Stories tagged clean energy


It's a world leader in clean energy investment and clean coal research and development. Last year, it manufactured a third of the world's solar panels and wind turbines, and it's luring companies from all over the world to build factories there. It has recently made huge investments in clean energy education. But it's not America.

The green tide: Is green the new red?
The green tide: Is green the new red?Courtesy Jude Freeman

The country I'm describing is China. That's right--the world's newly-dubbed largest net emitter of greenhouse gasses. It isn't bound by reduction requirements under the Kyoto protocol, and its use of fossil fuels is powering a growing and booming economy. And yet, the Chinese are courting US companies with financial incentives to build clean tech factories and research centers in China. They're working to corner clean tech markets in California and South Africa. In fact, over the last three years, China has gone from controlling 2% of California's solar market to a whopping 46%--ousting its American competitors. And that's not all--the country has become a proving ground for clean coal with the guidance of US companies and researchers.

Oh, the terror: handouts from the Sun.
Oh, the terror: handouts from the Sun.Courtesy BrokenSphere

These companies hope to learn from their experiences testing clean coal tech in China, and bring that knowledge back to the US to transform our own polluting coal plants into next-generation powerhouses. So what's in it for the Chinese? They're quickly gaining lead on the cutting edge in green technology, making room for growth in the energy sector without increasing pollution or relying on foreign imports, and reaping economic benefits--and they foresee substantial economic benefits in the future, when they could be the major supplier of green technology and research to the world.

Given the US's slowing progress on clean technologies, what do you think this will mean for our future? Should we be trying to get on top of green tech research and development? Or is it best left to others? Or are those even the right questions--will we have the best success when we pool resources with other countries?


Bloom Energy is a CA business that has developed a fuel cell called the Bloom Box. The Bloom Box is a self-contained source of energy. So far its on-site application has been cost prohibitive for the mainstream. To make the Bloom Box more accessible, Bloom Energy is rolling out a system that enables corporations to derive power from the Bloom Box without actually buying it.

The Bloom Electrons Program details

The Bloom Box is something that Bloom Energy got to the clean energy industry. The Bloom Box is an "energy server" that produces electricity with a chemical response and extremely low carbon footprint. Want to understand the price of a Bloom Box? Over $700,000 is the cost. The price has caused the number of Bloom Energy consumers to be pretty low. Corporations consist of B of A, FedEx, eBay and Google. To increase demand for Bloom Boxes, Bloom Energy partnered with Credit Suisse and Silicon Valley Bank to create Bloom Electrons. Bloom Electrons is a financing business that offers 10-year contracts for electricity from on site Bloom Boxes at a fixed rate.

Powering Bloom Electrons with clean power

There are not upfront costs for businesses to use Bloom Box meaning the companies can go off the grid with Bloom Electrons. Companies that have already purchased Bloom Boxes up front expect to recoup the cost of the unit anywhere from three to six years after they're installed. With Bloom Electrons, Bloom Energy said businesses can start saving up to 20 percent immediately on what they're paying in CA. At present, Bloom Electrons only pencils out in California. It's about ten cents per kilowatt-hour within the U.S. for average electricity. About 14 cents per kilowatt-hour is what Bloom boxes do. This is a different price. Bloom Electrons power comes down to about 7 cents per kilowatt-hour with the California subsidies and federal clean power incentives.

The whole world getting Bloom Box soon

Bloom Energy said the Bloom Box will offer businesses a competitive energy advantage without the need for subsidies in three to five years. The first thing the company is worried about is meeting demand for the Bloom Electrons system. The production will need to go up. If you look back 2 years, Bloom Energy was not very fast. About one Bloom Box a month was made. When it comes to shipping Bloom Boxes, the business has gotten faster. It can do one a day now. If Bloom Energy can decrease the production price along with increasing production, it could eventually meet its goal of supplying clean power to the creating world.


Business Week