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Clever Collaborations

Renewables Gain Ground Worldwide

GB_1014_SolarRoadExcess heat from London subway tunnels and an electric substation will soon be funneled into British homes, slashing energy costs and lowering pollution, according to the Islington Council.

Germany’s renewable energy industry has broken a solar power record, prompting utility company RWE to close fossil fuel power plants that are no longer competitive. RWE says 3.1 gigawatts of generating capacity, or 6 percent of its total capacity, will be taken offline as it shuts down some of its gas- and coal-fired power stations.

In China, wind power is leaving nuclear behind. Electricity output from China’s wind farms exceeded that from its nuclear plants for the first time in 2012, and out-produced it again last year, generating 135 terawatt-hours (1 million megawatts)—nearly enough to power New York state. Also, while it takes about six years to build a nuke plant, a wind farm can be completed in a matter of months.

China also employs a recycling-for-payment program in Beijing subway stations that accept plastic bottles as payments. Passengers receive credit ranging from the equivalent of five to 15 cents per bottle, which is applied toward rechargeable subway cards.

In the U.S., a newly installed working prototype of a pioneering Solar Road project has attracted sufficient online crowd-funding (Indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways) to seed the manufacturing process. Watch a video at Tinyurl.com/NewSolarRoadways.

Primary Source: Earth Policy Institute

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