mass in landfills is paper and paperboard waste 14.

Companies that use well-thought out waste reduction and waste management strategies eventually will see better financial and environmental benefits. 

Minimize the amount of waste you do produce, and recycle what you can after items have been reused. This will allow you to make save money on office waste disposal costs and reduce your business’ impact on the environment.

GreenSabah says: We can improve the environment by making small changes in the workplace, such as reducing printing and faxing and just send everything through emails. With the advanced technology nowadays, there is no need to create so much waste. Try to use cloud storage to share out documents and files.