Energy Efficiency and Climate Change in the news

415 investors representing over USD $32 trillion in assets statement on climate change

As institutional investors with millions of beneficiaries around the world, we reiterate our full support for the Paris Agreement [link] and strongly urge all governments to implement the actions that are needed to achieve the goals of the Agreement, with the utmost urgency. We call on global leaders to: Achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals; Accelerate private sector investment into the low carbon transition; Commit to improve climate-related financial reporting.



COP24 climate talks end in agreement – barely – More than 190 nations agreed Saturday night on a set of rules meant to help curb global warming

The so-called “Paris Rulebook”. This rulebook is supposed to put into motion the Paris Agreement on climate change. They punted, however, on a critical but complicated issue involving how countries trade and account for certain pollution. Brazil nearly blocked the process amid concerns that its proposals would lead to “double counting” and, essentially, cheating, according to observers and a senior negotiator involved in the discussions. That issue will have to be taken up at a later date in 2019. Ministers also did not agree to emphatically embrace the latest climate science, which stunned some attendees. Countries reached a “compromise” statement in which they welcomed the publication of an alarming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They stopped short, however, of welcoming its actual findings.



Climate Negotiators Reach an Overtime Deal to Keep Paris Pact Alive

by Brad Plumer

Diplomats from nearly 200 countries reached a deal on Saturday to keep the Paris climate agreement alive by adopting a detailed set of rules to implement the pact. The deal, struck after an all-night bargaining session, will ultimately require every country in the world to follow a uniform set of standards for measuring their planetwarming emissions and tracking their climate policies. And it calls on countries to step up their plans to cut emissions ahead of another round of talks in 2020. It also calls on richer countries to be clearer about the aid they intend to offer to help poorer nations install more clean energy or build resilience against natural disasters. And it builds a process in which countries that are struggling to meet their emissions goals can get help in getting back on track. The United States agreed to the deal despite President Trump’s vow to abandon the Paris Agreement. Diplomats and climate change activists said they hoped that fact would make it easier for the administration to change its mind and stay in the Paris Agreement, or for a future president to embrace the accord once again. The United States cannot formally withdraw from the agreement until late 2020.



Ted Talk by Dr. Katherine Hayhoe

The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it – How do you talk to someone who doesn’t believe in climate change? Not by rehashing the same data and facts we’ve been discussing for years, says climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. In this inspiring, pragmatic talk, Hayhoe shows how the key to having a real discussion is to connect over shared values like family, community and religion — and to prompt people to realize that they already care about a changing climate. “We can’t give in to despair,” she says. “We have to go out and look for the hope we need to inspire us to act — and that hope begins with a conversation, today.”



Stronger Evidence for Climate Change from UVA

Scott Doney

There’s more compelling evidence than ever that we need to pay attention to climate change. A new study published in the journal Science supports the findings of the 2009 EPA “Endangerment Finding” finding study co-author Scott Doney, Joe D. & Helen J. Kington Professor of Environmental Sciences at UVA and a member of the UVA Environmental Resilience Institute.



Strengthened scientific support for the Endangerment Finding for atmospheric greenhouse gases

The EPA Administrator found in 2009 that the Endangerment Finding (EF) for six long-lived greenhouse gases was “compellingly” supported by “strong and clear” scientific evidence. Since 2009, the amount, diversity, and sophistication of the evidence have increased dramatically, clearly strengthening the case for endangerment. New evidence about the extent, severity, and interconnectedness of impacts detected to date and projected for the future reinforces the case that climate change may reasonably be anticipated to endanger the health and welfare of current and future generations. For the sectors analyzed in the 2009 EF, new evidence expands the range of case studies, deepens the understanding of mechanisms, and analyzes the contribution of climate-related extremes. In many cases, new evidence points to the risk of impacts that are more severe or widespread than anticipated in 2009. Several categories of climate-change impacts, including effects on ocean acidification, violence, national security, and economic well-being, are now supported by such broad evidence that they warrant inclusion in the framing of endangerment. In sum, the EF, fully justified in 2009, is much more strongly justified in 2018.



Wind, solar to supply more electricity next year with coal providing less

by L.M. Sixel

The nation will get more of its electricity from wind and solar power next year and less from coal, the Energy Department reported. Combined, wind and solar generated electricity is expected to provide about 11 percent of electricity next year, up from 10 percent this year. Electricity generation from coal will provide about 26 percent of power next year, compared to 28 percent this year.



Hyundai Motor Group Reveals Hydrogen Fuel Vision

「FCEV Vision 2030」 reaffirming its commitment to accelerate the development of a hydrogen society by leveraging the group’s global leadership in fuel-cell technologies. It will drastically boost its annual fuel-cell systems production capacity to 700,000 units by 2030 and explore new business opportunities to supply its world-class fuel-cell systems to other transportation manufacturers of automobiles, drones, vessels, rolling stocks and forklifts. The Group’s proprietary fuel cell system combines hydrogen fuel with oxygen taken from the air to produce electricity. Without combustion, the system only emits water as a by-product whilst also purifying polluted air, making it the ultimate source of clean energy. With high energy density and ease of stack refueling, hydrogen would help reduce the comprehensive ownership costs by about 10 percent for all possible transportation means including rolling stocks, vessels and forklifts, according to a study by McKinsey & Company. The study also estimates that approximately 5.5 million~6.5 million fuel cell system units will be required by 2030 globally. HMG is the only company to establish a dedicated plant for commercial production of fuel cell systems. With the construction of an additional fuel cell plant, Hyundai can quickly target market success on a global scale.



Start-up to make 100% renewable hydrogen fuel

Tirthak Saha, cofounder and CTO of newly-launched Trolysis, a startup energy company producing industrial hydrogen, Trolysis was developed to help pioneer lasting climate change resolutions, such as deep emissions cuts. Utilizing only recycled aluminum scrap and water, Trolysis’s system can generate 100% renewable and clean hydrogen fuel. From input to electrolysis, conversion then recycling, the system orchestrates chemical reactions that split the molecules of water to create hydrogen fuel. Such optimism makes sense, considering Trolysis’s fuel for the future isn’t far off. Timelines aren’t set in stone yet, but the cofounder is confident the system will be selling to industrial customers in the merchant hydrogen market within half a year. By 2021, their product should be ready to be purchased by household consumers, who will be able to use hydrogen fuel to power everything from phones, homes to electric vehicles.



How Does YOUR Utility Stack Up when it comes to Energy Efficiency?

SACE is pleased to release our 2018 Energy Efficiency in the Southeast. In 2017, utilityadministered efficiency programs in the Southeast eliminated 2,375 GWh of energy waste, cut CO2 emissions by over 1 million tons, and achieved 11,206 MW of peak energy-saving capacity. This is enough energy to power 2.1 million homes for a year.
Duke Energy is the 2017 regional leader, responsible for over half of those savings (1,260 GWh).



Florida lawmakers take the lead in combating carbon emissions — and get it right

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a South Florida Democrat who’s witnessed the region’s “nuisance flooding,” even on sunny days. Deutch is committed to addressing the threat we face from sea-level rise. Two years ago, with Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Miami — who was defeated by a Democrat in November — he created the Climate Solutions Caucus, which now has 90 House members — 45 Republicans and 45 Democrats. Sadly, the climate caucus splintered before the 2016 election, when only four Republican members voted against a House resolution that denounced the idea of a carbon tax as detrimental to the economy. Deutch bounced back two weeks ago with a small bipartisan group, including Republican Rep. Francis Rooney of Southwest Florida. Together, they introduced a bill that would impose a fee — not a tax — on carbon emissions, and return the money to citizens. The fee would gradually increase the price of carbon products, like coal and petroleum, based on the emissions they produce. The goal is to encourage consumers to use less, and to spur coal and oil companies to innovate clean-energy solutions. “We are taking a monumental step forward in showing our colleagues and the country there is a bipartisan solution to climate change that addresses risks to our health, environment, and economy and puts a price on pollution to end our reliance on carbon,” Deutch said on a conference call with journalists.



This sparkling water is the first drink to get its fizz from CO2 captured from the atmosphere

by Adele Peters

In Switzerland, a bottling plant owned by CocaCola is finding commercial applications for new climate capture technology. Coca-Cola HBC Switzerland, the bottling plant that makes the drinks, just partnered with Climeworks, one of the world’s pioneers of direct air capture of carbon dioxide, as a new supplier. At its plants, Climeworks uses stacked shipping containers filled with technology that pulls air inside and through filters that capture CO2 like an ultrapowerful tree. Once a filter is full, the collector is heated, releasing the gas in a pure form that can be injected deep underground for storage–one way to help begin to address the fact that the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is higher than it has been at any point in the last 400,000 years–or used by manufacturers. If you put CO2 in soda or mineral water, of course, it’s not like sequestering it underground: When you open the bottle, the fizz comes out. And though the total global demand from soda and food companies for the product is around 6 million tons a year, the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that we may need to remove around 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year this century to help prevent the worst impacts of climate change. But by beginning with the soda industry, Climeworks hopes it can scale up its technology.



More Than 100 US Cities Commit To 100% Renewable Energy

Cincinnati, Ohio became the 100th city in the United States to commit to 100% renewable energy on December 5, when the City Council approved a resolution setting that target for 2025. A day later, Dunedin, Florida’s City Commission did the same thing, bringing the total to 101. Across the country, cities, towns, and several states have pledged to transition to renewables, according to the Sierra Club.



The Arctic Ocean has lost 95 percent of its oldest ice — a startling sign of what’s to come

By Chris Mooney

Over the past three decades of global warming, the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic has declined by a stunning 95 percent, according the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual Arctic Report Card.


Helping Companies Finance a Clean Energy Future

by Amy Brown

NRG has developed a plan called Renewable Select to simplify the renewables procurement process and make it easier for companies to choose renewables. The plan transforms the lengthy and complex traditional energy procurement process into a cost competitive, easy to execute transaction. Its benefits, according to NRG, include: A standard contract with straightforward terms, no need to sign a power purchase agreement (PPA); Renewable energy procured in the amount desired, no large commitments required; A simplified corporate approval process, no lengthy 20-year contracts; A single, consolidated bill, no juggling multiple bills by electricity source; The ability to point to the physical location where your renewable electricity is produced and even the opportunity to receive naming rights. “Renewable Select is completely changing the game,” Clemmons says. “For instance, a traditional Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) can take 12 to 18 months just to negotiate. With Renewable Select, we can close the transaction and get everyone comfortable in less than two months—a tremendous time saver.” “Compared to what is generally available in the market, Renewable Select offers fixed price solutions for renewable energy at very competitive rates. That is a huge benefit to companies, to be able to lock in that figure in their energy budget,” she explains.



Nest Uses Energy-Saving Technology To Relieve The Low-Income Energy Burden

Launched on Earth Day 2018, the Power Project is a platform to bring energy-saving technology to those who need it most, to help families struggling with high energy costs, and raise awareness of the gap in access to affordable home energy. So far, the project has donated over $800,000 to nonprofits like United Way and Habitat for Humanity who are helping low income families with energy costs. Over the next five years, Nest and Google are committed to working closely with partners to install one million energy- and money-saving Nest thermostats in homes across the U.S.



Self-tracking solar panels, inspired by a lizard’s feet 

Scientists at Harvard University have developed a type of material that can be programmed to move in response to various stimuli, including light. One possible application, says the group, could be in solar panels with integrated microstructures that track the sun without any energy input.



ReVision Energy launches fund to help nonprofits tap solar energy

by Laurie Schreiber 

ReVision Energy has started an impact investment fund business, ReVision Solar Impact Partners, to help nonprofits and municipalities acquire cost-effective solar energy. The new company will allow nonprofits to acquire solar energy despite the fact they can’t take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit and an approximately 20% depreciation benefit available to tax-paying entities and homeowners, company cofounder Phil Coupe told Mainebiz. ReVision Solar Impact Partners “solves this problem by attracting tax equity investors who can ‘monetize’ the tax benefits in a way that benefits nonprofits and municipalities,” he said. ReVision Solar Impact Partners launched this year and has closed its first two inaugural funds, totaling $2.6 million. That funding resulted in roughly 1.1 megawatts of completed solar arrays for 13 nonprofits and municipalities from Kittery to Bucksport, as well as in New Hampshire. The nonprofits include social service agencies, low-income housing communities, schools, churches and municipalities. Coupe told Mainebiz that those arrays are expected to offset roughly 1.3 million pounds of carbon population from regional fossil fuel power plant each year. A third fund, which will build seven arrays, is due to close soon, he said. There will be five to eight funds in 2019, ideally totaling about $10 million in project development, he said. The fund business is looking for investors, he added.



Energy Efficiency of Biorefinery Schemes Using Sugarcane Bagasse as Raw Material

From 1 ton of sugarcane, 280 kg of bagasse can be obtained. Sugarcane bagasse (SCB) is a waste that is rich in polysaccharides, which makes it a promising raw material for obtaining products under biorefinery concept. The objective of this work was to analyze from the energetic point of view, different biorefinery schemes in which SCB is employed as a raw material.



Office Depot (ODP) Becomes Installation Partner for Google (GOOGL) and Nest Smart Devices

Office Depot is now a certified installation partner for Google and Nest smart home devices. This means that customers can not only buy their Google Home Minis and Nest cameras, thermostats and more from Office Depot, they can also have them installed and connected to their other smart home devices as well. As a Nest Pro Partner, Office Depot’s Workonomy™ Tech Services can install a single device or integrate several smart devices, creating a secure integrated smart home or office. Office Depot’s new smart home and office installation services start at $99, however, during the month of December only, the company is offering all customers $20 off inhome or in-office installations. To schedule your free one hour on-site consultation or learn more about Office Depot’s Workonomy™ Tech Services, visit any one of our approximately 1,400 locations, call 1.888.315.5073 or click here.



Singapore Energy-Saving Firm Wins $33 Million KKR Investment

KKR & Co. is buying a stake of as much as S$45 million ($33 million) in Barghest Building Performance, a Singapore provider of energy saving solutions, in the private equity firm’s first impact investment globally.



Taking Renewable Energy From the Last Wilderness to Our Personal Supply Chain

Expeditions to what Swan calls the “last wildernesses” needed to be as efficient as possible. They also taught him the need to take action to preserve our polar regions, which fueled his passion for renewable energy sources. He now calls himself a renewable energy champion and tester. On his most recent trip to the South Pole, he and his 24-year-old son, Barney, made the trip with only renewable resources, like a natural ice melter that relied on solar energy — something that Swan believes can be used for Mars exploration. “Remember: In our business, we’re dead if (the technology) doesn’t work,” he says.
He believes that sustainable behaviors need to be practiced in supply chains — and not just business ones. We all have our own personal supply chain consisting of the products we use and the companies we work with.