Israel's Energy Security, Kinetic Energy and Innovations - 06.5.2011
[ASSURAS] A country without oil of its own, Israel is inventing unique ways for powering its vehicles.
[SHAI AGASSI] You see, the full battery is waiting and the empty place for the battery comes underneath the car.
[SUITERS] So, instead of plugging in and charging overnight, you drive into a station, your electric car gets a full, fresh battery, and off you go.
[ASSURAS] A look at Israel's quest for energy independence and security and what America might learn. Plus, the power of motion -- kinetic energy, and the innovative ways to capture it. From producing electricity through brakes to shock absorbers, American inventors are coming up with ways to harness otherwise wasted energy.
And in our MIX, a mix of innovations.
[MAN] Since butanol can work with gasoline engines, I can put this fuel into the car and make it go.
[ASSURAS] Revving up America's energy future with new ideas. This is "energyNOW!"
Hello, everyone. I'm Thalia Assuras. Welcome to "energyNOW!", a weekly look at America's energy challenges and what we're doing about them.
Figuring out how to decrease our dependence on foreign oil is one of the biggest challenges the U.S. faces. In large part, the country's national security depends on finding the answers. And no other nation understands those security concerns better than Israel, which just celebrated the 63rd anniversary of its independence. But Israel is still very dependent on other countries for almost all its energy needs. As one Israeli government official put it, "We don't have diplomatic relations with most of the countries from which we import oil." And that makes Israel's energy challenges especially profound, oil and beyond.
For example, in April, the pipeline that carries natural gas to Israel from Egypt was shut down after an attack in Egyptian territory, the second attack since the uprising in Egypt. It's this kind of external turmoil that has Israelis searching in every direction for alternatives to foreign fuel, alternatives that may end up helping the United States. "energyNOW!" Chief Correspondent Tyler Suiters recently traveled to Israel to explore "The Israel Connection."
[SUITERS] For every ancient overlook in Israel, a battle over land. Almost every adult, a soldier in the past or the present. For all the cars that need gasoline, tanks that demand diesel...
[UZI LANDAU, MINISTER OF NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE] Energy here is something that we have to fight for, energy independence.
[SUITERS] Uzi Landau learned the value of energy serving in several Israeli governments.
[LANDAU] We have been promised that this is not only holy land, the promised land, but this is the land of milk and honey, but I am the minister responsible for water and for oil -- we have no water; we have no oil.
[SUITERS] And yet, an international metropolis like Tel Aviv still runs 24/7, gobbling down energy, almost all of it coming from somewhere else. The Egyptian pipeline carries almost half of Israel's natural gas. Almost all of its coal comes from places like Australia and South Africa. And close to 100% of Israel's oil is imported. Of course, you also need electricity.
[KOBBI YAHAV, ISRAEL ELECTRIC CORPORATION] You can see the colors representing which feeder...
[SUITERS] Kobbi Yahav took me behind the scenes at Israel Electric, into one of its transmission nerve centers. The corporation powers about 2 1/2 million Israeli homes, all of them living under a constant threat from Middle East neighbors that can't abide Israel's very existence.
[YAHAV] We are used to this situation. It's not new for us. We know that we have to build a system that is very resilient to attacks -- cyber attacks and all other kinds of attacks.
[SUITERS] In the U.S., if we have really high demand for power during a heat wave, or something goes wrong, like a blackout, well, we can always pull power from Canada. Israel is no bigger than New Jersey. It has just the one grid system. The problem is, Israel has no other country connected to its grid.
[AMOS LASKER, FORMER CEO, ISRAEL ELECTRIC CORPORATION] We are not like the U.S. or Europe where you can take energy from other countries when you have shortage, so basically we rely on our own generation.
[YAHAV] I think it's affecting the reliability in the transmission level, because we don't have any interconnections between us and other countries.
[SUITERS] Does that mean no backup?
[YAHAV] No backup for generation.
[SUITERS] But now, more and more of Israel's generation is coming from its own resources. After burning oil products for decades to get electricity, Israeli power plants, like this one in Ashdod, they're using more and more natural gas -- from Israel -- to generate that electricity. Deep in the Mediterranean Sea, Israel has discovered huge natural gas reserves. The Leviathan Field. The only significant fossil fuel in the entire country. Some of these fields have been in development for a decade now, but the most recent discovery, made just last year, it may be the biggest field yet.
[LANDAU] The major objective is to, as quickly as we can, develop those natural gas fields and connect them to the state gas pipeline.
[SUITERS] Within two decades, Israel should have enough to eliminate the need for Egyptian supplies, to ease Israeli reliance on another country for energy.
Israel also has another domestic energy resource even more ancient than fossil fuels -- the Sun -- ever abundant in Israel's desert. This is the country's very first solar panel field ever to deliver electricity to Israel's grid system. Promising, yes; practical, no, not yet. Not enough to make Israel energy secure. Not enough to significantly boost Israel's reserves of electricity.
[LASKER] Our reserve is very, very low. Our reserve is about... 8% to 9%.
[SUITERS] By "reserve," you mean the difference between supply and demand?
[LANDAU] Between peak demand and supply.
[SUITERS] Demand that will grow exponentially, under one potential energy solution. Israeli entrepreneur Shai Agassi envisions millions of electric cars on Israel's roads.
[AGASSI] The passion that I started from was peace in the Middle East.
[SUITERS] For Agassi, Israel's conflict became a crucible. Like Uzi Landau, he understands that oil is power.
[AGASSI, FOUNDER, BETTER PLACE] We were the first ones who actually looked at the systems question -- how would you run a country without oil?
[SUITERS] And that's a question the U.S. is asking as well. The company Better Place is Agassi's answer, his effort to get Israel's cars off of foreign oil and onto electricity.
[AGASSI] It's all automated.
[SUITERS] And this is the key to Agassi's objective -- a system of charging stations. Not just re-energizing electric car batteries, but actually trading them out for you when you're running out of juice.
[AGASSI] As you see, the full battery is waiting and the empty place for the battery comes underneath the car, and you'll see it coming up to the bottom of the battery.
[TEXT ON SCREEN] See Agassi's demonstration of the battery replacement at energyNOW.com.
[SUITERS] So, instead of plugging in and charging overnight, you drive into a station and your electric car gets a full, fresh battery and off you go.
What will the turnaround time be for this?
[AGASSI] In Tokyo, we did it in 59 seconds. 59.1 seconds.
[SUITERS] So less than a minute.
But if Better Place gets its battery stations all over Israel, the effect on imported oil could be enormous.
[LANDAU] If they're successful, then, obviously, this is going to pick up elsewhere in the world, as one of the possible answers to the dependence on oil.
[SUITERS] And an answer, Landau believes, to questions about energy security in both Israel and America.
[LANDAU] It's basically a way by which one can defeat terror, defeat Al-Qaeda, defeat the Iranians without basically shooting one bullet.
[SUITERS] No bullets, no bombs, but a fight for independence nonetheless.
[ASSURAS] Tyler Suiters joins us now to sum this up. Tyler, what is the connection between the U.S. and Israel on a practical level toward solutions?
[SUITERS] Thalia, I think there are several at play right now. For one, Noble Energy, based in Houston, Texas -- this is the company that's helping develop Israel's offshore gas fields. Also, Israeli solar energy companies, they are very eager to prove their technologies here in the U.S. market. They consider this hitting the big time. And Kobbi Yahav, from Israel Electric's nerve center, he is working with U.S. companies on improving grid security. In fact, Yahav told me he is in Minnesota so often right now, Thalia, he's actually becoming a Vikings fan.
[ASSURAS] Should I say "poor guy"? You got to do what you got to do.
[SUITERS] Depends on what your team is, right?
And I do want to mention, Thalia, in the weeks ahead, I'll be taking a more in-depth look at the huge natural gas finds off of Israel's coast and what that means for the country. Also, Israel's push to solar energy and what is some very cool energy innovation taking place in Israel right now.
[ASSURAS] Looking forward to all of it. Thanks, Tyler.
And, as you heard in Tyler's piece, Israel considers itself a desert island amid oil-rich nations. But there was a time when oil looked promising for Israel when it hit black gold, inspiring nationwide celebrations. Check out this energyTHEN from 1955.
[Movie projector plays]
[ANNOUNCER] Now for Israel's good news. They've struck oil. The word spread rapidly and people were soon on the spot to see if the rumor were true. After years of search, Israel's first gusher has produced oil, from a depth of about 4,000 feet. If its promise is fulfilled, the discovery will have vast economic and political importance. Too early to judge yet, but let's have a couple of pints.
[ASSURAS] Well, the euphoria didn't last long, and Israel's oil production really only amounts to a trickle. According to the CIA World Fact book, Israel produced only 3,800 barrels of oil per day in 2009, but it used 231,000 barrels every day.
Coming up, energy innovations here at home. We'll show you some of the ideas which were declared winners in a national contest and talk to one man who has a plan to change the way you power your home.
But first, all that bouncing up and down when you're driving that seems to shatter your bones -- it's actually a powerful source of energy. As we generate electricity from bumps in the road,
[SHAKEEL AVADHANY] we use that electricity for fuel economy gains.
[ASSURAS] Capturing the kinetic energy of a bumpy ride. That's next.
[ANNOUNCER] How can we reduce our dependence on oil?
[ZEPPS] Imagine if we could harness all this kinetic energy.
[ANNOUNCER] Who is shaping our energy future?
[SUITERS] China will produce more than half the solar panels in the entire world.
[RICHARD BRANSON] If you've got good quality batteries, you could store the wind when there's no wind, store the solar when there's no solar.
[ANNOUNCER] "energyNOW!" is the only TV news magazine exploring our challenges.
[SULLIVAN] Hybrid technology saved the military $250 million.
[WOMAN] It makes sense to make this shift now.
[ANNOUNCER] "energyNOW!" on ABC-7.
[ANNOUNCER] The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has important information for the millions of people with asthma. You may not know there are two main causes of asthma symptoms -- airway constriction you feel and inflammation you may not feel. Learn how to better manage your asthma by treating both main causes of asthma symptoms. Treating both causes can help prevent symptoms before they even start and preventing symptoms could mean a smoother ride. For more information, go to asthma.com.
[ASSURAS] The high gas prices we're seeing across the country are causing a lot of frustration, and, not to make you even more angry, but here goes -- did you know that only about 15% of that liquid gold actually spins the wheels? Sad but true. Combustion engines are so inefficient that the rest -- 85% -- is lost as heat or friction. Still, there might be some changes coming for vehicles, and trains, too. New technologies that capture the energy of motion. More from "energyNOW!"'s Josh Zepps in this energyNEXT.
[ZEPPS] Have you ever been on a train and accidentally spilled your coffee on a total stranger? I know I have. It happens because the train moves around in all kinds of ways that have nothing to do with actually getting you where you want to go. But imagine if we could harness all this kinetic energy and use it to light the train's lights and maybe even brew more coffee to throw on yet more strangers? Would you like that idea, huh?
Kinetic energy is the energy of motion. We generate a lot of it in this hectic, modern world. And almost all of it goes to waste. But a new class of crafty kinetic capturers is changing that.
Philadelphia's metro system is run by SEPTA, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. Chief Power Officer Andrew Gillespie wanted to save a buck on the $12 million in electricity his trains guzzle every year, so he modified the train's brakes to generate electricity as they slow down.
[GILLESPIE] We probably use 30% of the regenerated power. Existing trains can use it to power lights, heaters and such.
[ANNOUNCER] Doors are closing.
[GILLESEPIE] What we want to do now is take that energy, which is electricity, send it back through the power distribution system, which supplied the power to the train in the first place, and store it.
[ZEPPS] That's the key -- storing it. See, normally, when you capture a train's kinetic energy, you can either use it to power onboard systems or feed it back into the supply system to be sucked up by another train that needs it in that same split second. But, if it isn't used instantly... it's gone.
So, in this cavernous room at the Letterly Power Substation, SEPTA is installing an enormous 1,000-kilowatt battery to store the energy harvested from its braking trains. Whenever it's needed, that stored energy can be sent to other trains, reducing energy waste, reducing costs, and reducing emissions.
Is this kind of technology going to be widespread through transit systems in the United States?
[GILLESEPIE] I'm sure it will be. We're not the only ones who are looking at this. It's a technology that's just in its infancy, but there's so much power that's not being captured right now.
[ZEPPS] Now, stopping and starting are not the only ways we waste kinetic energy. Any time you move fast over an unsmooth surface, you bounce up and down. Vehicles are bumpy -- it's why shock absorbers were invented. And now they're being reinvented by a pair of kinetically inspired M.I.T. grads at Levant Power in Massachusetts.
[SHAKEEL AVADHANY, CEO, LEVANT POWER] Essentially, what we do is, we generate electricity from bumps in the road. We use electricity for fuel economy gains.
[ZACKARY ANDERSON, COO, LEVANT POWER] The system works by actually shuttling fluid through a hydraulic motor that spins a generator. So as your wheel moves up and down, it spins an electric generator, and that generates electricity.
[ZEPPS] Electricity that can power the vehicle's headlights, stereo, GPS, butt-warmer in the seat if you're lucky -- all things that would ordinarily drain power from the engine. They call this shock absorber "GenShock," and its output ranges from tens of watts to several kilowatts. That translates to gas savings of 1% to 5%, depending on the type of vehicle and terrain.
This is mimicking the motion of a road. As you drive faster and go over all kinds of potholes, this is generating power, which is going to a bank of lights behind me that you can see flashing. When the car's going really fast... you can almost have a rave.
Of course, the heavier the vehicles, the bigger the energy return. So Levant is getting a lot of interest from heavy fleet operations.
[ANDERSON] So we're working with the U.S. Army, and they shipped us a military Humvee, an 1152, that we're actually doing an installation on, so we have the Humvee out back.
[ZEPPS] You have a Humvee here? Wow.
[ZEPPS] It's amazing to think that this could be the prototype vehicle from which all of the Army's Humvees could be fitted so they need to use less power, less energy, be more efficient, and also a nicer ride, which would be nice -- this is no Lexus.
And in the context of capturing energy, that's a good thing. The beauty of kinetic energy is that, because it's everywhere, you can capture it in myriad ways. If you're dealing with urban rail, which stops and starts all the time, harness the brakes. If you're dealing with a workhorse that bounces along rough terrain, harness the shock absorbers. The modern world's incessant bouncing, braking, and bumping is an almost unlimited energy source going to waste right under our nose. Thankfully, not for much longer.
[GILLESPIE] I think when we look back on it, we're going to realize how inefficient we were.
[AVADHANY] At some point, it will be illegal to waste energy as heat.
[ZEPPS] But don't go using GenShocks as a reason to get a Hummer. I'm just sayin'. [Alarm chirps] In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Josh Zepps, "energyNOW!"
[ASSURAS] Levant Power expects to have a product on the market in 2012 and tells us that it has also figured out how to use some of GenShock's power for a smoother ride and better handling performance, so, you can save on gas and prevent coffee spills.
Coming up, more energy innovators.
[MAN] Can a microscopic, one-cell plant create gas on a commercial scale?
[ASSURAS] And the results of a national contest to determine America's energy innovators of the year.
[TEXT ON SCREEN] Lord Kelvin, and Irish born mathematical physicist and engineer, is given credit for coining the term "kinetic energy," around 1849-1851. "Energy and Empire: A Biographical Study of Lord Kelvin."
[ED BEGLEY JR.] I'm Ed Begley, Jr., and I remember what my lungs felt like as a kid growing up and playing outside in polluted air. I'm concerned about air pollution, and I'm fighting for our right to breathe healthy air. That's why I volunteer with the American Lung Association. Imagine how bad our air would be without the American Lung Association. Get involved. Contact your nearest American Lung Association at LUNGUSA.ORG, OR 800-586-4872.
[TEXT ON SCREEN] What if every child was given an opportunity? What if every child's potential was fulfilled? What could that start? Donate money or t:me to Big Brothers Big Sisters Start Something at BigBrothersBigSisters.org
[ASSURAS] Welcome back to "energyNOW!" You know, ridding the country of its dependence on oil will largely depend on new energy ideas and inventions and whether they can succeed off the drawing board. That promise of innovation is why Planet Forward, a Web site and TV show dedicated to energy and sustainability, recently held a nationwide contest to determine the country's top energy innovators. The brains and spirit behind Planet Forward joins us for theMIX. Frank Sesno is here to talk about some of those innovations and their potential -- Good to have you.
[SESNO] It's great to be here.
[ASSURAS] We've all covered this, "energyNOW!" I mean, that's our mandate as well. These innovations, there are so many out there, but how would you describe the breadth and the scope of the innovations out there?
[SESNO] Oh, it's really breathtaking. And that's what's exciting about it, because the innovations range from the technology to the policy behind them to the behaviors that they would instigate. And I think that's where you get real hope. When you see the kinds of things that people are coming up with, to change a business model to make something gain traction better, to investigate a new technology to take us into a new energy field. Most of these are not going to be overnight, flip the switch and it's suddenly a new day. We are in this transition phase, as we know. But we are such a remarkably innovative species, to see it unleashed like this is very exciting.
[ASSURAS] Absolutely true, and we're going to look at a couple of your finds, so let's look at one. Some of Planet Forward's top innovators had to do with algae and the production of kinds of fuel. So, one of the organizations that put together a plan essentially created gas, so let's take a look.
[TEXT ON SCREEN] "Green Crude" PLANET FORWARD FINALIST.
[MAN] Once the algae matures in ponds, it's separated from water by a centrifuge... creating a thick algae paste. And that paste gets fed into this test plant extractor that uses green solvents to crack open the algae cells and release oil. The result is green crude, but is it cost-effective? Right now, algae costs roughly $7 per gallon, or $300 a barrel.
[TEXT ON SCREEN] ALGAE OIL: $7.14/GAL. $300/BARREL. CRUDE OIL: $3.50/GAL. $100/BARREL.
[MAN] But Sapphire will open a new 300-acre test plant in 2012, the largest in the nation. By producing one million gallons per year, they predict the price will drop.
[ASSURAS] So, Frank, that's green crude, which is going to become, essentially, gasoline into our cars, which is what I meant before. What do you think really is the possibility that this is going to go into a grand scale? Your opinion?
[SESNO] My opinion is it's got a long way to go, and what they're saying and what they freely admit is they've got to get it to scale. They've got to turn out hundreds of thousands of barrels to bring the price way down to make it competitive. Now, Bill Gates is an investor in this thing, and so they've got some powerful money.
[ASSURAS] That means a lot.
[SESNO] Powerful money and powerful brains behind it. Algae biofuel is very attractive. It roughly can put out 15 times more oil, or the equivalent of oil, as other biofuels -- corn or even cellulosic ethanol. So there's a lot of up side to it.
[ASSURAS] There are a lot of factors in here. I'm going to stick with algae because one of your other findings actually produced a type of alcohol fuel. We've taken a look at this as well, but I want to show that clip, and this is really fascinating.
[TEXT ON SCREEN] "Algae to Butanol" PLANET FORWARD FINALIST.
[MAN] This is our prototype butanol production unit that is currently under construction. It's really as simple as loading algae into this component here, pressing a red button, and three days later you'll have finished butanol coming out of this valve.
[MAN] And since butanol can work with gasoline engines, I can put this fuel into the car and make it go.
[MAN] For farmers and others, maybe, a lean, green revenue stream.
[ASSURAS] So that was fun, I like the little Go Kart, but wait a minute, there's not much leg room.
[SESNO] It's a little cramped, but it's easy to park.
[ASSURAS] No kidding. This goes to viability -- Your thoughts?
[SESNO] Well, first of all, I love this team. This is a team that's working with a professor, Jamie Hestekin, out of the University of Arkansas. And they're like a bunch of detectives. And they are getting into the science of this stuff in such a great way, that they are filling their brains with knowledge while they're trying to crack a code here. They're trying to create this machine -- it would cost about 25 grand. You're a farmer, you have dried algae. You can shovel the stuff into this thing and it will ferment and you'll get this butanol fuel out of it. Their objective here is to work on the pricing of this thing, so there's payback on the unit within about five years -- that would make it competitive.
[ASSURAS] I'm glad you brought up pricing, because we're going to bring up your Innovator of the Year. He is Danny Kennedy. He is in San Francisco. And he is the founder of Sungevity, which actually leases the Sun. Pretty good deal there. Explain that to our audience for us, Danny. Congratulations.
[KENNEDY] Thank you very much. Thanks to Frank and Planet Forward, too. Basically, we're able to lease you a solar system, make it really easier to actually get it. One of the innovations we were recognized for is software that allows us to design and engineer the system remotely through satellite and aerial photographs before even having to come to your house. And then when you get the system on the house, you pay us monthly. Like your electricity bill now, you just have to put no money down, and instead, take on a contract with us for solar electricity.
[ASSURAS] Let me interrupt you, because you said "no money down." And that's the key, because you're depending on tax credits. What happens if that money runs out, Danny?
[KENNEDY] Those tax credits are in law until 2016, and you've heard President Obama talking about shifting the subsidies that the oil and gas boys get towards clean energy. We're pretty confident those will remain. And the other driver is simply economics. The fact of the matter is, grid electricity is rising in cost for a variety of reasons. Solar electricity is falling in cost. And financing it is actually the key. The way it will get ubiquity like cell phones is being able to pay for the service on a contract rather than having to pay for it up front. That's kind of like buying your electricity for 25 years in one hit. Instead, we make it a no-deposit proposition that you can pay as you go forward with the solar lease.
[ASSURAS] Frank is nodding his head. Is that the key? What did you think of this?
[SESNO] I think the idea is a very interesting one because what Danny has done -- and this is what the audience recognized and why the Planet Forward audience voted for this to be the most innovative idea of the finalist ideas that were presented -- is that Danny has tackled both the financing innovation and a technology innovation in one package. But the big thing is, if I want to buy a solar system and panels for my roof, depending on where I live, I'm going to need to shell out somewhere between maybe $10,000 and $20,000. That's a very substantial barrier to entry.
[ASSURAS] The key thing, it's all about cost. Danny, again, congratulations. Frank, very quickly, what's next for you?
[SESNO] We're going to start looking at what smart communities need to do to build and adapt to a changing planet. That's energy, that's transportation, that's technology, that's architecture, that's infrastructure, and we're looking for innovations across the board, and we'll be doing more shows and picking more innovators.
[ASSURAS] We'll have you back.
[SESNO] I look forward to it.
[ASSURAS] Thank you very much to both of you.
And one more innovation -- something that did not get submitted to Frank's challenge but something that hit our radar screen and made it into the "energyNOW!" hotZONE.
[TEXT ON SCREEN] Friedrichshafen, Germany
[ASSURAS] This is a battery-powered plane. It's called the Elektra One, and its batteries are charged by solar panels on the roof of its hangar. Made by Germany's PC Aero company, the one-seater has completed a successful 30-minute test flight. But the goal is to have it fly up to five hours. Not only that, the company is working on versions that the CEO says he plans to offer as the world's first electric business flights. So, maybe a flight of fancy or maybe the future of corporate executive travel.
And that's it for this week's "energyNOW!" Remember, you can follow us on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter by searching energynownews. I'm Thalia Assuras. We'll see you next week. And we leave you with one more innovation that was up for consideration for Planet Forward's Innovators of the Year but didn't quite make it. The sustainable dance floor, developed four years ago in the Netherlands. Dance moves are converted into electricity which powers the lights and the stereo system, actually, and you guessed it -- the more people, the more jumping up and down, the more power. Hope you enjoy your weekend.
This episode previously aired May 16, 2011.
First up this week, Chief Correspondent Tyler Suiters kicks off his series, "The Israel Connection" A small country amid hostile neighbors, Israel is used to turmoil. It affects every aspect of life there, and none more than the country's need for energy. In the first installment, "Energy Security," Tyler digs into the issue of how the country can flourish economically while importing almost all its fuel. He interviews government leaders, officials who supply the country's electricity and entrepreneurs who are looking for new ways to develop energy there.
This week's "Energy Then," takes us back in time to 1955, when Israel's first oil well was completed. There was celebration at the time, with hope that Israel would turn out to be an oil-rich nation. Those dreams faded, however, when it was discovered that the country does not sit on major oil reserves. Today, Israel uses about 60 times more oil than it produces.
Next, a jostling, bumpy look at how we can harness the kinetic energy our trains, cars and other vehicles produce every day. Only 15 percent of the gasoline pumped into a car actually spins your wheels. Other forms of transportation are just as inefficient, losing vast amounts of energy to heat and friction as they roll along. But new technologies may capture and redirect energy that otherwise would be lost as waste. Special Correspondent Josh Zepps explores how the energy of motion can save money and energy, make rides smoother and reduce emissions for everyone from car and train commuters to the military.
On "The Mix,"America’s push toward energy independence largely depends on bringing new clean energy ideas and technology from the drawing board to commercial viability. But why do some innovations succeed while others never get off the ground? Anchor Thalia Assuras joins Frank Sesno, creator and host of Planet Forward, a website and television show dedicated to clean energy and sustainability. They highlight Planet Forward’s recent nationwide contest to identify and promote America’s top energy innovators. The contest’s winner, Sungevity founder Danny Kennedy, also joins the discussion to talk about his company’s solar leasing program.
Finally, on the "Hot Zone," the world's first battery-powered plane takes off. The German-built one-seater made a successful 30-minute test flight, and now the makers hope to get one to fly for more than five hours. The battery is charged by solar panels on the roof of its hangar. The makers are hoping to build larger models that could make the first all-electric business flights.
Better Place founder and CEO Shai Agassi takes energyNOW! Chief Correspondent Tyler Suiters on a tour of the charging infrastructure his company is installing in Israel, and demonstrates how battery replacement can increase electric vehicle efficiency.Watch now ...
Israel's minister of national infrastructure explains the importance of energy security.Watch now ...
Last Wednesday was a big milestone for people who care about public health and a livable climate. Two utilities announced the planned closure of nine coal plants.Read more ...
Today, in the UK, the world's oldest nuclear power plant shut down.Read more ...
The U.S. led the world in clean energy investment in 2011, but China retained the top spot in the latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index from Ernst & Young.Read more ...