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Better Place in a worse one: CEO gone, local ops powered down

Crikey, 29 January 2013

 The future of Australia's first large-scale electric car experiment is hanging by a thread following the departure of global Better Place CEO and former Australian chief Evan Thornley. Thornley, the former Labor upper house MP who famously turned down the offer of a ministry in the Brumby government to pursue his electric dreams, departed the firm in mid-January after strategic differences emerged with the board of the Israel-based charging and battery swapping operation.

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Nightmare Batteries Plague Dreamliner

Spiegel Online, 17 January 2013

The latest problems with Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner passenger jet could be a disaster for the US plane manufacturer. The lithium-ion batteries used on board are unique — and apparently also combustible. In the worst case, Boeing may have to make extensive modifications.

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European car sales plunge ends woeful year for automotive industry

The Guardian, 16 January 2013

Europe's market for new cars shrank in December at its fastest monthly rate since October 2010, closing a year burdened by heavy declines in all major eurozone economies. Two fewer working days on average helped send new car registrations in the European Union tumbling 16.3% last month to 799,407 vehicles, according to data published on Wednesday by the European automotive industry association Acea.

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Cuba’s Two Wind Farms Survive Hurricane Sandy

Forbes, 6 November 2012

Before Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of the US, she actually hit the Caribbean first. Two of the hardest hit islands were Haiti and Cuba. Thousands of houses were destroyed in the Eastern part of Cuba around Santiago de Cuba, the country’s second largest city, and power supplies in the area were and still are affected by the hurricane. However, in the province of Holguín, there were two wind farms installed in 2008 and 2010 one with six 850 kW turbines and the other with six 750 kW machines. Both of those wind farms were hit by hurricane Sandy with wind speeds of up to 110 miles per hour and neither of them had any major damage and continued to provide electricity for the local grid.

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Japan to build world’s largest offshore wind farm

New Scientist, 16 January 2013

It's goodbye nuclear, hello renewables as Japan prepares to build the world's largest offshore wind farm this July. By 2020, the plan is to build a total of 143 wind turbines on platforms 16 kilometres off the coast of Fukushima, home to the stricken Daiichi nuclear reactor that hit the headlines in March 2011 when it was damaged by an earthquake and tsunami.

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Tree and human health may be linked

Phys.Org, 16 January 2013

For Geoffrey Donovan, a research forester at the Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station, and his colleagues, the loss of 100 million trees in the eastern and midwestern United States was an unprecedented opportunity to study the impact of a major change in the natural environment on human health. In an analysis of 18 years of data from 1,296 counties in 15 states, researchers found that Americans living in areas infested by the emerald ash borer, a beetle that kills ash trees, suffered from an additional 15,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6,000 more deaths from lower respiratory disease when compared to uninfected areas. When emerald ash borer comes into a community, city streets lined with ash trees become treeless.

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Nightmareliner: The FAA Has Grounded All Boeing 787 Aircraft

The Atlantic, 16 January 2013

Earlier today, a Boeing 787 — better known as the "Dreamliner" — made an emergency landing at Takamatsu airport in western Japan after a burning smell was detected in the plane's cockpit and cabin, and a cockpit message indicated battery problems in the plane. That incident was only the latest mechanical problem for Boeing's touted-but-beleaguered aircraft. So, as a precautionary measure, Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines grounded the 24 Dreamliners in their fleets — meaning that a hefty percentage of the 50 vehicles Boeing has thus far delivered worldwide are, at the moment, not operational.

And now, the FAA just announced, the United States is following suit, grounding of all the 787s in the country.

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Hurricane Sandy: 80 Days Later

The Atlantic, 16 January 2013

Two and a half months after Superstorm Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, the U.S. Congress appears to be close to approving a relief package of tens of billions of dollars. Government workers, contractors, and volunteers on the ground are still in the midst of an extensive cleanup phase and welcome the much-needed funds as they rebuild homes, businesses, and infrastructure. While some of the estimated 230,000 cars damaged by Sandy's saltwater surge will soon be going up for auction, many are simply headed for the crusher. Gathered below are images of the ongoing cleanup efforts and those still suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. [26 photos]

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Crude by rail: does it really make sense?

Resilience, 15 January 2013

Bloomberg published an article regarding the new frenzy of shipping domestic crude, particularly tight oil from shales, by rail rather than pipeline. This decision by shale operators is interesting for various reasons but most especially for the economics behind it. While industry touts shipping by rail as their latest great idea, there is, of course, another possibility as to why shipping by rail rather than pipeline makes sense. And it has more to do with unprofitability than great opportunity.

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Peak Oil Warning From an IMF Expert: Interview with Michael Kumhof

Oil Man, 5 December 2012

Michael Kumhof is the deputy chief of the modeling division at the research department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Together with other researchers from IMF, this 50 years old German economist has published several papers focused of "peak oil", sending warnings regarding the possible imminence of a decline of world oil production and its impacts.

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