Denmark to end subsidies for renewables much sooner than anyone thought possible

April 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The renewable energy industry is performing extremely well in Denmark . The country’s energy minister Lars Christian Lilleholt said it’s performing so well, they’ll be able to stop providing state support for clean energy providers in just a few years. Denmark’s renewable energy industry will be able to stand on its own, and Lilleholt said he could not have predicted this outcome even last year. Denmark’s renewable energy industry needed subsidies for over 40 years. But soon they’ll be able to survive without a boost from the government. According to Lilleholt, the country’s experience shows it’s no longer cheaper to produce coal than renewables. The milestone is even more crucial right as the direction of global energy policies is uncertain while United States President Donald Trump embarks on an ill-advised attempt to revive coal . According to Bloomberg, the president has “made clear he’s an enemy of wind power .” Related: Denmark just broke its own wind power record for the second year in a row Lilleholt said technology will help clean energy become even more efficient and said “already today, it’s impossible to build a new coal power plant without support.” A government-appointed panel gave him the findings on the energy future of Denmark, and said the country is set to meet power needs entirely with renewable energy by 2050. Half the country’s energy requirement could be supplied by renewables as soon as 2030. The panel thinks a large amount of new capacity will be constructed without subsidies. Industry members seem just as surprised as Lilleholt. Outgoing CEO of engineering firm Danfoss Niels B. Christiansen thinks the price of producing renewable energy could fall below market electricity prices between 2020 and 2030, saying, “A year ago, it was debatable whether renewable energy costs could drop so low. But everyone’s now thinking that it will probably happen sooner.” Denmark is home to both the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer and world’s largest offshore wind farm operator, Vestas Wind Systems A/S and Dong Energy A/S . Via Bloomberg Images via Wikimedia Commons and courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems A/S

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Denmark to end subsidies for renewables much sooner than anyone thought possible

Is employee activism on sustainability nearing a tipping point?

April 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Most of those working for large U.S. companies expect their CEO to be vocal about environmental and social issues, according to new research. And when it comes to the issues they care about most, renewable energy trumps immigration.

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Is employee activism on sustainability nearing a tipping point?

A moment for business statesmanship

April 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Amidst rising global uncertainty, one group that stands to lose the most is global business.

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A moment for business statesmanship

Britain sees first coal-free day since the Industrial Revolution

April 24, 2017 by  
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For the first time since Thomas Edison opened the first power station in London in 1882, Great Britain functioned without any coal-fired power plants last Friday. The milestone marks the first continuous 24-hour period without coal since the Industrial Revolution. This isn’t the first time Britain has gone without coal for a significant chunk of the day, but before this, 19 hours was the longest continuous time that coal power was able to go offline. Instead of coal, National Grid relied on a mix of 50.3% gas, 21.2% nuclear, 12.2% wind, 8.3% imports, 6.7% biomass, and 3.6% solar on Friday. While natural gas still isn’t a completely clean power source, it’s nowhere near as polluting as coal , and nuclear power , while it has very real risks, doesn’t spew greenhouse gasses into the environment. In an ideal world, a larger portion of the nation’s energy would come from renewable sources, but for now, simply ditching coal for a day is an accomplishment to celebrate. Days like this will become more and more common as time goes on – in 2016, the UK relied on coal for just 9% of its electricity needs, down from 23% in 2015. By 2025, the country’s last coal power station is slated to close as part of the government’s promises to meet its climate change commitments. Related: European electricity sector pledges no new coal plants after 2020 However, it’s important to remember that eliminating coal is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions: the UK government (and, indeed, other governments around the world) still need to tackle the huge amount of carbon generated by other infrastructure and the country’s transportation system. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )  

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Britain sees first coal-free day since the Industrial Revolution

The train has left the station on renewable energy

April 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Economics and corporate behavior have changed the energy landscape for good. Google, H&M, Nestle and Walmart jumped on. Will you follow?

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The train has left the station on renewable energy

Here’s what we need to accelerate progress on global energy goals

April 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

The SDGS still face a big challenge: providing universal access to modern energy services and doubling energy efficiency and renewable energy.

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Here’s what we need to accelerate progress on global energy goals

How to build the 5 levels of ethical company culture

April 20, 2017 by  
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A look at the pyramid of employee dynamics that provide the base to an ethical organization.

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How to build the 5 levels of ethical company culture

Tiny thermophotovoltaic device harvests energy from infrared wavelengths

April 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Waste heat could be a valuable source of energy – if only we could find a way to capture it efficiently. Now two Duke University researchers have a plan to do just that. They have developed a new thermophotovoltaic device that harvests energy from waste heat by capturing infrared wavelengths. Thermophotovoltaics could potentially change the way we generate energy in the future. Regular solar cells simply absorb visible light, but the technology from the Duke University team absorbs infrared light. The device is made with a metamaterial , or a synthetic material containing properties not accessible in natural materials, that enables it to efficiently take in and emit infrared light. Related: New metamaterial could allow us to generate solar power from heat 24 hours a day The team’s minuscule device is an “8 x 8 array of individually controllable pixels,” according to The Optical Society; each pixel is a mere 120 by 120 microns. Controlling those pixels with microelectromechanical systems, the researchers are able to change infrared emission properties rapidly in each pixel. The device can display patterns of infrared light at speeds of 100,000 times per second. In a statement, Duke University engineer Willie Padilla said, “Because the infrared energy emission, or intensity, is controllable, this new infrared emitter could provide a tailored way to collect and use energy from heat. There is a great deal of interest in utilizing waste heat, and our technology could improve this process.” The device’s materials don’t even change temperature as they harness heat, so it can be utilized at room temperature. Many other methods of variable infrared emission need high temperatures to operate; some natural materials have been able to do the job at room temperature but are “limited to narrow infrared spectral ranges,” according to The Optical Society. Their journal Optica recently published their research online . Via Futurism and EurekAlert! Images via Xinyu Liu/Duke University and Xinyu Liu and Willie Padilla

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Tiny thermophotovoltaic device harvests energy from infrared wavelengths

The Tesla Model S just got a tiny bit more affordable

April 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Shortly after announcing that Tesla plans to cut its relatively more affordable Model S 60 and 60D from its lineup, the company revealed that it will also reduce the price of its new entry-level models, the 75 and 75D, by $5,000 to make up the price difference. It’s still $1,500 more than the previous model, but given that it retails for almost $70,000, that might not be a major issue for potential buyers. Those aren’t the only Model S variants to receive a price cut. The 90D’s base price is being cut from $89,500 to $87,500. If you want a car packed with more features, however, there’s bad news: the 100D and P100D are seeing a several thousand dollar price hike, as are Model X variants. There are also certain upgrades which are no longer available for the “entry level” cars, including smart air suspension on the 75 and 75D. And anyone interested in a high-amperage charger will have to shell out for the 100 or 100D. Related: Elon Musk announces all new Teslas will be self-driving It may seem strange for the company to make such dramatic changes to its lineup, but it makes sense when you consider the launch of the $35,000 Model 3 later this year. The company is cutting out the products that will overlap with the Model 3’s functionality – the new car’s battery capacity stops at 75kWh, so anyone who wants a more powerful vehicle will have an incentive to upgrade. The higher prices at the top of Tesla’s range will help make up for the low cost of the Model 3, allowing the company’s average prices to remain the same. While this might be a bit frustrating for anyone interested in a 100D, overall it will help make electric cars more affordable for the average consumer. Hopefully this will result in more Tesla vehicles on the street overall. Via Engadget Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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The Tesla Model S just got a tiny bit more affordable

This playful Airbnb treehouse near San Francisco lets you sleep in a 150-year-old oak tree

April 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

This amazing treehouse near San Francisco is built around a 150-year-old live oak tree. Linda and Doug Studebaker built the Bay area’s only Airbnb treehouse as a cozy overnight rental in the backyard of their hillside property in Burlingame, California , and furnished it with furniture that gives it an old-fashioned feel. Offering scenic views of the San Francisco Bay, Doug and Linda’s Treehouse is a private refuge nestled among the treetops of a quiet forested canyon, about a twenty-minute drive away from the city. Located 30ft in the air, with a wooden staircase leading up to the main space, the treehouse is not for the faint of heart. Related: Gorgeous Robin’s Nest Treehouse Hotel immerses you in nature Visitors can enjoy the sunset or sunrise with a beautiful view of the San Francisco Bay from the wrap-around deck. The interior features a comfy queen size bed, table, and a lower level chaise/reading nook. A private kitchenette and bathroom are located in the lower level of the owners’ log home, just 30 feet from the base of the treehouse. You can rent the house, ideal for two people, for $275 per night. + Doug and Linda’s Treehouse on Airbnb Photos via Airbnb

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This playful Airbnb treehouse near San Francisco lets you sleep in a 150-year-old oak tree

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