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Solar industry wants to build Puerto Rico's grid of the future
18 October 2017 - Puerto Rico is focused on restoring power as quickly as possible, but it can't ignore the chance to rethink its entire energy grid. The solar industry has taken particular interest in San Juan in the aftermath of the hurricane. It's primarily a humanitarian effort for these companies, but it's also a chance to showcase an energy source capable of enduring natural disasters. Tesla Inc. is sending its Powerwall battery systems and Sunrun has sent more than 12,000 pounds of solar products and equipment to the island. The Solar Energy Industries Association has received pledges for more than $1.2 million in product and monetary contributions from its network. (more)

The UK just installed its first 'seabin' to clean plastic-polluted waters
18 October 2017 - Our oceans fill with millions of tons of plastic every single year. Portsmouth Harbor, in the UK, aims to combat this problem with the seabin, a new device that sucks plastic, oil, and other debris from the water. The seabin is, as its name suggests, a bin made up of a large fiber net and a dock-based pump. The device is aimed at collecting pollution of all sizes, down to floating debris as small as 2mm in diameter. It's even capable of collecting oil from the water, a priceless innovation in the event of an oil spill. (more)

US: Pioneering green energy town in Georgetown, Texas
18 October 2017 - Mayor Dale Ross of Georgetown -- a Texas town of 65,000 -- has become a minor celebrity in environmental circles as a result of a pioneering decision in 2015 to get all the city's electricity from renewable sources. Ross has appeared in a National Geographic documentary, a forthcoming film about clean energy for HBO directed by James Redford (son of Robert) and in this year's follow-up to An Inconvenient Truth, which saw the advocate and former vice-president Al Gore visit Georgetown. (more)

South Australia goes all out on renewables
17 October 2017 - Recently, South Australia's state government has announced not one but two record-breaking renewable energy projects: the world's largest solar thermal power plant and the world's largest lithium ion battery installation. Together, these projects will help the state surge well ahead of its already ambitious renewable energy targets while delivering a clear challenge to its coal-obsessed federal counterpart. (more)

US: Hilo World Peace Fest set for 21 October
17 October 2017 - The 8th Annual Hilo World Peace Festival will be held on Saturday, 21 October, in Hilo, Hawaii. The festival celebrates cultural diversity and promotes the creation of a peaceful world. The Hilo World Peace Festival was created to promote the spirit of aloha-the universal language of love that encourages acts to honor and revere our elders; to love, nurture and protect our children; and to respect the harmony of our families, thus creating a healthy community and island lifestyle. (more)

China's pollution clean-up is gaining momentum
17 October 2017 - In pockets of China's industrial heartland, a government push to clean up the environment and cut excess output is starting to bite: Furnaces have gone cold, the lights have been switched off, migrant workers are drifting back home. For China's leadership, cleaning the noxious skies and filthy rivers has become a priority. In contrast to previous leaders' growth-at-all-costs approach, President Xi Jinping and his Premier have declared war on pollution. (more)

'This is the future': Solar-powered family car hailed by experts
17 October 2017 - A futuristic family car that not only uses the sun as power but supplies energy back to the grid has been hailed as 'the future' as the annual World Solar Challenge wrapped up in Australia. The innovative bi-annual contest, first run in 1987, began in Darwin a week ago with 41 vehicles setting off on a 3,000km (1,860-mile) trip through the heart of Australia to Adelaide. Cars in the race were mostly developed by universities or corporations, with teams hailing from around the world. (more)

Scientists witness huge cosmic crash, find origins of gold
16 October 2017 - It was a faint signal, but it told of one of the most violent acts in the universe, and it would soon reveal secrets of the cosmos, including how gold was created. Astronomers around the world reacted to the signal quickly, focusing telescopes located on every continent and even in orbit to a distant spot in the sky. What they witnessed in mid-August and revealed Monday (16 October) was the long-ago collision of two neutron stars -- a phenomenon California Institute of Technology's David H. Reitze called 'the most spectacular fireworks in the universe.' Measurements of the light and other energy emanating from the crash have helped scientists explain how planet-killing gamma ray bursts are born, how fast the universe is expanding, and where heavy elements like platinum and gold come from. (more)

Thunder and lightning: scientists pair gravitational waves, light
16 October 2017 - Scientists in the United States and Europe have for the first time paired the detection of gravitational waves, the ripples in space and time predicted by Albert Einstein, with light from the same cosmic event, according to research published on Monday, 16 October. The waves, caused by the collision of two extremely dense neutron stars some 130 million years ago, were first detected in August by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatories, known as LIGO, in Washington state and Louisiana as well as at a third detector, named Virgo, in Italy. (more)

What cosmic crash confirmed: Einstein was as good as gold
16 October 2017 - When two extremely dense neutron stars crashed together in a distant galaxy, astronomers struck scientific gold, confirming previously unproven theories, including some from Albert Einstein. Scientists announced Monday that after picking up two faint signals in mid-August, they were able to find the location of the long-ago crash and see the end of it play out. Measurements of the light and other energy that the crash produced helped them answer some cosmic questions. (more)

Barcelona's African street traders swap crime for craft
15 October 2017 - When Alioune Thiam arrived in Barcelona, he joined hundreds of other undocumented African migrants peddling their wares illegally on the streets. Now he's part of a scheme to give some of the Spanish city's most vulnerable people an alternative. Senegalese-born Thiam arrived in Barcelona by plane in 2007, joining his brother. But he couldn't get a job because he didn't have a work permit. (more)

Mexican mogul Slim donates $105 million to earthquake recovery efforts
15 October 2017 - Mexican mogul Carlos Slim's foundation will donate more than $105 million (1.978 billion pesos) to help the country recover from two large earthquakes in September, Slim announced on Tuesday, 10 October. The Carlos Slim Foundation also collected more than $21 million dollars from outside donors, raising the total contribution to more than $126 million. More than 217,000 donors participated in the effort, Slim said. Slim said the group will focus its efforts on rebuilding schools, reinforcing historic buildings, and assisting hospitals. (more)

Dutch team wins Australia solar-powered car race 7th time
15 October 2017 - A Dutch team won a solar-powered car race across Australia for a seventh time Thursday 12 October), with a University of Michigan car taking second place in the biennial event. The Nuon team's Nuna 9 car averaged more than 80 kph (50 mph) to reach the World Solar Challenge finish line in the southern coastal city of Adelaide after five days of racing across 3,022 kilometers (1,878 miles) of Outback highway from Darwin in the north. This year's race attracted 95 teams from more than 20 countries. It marks 30 years since the first World Solar Challenge in 1987. (more)

US: Largest solar array in Maine is now fully operational
15 October 2017 - Maine's largest solar array is now fully operational as the final 25 percent of the 26,000-panel array was brought online this week. The final part of the farm in Madison was brought online Wednesday, and the array will generate enough electricity to power 700 homes. The Madison array is one of several planned or in-development solar arrays around that region of Maine. (more)

A fire department in Puerto Rico is now powered by solar
13 October 2017 - The Barrio Obrero fire station on Friday installed a 4-kilowatt solar system that will provide it with full power, including its communications system. The station has been without reliable power since Hurricane Maria struck the island on September 20. 'Putting this in is the difference between life and death in this community,' Capt. Richard Birt told CNBC by phone. (more)

Paris plans to banish all but electric cars by 2030
12 October 2017 - Paris authorities plan to banish all petrol- and diesel-fueled cars from the world's most visited city by 2030, Paris City Hall said on Thursday, 12 October. The move marks an acceleration in plans to wean the country off gas-guzzlers and switch to electric vehicles in a city often obliged to impose temporary bans due to surges in particle pollution in the air. (more)

Oxford to become first UK city to ban petrol and diesel cars from center
12 October 2017 - The university city of Oxford has unveiled plans to ban petrol and diesel cars from its center as part of the most radical set of proposals so far in Britain to curb pollution. Whilst London is rolling out an 'ultra low emission zone', which will see the most gas-guzzling vehicles pay daily charges to enter the city center from 2020, Oxford's 'Zero Emission Zone' will ban emitting vehicles from entering part of the city center from that date. (more)

Virtual interviewer prods veterans to reveal post-traumatic stress
12 October 2017 - Talking to a computer-generated interviewer named Ellie appears to free soldiers and veterans who served in war zones to disclose symptoms of post-traumatic stress, a new study finds. 'We believe this could be of value to veterans,' said study leader Gale Lucas, at the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies in Los Angeles. (more)

Astronomers just found an epic ring around an exotic dwarf planet in our solar system
11 October 2017 - Scientists are reporting the discovery of a vast ring encircling Haumea, a distant dwarf planet that takes some 284 Earth years to orbit the Sun, and it's the first time we've seen a ring in this category of minor planet. The discovery, led by astronomer Jose Luis Ortiz from the Instituto de AstrofĂ­sica de AndalucĂ­a in Spain, took more than a little coordination to pull off. (more)

Solar competitors band together to help bring electricity to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico
9 October 2017 - Solar companies are banding together to help restore electricity to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico as 90 percent of the island's 3.5 million residents remain without power. Solar supplies such as roofing, generators, and tent shelters worth about $2 million are expected to arrive in the territory in the coming weeks. Most of that aid is coming from a national solar industry group, which is sending a plane to Puerto Rico with $1.2 million in supplies donated by its members. More aid is coming from a new group called Light Up Puerto Rico that was formed in the days after Hurricane Maria tore through the island. (more)

U.S. governors, hackers, academics team up to secure elections
9 October 2017 - Hackers are joining forces with U.S. governors and academics in a new group aimed at preventing the manipulation of voter machines and computer systems to sway the outcome of future U.S. elections, a source familiar with the project said on Monday (9 October). (more)

Solar cars begin race across Australian desert
8 October 2017 - The World Solar Challenge began on Sunday with 42 solar cars crossing Australia's tropical north to its southern shores, a grueling 3,000 km (1,864 mile) race through the outback. The race from the northern city of Darwin to the southern city of Adelaide is expected to take a week for most cars, with speeds of 90-100 kmh (55-62 mph) powered only by the sun. Race director Chris Selwood said the biennial event has attracted one of the best fields ever, with teams from more than 40 countries. (more)

US: Most areas in Nate's path seem to have avoided major damage - including New Orleans
8 October 2017 - A fast-moving storm called Nate brought flooding and power outages to the U.S. Gulf Coast early Sunday after it sloshed ashore outside Biloxi, Mississippi -- the first hurricane to make landfall in that state since Katrina devastated the region 12 years ago. Authorities were beginning to assess the storm's impacts, but most areas in Nate's path seem to have avoided major damage -- including New Orleans. 'We are thankful because this looked like it was going to be a freight train barreling through the city,' said Vincent Creel, a spokesman for the city of Biloxi. (more)

Group opposing nuclear weapons wins Nobel Peace Prize
6 October 2017 - The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday (6 October), a forceful show of support for a grassroots effort that seeks to pressure the world's nuclear powers to give up the weapons that could destroy the planet. The committee cited the tiny, Geneva-based ICAN for its work that led to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that was reached in July at the United Nations. More than 120 countries approved the treaty . . . (more)

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