REBA: More businesses than ever want to buy clean power

May 10, 2017 by  
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It’s the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance’s one-year anniversary. Here’s what the business coalition has accomplished, plus some thoughts about what’s ahead.

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REBA: More businesses than ever want to buy clean power

REBA: More businesses than ever want to buy clean power

May 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

It’s the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance’s one-year anniversary. Here’s what the business coalition has accomplished, plus some thoughts about what’s ahead.

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REBA: More businesses than ever want to buy clean power

Worlds largest offshore wind farm opens in The Netherlands

May 9, 2017 by  
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Dutch officials have increased the country’s clean energy repertoire with the world’s largest offshore wind farm . Opened on Monday, Gemini wind park has 150 wind turbines spinning approximately 53 miles (85 kilometers) off the northern coast of The Netherlands ; the project is capable of generating about 600 megawatts at full winds – enough to power 785,000 Dutch households. The wind park, which was conceived in 2010 and cost $3 billion (2.8-billion-euro), comprises a collaboration between Canadian renewable energy company Northland Power, wind turbine producer Siemens Wind Power, Dutch maritime contractor Van Oord and the waste processing company HVC. “We are now officially in the operational stage,” said Matthias Haag, the company’s managing director, in a press release.” This been “quite a complex” operation, Haag added, “particularly as this wind park lies relatively far offshore… so it took quite a lot of logistics.” Over the next 15 years, the Gemini wind park will be able to generate about 13 percent of the country’s total renewable energy supply or about 25 percent of its wind power . This, in turn, will meet the energy requirements of about 1.5 million people. Related: Scotland’s latest wind farm will help fund 500 new affordable homes Phys.org estimates that the wind park will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.25 billion tons. Fossil fuels continue to make up approximately 95 percent of The Netherland’s energy supply, according to a 2016 report from the ministry of economics affairs. However, by sourcing 14 percent of its energy from clean sources – including wind and solar – by 2025, the Dutch country will be en route to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Hopefully, the example The Netherlands has set will inspire other countries to follow suit in an effort to curb climate change . Via Phys

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Worlds largest offshore wind farm opens in The Netherlands

San Franciscos rapid transit to run on 100% renewable energy

May 9, 2017 by  
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Commuters in the San Francisco area can feel even better about taking public transport to lower their carbon footprints , as the Bay Area’s Rapid Transit (BART) system will soon be powered by 100 percent renewable energy . Days ago, the BART board of directors passed an electrical portfolio policy that requires 50 percent of the organization’s power to be sourced from renewables by 2025. By 2045, the electric train system is expected to run on 100 percent renewable energy . As Digital Trends reports , this move has far-reaching implications for the entire region since BART consumes roughly 400,000 megawatt-hours annually – the equivalent of a small city like Alameda. “Every day, BART takes cars off the road and helps drive down our greenhouse gas emissions,” said BART Director Nick Josefowitz. “But especially now, BART and the Bay Area must shoulder even more responsibility to combat climate change. Even though BART is not required to comply with the state’s renewable energy standards, we have committed to purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity and taking a leadership role in decarbonizing our transportation sector.” Related: San Francisco bike shop lets you trade in car for e-bike The train system already runs on a variety of renewable energy sources, including solar, wind and small hydroelectric facilities. Additionally, carbon emissions have been cut by lowering the number of single occupant automobiles sitting in traffic on the Bay Bridge each morning. Sustainability Director Holly Gordon said of the progressive initiative, “We’re doing this to advance clean energy, but we’re also doing this because we think it is cost effective. We feel as though we can purchase clean energy while maintaining low and stable costs for the district as well.” BART may very well be the first electrified public transit system to commit to running on 100 percent renewable energy – at least in the US.  Via Digital Trends

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San Franciscos rapid transit to run on 100% renewable energy

Germany just generated a record 85% of its energy from renewable sources

May 8, 2017 by  
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Germany has outdone itself yet again when it comes to clean energy . From April 30 through May 1, the country set a national record by generating 85% of all its energy needs using renewable wind, solar, biomass, and hydroelectric power. And this isn’t just an anomaly – experts believe that this will be the new normal for Germany by 2030. “Most of Germany’s coal-fired power stations were not even operating on Sunday, April 30th, with renewable sources accounting for 85 per cent of electricity across the country. Nuclear power sources, which are planned to be completely phased out by 2022, were also severely reduced,” said Patrick Graichen of Agora Energiewende Initiative . Related: Google’s Project Sunroof expands to 7 million homes in Germany Germany has worked hard to invest in clean energy sources under Angela Merkel , a vocal supporter of renewable energy. It has paid off. In addition to record-breaking weekends like the one on April 30, more and more energy is coming from renewables. In March, the country average 40% energy from green sources. via Clean Technica images via Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Germany just generated a record 85% of its energy from renewable sources

EPA dismisses 5 members of major scientific review board

May 8, 2017 by  
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In addition to its goal to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by the end of 2018, the Trump Administration is now slowly dismissing key members from its major scientific review board. According to a spokesman for EPA head Scott Pruitt , the decision is a result of desiring to replace academic scientists with representatives of industries whose pollution the agency is tasked with regulating. He said, “The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community.” Mr. Pruitt’s first outing as head of the EPA included a visit to coal mines, where he pledged to restore the industry. This occurred despite members of both of the EPA’s scientific advisory boards advising against such action. A spokesperson for Mr. Pruitt said the agency wanted “to take as inclusive an approach to regulation as possible.” President Trump also directed Pruitt to “radically remake” the agency. So far, this has included reducing its main scientific branch by 40 percent, as well as revoking major regulations instated during Obama’s presidency to combat climate change and protect water sources. Related: Trump’s EPA chief lifts ban on pesticide that poisons children The agency’s latest decision to dismiss five scientists from the major scientific review board has not gone unnoticed. Some are claiming that the EPA is downgrading its science to elevate business interests. Ken Kimmell, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said, “This is completely part of a multifaceted effort to get science out of the way of a deregulation agenda. What seems to be premature removals of members of this Board of Science Counselors when the board has come out in favor of the E.P.A. strengthening its climate science, plus the severe cuts to research and development — you have to see all these things as interconnected.” In recent weeks, the EPA removed from its website scientific data that explained the causes and effects of climate change. According to J.P. Freire, the agency’s associate administrator for public affairs, this was done to “eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law.” Mr. Pruitt also publicly questioned the established science of human-caused climate change. Via New York Times

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EPA dismisses 5 members of major scientific review board

Google’s Project Sunroof expands to 7 million homes in Germany

May 4, 2017 by  
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Google’s Project Sunroof is launching in Germany today , extending the company’s solar estimator to 7 million homes. Project Sunroof is a simple tool that allows you to determine if your house gets enough sun to switch over to solar power, and now 40 percent of the homes in Germany are covered by the project, allowing people to quickly determine if they can save money and lower their carbon footprint by swapping. Germany’s Project Sunroof is hosted by the Germany electricity provider E.on . Since it is a collaboration between Google and E.on, users are directed to E.on’s solar department if their home is a good fit. This is different than the US, where Google directs users to multiple solar panel providers. Related: Google’s Project Sunroof shows your home’s solar potential for free Google doesn’t make money off of the project – it’s provided for free to users. In the US, Project Sunroof currently covers all 50 states. + Project Sunroof Via The Verge

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Google’s Project Sunroof expands to 7 million homes in Germany

Indian ‘fruit of the gods’ could lower cost of solar cells by 40%

May 4, 2017 by  
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Could India’s ‘fruit of the gods’ help lower the price of solar cells ? Scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee discovered jamun, a black plum, contains a pigment able to absorb sunlight. They think utilizing the fruit in mass production of solar panels could slash costs. Jamun, Syzygium cumini , is indigenous to south Asia and is sold on the street for cheap prices. Jamun trees can grow to be nearly 100 feet tall and live for 100 years, and the black plums from those trees are lauded for medicinal and nutritional value. But now they may play a role in generating clean energy as well, thanks to their pigment anthocyanin. Related: India doubles down on solar power with huge park capacity increase IIT-Roorkee assistant professor Soumitra Satapathi told Quartz India, “We were looking at why the jamuns are black. We extracted the pigment using ethanol and found that anthocyanin was a great absorber of sunlight.” Satapathi and two other researchers from the institute used that anthocyanin as a sensitizer in dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). They think utilizing naturally occurring dyes, like the jamun pigment, could lower solar panel costs by 40 percent. Anthocyanin is also found in blueberries, raspberries, cherries, and cranberries. DSSCs aren’t as efficient as traditional silicon-based solar cells yet, but could offer a low cost alternative – beneficial especially for India as the country aims to gain 40 percent of energy from renewables by 2030. But the IIT scientists aren’t quite there yet; their DSSCs only have an efficiency of 0.5 percent, contrasted with traditional solar cells’ efficiency of over 15 percent. Nevertheless, the scientists pointed out jamun is widely available, and could offer a biodegradable , non-toxic alternative to synthetic dyes that have been used in DSSCs. The IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics published the research online recently. Via EcoWatch and Quartz India Images via Dinesh Valke on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Indian ‘fruit of the gods’ could lower cost of solar cells by 40%

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

April 28, 2017 by  
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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  
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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?

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