California legislators work to set stronger clean energy targets
California is a state that has always prided itself on a green reputation, and its lawmakers are working hard to ensure that this reputation is upheld. According to reports, California legislators are racing against the clock to pass aggressive new clean energy reforms before the current state legislative session ends next week. If passed, California could soon be striving to produce or procure half of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
As International Business Times reports, current legislation in California dictates that the state should reach 33 percent renewable energy sourcing by 2020—the piece of legislation known as SB 350 would increase that target to 50 percent. As California sinks deeper into a severe drought, climate change and green initiatives are becoming a top priority in this state, pushing legislation like SB 350 to the forefront.
California’s state Senate passed SB 350 in June, and the legislation is now seeking approval from the state Assembly before it can land at the desk of Governor Jerry Brown to sign. According to the report, California energy companies are already well on their way toward meeting higher renewable energy standards, and while opponents are concerned that this could lead to higher energy bills for consumers, proponents are optimistic about the myriad opportunities that this progress could bring:
California isn’t the only state in the Union making significant strides toward renewable energy usage—just recently we reported that Hawaii is making plans to rely on 100 percent self-sustaining renewable energy by 2045. But this would certainly put the state in the top ranks of renewable-minded regions.
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To meet its goal before the legislative session deadline, California lawmakers must pass SB 350 by September 11.
[SOURCE: International Business Times]
Toyota unveils electric van and Volvo opens fuel cell lab
Toyota is launching its first zero emission battery electric vehicle, the Proace Electric medium-duty panel van, across Europe.
The model, which offers a choice of 50 or 75kWh lithium-ion batteries with range of up to 205 miles, is being rolled out in the UK, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
At present, alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs, including battery electric vehicles) account for only a fraction – around 1.8 per cent – of new light commercial van sales in the UK, but a number of factors are accelerating demand for practical alternatives to vans with conventional internal combustion engines.
Low and zero emission zones are coming into force to reduce local pollution and improve air quality in urban centres, at the same time as rapid growth in ecommerce is generating more day-to-day delivery traffic.
Meanwhile the opening of Volvo's first dedicated fuel cell test lab in Volvo Group, marks a significant milestone in the manufacturer’s ambition to be fossil-free by 2040.
Fuel cells work by combining hydrogen with oxygen, with the resulting chemical reaction producing electricity. The process is completely emission-free, with water vapour being the only by-product.
Toni Hagelberg, Head of Sustainable Power at Volvo CE, says fuel cell technology is a key enabler of sustainable solutions for heavier construction machines, and this investment provides another vital tool in its work to reach targets.
"The lab will also serve Volvo Group globally, as it’s the first to offer this kind of advanced testing," he said.
The Fuel Cell Test Lab is a demonstration of the same dedication to hydrogen fuel cell technology, as the recent launch of cell centric, a joint venture by Volvo Group and Daimler Truck to accelerate the development, production and commercialization of fuel cell solutions within long-haul trucking and beyond. Both form a key part of the Group’s overall ambition to be 100% fossil free by 2040.