GE wants to spark a revolution in the way we create and distribute electricity, and seizing on a critical underfunding of grid investments by the U.S. government (a paltry $3.4 billion) the 2nd largest company in the world (as ranked by Forbes) wants to do something about it.
GE is partnering with four major venture capital firms, including Al Gore-advised Kleiner Perkins, to issue the $200 million challenge to “…businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators, and students to share their best ideas and come together to take on one of the world?s toughest challenges ? building the next-generation power grid to meet the needs of the 21st century.”
The smart grid has been a lumbering but steady and inevitable presence in the utility industry, with a speedy uptake in the number of start-ups interested in creating everything from energy storage technology to user dashboards for home energy consumption and a somewhat slower uptake in the number of smart grid pilot projects popping up nationwide. Less than two years ago it was expected to grow to at least $65 billion by 2013. Cisco has identified at least $20 billion in potential business opportunities around the grid, which the company says will be bigger than the Internet, and $3.4 billion of stimulus money was to be dished out to 100 projects. So why the projection from Pike Research that the spending will top off at $35 billion by 2013?
Trilliant Incorporated, a leader in delivering Smart Grid solutions that enhance energy efficiency, utility operations, and renewable resource integration, today announced that it has closed financing totaling $106 million from a global syndicate of industry and financial leaders.
The financing round was led by two highly-respected financial investors, Investor Growth Capital (the wholly-owned venture arm of Investor AB of Sweden) and VantagePoint Venture Partners and two leading global grid-related equipment companies, ABB and GE. The financing, which was coordinated by Deutsche Bank, also includes a significant credit facility from a major venture credit provider as well as continuing financial support from existing investors MissionPoint Capital Partners and zouk ventures. The new investment will be used to finance Trilliant?s continued growth in North America and globally.
An excellent article by the UK climate change secretary, German federal environment minister and French environment minister:
Europe’s current focus on recovery from recession must not distract us from the question of what kind of economy we want to build. Unless we set our countries on a path to a sustainable low-carbon future, we will face continued uncertainty and significant costs from energy price volatility and a destabilising climate.\nThis is why we today set out our belief that the European Union should raise its emissions target. A reduction of 30 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020 would represent a real incentive for innovation and action in the international context. It would be a genuine attempt to restrict the rise in global temperatures to 2?C – the key climate danger threshold – stiffening the resolve of those already proposing ambitious action and encouraging those waiting in the wings. It would also make good business sense….
“The new Coalition Government has pledged to be the ?greenest government ever? and has committed to reduce carbon emissions across the central Government estate by 10% within 12 months. Launched at the end of May, our Central Government Carbon Management Service is already working with twenty one Central Government bodies to help them meet this challenge.”
The state-owned electric transmission company in China, State Grid, has moved forward with establishing a set of industry rules, standards and favored technologies for the growing smart grid industry in China. But the aggressive move to establish industry standards has competitors in the nascent smart grid sector a bit concerned.
Seven ‘Triads of Sustainability’ – where seven issues (participation, decision-making, partnership, governance, knowledge and information, continual improvement, and lifestyles) leading to sustainability are explained in detail with case studies . These triads are key ingredients that define and drive sustainability, particularly at the local level.
Eurosif partnered with EIRIS for the Remuneration theme report.
Research highlights and recommendations for shareholders and regulators include:
?- 29% of FTSE Eurofirst300 listed companies have some commitment to linking remuneration to ESG performance ? although concerns exists around the extent to which performance targets are set as ?soft targets? thereby guaranteeing a minimum level of bonus
?- Financial institutions account for 23% of the FTSE Eurofirst300 index but only 16% of financial institutions have an ESG-linked remuneration system
?- Shareholders should engage with companies by voting against unacceptable remuneration packages and calling for and taking part in shareholder dialogue in determining remuneration policy,
?- Regulators should promote active dialogue between companies and shareholders by legislating for a binding ?say on pay? vote and setting appropriate guidelines to promote good remuneration practices and disclosure.
The report examines critical challenges and opportunities for companies in relation to remuneration, incentives and long-term sustainability.
Companies could be asked to publish details of their environmental and social impacts alongside their financial accounts under new rules being discussed with the organisations that set accounting standards.
News of the initiative ? which would mean that businesses have to account for the impacts they have on local water quality, plants and animals ? emerged as a major report for the UN is published today. It warns that companies are causing vast damage to the “living fabric of this planet”, raising threats to society and their own profits, but also that the business opportunities to make money from improving the environment are forecast to quadruple over the next decade.
AT&T today announced the deployment of the 2,000th alternative fuel vehicle and 1,500th compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle in its corporate vehicle fleet, giving it one of the largest CNG vehicle fleets in the U.S. These milestones are part of a $565 million planned investment announced in March 2009 to replace more than 15,000 fleet vehicles with alternative fuel models through 2018. Currently, the AT&T corporate fleet includes more than 75,900 vehicles.
AT&T anticipates purchasing approximately 8,000 CNG vehicles over a five-year span, at an anticipated cost of $350 million. AT&T expects to spend an additional $215 million through 2018 to replace 7,100 fleet passenger cars with alternative fuel models. According to the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), AT&T’s alternative fuel vehicle initiative will:
– Save 49 million gallons of gasoline over the 10-year deployment period.
– Reduce carbon emissions by 211,000 metric tons ? the greenhouse gas equivalent of removing 147,929 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.
Earlier this week, Morocco?s King Mohammed VI officially inaugurated a wind farm in the town of Melloussa.?? With 165 turbines and a production capacity of 140 megawatts, the farm is touted as Africa?s largest wind farm. Besides significantly reducing CO2 emissions, the farm is expected to save over 125,000 metric tons of oil annually.
Germany could derive all of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2050 and become the world’s first major industrial nation to kick the fossil-fuel habit, the country’s Federal Environment Agency said today.
The country already gets 16% of its electricity from wind, solar and other renewable sources ? three times’ higher than the level it had achieved 15 years ago.
“A complete conversion to renewable energy by 2050 is possible from a technical and ecological point of view,” said Jochen Flasbarth, president of the Federal Environment Agency.
“It’s a very realistic target based on technology that already exists ? it’s not a pie-in-the-sky prediction,” he said.
Is shutting down offshore drilling more risky than carrying on? What about jobs that real families depend on? Do we have to choose between dolphins and employment? What are the real issues in the Gulf? Here?s 10 Questions that were fielded by Andy Sharpless, the CEO of Oceana at a recent TedxOilSpill conference. We?ve let Andy speak in his own voice here unedited.
A lead congressional committee investigating the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has broadened its inquiry, now checking if tens of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells are leaking or even being monitored for leaks.