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Fieri wants wine tasting

(AP) -- Celebrity restaurateur Guy Fieri is hoping to open a wine tasting room on the site of a 5-acre Sonoma County vineyard he bought last year.

The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa reported that the star of the Food Network series “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” has submitted plans for the project, which the county has to review for its potential impact on local traffic and noise.

Fieri's application states that in addition to the tasting room and a commercial kitchen, the Santa Rosa property would host up to 14 large events a year and be built in an Italian style.

Fieri told the newspaper that he sold the vineyard's pinot noir grapes to two area winemakers last year, but hopes to create a family label that he would name after his sons.

Signless burger joint

(AP) -- Residents of Castro Valley, a San Francisco Bay Area suburb, are speaking up to support a 1950's-style sign that county planners ordered removed from a new hamburger restaurant.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday that the owners of Boulevard Burger complied with the order last week because the planners said a portion of the three-foot-tall sign improperly reached above the restaurant's roofline.

Steve Ontiveros owns a business up the street from the burger joint. He said the sign enlivened Castro Valley Boulevard during the few weeks it was up and that Alameda County officials should have consulted local residents before ordering its removal.

The Chronicle said signage controversies are a recurring theme in Castro Valley, population 61,000. In 1997, the county was forced to take down a $106,000 welcome sculpture it had paid an artist to install at the community's entrance.

First Solar targets

(Bloomberg) -- First Solar Inc. and Abengoa SA's renewable energy unit are targeting the Middle East and North Africa as utilities seek to cut reliance on burning oil and natural gas in power plants to meet demand.

The providers of plants generating electricity from the sun can produce energy at a price competitive with fossil fuels when accounting for the profit oil producers forgo by burning crude at home, said Raffi Garabedian, chief technology officer for First Solar.

Photovoltaic, or PV, cells like those developed by First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) capture sunlight and convert heat directly into electricity.

Concentrated solar power, or CSP, plants -- like those built by Abengoa Solar (PNK: ABGOY) -- use mirrors reflecting the sun's rays to heat a fluid that creates steam to turn a turbine.

PV plants are cheaper than CSP facilities because panel prices have plunged at a faster rate than the fluid-based plants, also known as solar thermal units, Seage said.

The lower-cost power the PV plants can generate has the disadvantage of being available only when the sun is shining, while solar thermal plants can store the heated fluid for future use or use gas supply to raise production levels, Seage said.

HK infrastructure

(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong will spend at least HK$31 billion ($3.9 billion) building infrastructure to handle waste through 2021, as it seeks to alleviate a space shortage at landfills.

The government is considering facilities treating food waste, expanding landfills and building incinerators, Christine Loh, undersecretary for environment, said Monday.

The city's plans to expand landfills at its nature reserves and build large incinerators have met with opposition from lawmakers and environmental groups, stalling earlier proposals by the government. Existing landfills will be full within seven years, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Jan. 16.

Part of the proposed spending includes two food waste treatment plants and landfill expansions, Loh said. Food leftovers represent about 40 percent of the city's trash going into dumps.

The government is building an incinerator in Tuen Mun, in northwest Hong Kong, Loh said.

Hong Kong wants to increase its recycling rate for materials including metals, glass and paper to 55 percent from 48 percent, Loh said.

To achieve this goal, the government wants to allocate ship berths for recyclers and implement a levy on each glass bottle, she said.

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