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NewsWatch: Most Connected Cities, Streetcar Desire, Bicycle City, Sun and Wind Generation

Access to sustainable energy
Access to sustainable energy

May 26, 2010 By

Study: Western Grid Can Handle More Sun, Wind Generation

A new study shows that it would be possible for the Western power grid to draw 35 percent of its electricity from wind and solar energy sources by 2017. The Western Wind and Solar Integration Study (WWSIS), released by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on May 20, examines the benefits and challenges of integrating wind power, solar photovoltaic systems, and concentrating solar power onto the grid. The study concludes that while additional infrastructure isn't needed, key operational changes are required to meet this target. The report focused on the power system operated by the WestConnect group of utilities in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming.

Suburban Streetcar Desire

Streetcar suburbs took off in the 1890s, according to an article in Governing. Streetcar systems were affordable to ride and relatively reliable -- like the system in Del Ray, Virginia, as shown in the WETA Neighborhoods video clip, practically guaranteed their popularity among the growing American middle class. Today, streetcars are being rediscovered and exist in a variety of formats, from serious modes of transit to tourist attractions

Connected Cities Ranked

The cities with the fastest Internet connection speeds in the U.S. are San Jose, Calif.; Saint Paul, Minn.; and Pittsburg, according to Gigaom. For those cities, speeds range from 14-15Mbps. However, the top three global cities range from 34.5 Mbps (Seoul South Korea) to 27 Mbps (Hamburg, Germany), and no U.S. city is even close to making the global top 10 list.

City Announces Wind Power Project

The City of Painesville, Ohio, will move forward with a municipal-scale wind power project, according to an announcement by NexGen Energy Partners, which will develop, construct and operate up to 3.2 megawatts of commercial-scale wind turbines on multiple sites across the Painesville Municipal Electric's service territory.

Gulf Coast Communities Prepare for Oil Spill

As Gulf Coast counties begin to deal with the oil spill, Florida Association of Counties (FAC) Executive Director Chris Holley said one early task was to educate counties about the responsible parties in an oil leak. Counties are well acquainted with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's role as responders to natural disasters like hurricanes under the federal Stafford Act. However, "This is not a FEMA event. This is a Coast Guard, Homeland Security, Oil Protection Act of 1990 regulated event," he said in a County News article.

Developers to Build Bicycles-Only Community

Developers plan to build a bicycles-only community in Lexington County, S.C., near Gaston. Those developers, said The State, think their Bicycle City will be the first subdivision of its kind in the nation. It will have no asphalt. It will have miles of trails and ponds for boating. It will have eco-friendly homes. And residents and their visitors will have to park their cars outside the community and bike -- or walk -- to their homes.

Photo by Vlasta Juricek. CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

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