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Green tech finds, 10/6/11

frito lay near net zero plant

A plug-in outdoor table, and how your labtop might contribute to rainforest destruction: this week’s green tech finds.

Wisconsin as a microgrid hub: There’s more than ugly political battles going on in the Badger State. A university-industry consortium announced an initiative to establish “microgrids” at UW campuses in Milwaukee and Madison over the next two years. (via @RepowerAmerica)

Electric vehicles as energy storage devices: This isn’t a new concept, but one worth repeating: electric cars could contribute to the growth of renewable energy generation by serving as storage devices for electricity from fluctuating wind and solar power. EV owners could even turn this into a revenue opportunity by feeding some of that energy back to the grid.

GE gets the “EV-renewable energy” connection: This week at Greenbuild, the company announced a partnership with Inovateus Solar to develop solar-powered carports, complete with electric vehicle charging stations. (via @greeneconpost)

Green Doritos: No, Frito-Lay isn’t doing anything with its chip recipes (that I know of, anyway), but they have renovated their Casa Grande, Arizona plant into a “near net zero” facility (above). (via Triplepundit)

New grid initiative a boon for renewables? The Obama administration has announced the Rapid Response Team for Transmission (RRTT), which would accelerate and streamline the process for approving electric transmission infrastructure. Carl Zichella at NRDC think this could be a boon for renewable energy development – if it’s done right.

How your laptop affects tropical rainforests: Great lifecycle analysis at The Guardian of the aluminum and other mined materials that go into your laptop, and how recycling aluminum can make a real difference for preserving these vital lands and avoiding the construction of more dams in rainforest areas.

The outdoor table you can plug into: Want to take your laptop outside, but worry about running out of juice? The Sun Table incorporates solar panels so you can enjoy the sun and power your devices with it. (via Earth Techling)

Something from the green tech space hit your radar this week that we missed? Let us know about it in the comments.

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Image credit: Frito-Lay