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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Councilman Peduto wants the city of Pittsburgh to utilize lightly used freight rail line for commuter rail service

Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto has publicly announced a plan to use a lightly used freight rail line for commuter rail service between the city's Hazelwood and Lawrenceville neighborhoods. The commuter service will be via a diesel rail engine on a rail line that is only used by the Allegheny Railroad a few times each day. I like the idea a lot, but I think it is only feasible if it is part of a broader initiative to leverage existing rail infrastructure and, most importantly, if it is integrated with the current light rail line that services the south hills and downtown. Without the downtown link to Oakland I do not see a separate line having enough riders to justify the cost and effort. Still, the low cost of implementing the line (estimated to be $25 million compared to $1 billion + for the downtown to Oakland link) make it seem like a very low risk venture, and the type of thing that could spur new development and additional passenger rail lines throughout Pittsburgh, as the region has a lot of rail lines, some that are hardly used or not even used at all.

When I emailed Bill Peduto with my concerns about the proposed line needing a connector to downtown he wrote the following response:

There are a few “spur” options from the main line. One would be to use the existing Jail Trail (the old B&O line) to connect to the parking garage/ The T stop on Second Avenue downtown. Another would be to utilize an abandoned line from Lawrenceville through the Strip to a potential stop near the convention center and the MLK busway downtown. However it is important to note that this East End Express would connect the two proposals being discussed in Harrisburg the Pittsburgh-Greensburg run and the Pittsburgh-Kittanning run. It should also connect to the busway and the T.
Councilman Peduto also stated that he will soon be releasing a report on his proposed rail line.

While we are on the subject of regional rail initiatives, the plans to bring the Allegheny Valley Commuter rail line service from the Northeast Allegheny County / Route 28 corridor to downtown is moving forward, and it has a key sponsor in District 4 Congressman Jason Altmire, who a few months ago posted an announcement of his support of the project on his website. Despite the lack of rail projects in Mayor Ravenstahl's infrastructure stimulus wish list, it is good to know that some local officials like Altmire and Peduto are truly trying to move the region's transportation system forward.

Below is the Google Map I created to show the Peduto rail line and how it could link up to the proposed Allegheny Valley commuter line.

View Larger Map

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Read this PQ Report: The Truth about Pittsburgh's Air

Year after year Pittsburgh is ranked as one of the US city's with the poorest air quality. Almsot two years ago I wrote a post titled "Why Pittsburgh's air quality sucks." A few months after that post I wrote another titled "America's most livable city is once again rated....most polluted?" Back then I called on the mayor, whom I did not oppose at the time, to do more to regulate diesel emissions in the city of Pittsburgh. Needless to say the mayor has done nothing of the sort, and Allegheny County and county executive Dan Onarato have done a great job ignoring our air quality problem as well.

We are perennial favorites to be ranked #1 or #2 for particulate matter pollution, but despite the rankings there are always those who want to blame the results of the surveys on the monitoring system in Clairton, which is home to a US Steel coke plant. Well thankfully Pittsburgh Quarterly's Jeffrey Fraser has written a fantastic report titled "The truth about Pittsburgh's air" in this month's PQ magazine. The magazine is currently in stores, or you can read the report and other PQ articles via PDF. I encourage you to at least check out the air quality report so you at least know the truth about how bad it is out there. Thanks for Jeffrey Fraser for putting this issue into print.

To see a history of my blog posts on pollution and Pittsburgh's air quality please click here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Mayor's Infrastructure Stimulus Wish List...prepare to be Underwhelmed

Pittsburgh's mayor Luke Ravenstahl released his list of projects for the Obama administration's massive infrastructure program, which should should go into effect as early as Obama's first month in office.. The mayor announced his plan amid criticism from members of Pittsburgh city council, who were upset that the mayor did not submit the city's wish list to the US Conference of Mayors in time to be included in the group's Jobs and Infrastructure Report, although 427 other cities were able to do so. You can view that report here.

My first reaction after looking over the list of 110 projects was "Where is the green?" and "Where are the transit projects?" Where are the big and bold ideas for light rail and commuter rail, like the things we have proposed as part of CityLive's Transportation Wiki? I've compared Pittsburgh's list to the wishlists of other cities, such as Miami, which asked for funding for $3.4 in projects, including $280 million on a new streetcar system, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, which requested $2.3 billion in funding, with over $1 billion of that money being earmarked for renewable energy projects. Below is a list of the ten cities which requested the most money for infrastructure projects. (The jobs figures are so inflated that you shouldn't even pay mind to them)

Again, the mayor's plan left me asking for plans to expand the light rail to Oakland, or a massive plan for citywide energy efficiency initiatives, like Councilman Peduto's LED lighting plan. To be fair, a lot of the projects on the mayor's list are essential and are long overdue. Our sewer systems should have been upgraded decades ago, and Pittsburgh is not alone as many cities across the US are asking for money for water and waste related projects. But when looking for true green projects I only found a handful that even come close to being considered "green". These projects included bike trails, LED lighting along the trails, and new parks and green spaces. These 10 projects, listed below, represent $38 million of the $1.02 billion in requested funds, meaning only 3.3 % of the total that Mayor Ravenstahl is requesting is going to projects that will make Pittsburgh a greener city. This is a joke when stacked up against other cities, both larger and smaller than Pittsburgh, who realize that projects focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency, not to mention CO2 reductions, will be at the top of the Obama's administration's list of priorities.

A friend, who had reviewed the list earlier today, sent me an email with the following:

Where’s the leadership? Where’s the innovation? The imagination? Where’s the $%@$ creativity or inspiration?

That’s just a rote $%#@ laundry list of stuff that came out of the backs of reports that have been filed away in the City-County Building for years.
My thoughts exactly. As I said earlier, the mayor's plan does address some essential fixes to things which are in dire need of upgrades, but anyone who has been living in Pittsburgh for a few years could have recommended those projects. These are not the big bold ideas that we need to "move Pittsburgh forward", as the mayor likes to say often. Obama's stimulus plan will be an unprecedented opportunity to improve our transportation system and finally build out our light rail network, which still only serves the South Hills and downtown Pittsburgh. Other cities have put forth bold ideas that will make them more competitive not only here in the US but on a global scale as well. Like every other issue, this one shows the glaring weakness of Pittsburgh : the lack of bold leadership from our top public officials.

The complete list of projects can be viewed and downloaded to a spreadsheet from Swivel.com

City "guru" Kotkin: Don't spend Infrastucture Stimulus Money on Stupid Projects, like the Boodoggle right here in Pittsburgh

Joel Kotkin, author of "The City" and columnist on about all things pertaining to regional economics, wrote about how it is critical that the Obama administration determines which infrastructure projects are worthy of a piece of the several hundred billion dollars in infrastructure spending that he has promised. I couldn't agree more. Kotkin also singled out Pittsburgh and highlighted our "tunnel to nowhere" project as an example of how easy it is to waste half a billion on a needless infrastructure project:

Perhaps no place epitomizes misplaced priorities better than Pittsburgh. Widely hailed in the media as a poster child for the urban "renaissance," Pittsburgh has suffered a precipitous decline in population: Its 310,000 residents are less than half its 1950 peak. It now shares with parts of the former East Germany the gloomy demographic of having more residents die each year than are born.

Like other cities, Pittsburgh has sought to revive itself with billions in new stadiums, arenas and cultural facilities. Meanwhile, its roads and bridges are in a constant state of disrepair. Most recently, the city embarked on a scheme to create a 1.2-mile, $435 million transit tunnel under the Allegheny River to connect downtown's heavily subsidized towers with taxpayer-funded pro sports stadiums and a new casino. This "tunnel to nowhere," derided by a local columnist as the nation's "premier transit boondoggle," will no doubt be the sort of thing many states and localities will seek federal infrastructure funds for, justifying them on the basis of both short-term economic stimulus and some kind of "green" agenda.
Ouch. I can't say I disagree with Kotkin, and I think his points further emphasize the need for the NIB - the National Infrastructure Bank. We need to take the politics out of deciding which projects get federal funding, and an independent board on the NIB is a smart way to make sure that projects that have the highest probability of generating jobs and growth get the funding instead of projects where we have to import Japanese labor to bore holes under the Allegheny River.

Hopefully the North Shore Connector boondoggle doesn't hurt our chances for new infrastructure projects here in the burgh, but judging from Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's announcement today of the city of Pittsburgh's Stimulus plan wish list, it seems like instead of bold audacious projects, like commuter rail, streetcars, or linking downtown to the Oakland corridor, the mayor is playing it safe with projects such as a supermarket, and $10 million worth of asphalt. I am not kidding you - read for yourself. More on this in the next post.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pittsburgh Councilman's plan to convert all of the city's street lamps to LEDs could save the city of Pittsburgh $3 million annually

Earlier today I received an email from the office of Pittsburgh city councilman Bill Peduto announcing an ambitious plan that will reduce Pittsburgh's carbon footprint while saving the city millions in electricity costs. Peduto, who has been the only city legislator to propose green legislation of any sort over the last few years, wants the city to convert all 40,000 of its street lamps to energy efficient LED lighting. The cost of the program will be around $24 million and will be paid using a combination of the annual costs savings and funding from the state's Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement. Pittsburgh would join cities such as Austin, Raleigh (home LED manufacturer CREE), and Toronto as major cities who have adopted LED lighting on a large scale. According to Peduto, Pittsburgh would be the largest city in the US to roll out a complete conversion to LED lighting. This would be great news for Pittsburgh's green agenda, especially in light of today's Pittsburgh Penguin's press conference, where they announced the 21 year naming rights deal for their new arena, which will be known as the Clean Coal Center.

Check out this Wikipedia entry to learn more about Light Emitting Diodes.

Below is a copy of the Peduto plan for a bright and green Pittsburgh:

A Bright, Green Idea for Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh LED Project

Saving Tax Dollars While Saving the Environment


Over six months ago, Councilman William Peduto launched a trial of LED lights along the Walnut Street business district. Today, he is submitting a proposal for Pittsburgh to replace all 40,000 existing street lights with 200 Watt LED lights.


1) Green – Financial

Pittsburgh currently spends $3.2 million each year in electricity costs for our street lights. With the reduction of 137W of energy used by each of the 40,000 lights in the City of Pittsburgh, taxpayers will save $1.92 million per year in energy costs.

Pittsburgh currently spends approximately $1 million each year maintaining our street lights. An HPS bulb has 2 - 4 year life span versus 10 - 15 years for an LED light. Additionally, an LED fixtures burns out one LED at a time, which is in contrast to the current lights HPS lights which completely blow out all at once. This is expected to save taxpayers approximately $700,000/year in maintenance costs.

2) Green - Environmental

A 200W LED light only uses 93W of power. However, the existing 150W High Power Sodium (HPS) bulbs use approximately 230W (includes the ballast) of power. Therefore, over the year, the City of Pittsburgh will save 600 kWh of energy. This translates into 984 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions eliminated by switching all lights to LED.

LED lights turn on and off instantly with no warm up time. The existing HPS bulbs have a slow warm up period that is a waste of energy. Additionally, the existing sodium bulbs contain mercury in the ballasts, LED lights have no mercury.

LED lights produce a white light that stimulates the rods and the cones of our eyes. This creates a higher quality white light, while using less energy than the HPS lights that only stimulate the cones of our eyes and produce a yellow-orange light.


Each LED light costs approximately $500 to purchase. Additionally, it would cost about $100 in labor/light in conversion costs. Therefore, the cost to replace 40,000 lights would be approximately $24 million.


With a total cost of $24 million and an annual savings of $2,620,000 upon complete conversion, the City can fully payoff the LED conversion in 10.5 years.

Pennsylvania’s Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement (GESA) can be utilized to cover the upfront costs of the LED conversion. According to the State, “Projects will be implemented where, through simple-payback analysis, cost savings resulting from energy conservation improvements exceed the associated financing. In other words, these guaranteed savings are used to cover operating budget finance payments over a period not to exceed fifteen years.


The City should issue a Request for Proposals (RFP’s) immediately requesting that all interested companies provide the City with ten test lights to install throughout business districts in the City for a six month trial (February 1, 2009 – July 31, 2009). During the trial period, measurements should be taken to determine the luminous intensity and the energy produced. Solar powered lights and those with photo-sensitive detectors that lessen the light during dusk and dawn should be included in the trial.

The City should award the contract no later than August 31, 2009, based on required conditions of the RFP process, reliability through trial phase, and long term financial and environmental impact. The contract should require work to begin no later than October 1, 2009 and completed by December 31, 2010.

The City should immediately submit an application with the State through the Guaranteed Energy Savings program.

The City should determine programs we can work with to properly dispose of the existing HPS lights. This could be done through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) or a similar program.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Pittsburgh Penguins Award their New Arena's Naming Rights to a Local Coal Company

Pittsburgh Penguins fans, prepare yourself for annoying advertising about how good coal is for you and our country. Prepare yourselves for an onslaught of misleading ads regarding Consol Energy's commitment to "clean coal", because the Pens just awarded Consol Energy, a coal company located right here in Southwestern PA, with the naming rights to their arena in deal worth a reported $5 million dollars a year. Prepare yourselves for an arena powered by, but filled with dirty filthy stinking coal industry representatives.

KDKA news broke the story:

When the Penguins' new arena opens, it will have a new name.

KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan has learned that Consol Energy has won the naming rights.

The local coal and energy company is claiming more and more of a national and international spotlight. Next week, the Penguins will announce the sale of the arena naming rights to Consol on a long term basis for at least several million dollars a year.

The Penguins aren't commenting, but in a similar deal, the New Jersey Devils sold naming rights to their arena to Prudential Insurance for $5 million a year.

Environmentalists and advocates for energy policy change should have major issues with the naming rights and also the media's lame ass coverage of this event.

Here are a few reasons why I am particularly pissed off about this:

1. During the segment on KDKA, Andy Sheenan mentions Consol's development of "clean coal" as if it was a real thing. As we have seen, heard, and read time and time again coal is not clean, it is freaking dirty and toxic substance for Christ's sake, but remember, we shouldn't expect the media to report the facts, right? The media's failure to get on board with climate change and clean technologies is why this blog exists, after all.

And how could I omit this clean coal demonstration that is now hitting the airwaves across the US.

2.The second thing I have a problem with is that the media has made no mention of coal's negative impact on our environment. I'm not surprised that they have ignored the climate change issue, but come on, right here in our own backyard we have First Energy's Bruce Mansfield plant, which has been spewing and raining soot and toxins upon the families that live in the vicinity of the power plant in nearby Beaver County.

To the right is a picture of what is left after companies like Consol Energy perform their magic of mountaintop coal removal.

3. The third thing has to do with Pittsburgh's image. We were known as the smokey city throughout most of the 20th century due to the abundance of coke works and steel mills. The air is much cleaner now, and Pittsburgh is trying to position itself as a leading city in the new clean energy industry. But how can Pittsburgh be a true green city when its largest indoor sporting venue is named after a coal company? Burning coal to produce electricity is the biggest source of CO2 emissions, which, along with other green house gasses like methane, are the primary culprit behind climate change. How can the mayor of Pittsburgh say with a straight face that Pittsburgh is one of America's greenest city's when our professional hockey team is represented by one of the least green entities around, a friggin coal company.

4. Penguins fans, most of them at least, won't give a you know what about the decision and may even buy into this clean coal myth. From the sounds of the people interviewed in the KDKA story (above), the arena could be named after the Bin Laden family and it still wouldn't matter because, as the guy stated:

"As long as I can come see the Pens I don't care what they call the arena."

Way to be and sound like a dumb yinzer, buddy.

The irony of course is that a coal company's name will now adorn the arena of a hockey team named The Penguins. Climate change is causing a ripple effect that is warming the arctic and antarctic air and water, which is melting the ice at alarming rates, rates that are even more aggressive than the scientists predicted at least a decade before climate change and global warming were even brought to our attention. Real life penguins live in these areas, and the burning of coal and other fossil fuels will advance the melting of glaciers, which lead to the demise of animals such as polar bears and penguins unless something is done to drastically cut he amount of greenhouse gas emissions we are putting into the atmosphere. This is not likely to happen because corporations like Consol, who could be investing in ways to sequester their CO2 emissions, are instead investing their money on PR campaigns like the billboards and advertisements we see all around Pittsburgh, and now they are spending money on naming rights, which they will use as a strategy to further enhance their image and spread the word that they are actually the good guys, and that they are doing the right thing when it comes to developing this thing, this myth known as "clean coal.'

Bravo gentleman, and a big thank you to Mario Lemiuex, Ron Burkle, and the rest of the owners and management of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey franchise for bringing us the Consol Energy Arena, or "Clean Coal Place", or "We are the power behind America" arena, or whatever the hell these imbeciles and climate change deniers decide to call it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Obama chooses Nobel Prize winning Physicist to be the next Energy Secretary

This might be one of Obama's best cabinet selections to date. Dr. Steven Chu is your typical energy secretary, as he is not a politician or energy industry executive. Some had speculated that Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell was in the running to be Energy Secretary, and as Bill Richardson's two year tenure as Energy Secretary showed, politicians are the wrong choice as our nation's top energy chief The Wonk Room blog over at Think Progress had a nice write up on the announcement and this paragraph tells why Steven Chu is such an awesome choice as our next energy secretary.

It’s hard to decide if the selection of Dr. Chu is more remarkable for who he is — a Nobel laureate physicist and experienced public-sector administrator — or for who is not. Unlike previous secretaries of energy, he is neither a politician, oil man, military officer, lawyer, nor utility executive. His corporate ties are not to major industrial polluters but to advanced technology corporations like AT&T (where he began his Nobel-winning research) and Silicon Valley innovator Nvidia (where he sits on the board of directors). Chu is a man for the moment, and will be a singular addition to Obama’s Cabinet.
Here is a 9 minute clip of Dr. Chu at the last National Energy Summit. He is wicked smart when it comes to all things energy - he gets climate change, energy efficiency, and clean tech.

Plextronics CEO: "Today’s clean-tech intellectual property is tomorrow’s oil"

Popcity recently published an Op-Ed by Andy Hannah, CEO of Pittsburgh clean tech startup Plextronics. Hannah just returned from the Middle East, where he was on a trade mission with the US Department of Energy. Following his trip Mr. Hannah wrote about what he thinks the incoming administration needs to do to position the United States as the world leader in the clean technology and renewable energy.

The following are Hannah's steps for success:

  • Collaborate. Participate with other nations, such as the UAE, where the vision is to be the world leader in energy technology.
  • Compete. Establish a competitive platform that “reaches for the moon”. Let’s build a new city that has net zero carbon emissions or overhaul an existing city so that it has net zero carbon emissions. Let’s build a cluster of companies in a city that drives more than half of its economy from the export of energy technology.
  • Use our assets. All of our government properties could convert its energy sources from traditional energies to clean and alternative energy technology.
  • Win. What are the global visionaries expecting to achieve? Let’s double the ante.There are many efforts already in progress across the United States to establish excellence in clean and renewable energy technology.Sometimes they are loosely connected and most times they are independent in their efforts. As a country of ingenuity, invention and determination we need to harness all of those traits and drive a coordinated, nationwide effort to ensure that America’s clean-tech intellectual property is tomorrow’s oil.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Ford Motor Company's Business (Survival) Plan

Below is the section on sustainability and electric vehicles from the business plan that Ford presented to the Senate Banking Committee on December 2nd. After reviewing this plan as well as the plans, the big three CEO's testimony to Congress, and also the financial health of the Detroit automakers, I have to say that Ford's relatively stronger balance sheet, their aggressive plans for rolling out electric vehicles, and having a chairman in Bill Ford who has longed to make Ford a green auto company, makes Ford the favorite to come out of this recession with a plan and strategy that will put them in a position of strength to compete with the Toyotas and Hondas who have been eating the big three's lunch throughout the past three decades. More to come on the plans of GM and Chrysler, but from first glance it looks like GM is asking for $18 billion to gut the company, while Chrysler seems to be a counting down the days until its cash shortage forces them to turn off the lights.

Here is the press release from Ford, which has links to both the plan (PDF) and appendix (PPT).

A WSJ reporter lived blogged the testimony, and it is worth reading in its entirety, especially the parts where Nardelli and Wagoner seem to be losing it.

Ford's Sustainability and Electrification Strategy
(page 16 in the report)

Ford’s sustainability plan will achieve continuous and substantial improvement in fuel economy and a corresponding reduction in CO2 through affordable technology in high volume. Ford’s plan is to make affordable fuel efficiency available to millions of consumers.

Our three-phased approach – with near-term,medium-term and long-term advanced technologies and products – begins now with advanced internal combustion engine and
transmission technologies, such as our EcoBoost engines going into production on several vehicles in 2009. The next major step in Ford’s plan is to increase over time the volume of electrified vehicles, as battery costs improve and as the transition from Hybrids to Plug-in Hybrids to Battery Electric Vehicles occurs. (See Appendix, Slide 4.)

Next month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, we will discuss in detail Ford’s accelerated vehicle electrification plan, which includes bringing to market by 2012 a family of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles. Our work will include partnering with battery and powertrain systems suppliers to deliver a full battery electric vehicle (BEV) in a van-type vehicle for commercial fleet use in 2010 and a BEV sedan in 2011. We will develop these vehicles in a manner that enables us to reduce costs and ultimately makes battery electric powered vehicles more affordable for consumers.

Our plan also includes building on our competence in hybrid vehicles, as demonstrated by the industry-leading fuel economy of the Ford Escape and Ford Fusion hybrids. We are now developing our next generation full hybrid technology, which includes plug-in capability, for vehicles in 2012 and beyond. We are targeting a substantial increase in hybrid volume through a greater than 30% reduction in cost, installation of hybrid capability in global platforms and hybrid vehicles that are uniquely styled.

We cannot, however, accomplish significant electrification by ourselves. The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act requires American-developed breakthroughs in high-power energy batteries (e.g. lithium ion). In order to make significant progress in electrification, Ford supports establishing a U.S. public/private partnership to accelerate the development of this capability, including supporting infrastructure, within the United States.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Obama's National Security Adviser "Puts Energy First"

The Wall Street Journal's Environmental Capital blog has a story on President-elect Obama's choice for our National Security Adviser, General Jim Jones. Gen. Jones has been on record stating that energy is a national security issue. This should be a no brainer, but it is a 180 from the Bush administration, which has talked the talk but failed to walk the walk when it comes to taking action on climate change and energy security. Here is an interesting quote from Jones, provided by Environmental Capital:

“We are in a race against the clock and complacency is our greatest enemy. If we do not take this challenge seriously, America’s economic prosperity, national security, and global standing will be at risk. The status quo is not only an option, it is a recipe for failure.”
Can I get an Amen!? This is another sign that energy independence will be at the top of Obama's list of priorities. My friends, the closer we get to PE Obama's inauguration the more I can sense that change to our backwards energy policy is around the corner. How about you?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The EPA is seeking local applicants for its Green Jobs Training Program

According to Pop City the EPA is looking for 60 Pittsburgh area applicants for its Brownfields Jobs Training Program. The federal agency is looking for applicants who live in local brownfield areas, such as Braddock, Swissvale, Clairton, Duquesne, McKeesport and Homestead. The training will develop the individuals to become certified environmental technicians and brownfield remediation specialists.

From the Pop City announcement:

The jobs pay about $12 to $15 an hour and include health insurance and benefits. Job placement services are available after training. Graduates will receive licenses for positions such as field technicians and phase I environmental technicians that conduct soil, water, air and building material testing and may receive further certification as a lead or asbestos inspector or clean-up technician.
While $12 to $15 an hour doesn't sound like much, and it isn't, it is a start, and these are the types of jobs and skills that will soon be in high demand. The program will lead to higher paying positions once the trainees get some experience. The EPA reaching out to potential applicants in areas like the aforementioned East Pittsburgh neighborhoods is what I call the Van Jones effect. As Van Jones said, the green movement cannot be just about rich people putting solar panels on their rooftops. The green movement must be inclusive, and must be about green jobs for all, especially those who are struggling and looking for jobs that have the potential for advancement and higher incomes. Green jobs can and will be the "rising tide that lifts all boats" and I am glad to see this announcement that there are indeed real green job openings right here in Pittsburgh.

Project Better Place is on a Roll

Last week Shai Agassi, CEO of Better Place, announced a $1 billion project that will bring his electric vehicle network to the Bay Area. Now there is news that Agassi has struck a deal with the Governor of Hawaii to bring his electric car network to Aloha state by 2012. This is huge news for everyone concerned with the environment and energy independence, and it is proof that the state of Hawaii is serious about cutting its dependence on foreign oil by 70% by the year 2030.