Mapping the Future of Solar/Renewable Energy

The BLM  (Bureau of land management) and Dept of Energy  created maps of six U.S. states most suitable for solar energy generation and transmission: Arizona (PDF and below), California (PDF), Colorado (PDF), Nevada (PDF), New Mexico (PDF) and Utah (PDF). The US Govt is now conducting several environmental impact studies, opening solar energy permitting offices, and overhauling the application and review process for utilities looking to develop land for solar energy generation. Read more on CNET’s Green Tech site.

There is also a new set of layers – 14 types of areas within three main categories of land protection –  for Google Earth called Path to Green Energy, developed byNatural Resources Defense Council and the National Audubon Society and a’s Geo Challenge Grants.  The tool’s goals is to provide industry, conservationists, policy-makers, and concerned citizens instant access to interactive wildlife, habitat and land management maps to guide appropriate site selection for renewable power generation and transmission facilities. Launch the tool through NRDC site and read more details here.

Energy Efficiency Resource

The US Dept of  Energy has a wonderful web site on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy loaded with lots of tips, news, ideas,  and more. Check out the energy audit section, find out about tax credits and rebates (even specifically on energy star appliances), choose a category such as appliances, lighting, remodeling, heating etc. for more information, read about energy saving possibilities in the workplace, or read the energy savings blog.

Energy 101

Where do you get your energy? You hear the terms off-grid, smart-grid and renewable, but what does it all mean.  Most of us are connected to a power grid that gets its energy from coal, nuclear, or hydroelectric dams.  But as companies are realizing the effects of carbon emissions on the world they are looking at more sustainable and renewable technologies like wind and solar power.  The problem with renewable sources is they are intermittent and thus smart grids can come into play.  Read more at or the  US Dept of Energy (and opportunities through the Recovery Act)

Find out more about how your library’s power is generated – how clean is the electricity you use? Use this EPA tool which graphs via your zip code, your fuel mix and air emissions and compares it to the national average.

Cool Map: Renewable Enegy for America

NRDC’s map Renewable Energy for America: harvesting the benefits of  homegrown renewable energy –  can be viewed by renewable energy type (biogas, cellulosic biomass, solar, and wind)  The gradient shade will show potential for this type of energy down to county level. You can zoom in or zoom by state & zipcode. Icons depict locations or future locations of biodigesters, biofuels, and wind power.  Clicking on the by state tab you can read summaries of various state’s profiles. Libraries can find out and inform their public as to potential renewable energy projects is in their area.

Students exercise to generate power for campus

Oregon State University (3/4 of their power is from renewable sources already) is harnessing the energy of exercise machines from students working out, to generate and convert it to electricity and to feed it back into the power grid. The effort will produce an estimated 3,500 kilowatt hours of electricity in a year. It’s the first university to do this. Check out the full article. Hmmm, a  library’s electronic resources and servers powered by exercise?  Multitasking at its (greenest)  best.