The Daily Sprout

San Jose City Council Approves Tesla Plant: The San Jose City Council unanimously voted to approve Tesla Motors’ new electric car manufacturing plant. The Council also approved a number of green building policies including energy efficiency and sustainable materials regulations – San Jose Mercury News.

UK Creates Climate Change Department: UK prime minister Gordon Brown has created a Department of Energy and Climate Change which will be led by Ed Miliband because we need more government departments to tell us there’s a problem – Nature.

Gavin Newsom Blogs for Green Economy: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom blogs: “We must demand this new green economy. No more billion dollar tax breaks for the oil industry. No more drill baby drill. No more Persian Gulf oil imports” – Huffington Post.

Fact Checking the Debate on Climate and Oil: In case our commentary on last night’s presidential debate wasn’t enough, the folks over the New York Times have fact checked the debate and highlighted the energy-pertinent discrepancies – NYT’s Dot Earth.

Ethanol Execs Face Federal Charges, Grand Jury: Remember that North Carolina state official who wound up in jail for accepting a bribe from an ethanol developer? Well, those ethanol executives now face charges of extortion, bribery and perjury. Ethanol has official come of age – Forbes.

San Jose Mayor to Cleantech Startups: Call Me!

The mayor of San Jose, Chuck Reed, has a message for all the cleantech startups out there — give him a call and let him know what you need. In a video interview with us Reed gives out his digits and tells green companies looking to do business — building plants, establishing headquarters — to come to San Jose and contact the city to see what kind of incentives are available. Reed says the city can move at the speed of business, which was the key to securing the new Tesla plant. Tesla Chairman Elon Musk told us in a previous interview that he was really surprised that the city of San Jose could move so quickly, “almost like a commercial operation.”

Check out our video on how Reed intends to turn San Jose into the cleantech capital of the world, with a Green Vision plan that calls for 25,000 cleantech jobs, reduced per capita energy consumption by 50 percent and 100 percent of the city’s electricity from clean power, all within 15 years.

Tesla to Build the “Model S” Electric Sedan in San Jose

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed must be happy. Tesla plans to announce Wednesday morning that it has decided to build its Model S electric sedan in a 600,000-square-foot plant in San Jose, Calif., on an 89-acre plot of land that will also include new company headquarters. The company says construction on the plant will begin in the summer of 2009.

Tesla announced in June that it would manufacture Model S in California, instead of New Mexico, which prompted speculation over which Northern California city would win the electric car maker’s business. Supposedly the short list included San Jose, South San Francisco and Vacaville.

Read More about Tesla to Build the “Model S” Electric Sedan in San Jose

Green Mayors Compete for Cleantech as They Join on Climate Change

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed have been battling it out to make their neighboring cities greener than the other’s — every week it seems the Mayors have a new announcement of how they have added green jobs and coaxed a hot cleantech startup to set up shop in their locale. At the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s Clean and Green conference where Newsom and Reed met to discuss a regional partnership to fight climate change, they openly discussed the municipal competition, calling it healthy to spur the growing industry.

Newsom said he’s actively watching San Jose’s green moves, “casing their joints,” and checking out the green info on its web site. High-profile green cities are all borrowing each other’s ideas, noted Newsom, pointing out that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has created a similar green taxi program and called for urban wind — just like San Francisco has previously done. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed had similar comments: “We are a little bit competing to be greenest, but it is good to have competition.”

Plug-In 2008: San Jose Partners With Coulomb’s Smart Charging

Mayors these days never seem to miss a chance to promote their cities’ green jobs. This morning the mayor of San Jose, Chuck Reed, gave a brief opening address at the Plug-In 2008 conference in which he promoted the California city’s cleantech business incentives. He also said that the city has reached an agreement with Campbell, Calif.-based smart charging startup Coulomb Technologies.

Reed said San Jose plans to deploy Coulomb’s smart-charging stations at various locations throughout the city. The “smartlets” will be attached to a street light set-up that will use LED lighting technology and could also collect other data like traffic conditions. (The city of San Francisco made a public call for companies to pitch their electric vehicle charging infrastructure yesterday as well.)

Read More about Plug-In 2008: San Jose Partners With Coulomb’s Smart Charging

United Airlines offers in-flight iPhone and iPod Connectivity

United Airlines is rolling out a new feature for its first-class and business customers. iPhone and iPod users will be able to view their own personalized entertainment when flying internationally.

With my first international flight I traveled to Reykjavik, Iceland. I wish I had the freedom to choose what I wanted. The selections that the airline offered were limited. I’m glad I brought along books to keep me occupied. My last international trip to Stockholm, Sweden I watched the airline choice, Mr. Bean. Although parts of it were entertaining if I could have chosen my entertainment that would not have been on the top of my list.

“Our guests may now watch or listen to what they want, when they want with programming they choose,” says Graham Atkinson, United Airlines – executive vice president and Chief Customer Officer. “United will continue to provide services and technology that makes our customers’ travel experiences more relaxed and enjoyable.”

The first United Airlines flight to offer this feature was flight #936. It left Washington yesterday, June 16, at 5:40 PM and was flying to Zurich. iPod and iPhone users were able to charge their devices through a 30-pin connector at their seats. This enabled them to view their personalized r entertainment on 15.4-inch personal TVs. United Airlines is planning on equipping their entire fleet of international aircrafts with this feature within two years.

“The iPod and iPhone have become essential for millions of travelers around the world,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPod and iPhone Product Marketing. “We think United customers are going to love being able to listen or watch personal music and video content on their iPod or iPhone via the in-flight entertainment system, and we can’t wait for United to roll this out to their fleet.”

United Airlines is the first US air carrier to offer this service. Singapore Airlines has the distinction of being the first airline to allow its passengers to connect their iPods and iPhones to its in flight entertainment system on select business class flights on its Airbus A340-500 aircraft.

I like the fact that United Airlines gives flyers the freedom to choose the music and video they want. It would be even better if United Airlines offered this feature on cross-country flights. Would it make me switch airline carriers to take advantage of this offer? No, I’m happy with the airline I use for international travel.

What about you? Would having the ability to choose your entertainment in-flight influence your decision when it comes to selecting an airline?

NewTeeVee Meetup in LA on Monday

You may have noticed the stylings of a new scribe around these parts — Liz Shannon Miller, as she is known. Let’s all give a warm welcome to Liz, NewTeeVee’s reviews editor. Liz, who is based in Los Angeles, has written for Variety and the Daily Reel. And you know I wouldn’t have stood for another Liz around these parts unless she was pretty damn good!

Chris and I are headed to LA next week to meet up with Liz and hopefully lots of NewTeeVee readers and subjects and sources. To kick things off, we’re hosting a meetup at The Cat & Fiddle Pub (6530 Sunset Blvd.) on Monday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. Hope to see you there.

Open APIs In Xohm’s Future

It is still not clear what is going to happen to Xohm, Sprint’s planned WiMAX service. Will it be put on ice, or will it become part of a new company with backing from Silicon Valley giants like Intel? One thing is becoming increasingly clear: Unlike some other carriers, Sprint is pretty serious about giving others an equal opportunity and access to this network. TechRepublic editor Jason Hiner chatted with Sprint CTO Barry West and Atish Gude, the senior vice president of Xohm operations, who told him that:

Sprint will release open APIs and a software development kit (SDK) so that hardware and software makers can develop solutions to take advantage of Sprint’s mobile WiMAX network. “We’re going to be open on devices and open on applications,” said Gude. “We’re here to serve the Internet. Our foremost priority is providing really good access…This is the open Internet. We’re not going to block anybody.”

What’s on GigaNET: July 4th Edition

Happy Independence Day to all out US readers. To our international friends, since it is a national holiday, we are taking the day off. I am flying back from Israel, and will be offline for most of today, and regular programming will resume tomorrow afternoon, if I can manage to lick the jetlag.

Meanwhile, here are some stories from our other sites.

* WebWorkerDaily: A Look at Lightning: Mozilla’s Calendar for Thunderbird. Continue reading.
* NewTeeVee: Azureus’ planning a Vuze upgrade, new player. Continue Reading.
* Found+READ: Stop hiring people to do your JOB. Continue Reading.