The weird story of a Chinese solar firm & Nevada politics

Nevada has tried very hard to attract solar energy investments and one of its latest efforts is both grandly ambitious and peculiar: Chinese energy company ENN Group promises to invest $5 billion to build a solar panel factory, a solar power plant, and an “eco-community.”

Today in Cleantech

Will the smart cities of the future rise first in China? Big U.S. utility Duke Energy became the latest partner in China’s smart city ambitions this week, saying it would work with Chinese clean energy company ENN Group, which has an “eco-city” project underway in Langfang near Beijing, to find ways to link green energy generation with energy storage, smart building and smart grid systems and electric vehicle infrastructure. That sounds a bit like the broad range of smart grid, EV and consumer energy management work IBM is tackling with China’s massive State Grid Corp. of China and other local partners. Likewise, General Electric has Chinese projects including efforts to improve distribution grid reliability, demonstrate model smart grid technologies and develop smart grid standards. China’s massive and growing urban centers are going to need a lot of help to stay sustainable, making the broad goals of linking up city power, water and gas generation and delivery systems, building management and controls, traffic and parking management and other municipal systems with next-generation communications and IT a pressing task for the government.

IBM’s Chinese Smart Grid Ambitions

When Forbes reported in November that IBM was launching a major utility and energy research lab in China and planned up to nine big smart grid projects in the country, it came as little surprise to many. After all, China is going to be spending much more than the U.S. or Europe on building out its grid to meet its massive population’s growing energy needs — a fact that’s drawn other grid giants like General Electric (s GE), ABB and Siemens (s SI) into the country as well. IBM has already said that it expects to generate $400 million in smart grid revenues in China over the next four years. What’s it planning to do to earn the money?
On Thursday, IBM drew back the curtain a bit on its Energy & Utilities Solutions Lab, including details of various pilot projects underway with China’s massive government-owned utility, State Grid Corporation of China and other partners. Those projects range from managing the flow of power from nuclear plants and massive wind farms to transmission and distribution grids — similar to the work IBM does for utilities in the U.S. and in Europe — to some smart grid realms where IBM has made less of a splash, such as managing energy efficiency down at the consumer level, including electric vehicles.
Read More about IBM’s Chinese Smart Grid Ambitions

The Daily Show’s Stepchildren Now Include Escapist News Network and Newsish

[show=unskippable]Every icon has his or her imitators, and while The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart didn’t invent the concept of snarking at the news in a quasi-reporting format, his influence has had a profound impact not just on the television world, but on web video. And shows that draw inspiration from the format continue to find fresh approaches to the idea.

Of course, the easiest way to put a new spin on an old idea is to tailor it for a specific audience — which the the guys and gals from sketch comedy team Loading Ready Run nail with the Escapist News Network by focusing exclusively on video game news and culture. Hosted by Graham Stark and Kathleen DeVere, ENN‘s one-liners and punchlines can be a little dense for those outside the video game world, but even a casual gamer can appreciate a story on the gaming site Popcap that references the “enslavement of the human race via the highly addictive drug Bejeweled [Popcap’s insanely popular puzzle game].” Read More about The Daily Show’s Stepchildren Now Include Escapist News Network and Newsish