Last-minute green gifts for cleantech fans

This year has seen the launch of a number of cool green gadgets and gizmos — it’s also been a big year for electric car launches. If you want to put something really green under the tree, here are some ideas that may inspire you — and that also show how green has become a big business, targeting consumers’ desire for sustainability at a range of price points.

DOE loan chief: Where we’ll invest in 2011

As the Department of Energy moves forward to disperse loan guarantees to grow cutting-edge cleantech, its focus will shift from the maturing sectors of solar and wind to less-developed areas like biofuels and carbon capture.

Smart grid in Europe is all about renewables

George Bernard Shaw once claimed that England and America were “two countries divided by a common language”. This adage may hold true even when the language is smart grid.

Natural gas looks to oust coal and win over oil companies

The news about natural gas just keeps coming. Today, boutique investment bank Cascadia Capital predicted that oil will hit $100 per barrel next year, which will spur oil companies to expand their operations by buying up natural gas assets and companies.

GE’s cleantech contest highlights 3 trends to watch

GE this week announced 12 winners in the first $55 million phase of its venture-funded $200 million Ecoimagination contest. The worldwide competition aims to hunt down the most promising cleantech startups, an area GE is actively investing in and chief executive Jeffrey Immelt has underscored in recent moves and speeches.

More trouble for Solyndra as factory closes, layoffs start

Troubled solar panel maker Solyndra has announced it will close its first factory to save $60 million in operating expenses, and will lay off 40 workers just seven weeks after opening its second plant, a $733 million facility.

Smart grid could mean your energy bill goes up

Here’s a novel thought — as homeowners slap solar panels on their rooftops and unplug from the grid, users of traditional energy could see their bills go up.