EVs are just one part of sustainable transportation

February 17, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on EVs are just one part of sustainable transportation

EVs are just one part of sustainable transportation Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 02/17/2021 – 01:15 Want more great analysis of electric and sustainable transport? Sign up for Transport Weekly , our free email newsletter. While electric vehicles hold big promise in 2021, another aspect of decarbonizing transportation could get major support this year: reducing car driving. Cutting down on car trips isn’t about guilt-tripping folks into abandoning cars. Many of us need to use cars. It’s about providing much better opportunities, infrastructure and incentives for alternatives to driving including walking, biking, micromobility and public transit, as well as better options for remote work and urban housing. Two transportation-related silver linings of the COVID-19 era are: Many cities quickly adapted to shelter-in-place orders by offering new mobility opportunities. Slow streets programs opened up roads for pedestrians and bicycles, while cities opened up parking spaces for outdoor dining, helping small businesses.  Companies that can do so are making plans to embrace policies that could make remote work permanent for substantial portions of their workforce. For example, Salesforce announced last week its plan for flexible work schedules that offer some employees the opportunity to work entirely at home (wherever home happens to be). As transportation leader and general badass Janette Sadik-Khan put it last month during a conversation at Micromobility World :  The pandemic revealed the streets that we always needed. Back in the day, Sadik-Khan helped then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg successfully remove cars from Times Square, and launched New York’s bikeshare program, as Commissioner for the New York City Department of Transportation. Today, she advises mayors of cities around the world as a principal of Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic consultancy created by the ex-mayor. Now that, strangely enough, 2020 has primed cities to make choices about better streets for people (instead of just cars), 2021 is a prime opportunity to keep the momentum going by building back with lower-carbon transportation infrastructure. And that’s not just about EV infrastructure. A lot of this work will be about creating better and more bike lanes, a major boost in funding for public transit (President Joe Biden is pledging $20 billion) and even encouraging city transportation incentive tools (such as congestion zones and tolls). In the world of transportation, sometimes it’s the non-tech ideas and solutions that could have a big effect on decarbonization. Sadik-Khan is bullish about the newly appointed federal Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg. And you should be, too. She described him as “a secretary that looks at streets as more than moving cars.” “This is going to be a new ‘road order’ and a new era,” she said.  Sadik-Khan also explained why having a former mayor as DOT Secretary is “extremely important.” “He understands what cities need,” noting that mayors get in the weeds on budgets and community buy-in for new infrastructure projects. Buttigieg also just nominated another former NYC Commissioner, Polly Trottenberg, as his DOT Deputy Secretary.  While I spend a lot of my time reporting on the rise of electric vehicles, and the emergence of new climate-tech innovations, in the world of transportation sometimes it’s the non-tech ideas and solutions that could have a big effect on decarbonization. Protected and expanded bike lanes are not a tech solution. Better-designed rapid bus routes are not a tech solution.  Sadik-Khan explained it like this: The smart mobility innovation of this century is not going to be using tech to reduce traffic congestion. It’s going to be about building a city where you don’t have to drive in the first place. At the Micromobility World event, I got to moderate a conversation focused on Scaling Unsung Climate Champions: 2-Wheelers (check out the video if you’re interested); it featured transportation leader Dan Sperling and Formula E driver Lucas di Grassi, among others. What stuck out to me from this conversation is that transportation options such as micromobility are not widely seen as climate solutions compared to electric passenger vehicles. And really they should be.  Yes, I’m caught up in the excitement and idea that the internal combustion engine vehicle is finally being replaced by the electric car. But a whole other set of solutions — some not sexy and some controversial — will help continue to decarbonize transportation and help us move more off of a reliance on all types of cars, too. Pull Quote In the world of transportation, sometimes it’s the non-tech ideas and solutions that could have a big effect on decarbonization. Topics Transportation & Mobility Featured Column Driving Change Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A slow street scene from Oakland, California. Courtesy of City of Oakland

Originally posted here:
EVs are just one part of sustainable transportation

Amazon aims to clean up aviation

January 27, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Amazon aims to clean up aviation

Amazon aims to clean up aviation Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 01/27/2021 – 02:00 The aviation sector in a pandemic has 99 problems. And climate change remains a big one.  The industry aims to build back better, aware that it’s one of the few sectors that hasn’t yet embraced electrification. The key solutions today are biofuels, only displacing a mere fraction of fossil fuels-based jet fuel, and offsets. But in reality, with revenues and ticket sales way down, there’s only so much commercial airlines actually will do to meet decarbonization goals. And if you look at the aviation industry’s historical pledges to add in bio-based jet fuels, before the pandemic, it’s fallen woefully short. Enter air cargo. More specifically, Amazon’s air shipping business, which along with its entire global logistics supply chain juggernaut is booming.  A startup called Infinium announced it has raised a round of funding including backing from Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund. Infinium makes biofuel by taking hydrogen made with clean power and electrolysis, combining it with carbon dioxide and running it through two thermochemical processes — turning it into a replacement fuel for airplanes, ships and large trucks. Infinium, spun out of another company called Greyrock Energy , says because the biofuel (dubbed an “electrofuel”) is made with clean energy and CO2, it’s a “net-zero carbon” fuel. The fuel isn’t yet being made commercially just yet, and it’ll take at least three years to build a factory and start making it at any kind of scale. Economic production at scale is the key metric for biofuel makers.  Still, Amazon’s support is the latest indicator that the logistics giant is eyeing ways to clean up aviation. Amazon Vice President of Worldwide Sustainability Kara Hurst released a statement about the investment: Amazon created The Climate Pledge Fund to support the development of technologies and services that will enable Amazon and other companies to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement 10 years early — achieving net-zero carbon by 2040. Infinium’s electrofuels solution has real potential to help decarbonize transport that carries heavier loads and travels long distances, including air and freight, as well as heavy trucks. This isn’t Amazon’s first investment in biofuels. Last summer Amazon announced that it plans to buy 6 million gallons of bio-jet fuel via a division of Shell and produced by World Energy, a big biodiesel producer. The companies said the jet fuel will be made from agricultural waste fats and oils (such as used cooking oil and inedible fats from beef processing). The world of bio-jet fuel is just getting started. Shell is emerging as a player, but so is Neste, a Finnish company that also makes a renewable diesel product for trucking. Last year, Neste delivered its first batch of sustainable aviation fuel via pipeline for airlines refueling at San Francisco International Airport to use. DHL Express is using Neste’s sustainable aviation fuel at SFO.  Amazon is worried about the carbon intensity of the fossil fuel-based jet fuel it uses because it’s trying to get to zero carbon by 2040. Air shipping, a growing sector, is the most carbon-intensive way to ship a product. As Amazon Air Director Raoul Sreenivasan said at our VERGE 20 online conference in October: “The world is watching what we do. And we believe we have a responsibility to use our scale for good and make the appropriate investments to achieve this goal.” Because bio-jet fuel is at such an early stage, Amazon can’t just go out and switch over its entire air fleet to the stuff. But there are a couple of things Amazon can do as the industry is still maturing. Amazon is already electrifying the ground air equipment at its airport facilities. It’s also putting solar up on buildings at the airports. Most important, Amazon can use its heft to help move the sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry forward. As Sreenivasan said about SAF at VERGE 20: “Our hope is that by making an investment and a commitment that others will partner with us and cause somewhat of a ripple effect in the industry that will drive demand and supply.” Essentially, if Amazon’s moving in, hopefully the rest of aviation will follow. With more supply deals and investments in new players, we’ll see if the logistics world leader can green up one of the hardest-to-abate sectors: aviation.  Want more great analysis of electric and sustainable transport? Sign up for Transport Weekly , our free email newsletter. Topics Transportation & Mobility Supply Chain Aviation Logisitics Featured Column Driving Change Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

Read more from the original source:
Amazon aims to clean up aviation

Amazon aims to clean up aviation

January 27, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Amazon aims to clean up aviation

Amazon aims to clean up aviation Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 01/27/2021 – 02:00 The aviation sector in a pandemic has 99 problems. And climate change remains a big one.  The industry aims to build back better, aware that it’s one of the few sectors that hasn’t yet embraced electrification. The key solutions today are biofuels, only displacing a mere fraction of fossil fuels-based jet fuel, and offsets. But in reality, with revenues and ticket sales way down, there’s only so much commercial airlines actually will do to meet decarbonization goals. And if you look at the aviation industry’s historical pledges to add in bio-based jet fuels, before the pandemic, it’s fallen woefully short. Enter air cargo. More specifically, Amazon’s air shipping business, which along with its entire global logistics supply chain juggernaut is booming.  A startup called Infinium announced it has raised a round of funding including backing from Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund. Infinium makes biofuel by taking hydrogen made with clean power and electrolysis, combining it with carbon dioxide and running it through two thermochemical processes — turning it into a replacement fuel for airplanes, ships and large trucks. Infinium, spun out of another company called Greyrock Energy , says because the biofuel (dubbed an “electrofuel”) is made with clean energy and CO2, it’s a “net-zero carbon” fuel. The fuel isn’t yet being made commercially just yet, and it’ll take at least three years to build a factory and start making it at any kind of scale. Economic production at scale is the key metric for biofuel makers.  Still, Amazon’s support is the latest indicator that the logistics giant is eyeing ways to clean up aviation. Amazon Vice President of Worldwide Sustainability Kara Hurst released a statement about the investment: Amazon created The Climate Pledge Fund to support the development of technologies and services that will enable Amazon and other companies to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement 10 years early — achieving net-zero carbon by 2040. Infinium’s electrofuels solution has real potential to help decarbonize transport that carries heavier loads and travels long distances, including air and freight, as well as heavy trucks. This isn’t Amazon’s first investment in biofuels. Last summer Amazon announced that it plans to buy 6 million gallons of bio-jet fuel via a division of Shell and produced by World Energy, a big biodiesel producer. The companies said the jet fuel will be made from agricultural waste fats and oils (such as used cooking oil and inedible fats from beef processing). The world of bio-jet fuel is just getting started. Shell is emerging as a player, but so is Neste, a Finnish company that also makes a renewable diesel product for trucking. Last year, Neste delivered its first batch of sustainable aviation fuel via pipeline for airlines refueling at San Francisco International Airport to use. DHL Express is using Neste’s sustainable aviation fuel at SFO.  Amazon is worried about the carbon intensity of the fossil fuel-based jet fuel it uses because it’s trying to get to zero carbon by 2040. Air shipping, a growing sector, is the most carbon-intensive way to ship a product. As Amazon Air Director Raoul Sreenivasan said at our VERGE 20 online conference in October: “The world is watching what we do. And we believe we have a responsibility to use our scale for good and make the appropriate investments to achieve this goal.” Because bio-jet fuel is at such an early stage, Amazon can’t just go out and switch over its entire air fleet to the stuff. But there are a couple of things Amazon can do as the industry is still maturing. Amazon is already electrifying the ground air equipment at its airport facilities. It’s also putting solar up on buildings at the airports. Most important, Amazon can use its heft to help move the sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry forward. As Sreenivasan said about SAF at VERGE 20: “Our hope is that by making an investment and a commitment that others will partner with us and cause somewhat of a ripple effect in the industry that will drive demand and supply.” Essentially, if Amazon’s moving in, hopefully the rest of aviation will follow. With more supply deals and investments in new players, we’ll see if the logistics world leader can green up one of the hardest-to-abate sectors: aviation.  Want more great analysis of electric and sustainable transport? Sign up for Transport Weekly , our free email newsletter. Topics Transportation & Mobility Supply Chain Aviation Logisitics Featured Column Driving Change Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

View original post here:
Amazon aims to clean up aviation

Trump administration disregards border wall’s environmental impact

December 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Trump administration disregards border wall’s environmental impact

An environmental row rages on as the Trump administration races against time to complete its target 450 miles of the border wall along the American-Mexico border. At the beginning of 2020, the Trump administration vowed to meet this goal within the year. In a last-ditch effort to deliver the promise, workers across 37 different construction sites along the border rush to meet the deadline. While workers erect the bollard steel wall, environmental conservationists and other groups voice frustration over how these reckless actions fail to consider nature. According to Kate Scott, Executive Director and President of the Madrean Archipelago Wildlife Centre, the construction disrupts the natural migration of wildlife and birds. “I feel great pain in my heart,” Scott said while speaking to CNN. “It’s like driving a stake through my heart because the river should be allowed to be, and not have this monstrosity. This wall of shame.” Like several other conservationists, Scott has been at the border watching and documenting the harm the process causes to wildlife . She watched as construction workers erected steel bollards at the San Pedro River, which flows from Mexico to the United States. Her frustration with the process is that it hampers the free migration of birds and other animals across the river and natural terrain. According to the  National Audubon Society of Arizona , about 40% of all bird species in North America spend some part of their lives on the San Pedro River. Due to the construction process, most of the birds and other animals have been pushed away from their natural habitat and travel pathway.  Despite the project’s effects on wildlife and nature, Customs and Border Protection insists the project meets environmental requirements. The organization claims the project has been analyzed and measures have been put in place to reduce environmental impacts. In contrast to these denials, conservationists have already collected enough evidence to show the project’s negative effects on wildlife. At the start of the construction in 2019, a non-profit organization, Wildlands Network, put up cameras in the San Bernardino Valley to monitor the project’s impact on wildlife migration. According to Myles Traphagen, Wildlands Network borderlands program coordinator, all  migrations across the border stopped dead  at the end of the second week of December. All hopes now rest on incoming President Joe Biden to put an end to the Trump administration’s reckless actions. Although Biden promised not to continue with wall construction , conservationists want the wall pulled down entirely, especially in areas where it affects wildlife. + CNN Image via Ted Eytan

Go here to see the original:
Trump administration disregards border wall’s environmental impact

Bright and airy Sycamore tiny house hits the market for $90k

December 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Bright and airy Sycamore tiny house hits the market for $90k

Wichita-based tiny house builder Made Relative recently unveiled its fourth custom home — Sycamore, a 320-square-foot dwelling that’s now available for $90,000. Crafted by cousins Reid and Kale, the new tiny home features natural timbers throughout the design in addition to an abundance of natural light and an open layout. The home also comes partially furnished with custom built-ins, select lighting and custom furniture pieces. Named after the use of sycamore in the interior, the Sycamore tiny house includes a mix of timber types from the tongue-and-groove cedar siding on the exterior to the engineered and waterproof hickory tongue-and-groove floors found in the living area. The warm timber palette is complemented with copper accents peppered throughout, such as the two copper bar stools that pull up to the sycamore bar and custom copper railings for the loft spaces. Related: The prefab Tiny Tetra House in Bali is made of recycled waste For a bright and airy feel, Made Relative wrapped the interior with white shiplap and birch and inserted 11 windows that let in daylight and open up for natural ventilation. At the heart of the home is the kitchen, which features a 2-inch thick elm countertop and a 30-inch, full-size gas range. The bar and dining space sit opposite the kitchen. On one end of the home is the bathroom tucked behind a custom wood herringbone door and on the other is the living room. This living space is organized around an elm entertainment center and includes a custom peach-colored velvet couch that can be easily converted into a bed. To maximize storage, the designers integrated three large cabinets into a switchback staircase that leads up to the main loft, an 80-square-foot elevated space with dimmable overhead LEDs and enough space for storage and a queen-sized mattress. A ladder leads up to the secondary, 32-square-foot loft that can be used as another sleeping space or for storage. + Made Relative Images via Made Relative

Here is the original:
Bright and airy Sycamore tiny house hits the market for $90k

Maven Moment: Free Promotional Items

December 2, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco

Comments Off on Maven Moment: Free Promotional Items

Mom loved getting promotional items. She loved the free tote … The post Maven Moment: Free Promotional Items appeared first on Earth 911.

Go here to read the rest:
Maven Moment: Free Promotional Items

Earth911 Podcast: Mark Schaus on Creating a Livable, Sustainable World

December 2, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Eco Tech

Comments Off on Earth911 Podcast: Mark Schaus on Creating a Livable, Sustainable World

Listen to “Earth911 Podcast: Mark Schaus on Creating A Livable, … The post Earth911 Podcast: Mark Schaus on Creating a Livable, Sustainable World appeared first on Earth 911.

Read more:
Earth911 Podcast: Mark Schaus on Creating a Livable, Sustainable World

5 Ways To Reuse an Old Laptop

December 2, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Eco Tech

Comments Off on 5 Ways To Reuse an Old Laptop

If you’re upgrading to a newer, faster laptop with more … The post 5 Ways To Reuse an Old Laptop appeared first on Earth 911.

Continued here:
5 Ways To Reuse an Old Laptop

The Business Roundtable’s statement of purpose, one year on

August 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on The Business Roundtable’s statement of purpose, one year on

The Business Roundtable’s statement of purpose, one year on Joel Makower Mon, 08/17/2020 – 02:11 When the Business Roundtable updated its  Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation a year ago this week, its members surely didn’t anticipate a global pandemic, a recession of historic proportions and a movement for racial justice becoming mainstream. Yet here we are, a year later, looking at a very different world than the one envisaged last August. Now that the business group’s statement has been stress-tested well beyond anyone’s expectations, it’s a good time to take a look at what difference it has made in its first 12 months. The short answer: It’s mostly business as usual. That’s an admittedly blunt and sweeping assessment of the state of corporate responsibility. While many companies have stepped up in some fashion to address the urgency of the moment, few have done so in ways that could help advance the kinds of long-term structural changes needed to ensure that the organization’s lofty statement has enduring impact. And some have neutered their stated commitments with actions that harm workers, communities and the environment. First, a refresher. The statement, signed by the chief executives of more than 180 large corporations, declared that business needs to move away from its shareholder-centric mission and advocate for “a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders.” In part, signatory companies committed to: compensate employees fairly, including through training and education, while fostering diversity and inclusion; deal fairly and ethically with suppliers; support “the communities in which we work” by respecting people, protecting the environment and “embracing sustainable practices across our businesses” and generate long-term value for shareholders, “who provide the capital that allows companies to invest, grow and innovate.” Not exactly radical statements, given that these commitments reflect much of the corporate sustainability agenda that has been decades in the making. These days, they represent society’s basic expectations of companies and their leaders. Still, the statement signaled a significant departure from the shareholders-at-all-costs orthodoxy of the past half-century, as articulated by the economist Milton Friedman. Fifty years ago next month, writing in the New York Times (PDF), Friedman argued that the social responsibility of business was to “increase profits.” And that anything businesspeople might do otherwise would be part of “the socialist view that political mechanisms, not market mechanisms, are the appropriate way to determine the allocation of scarce resources to alternative uses.” As I noted in a  2006 essay on the occasion of Friedman’s passing: We know better now. For example, we understand that ignoring environmental and social issues can be bad for business. Companies that pollute their local communities risk poisoning their customers. Ignoring the state of the local school system risks depleting the pool of qualified workers. Abusing workers risks higher turnover and training costs, not to mention greater difficulty attracting the most qualified candidates. The roundtable’s statement may have been a departure from the Friedman orthodoxy, but not as profoundly as some seem to think. For example, it acknowledged that “the free-market system is the best means of generating good jobs, a strong and sustainable economy, innovation, a healthy environment and economic opportunity for all.” In other words: Business knows best how to protect people and allocate resources. Somewhere, Professor Friedman must be smiling. When the Business Roundtable statement was announced, much of the immediate criticism wasn’t from those who disagreed with its goals, but rather those concerned how the commitments would be translated into action, how progress would be measured and how companies would be held accountable. Somewhere, Professor Friedman must be smiling. With good reason: Sustainable business still lacks universal definitions, metrics and accountability. Sure, there are ESG metrics, sustainability ratings and corporate rankings galore. And the pursuit of those can help move companies further faster. But not all companies strive to achieve high scores and rankings, probably because no one, internally or externally, is demanding that they do. And companies can fare well in these rankings even if they, say, extract oil or hire workers at minimum wages without benefits, among other things that are not likely considered “socially responsible” by some. Shareholders first So, what, exactly, has happened in the 12 months since the statement was made? I was hard-pressed to find any significant corporate actions that can be tied directly to the Business Roundtable’s doctrine. Maybe I’ll be surprised in the coming week, should companies or the roundtable itself use the one-year anniversary to assess progress or announce bold new initiatives. That doesn’t mean companies aren’t acting. Corporate initiatives have continued largely unhindered by the recession and pandemic,  as I’ve noted previously . And the George Floyd murder and all that followed has spurred companies to address a range of long-festering racial and social justice issues. But nearly all of those things would likely have happened without the Business Roundtable statement. At best the statement codified what hundreds of big companies are already doing. Moreover, under the laws of the state of Delaware, where 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies (and many smaller ones, including GreenBiz Group) are registered, corporate directors still have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of shareholders. The statement does not alter this reality. That means companies are still legally required to put shareholders first. To the extent that it provided a fig leaf that enabled CEOs to pursue business as usual — well, it was probably worse than doing nothing at all. And to the extent that corporate boards and executives have remained on the sidelines of such front-burner issues as voter disenfranchisement, criminal justice reform and climate change rather than advocating for policies to address these critical issues — well, that doesn’t necessarily line up with the Business Roundtable’s stated efforts to “ensure more inclusive prosperity.” Worse than nothing? In the end, the Business Roundtable’s statement was probably far less than it seemed. Companies were already on a path to address many of society’s pressing social and environmental ills, albeit incrementally. To the extent that the statement gave political cover to CEOs that had been reticent to jump in, great. To the extent that it provided a fig leaf that enabled CEOs to pursue business as usual — well, it was probably worse than doing nothing at all. There have been robust efforts for years among academics, NGOs, entrepreneurs and a handful of business executives aimed at reinventing capitalism and corporations. (Allen White, vice president and senior fellow at Tellus Institute, who directs its Program on Corporate Redesign, has written  several thoughtful pieces for GreenBiz on these topics.) Those conversations are extremely valuable, becoming more so every year, and are worthy of a much larger engagement. Ultimately, the power to effect structural change doesn’t necessarily reside in boardrooms, Wall Street or the corridors of political power. It is we, the people, in our roles as the very stakeholders the Business Roundtable’s statement aims to appease — customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders — who are best able to push companies to change, along with supporting the political influencers who understand that the reward systems for doing the wrong things need to be fixed. The Business Roundtable and its members no doubt understand that. But their 2019 statement is unlikely to lead us in that direction. Not without a full-court press from you and me. I invite you to  follow me on Twitter , subscribe to my Monday morning newsletter,  GreenBuzz , and listen to  GreenBiz 350 , my weekly podcast, co-hosted with Heather Clancy. Pull Quote Somewhere, Professor Friedman must be smiling. To the extent that it provided a fig leaf that enabled CEOs to pursue business as usual — well, it was probably worse than doing nothing at all. Topics Leadership Corporate Social Responsibility Featured Column Two Steps Forward Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock

Here is the original post:
The Business Roundtable’s statement of purpose, one year on

The many faces of energy resilience

August 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on The many faces of energy resilience

The many faces of energy resilience Michelle Moore Mon, 08/17/2020 – 00:30 This series explores how clean energy can deliver on finance and corporate social and governance goals alongside climate and environmental benefits. “Resilience” is a powerful word in 2020. Fires, floods, pestilence, pandemic — I don’t know about you all, but I was raised in a fundamentalist Southern Baptist Church and my Revelations bingo card is just about full. Thinking about the idea of resilience as it relates to equity and energy systems merely as the ability to keep the lights on, however, is missing a powerful opportunity to right the scales of justice. Large corporate energy buyers and utilities, in particular, hold the opportunity to build better and make things right. On resilience The term “resilience” can be applied to a vast array of natural, built and social systems and refers to the ability to recover function following a significant, potentially unpredictable disruption. As it relates to energy, moving away from long transmission lines and centralized power plants burning extracted, polluting fuels and towards a distributed system that combines local energy storage with renewables improves resilience — consistent with the principles of biomimicry. That’s the vision. But how is that vision valued? Resilient energy systems combining renewables, microgrids and energy storage are being deployed by corporations and other institutions that can assign an economic value to resilience as a service, by residential customers who can afford it and by utilities that benefit from the resulting infrastructure and other cost reductions. If we define the value of resilience in such narrow economic terms, however, we will build a clean energy dystopia. But we can choose a better way. Do justice Our energy systems, like most legacy systems, are infused with racial injustices that do particular harm to Black communities, families and individuals because many of our laws and institutions were designed for that purpose. Systems produce outcomes according to the values on which they are founded, and the outcomes are clear. As the NAACP has highlighted , 68 percent of Black and African-American individuals live within 30 miles of a coal plant and are twice as likely to die from asthma than white Americans. Only 1.1 percent of those employed in the energy industry are Black, while Black households comprise more than half of those paying 10 percent or more of their entire income to keep the lights on. Moreover, Black and Latino households pay almost three times as much for energy as higher income and white households.  If we define the value of resilience in such narrow economic terms, we will build a clean energy dystopia. But we can choose a better way. Just because you didn’t write the rules that made things so broken doesn’t absolve you of accountability to fix them. As my colleague Chandra Farley, Just Energy Director with Partnership for Southern Equity, has pointedly noted, Black people, communities of color and low-income communities are resilient because they have endured hundreds of years of systemic racism and disinvestment. Recognizing this, every decision maker leading an energy storage project can choose to do justice by understanding the value of resilience as encompassing more than the money. Here are four examples of how to begin. Communities can define their own resilient energy futures , anchored by colleges and universities. In service to the Atlanta University Center Consortium , Groundswell is supporting the design and development of an innovative Resilience Hub that celebrates the leadership of Atlanta’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Partnership for Southern Equity is on the team to ensure that the voice and vision of the surrounding neighborhoods, among the most energy-burdened in the city, are the priority. Enabled through NREL’s Solar Energy Innovation Network, this project is tackling how to deploy community-led energy resilience in a regulated, utility-driven energy market. Large corporate energy buyers can share resilience as a service to the communities surrounding their facilities and installations. Doing so in a way that aligns with local community needs and values requires building relationships with local communities and listening to and meeting their needs. John Kliem, formerly the head of the U.S. Navy’s Resilient Energy Program Office, oversaw an early example of this approach in collaboration with the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative in Hawaii. The resulting solar-plus-storage facility, recognized b y a 2019 U.S. Department of Energy award, improves energy security for the local Naval facility while supporting local goals. Kliem, who now leads federal energy strategy for Johnson Controls, also has identified co-location of energy storage facilities to share resilience with critical infrastructure such as hospitals and municipal water pumping stations as opportunities. Cities, municipalities and other jurisdictions can use their planning authority to embed community-driven resilience at the building level. The city of Baltimore is helping to lead the way. Funded through a Maryland Energy Administration Grant, Baltimore is working with Groundswell and energy storage innovators A.F. Mensah to identify and develop up to 20 local Resilience Hubs across the city that will host solar and energy storage installations and provide refuge for local community members in case of extreme weather or other events. Importantly, funded collaborations such as this support critical place-based R&D into optimal approaches to financing larger scale deployment while navigating local, state and regional regulations that impact siting, interconnection and access to revenue opportunities such as selling stored power back to the grid at peak.   Rural electric cooperatives are demonstrating how utilities can deploy energy storage that reduces electric costs for their member customers. Curtis Wynn, CEO of the Roanoke Electric Cooperative and president of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, is studying offering energy storage as a service to industrial customers and sharing the resulting cost reductions from reducing peak demand with his residential customers, who are largely low- and moderate-income households. Using smart hot water heaters for energy storage offers similar potential benefits to lower income customers, which is just one of the innovative ideas being advanced by the Beneficial Electrification League . Towards regeneration Building energy resilience can do more than keep the lights on for those who can pay for it. Resilience can be reparative, and the resulting investments can support the regeneration of communities that have been held back by institutionalized systems of oppression. We have a corporate as well as an individual responsibility to do justice. We are called to advocate for and share what we have with others so that everyone is treated equally and with dignity, and it’s the privilege of our generation to be alive at a time when we can make things right. Pull Quote If we define the value of resilience in such narrow economic terms, we will build a clean energy dystopia. But we can choose a better way. Topics Energy & Climate Social Justice Community Resilience Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz photocollage, via Shutterstock

Read the original post:
The many faces of energy resilience

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 2217 access attempts in the last 7 days.