Introducing: The new eco label “WindMade”

Eco labels have worked well in some cases, such as organic food, but will they work for renewable energy? The wind energy industry thinks so and proposed a program Wednesday to encourage companies to invest in wind and display their eco-friendly cred.

Better Place’s Danish Dreams, Plus a Test Drive of Its First Electric Car

While I’ve been skeptical of electric vehicle infrastructure Better Place’s grand ambitions to sell EV service like cell phones and cover small countries with its network, there’s one region that is actually a good fit with Better Place’s EV dreams: Denmark. I sat down with some of Better Place’s team on the ground in Denmark at a hotel outside of the Copenhagen climate negotiations on Wednesday and took a test drive in the first car for the Renault Better Place partnership, the Fluence (the sedan-looking car in the photo to the left and below), which is supposed to come out in 2011.

Here’s Better Place’s basic strategy in Denmark: partner with the state-owned utility Dong Energy, who is also an investor in Better Place, offer Danish residents EVs that are cheaper than internal combustion cars (internal combustion engine cars in Denmark are over 100 percent taxed and very expensive) and appeal to the small size of the country and progressive residents. The pieces and partnerships all seem to fit, however, the hurdles ahead will be raising enough financing to build out the infrastructure and seeing how many Danish consumers sign up for the Better Place plan.
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Notes From Copenhagen: A Bit of Warmth Amid the Cold

COP15, the largest conference about the environment and its challenges is being held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Earth2Tech editor Katie Fehrenbacher is on the ground covering the event for her and GigaOM readers. In her first report, she outlines the chaos she has encountered so far.

Massive Offshore UK Wind Farm Gets Green Light From Investors

Is that the wind you’re hearing? No, it’s a collective sigh of relief from UK wind advocates. Plans for the world’s largest offshore wind farm have been given the green light from investors — Danish utility DONG Energy, German energy company E.ON and Abu Dhabi’s clean energy initiative Masdar — ending uncertainty as to whether or not they would move forward with the 1-gigawatt London Array in the midst of the economic downturn.

The future of the project, slated for the Thames Estuary off the coast of London, fell into question after Shell pulled out of it last year. Masdar stepped in to help fill the void, only to raise concern again in January when it said it was revisiting the economics of the project.

Falling UK power prices, the weakening British pound and rising credit costs have threatened those economics, according to Reuters. But investors decided to go ahead with their plans after the British government said it would raise support for offshore wind farms in its 2009 budget.
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Apple Places Order for 100 Million 8Gb Flash Chips

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Let’s not jump to any conclusions. Maybe they just want to redecorate the Cupertino campus, and they thought covering the walls in 8Gb (gigabit, not byte) flash chips would be original and visually appealing.

Actually, that’s probably the last possible reason Apple (s aapl) recently placed a massive order for 100 million 8Gb chips from their suppliers, most of which will come from Samsung, according to DigiTimes, the source of the report. Yes, that is a lot of chips, and apparently the whole industry will feel the strain as the NAND flash supply will be pretty tight up until the end of May, thanks to fairly large orders by Sony (s sne) and Nokia (s nok), in addition to Apple. Read More about Apple Places Order for 100 Million 8Gb Flash Chips

Smart Grids Go Island Hopping in Europe

IBM (s IBM) said today it joined a smart grid project in Denmark that’s aiming to upgrade the country’s electric transmission grid to handle the large-scale adoption of electric vehicles. The project will start off with test work on a small Danish island before tackling the whole nation.

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The Denmark smart grid group, partly backed by the government, is called the EDISON project, a really long (and kind of silly) acronym for “Electric Vehicles in a Distributed and Integrated Market using Sustainable Energy and Open Networks.” IBM didn’t release a timeline for the project, and details on exactly what will be installed were scarce, but the 40,000 people that live on the Danish island of Bornholm will be the first to plug into the new smart grid.

IBM said creating a testbed on the island, which gets a big part of its energy from wind power, will allow the EDISON team to look at how the grid functions as more electric cars are plugged in. The company said its researchers plan to work on technologies that can synchronize the charging of electric cars with the availability of wind power in the system. It has also sent a hardware platform to the Technical University of Denmark for use in large-scale, real-time simulations of electric cars plugging into the grid.
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MindView 3.0 Comes of Age

Do you mind map? Do you like to brainstorm with others using software that helps focus your ideas and prioritize project plans? Maybe you’re into Getting Things Done (GTD) and like to prioritize your tasks visually? If so, then read on my friend.

The folks at Matchware recently released MindView Pro 3.0 for the Mac. What was formerly called OpenMind has an all-new name and some nifty new features. So, what has changed in this new version? Well, it isn’t a significant upgrade, but here is the short list:

  • The product has been renamed from OpenMind 2 to MindView 3.
  • There is a new Top Down Vertical layout (see below).
  • There is a new Power Filter that has been added to the inspector area. Note, that filters are stored per document.

As a long time user of MindManager from Mindjet, I was eager to see how this product worked. I will say that MindManager on the Mac does not compare to its Windows brethren.

One of the reasons I went looking for a new mind mapping client is the ability to import/export the content and maintain file format fidelity. With MindView 3, I can accomplish that goal. Read More about MindView 3.0 Comes of Age

Better Place Raises Financing for Denmark Electric Car Project

The proliferation of electric cars and convenient places to charge them took another step toward becoming reality in Denmark today, with the announcement that startup Better Place and Danish partner DONG Energy have closed €103 million ($135.8 million) in financing for an electric car-charging network in the country.

The two companies originally signed a deal to work together last March. With this funding in place, which comes from Better Place and state-controlled DONG in the form of equity and convertible debt, the two partners plan to have a demonstration center set up in Denmark this year — in time to show off the technology at the UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen in December.
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The electric cars will come from the Renault-Nissan Alliance, with Better Place and DONG still aiming for the charging network to be fully functional by mid-2011.

The amount of funding that each company put up for this project was not disclosed, but Martin Wiinholt, a spokesman for Better Place, told us via email that the funding from Better Place comes from new money raised, and not from its existing funding.
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