Decarbonizing enterprise: The path to 100 percent corporate renewable energy

December 10, 2018 by  
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The best of live interviews from GreenBiz events. This episode: Energy and utilities execs and experts discuss expanding the renewables market.

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Decarbonizing enterprise: The path to 100 percent corporate renewable energy

Why companies should pay for biodiversity

December 10, 2018 by  
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It’s all a part of their bottom line.

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Why companies should pay for biodiversity

The CO2 intensity of the US power sector just hit a record low

April 9, 2018 by  
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Renewable energy is winning again. The Power Sector Carbon Index just revealed that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions intensity is the lowest on record. Thanks to government policy, market forces and new technologies, energy companies have moved away from carbon-intensive coal and towards cleaner, greener energy like renewables and natural gas. And the numbers aren’t insignificant – 13 years ago, carbon intensity was nearly 27% higher than it is now. Carbon emissions intensity is the rate of emissions produced relative to the amount of energy that we get from it. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) released their 2018 Carnegie Mellon Power Sector Carbon Index — which tracks power producers’ environmental performance in the United States, and compares today’s emissions to over 20 years of historical data. Assistant professor Costa Samaras said in a statement , “The Carnegie Mellon Power Sector Carbon Index provides a snapshot of critical data regarding energy production and environmental performance. We’ve found this index to provide significant insight into trends in power generation and emissions. In particular, the data have shown that emissions intensity has fallen to the lowest level on record, as a combination of natural gas and renewable power have displaced more carbon-intensive coal -fired power generation.” Related: 104% of Portugal’s electricity consumption in March came from renewable energy Specifically, emissions of power plants in America averaged 967 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour (MWh) last year. That figure is 3.1 percent lower than 2016, and 26.8 percent lower than in 2005, “often used as a benchmark year for measuring progress made in reducing emissions,” according to the university. The 2017 fourth quarter (Q4) update from the university, also posted in early April, offers more insight into how renewables are playing a role. In Q4, power plant emissions actually averaged 952 pounds of CO2 per MWh. And compared against 2016 Q4, in 2017 Q4 coal generation dropped six percent, natural gas was up four percent, nuclear up four percent, hydro up one percent, wind up 13 percent, and solar up 30 percent. MHPS Americas CEO Paul Browning said, “The power industry has made significant progress in reducing emissions for over a decade, as new technology, state and federal policies and market forces have increased power generation from natural gas and renewables, and decreased power generation from coal.” + Power Sector Carbon Index + Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering + Power Sector Carbon Index — 2017 Q4 Update Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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The CO2 intensity of the US power sector just hit a record low

In coal country, net zero energy nears cost parity

March 19, 2018 by  
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The results of a Siemens study are electrifying: Renewables can compete — and win — anywhere.

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In coal country, net zero energy nears cost parity

In coal country, net zero energy nears cost parity

March 19, 2018 by  
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The results of a Siemens study are electrifying: Renewables can compete — and win — anywhere.

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In coal country, net zero energy nears cost parity

In coal country, net zero energy nears cost parity

March 19, 2018 by  
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The results of a Siemens study are electrifying: Renewables can compete — and win — anywhere.

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In coal country, net zero energy nears cost parity

In coal country, net zero energy nears cost parity

March 19, 2018 by  
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The results of a Siemens study are electrifying: Renewables can compete — and win — anywhere.

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In coal country, net zero energy nears cost parity

Renewable energy could face tax problems in Republican compromise

December 19, 2017 by  
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Renewable energy advocates initially breathed a sigh of relief when the Republican tax bill reworked a provision that could have disrupted the industry’s $12 billion tax-equity market, Bloomberg reported . But a closer look reveals the bill includes what the publication described as “hidden pitfalls that could undercut its benefit.” Law firm Stoel Rives partner Greg Jenner told Bloomberg, “If Congress thought they were eliminating the trouble for renewables , they were wrong. It’s a question of how bad it will be.” Many solar and wind developers receive tax credits , and as they typically don’t have a big tax liability, third parties like insurance companies or banks will invest in their projects – basically in exchange for those credits, according to Bloomberg. The anxiety is over the Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT), a provision intended to close loopholes for companies including insurers and banks that remit money to affiliates overseas. Related: Solar power now provides twice as many jobs as coal in U.S. American Council on Renewable Energy president Greg Wetstone said, “The BEAT program will make it harder to use the tax credits – even though it’s significantly improved from what we were presented with” in the Senate. The compromise would expand which companies face the BEAT tax, according to Bloomberg. And because companies won’t be sure if they are subject to a BEAT tax bill, they might not be willing to do a tax-equity deal with renewable energy developers. The compromise tax bill would let companies offset up to 80 percent of their foreign-transaction tax with renewable energy credits, per Bloomberg, but the 80 percent offset expires in 2025. Separately, there could be less demand for renewable energy tax credits if the overall corporate tax rate is trimmed down to 21 percent, according to Bloomberg. The publication said all these details mean there’s a lot of uncertainty in the $12 billion tax-equity market’s future. Via Bloomberg Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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Renewable energy could face tax problems in Republican compromise

New Zealand aims for grid completely powered by renewables by 2035

November 8, 2017 by  
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New Zealand’s new prime minister has ambitious goals to seriously slash carbon emissions . Jacinda Ardern, who became prime minister in late October, wants to transition the grid to 100 percent renewables in less than 20 years. Her ultimate goal for New Zealand is zero carbon emissions by 2050. New Zealand’s 4.7 million people already obtain over 80 percent of electricity via sustainable sources, according to Bloomberg . But Ardern – now the world’s youngest female leader – seems to think they can do even better. She wants the country to move over to obtaining electricity completely from renewable energy by 2035. Related: New Zealand river world’s first to obtain legal status as a person The move won’t be without its challenges. New Zealand generates around 60 percent of their power from hydropower , according to 2016 figures. But when dry conditions cause lake levels to drop, gas and coal have helped out. Without those fossil fuels , electricity consumers could experience price hikes. But the country still has made a lot of progress towards the ambitious goal; in the winter of 2016, renewable energy generation actually peaked at 93 percent, according to Bloomberg. Ardern hasn’t put out full details of her plan to get New Zealand to a carbon-free status. She has suggested an independent commission to help meet the 2050 goal. New Zealand’s independent advisory body Productivity Commission has an inquiry into transitioning to a low carbon economy. Greenpeace New Zealand climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson told Bloomberg Ardern “must prioritize closing down coal, putting a moratorium on new fossil fuel plants, building more wind infrastructure, and opening the playing field for household and community solar .” Contact Energy chief executive officer Dennis Barnes also pointed to solar – and batteries and electric vehicles – as technology that could help New Zealand move towards a greener future. Via Bloomberg and Futurism Images via Depositphotos and Good Free Photos

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New Zealand aims for grid completely powered by renewables by 2035

Frank Lloyd Wright’s mushroom-esque Usonia home hits the market for $1.5M

November 8, 2017 by  
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In the late 1940s, Frank Lloyd Wright was hired to design a planned community near Pleasantville, New York. Today, the Usonia Historic District is a picturesque neighborhood filled with houses that were designed by Wright – including a round stone home with two circular rooftops reminiscent of the fungi that cover the forest. It’s called the Sol Friedmen Home – and it just hit the market for a cool $1.5M . Located just 50 minutes outside of Manhattan, Usonia is a 100-acre cooperative founded by NYC couples. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the neighborhood layout in a circular fashion to preserve the natural forest setting, encouraging “the flow of the land”. The architect then designed three of the 47 homes himself and contracted the remaining work out to some of his most admired colleagues. Related: Frank Lloyd Wright beach house listed on Airbnb for under $150 per night The Sol Friedmen Home, which was built in 1949, is a round structure with overlapping concrete slab rooftops. The two intersecting mushroom-like rooftops are complimented with a fungi-inspired carport adjacent to the home. The circular building is supported by a wall of exposed stone ashlar masonry topped with metal-framed glass panels. The home’s materials were selected to blend into the surrounding forestscape. On the inside, nature is again the focus. The home’s curvature and abundance of windows allow views of the evergreen forest from virtually every angle. A large great room is lined with built-in oak shelving and furniture designed by Wright. A beautiful stone fireplace holds court at the center of the room. The new owners of the three-bedroom home will join the unique 100-acre Usonia community , which was named a national historic district in 2012. Along with the three Wright homes, the remaining 44 homes were designed by innovative architects including Paul Schweikher, Wright students Kaneji Domoto and Theodore Dixon Bower, Ulrich Franzen, Aaron Resnick and Wright apprentice David Henken. + Sol Friedman House Via Archinect Images via Houlihan Lawrence

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s mushroom-esque Usonia home hits the market for $1.5M

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