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Here’s some of the latest action happening today on the GreenBeat:
Toyota announces that it has sold 3 million hybrid vehicles. The car company has 18 hybrid models, which use a mix of conventional fuel and electric power to increase fuel efficiency. It first launched its hallmark electric car, the Prius, in 1997. The company is on track to sell 1 million hybrid vehicles each year.
Progress Energy will drop $500 million into developing smart power grids in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. The grids in Florida and the Carolinas will provide electricity to around 3.1 million customers. Progress Energy will use IBM’s WebSphere software to manage its smart grids — electricity grids that are more efficient operationally and can save power and money. The last smart grid program IBM piloted shaved 15 percent off typical power consumption in North Carolina.
BP buys majority stake in Brazilian biofuels developer for $680 million. The company paid for an 83 percent stake in the Brazilian ethanol manufacturer. It is the largest deal in BP’s alternative energies unit to date. BP has tried to diversify into biofuels over the past several years amid concerns of political unrest in the Middle East, one of the largest suppliers of oil.
Xtreme Power, DTE Energy launch solar power project at Michigan Ford factory. The deal will bring $5.8 million to Xtreme Power, a provider of smart energy storage units. DTE Energy’s installations will generate 500 kilowatts of power, which will be stored in Xtreme Power’s 750-kilowatt storage system — enough to power 100 homes for a year.
Solar panel manufacturer Suntech Power posts strong fourth-quarter earnings. The company made $945 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, up 61.9 percent from the same quarter a year earlier. Shipments of photovoltaic cells, which capture sunlight and convert it to electricity, were up 87.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 when compared to the same quarter a year earlier. Suntech made $2.9 billion in 2010, up 71.4 percent from 2009.