Could poor transmission planning limit corporate renewable deals?

January 17, 2018 by  
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Utilities are stepping up, but a new report suggests regulators and grid operators aren’t responding fast enough.

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Could poor transmission planning limit corporate renewable deals?

7 things you should know about artificial intelligence

January 17, 2018 by  
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The rewards and risks for sustainability teams are significant.

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7 things you should know about artificial intelligence

The sharing economy, growing green finance, how to speak Z

January 17, 2018 by  
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The latest crop of reports for sustainability professionals.

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The sharing economy, growing green finance, how to speak Z

Entrepreneur Danny Kennedy sees a power transformation on many fronts

January 15, 2018 by  
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GreenBiz events. This episode: The managing director of CalCEF envisions a more equitable, inclusive future rising along with renewables.

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Entrepreneur Danny Kennedy sees a power transformation on many fronts

Energy commissioners on the coming decarbonization

December 26, 2017 by  
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The best of live interviews from GreenBiz events. This episode: Tim Echols of Georgia and Michael Picker of California spark a lively exchange on power.

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Energy commissioners on the coming decarbonization

Big business should watch this tiny state’s power transformation

November 29, 2017 by  
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What’s happening in Rhode Island could have sweeping implications for the fate of clean energy across the United States.

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Big business should watch this tiny state’s power transformation

Startups bring safer chemistry to market

November 29, 2017 by  
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Young companies redesign products or processes beyond what most suppliers are willing to do.

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Startups bring safer chemistry to market

Can Elon Musk singlehandedly destroy the utility industry?

October 27, 2017 by  
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The Tesla CEO doesn’t have to bring power to Puerto Rico to spark revolutionary thinking.

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Can Elon Musk singlehandedly destroy the utility industry?

Tiny Montana company signs $300M contract to help restore power in Puerto Rico

October 24, 2017 by  
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The majority of Puerto Rico ‘s 3.4 million residents still lack electricity in the wake of Hurricane Maria . Now, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) is looking to a two-year-old Montana -based company, Whitefish Energy , to help them switch the power back on. But some people are wondering why PREPA would sign the $300 million contract, the largest issued yet, with a company that only had two full-time employees when Hurricane Maria hit the island. Whitefish Energy has been tasked with repairing and reconstructing electrical infrastructure in Puerto Rico. The company said this week they have 280 workers laboring now, and that they’re close to finishing work that will provide power to key industrial facilities that will help get the local economy going again. Related: Germany company steps in to help Puerto Rico with microgrid installations PREPA signed the contract with Whitefish instead of activating mutual aid agreements – which have aided United States utilities in recovering after natural disasters – with other utilities. As Puerto Rico is bankrupt, many people are wondering why they’d hire a company instead of turning to the mutual aid network. Former Energy Department senior official Susan Tierney told The Washington Post, “The fact that there are so many utilities with experience in this and a huge track record of helping each other out, it is at least odd why [the utility] would go to Whitefish. I’m scratching my head wondering how it all adds up.” PREPA executive director Ricardo Ramos told reporters Whitefish was the first firm “available to arrive and they were the ones that first accepted terms and conditions for PREPA.” Whitefish is based in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hometown, but Zinke’s office said he didn’t play a role in the Puerto Rico contract. Whitefish had landed a $1.3 million federal contract just before Hurricane Maria to replace and upgrade parts of an Arizona transmission line 4.8 miles long in 11 months. There are 2,400 miles of transmission lines in Puerto Rico, where an estimated 80 percent of the grid has been harmed. Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosselló recently said 95 percent of power would be on by Christmas. Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski seems to disagree, saying, “I don’t know where he got that and what information he was using. Without doing a full assessment countrywide, I couldn’t fathom how many months, if it’s going to be two months, three months, five months.” Via The Washington Post Images via Whitefish Energy on Twitter ( 1 , 2 )

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Tiny Montana company signs $300M contract to help restore power in Puerto Rico

Magnetic particles may be the future of data storage

October 24, 2017 by  
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Recently discovered magnetic behavior may have enormous potential to power the next generation of data storage technology , according to new research reported this week in the journal  Nature Nanotechnology.  The promise of data storage based on “skyrmions,” minuscule disturbances in magnetic orientation, offers a potential path to overcome fundamental limitations in computing technology that otherwise may have heralded the end of Moore’s Law, which holds that computing power doubles in strength roughly every two years. Skyrmions, the phenomenon on which this new data technology would be based, were only discovered in 2016 by a team led by MIT associate professor of materials science and engineering Geoffrey Beach. These magnetic particles occur between two thin metallic films from two different kinds of metal and can be wielded using electric fields, allowing long-term data storage without the need of additional energy. While the locations of these skyrmions were originally random, Beach and collaborators at MIT and in Germany  have since demonstrated an ability to purposefully create and harness these magnetic particles, opening the door to new technological possibilities. Related: Scientists turn eggshells into eco-friendly data-storage devices Because skyrmions are very stable in contrast to traditional magnetic storage devices , data could potentially be stored on a magnetic surface perhaps only a few atoms across. This feature is what allows the theoretical skyrmions-based storage devices overcome the physical limitations of traditional magnetic storage devices and continue the computing power expansion under Moore’s Law. The next step is to figure out an efficient way to read the data that has been written into the skyrmions. One solution is to add an additional layer of a different metal to the skyrmion sandwich and then use differences in the layer’s electrical resistance based on the presence of skyrmions to determine the encoded data. “There’s no question it would work,” said MIT postdoc and study co-author Felix Buettner, but further research and development is needed to determine how best to implement the idea. Via Futurism/MIT News Images via Moritz Eisebitt/MIT News and Depositphotos

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Magnetic particles may be the future of data storage

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