Former coal miners receive training for renewable energy jobs

October 3, 2017 by  
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Over half of the United States’ electricity came from coal in 2000. That figure has plummeted to around one third in 2016, and thousands of coal workers have lost their jobs . But former fossil fuel workers have skills that could translate well to jobs like installing solar panels or working on wind turbines . Other programs teaching former miners computer coding and beekeeping are also aiding the transition away from fossil fuels to a greener future. Coal miners once found roles in West Virginia and Wyoming , and now alternative energy training programs in those states offer new hope. For example, there’s Solar Holler in West Virginia, whose goal, according to their website, is to revitalize Appalachian communities with solar power . They’re working with Coalfield Development to train people to become solar panel installers. Coalfield Development is also rehabilitating buildings and starting an agriculture program, including transforming an old mine area into a solar-powered fish farm, according to The New York Times. Related: The wind turbine manufacturer putting unemployed coal miners to work Or there’s Goldwind Americas , a wind turbine manufacturer offering a training program for coal miners that started earlier this year in Wyoming . The miners could help construct a massive wind farm , and the company will employ up to 200 workers to maintain the farm after it’s built. Appalachian Headwaters is another organization providing an alternative for former coal miners. They’re turning an old camp into an apiary, with the goal of helping coal workers and veterans get a start in the honey business. Next year, they’ll give around 150 hives to 35 workers either for free or with a no- or low-interest loan. Solar Holler founder Dan Conant said diversification is important in the area – the solar program so far only trains 10 workers a year. There are challenges in the transition to a clean energy future, but for now, programs like the ones above offer new training and roles for unemployed miners. Via The New York Times and Axios Images via Bureau of Land Management on Flickr and Coalfield Development Corporation Facebook

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Former coal miners receive training for renewable energy jobs

The Power of Business Advocacy to Accelerate a Clean Economy

October 2, 2017 by  
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How does public policy determine clean economy business outcomes?  Why is it imperative for business leaders to leverage their market power to truly accelerate clean energy, climate and sustainability innovations at the policymaking level — especially under this challenging federal administration? A Congressman, Google’s head of energy policy and market development, and a former White House Chief Sustainability Officer turned renewable energy finance entrepreneur share their stories and insights on the way forward.

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The Power of Business Advocacy to Accelerate a Clean Economy

Corporate renewable energy buyers remain undeterred

September 19, 2017 by  
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The vast majority of corporate energy purchasers plans to pick up the pace on renewables in the decade ahead, according to research by GreenBiz and Apex Clean Energy.

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Corporate renewable energy buyers remain undeterred

Hot topic: It takes more than clean power to reach renewables targets

September 19, 2017 by  
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Cargill, General Motors, Kimberly-Clark, Mars and P&G throw their weight behind an effort to take stock of thermal loads.

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Hot topic: It takes more than clean power to reach renewables targets

Episode 92: Clean energy buyers shift policy; a risky future

September 15, 2017 by  
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In this week’s episode, why trickle-down sustainability doesn’t work, the state of clean energy buying and what BSR has learned at 25.

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Episode 92: Clean energy buyers shift policy; a risky future

Hip-hop has a message for urban planners

September 15, 2017 by  
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Michael Ford seeks to remix urban architecture to represent diversity and increase minority participation in architecture professions.

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Hip-hop has a message for urban planners

The myth of the apolitical CEO

September 15, 2017 by  
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Is the current surge of political activism on the part of U.S. CEOs a repackaging of business-as-usual advocacy or acts of moral rectitude?

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The myth of the apolitical CEO

Australia now generates enough renewable energy to power 70% of homes

August 28, 2017 by  
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Renewable energy is taking over Australia . New figures reveal the sector generated enough electricity for 70 percent of Australian homes during the last financial year, according to Green Energy Markets . But even better than that, once 2016-2017 clean power projects are completed, renewable energy might actually be able to power 90 percent of homes. Green Energy Markets just launched their first Australian Renewable Energy Index this week, and the findings were thrilling for the renewable energy industry. Between July 2016 and June 2017, the country generated enough clean power for 7.1 million homes. Related: Australia announces massive $1B solar farm with the world’s largest battery At the end of 2016-2017, Green Energy Markets found 46 large-scale clean energy projects were under construction. They estimated these projects would employ 8,868 people full-time for a year. They also found nearly 150,000 rooftop solar systems had been installed, and could provide enough energy for more than 226,000 houses. From design to sales to installation, these rooftop systems supported 3,769 full-time jobs. They’ll provide about $1.6 billion in power bill savings during the next 10 years. Hydro-electricity offered the largest source of renewable energy at 40 percent; wind provided 31 percent while rooftop solar generated 18 percent. Renewable sources comprised 17.2 percent of all the electricity generated in the country, helping Australia avoid the same amount of carbon pollution as if 8.1 million cars, over half the cars in the country, were taken off roads. Tristan Edis, analyst at Green Energy Markets, said renewables have launched a “construction jobs and investment boom.” Advocacy group GetUp provided funding for the report, and the groups plan to publish a new Australian Renewable Energy Index each month. GetUp energy campaigns director Miriam Lyons said, “everyday Australians are voting with their rooftops” in a move heralding “the end of the era of big polluting energy companies dominating the market and manipulating prices to fill their own pockets.” Via The Guardian and Green Energy Markets Images via Lawrence Murray on Flickr and CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

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Kenya introduces world’s harshest law on plastic bags

August 28, 2017 by  
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Kenya has been a major plastic bag exporter to the nearby region. But now the country is cracking down on the polluting bags with the toughest law of its kind in the world. Kenyans selling, producing, or just using plastic bags could face a $40,000 fine or imprisonment for as long as four years. Kenya’s plastic bag law came into effect just this week. According to Reuters, the country in East Africa joins over 40 countries worldwide that have either banned, partly banned, or put a tax on single-use plastic bags, such as Rwanda, Italy, and China. Under Kenya’s new law, police can target any person carrying a plastic bag, although environment minister Judy Wakhungu told Reuters enforcement would initially prioritize suppliers and manufacturers, and that the common man “will not be harmed.” Related: Morocco just officially banned plastic bags Not everyone is happy with the new law, which took Kenya more than 10 years – and three attempts – to pass. Kenya Association of Manufacturers spokesperson Samuel Matonda said 176 manufacturers will have to close, with around 60,000 jobs lost. But other people point to the environmental cost of plastic bags: it can take between 500 and 1,000 years for them to break down. And the bags have been showing up in cows intended for human consumption. In slaughterhouses in Nairobi, some of these cows had 20 bags taken out of their stomachs. County vet Mbuthi Kinyanjui said, “This is something we didn’t get 10 years ago but now it’s almost on a daily basis.” Kenya borders the Indian Ocean, and plastic bags can drift into the ocean and end up consumed by whales and dolphins, who ultimately die as their stomachs fill up with trash. The bags can strangle or suffocate marine creatures like turtles and seabirds. Plastic also ends up in fish later eaten by humans. Marine litter expert Habib El-Habr, working with the United Nations Environment Program in Kenya, said, “If we continue like this, by 2050, we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish.” Supermarket chains in Kenya such as Nakumatt and Carrefour have begun offering cloth bags as alternatives to plastic for customers. Via Reuters Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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Kenya introduces world’s harshest law on plastic bags

How Carbon Lighthouse uses machine learning to achieve energy efficiency

August 15, 2017 by  
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Brendan Millstein, CEO of Carbon Lighthouse, is out to prove that solving for climate change is good business. “We’ve doubled every year for past seven years and eliminated the emissions of four power plants,” he said of the company, which helps buildings improve energy efficiency, utilizing machine learning and data to help building owners optimize their electricity use.  The broad concept for every building owner to save money while saving power is to focus on the financials of clean energy use, like fact that the price of solar has dropped steeply. 

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How Carbon Lighthouse uses machine learning to achieve energy efficiency

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