September 28, 2011

CA bill explores renewable energy via traffic

L.A.'s much-loathed, incessant traffic may actually benefit society and the environment should Governor Jerry Brown pass a renewable energy bill by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake). The bill would require the California Energy Commission - the state's primary energy policy and planning agency - to explore generating green electricity from passing cars, trucks and trains.

Are you familiar with piezoelectric technology? It's okay, we weren't either. Here's how it works. Sensors are placed under a roadway, and the vibrations produced by vehicles are converted into electricity. The measure centers on this technology, and Gatto says other countries are already reaping from its use.

“Thirty years ago, who would have believed that black silicon panels left in the desert could generate solar power,” Gatto said in a written statement, according to LA Canada. “And just 10 years ago, people were incredulous when you described a Bluetooth device. This technology is very real, and it merits study.”

A Japanese railway company installed said sensors under its Tokyo train station's floor and powers all of the station's displays from the energy generated by pedestrians. Israel has also installed sensors under some highways.

Gatto's legislation passed both the Senate with a 27-9 vote and the Assembly with amendments in a 56-21 vote.

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