Competition for off-grid ideas

Solar turtleWWF South Africa is hoping for more entries into its annual Climate Solver Awards. The competition is a chance to show off innovative technologies geared towards reducing carbon emissions and boost energy access. Entries to the competition are open until January 30.

One of last year’s winners was SolarTurtle. The brainchild of company Ugesi Gold, which operates out of Stellenbosch, the aim was to give people affordable electricity off the grid. Packaged in a shipping container, the container unfolds during the day to charge numerous battery packs via solar power. These battery packs can be taken to where they are needed to provide electricity to power lights or appliances.

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Off-Grid Governor

MARYSVILLE, Mont. (AP) – Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is proud of his off-the-grid getaway. A day spent with Schweitzer riding four-wheelers and talking politics makes it easy to understand why he’s one of the most unusual – and most effective – governors in the country.

The former scientist and mint farmer built its spring-fed fishing ponds, rigged the plumbing system, designed the rudimentary battery-and-solar-powered panel for the log cabin 40 miles from Helena. It has no cellphone service.

At his ranch – and anywhere else – Schweitzer, a popular Democrat in a conservative state, never misses a chance to leave a lasting, even outlandish, impression. “I’m well-armed,” says Schweitzer, who hangs a gun on his office wall despite a gun ban in the Capitol.

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Bad side of bio-fuel

The buzz around bio-fuels is all about maintaining our current lifestyles with a quick fix. But at who’s expense?

Nair: bio-fuel is theft
Like most something-for-nothing schemes, the arguments for bio-fuel turn out to be flawed on close examination.

Indian Academic K. P. Prabhakaran Nair says “local people will find it harder to satisfy their food and fuel needs” as a result of large-scale bio-crop exploitation. The rural poor will suffer most.

India is a rapidly developing economy whose energy needs are growing as fast as its population. Responding to the global thrust for bio-fuels, the Indian government has promised a bagful of initiatives to encourage large-scale planting of bio-fuel crops, particularly Jatropha.

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Disgraced Canadian MP joins Green Party

Wilson family: nothing Green about him
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – A Canadian MP who has been rejected by his own party, joined the country’s fledgling Green Party on Saturday.

Blair Wilson MP is apparently a total scumbag who represents one of the country’s mst marginal seats and this is almost certainly an own-goal by Green Party leader Elizabeth May.

“Today we make history,” said May. Yes, but for all the wrong reasons. Wilson has no record at all of support or even interest in green issues.

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Diggers for Dreamers

A new off-grid house designed by top UK architect Bill Dunster hopes to set new standards for Britain’s eco homes.

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