September 10, 2009 By News Report
Dubai's First Mass-Transit Rail System
Today Dubai launched a mass-transit rail system, the first of its kind on the Arabian Peninsula. The system is expected to ease the city-state's traffic problem. The driverless, remote-controlled trains will run along an elevated line before heading underground into the center of the city. About one third of the stations will be open for operation tomorrow, the first day of service to the public. More lines are planned.
Europe's In-Car Automatic Emergency Call System
Today Europe's in-car automatic emergency call system, eCall, received the backing of Europe's mobile phone industry. eCall automatically dials 112 (Europe's single emergency number) and sends the vehicle's location in the event of a collision. EU officials believe eCall could save up to 2,500 lives per year and reduce the severity of injuries by 10 to 15 percent. The system requires close cooperation and collaboration between public authorities, car companies and mobile phone companies, not to mention an agreement between all European Union nations. Twenty-four EU countries have agreed to the implementation of eCall, while countries such as Denmark, France, Ireland, Latvia, Malta and the UK are still not ready to commit.
The Chinese government signed a memorandum of understanding today with Tempe, Arizona,-based First Solar, to build a 2-gigawatt solar power plant in Ordos City -- in the desert of Inner Mongolia. Phase one -- scheduled to begin construction by June of next year -- will be a 30 megawatt demonstration project, with the final phase to be completed by 2019. According to the company, the project will operate under a feed-in tariff which will guarantee the price of electrical power produced over a long period. First Solar also says it intends to help expand thin-film photovoltaic module production and recycling in China.
Great Lakes Wind Energy: Report Released
The Michigan Great Lakes Wind Council published its final report last week. "Michigan has world class clean energy resources -- both natural and manmade -- to attract the offshore wind energy industry to the state and Great Lakes region," said Stanley "Skip" Pruss, chair of the council and director of the state's Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth. "The council's recommendations will help us harness this source of clean energy and create jobs, while protecting the Great Lakes for current and future residents." According to the report, 20 percent or 7,874 square miles of the 38,000 square miles of state-owned Great Lakes bottomlands has a depth of 30 meters or less, which is practicable for offshore wind development. There are 537 square miles that are considered to be most favorable for the sustainable development of offshore wind energy.