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Technology for Good – episode ten

Welcome to episode ten of the Technology for Good hangout. In this week’s show we had special guest Bill Higgins, who works on IBM’s Cloud & Smarter Infrastructure. Given the week that was in it with Google’s slashing of cloud computing pricing, and Facebook’s purchase of Oculus Rift, there were plenty of stories about cloud computing and social networks.

Here’s the stories that we discussed in the show:

Climate

Renewables

Cloud

Social

Open

Internet of Things

Misc

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Friday Green Numbers round-up for Feb 25th 2011

Green Numbers

And here is a round-up of this week’s Green numbers…

  1. After 50 Years, Nuclear Power is Still Not Viable without Subsidies, New Report Finds

    Since its inception more than 50 years ago, the U.S. nuclear power industry has been propped up by a generous array of government subsidies that have supported its development and operations. Despite that support, the industry is still not economically viable, according to a report released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The report, ?Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable Without Subsidies,? found that more than 30 subsidies have supported every stage of the nuclear fuel cycle, from uranium mining to long-term waste storage. Added together, these subsidies often have exceeded the average market price of the power produced.

    ?Despite the fact that the nuclear power industry has benefited from decades of government support, the technology is still uneconomic, so the industry is demanding a lot more from taxpayers to build new reactors,? said Ellen Vancko, manager of UCS?s Nuclear Energy and Climate Change Project. ?The cost of this technology continues to …

  2. UN reveals $1.3trn green strategy

    A new sustainable strategy by the United Nations proposes to invest 2pc of wealth generated by the global economy, or some $1.3trn annually, in 10 key sectors.

    The new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report that was released yesterday, when more than 100 environment ministers met in Nairobi, underlines a sustainable public policy and investment path that will not only launch the transition towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient green economy, but will also …

  3. Wind generation is not increasing wholesale electricity prices in Ireland

    The growing levels of wind generation on the Irish electricity network is not increasing wholesale electricity prices, a new study published by EirGrid and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) suggests.

    The report by grid operator EirGrid and the SEAI, employs detailed modelling tools to examine the wholesale prices in the Irish electricity system in 2011, which has a total annual value of an estimated ?2bn.

    The analysis revealed that wind generation lowers wholesale prices by …

  4. 7 Fear Factors That Move Solar Stocks

    Solar companies have seen their stocks head up over the past two months as they?ve been reporting killer sales and profits for 2010 and remain bullish about 2011. Shares of key players, such as SunPower, Suntech Power, First Solar and Trina Solar, all have seen their shares rise about 30 percent or more since the beginning of the year.

    But no stocks can keep climbing forever, and news events that …

  5. OnChip Power, aiming a shrink ray at bulky transformer ‘bricks,’ raises $1.8 million from Venrock

    I am fairly sure that if you manage to raise $1.8 million for your start-up while enrolled in a business school course called “Entrepreneurial Finance,” you are almost guaranteed an A.
    Last week, MIT Sloan student and OnChip Power CEO Vanessa Green was signing the papers on her company’s first round of funding: $1.8 million from Venrock and Arunas Chesonis, chairman of PAETEC Holding and an MIT alumnus.

    OnChip is commercializing new power electronics technology developed at …

  6. Transphorm Unveils Efficient Power Module, $38M From Kleiner, Google Ventures

    Here comes the biggest cleantech startup launch since Bloom Energy: Acompany called Transphorm has emerged from stealth on Wednesday afternoon at Google Venture?s headquarters, touting an energy-efficient power conversion module for power-hungry devices from servers to electric car batteries to solar panels, and an enviable $38 million in venture capital from Kleiner Perkins, Google Ventures, Foundation Capital, and Lux Capital.

    Founded in 2007, Transphorm is looking to make power conversion more energy-efficient and reduce the …

  7. Harvard Study Reveals Coal Energy To Be One of the Most Expensive Forms of Power

    Advocates of coal power argue that it is among the cheapest sources of energy in the United States and allows for lower-cost power. But a new Harvard study found that whatever money is saved in operation costs is completely negated by the cost coal plants inadvertently pass on to the American public: $345 billion.

    These hidden expenses are not borne by miners or utilities, but come from the detrimental side affects of coal burning, like health problems in mining communities and pollution around coal plants. The study is the first to look at the entire cost of coal, from extraction to combustion …

  8. Oil surges nears $120 a barrel on Libya and Middle East fears

    Oil prices soared to almost $120 a barrel on Thursday amid fears that the unrest in Libya and Bahrain could spread to other oil-rich countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.

    Brent crude leapt $8.54 to $119.79 a barrel, the highest price since August 2008, and later traded at $113.93 a barrel. It closed at…

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Friday Green Numbers round-up for Jan 21st 2011

Green Numbers

And here is a round-up of this week’s Green numbers…

  1. 19th Century Economist Reveals Surefire Investment Strategy!

    Intel just finished the ?best year in [its] history,? and expects 2011 to be even better. This news suggests a few important questions: for how much longer are we going to keep buying more and more more powerful microchips? Will 2012 be still better for Intel and other hardware suppliers? 2020? 2050? How much can the demand for computation keep expanding?

    I first started asking myself these questions after I drew graphs (using US BEA data) of changes over time in computer cost and aggregate US corporate computer spending. They reveal a deeply weird pattern: as computers get cheaper, companies spend more and more on them. See for yourself…

  2. In Spain, the three wise men no longer bring coal

    On January 6, it is traditional that Spanish children receive gifts from the three wise men, a day far more anticipated than the arrival of Santa Claus. The most feared gift used to be coal, a sign that the children had behaved badly over the past year. Coal is also a bad sign for the environment, because it?s the largest source of CO2 to the atmosphere and a major driver of global warming. But happily in Spain, things are changing.

    In the morning of the three wise men, while children all over Spain opened their gifts and thousands of new electronic gadgets were plugged into the grid, none of the nation?s electricity was coming from coal. Over the whole day, three-quarters of Spain?s electricity was met from renewable sources while coal barely reached 4% of …

  3. New Materials Could Double Chevy Volt Battery Capacity

    Since its release last December the Chevy Volt has proven to be extremely popular ? it?s been crowned the 2011 Green Car of the Year, the North American Car of the Year and its sales eclipsed those of the Nissan Leaf. However it is set to become even more appealing as GE announced it is working on a new generation of batteries with double the energy-storage capacity. GM?s licensed battery-electrode materials developed at Argonne National Laboratory (a U.S. Department of Energy lab) use mixed-metal oxides that not only increase storage capacity, but improve the safety and durability of car batteries…

  4. Black market steals half a million pollution permits

    Nearly half a million pollution permits were stolen from a Czech carbon bank this week. The event put the spotlight on an emerging black market for the right to pollute the planet, and shut down much of the European carbon trading scheme

    The stolen permits would allow a company to pollute the atmosphere with almost half a million tonnes of carbon. Known as European Union Allowances (EUAs), they are distributed by the EU as part of its carbon trading scheme, set up to help the bloc of nations meet its Kyoto protocol targets.

    Major companies can emit only …

  5. Commission approves record amount of state aid for the deployment of broadband networks in 2010

    In keeping with the ambitious digital agenda goals set in the EU 2020, the European Commission has approved, under the EU guidelines for state aid to broadband, the use of over ?1.8 billion public funds for broadband development to support economic recovery, inclusive growth and the long term competitiveness of the EU. The public funds are aimed to ensure that all citizens have access to high speed Internet access in the European Union, including in rural or remote areas.

    Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy Joaqu?n Almunia commented: “Smart investments into high and very high speed broadband infrastructures are crucial to create jobs, increase economic performance and to unlock the competitive potential of the EU in the long term. The Commission is committed to help EU…

  6. DOE Awards $967M Loan Guarantee for Arizona Solar PV Project

    The Department of Energy is handing out more loan guarantees for solar projects. This morning the DOE said that it has offered a $967 million loan guarantee for the Agua Caliente Solar project, a 290 MW photovoltaic facility that will be built in Yuma County, Arizona, and which NRG Energy said it planned to buy from First Solar last month.

    The Agua Caliente project will use panels from First Solar, is set for completion in 2014 and is supposed to create 400 construction jobs. Northern California utility PG&E plans to buy the electricity from the project. NRG plans to invest up to $800 million in equity in the project, and the deal between First Solar and NRG requires…

  7. Worst Traffic Congestion In The U.S.: Chicago Ranked Most Congested

    Despite high fuel prices and a tough economy, traffic congestion is getting worse. Chicago drivers spent more time and money in 2009 traffic jams than most cities in the U.S., according to the 2010 Urban Mobility Report released Thursday.

    Chicago and Northwest Indiana drivers wasted an additional 70 hours in traffic and an average of $1,738 in gas costs, according to the report published by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University.

    Not that it’s anything to brag about, but Chicago tied with the Washington, D.C. for the time drivers spent behind the wheel. Chicago’s additional 70 hours of …

  8. 10 Creative Ways to Recycle Ordinary Objects

    Creatively artistic recycling doesn?t have to be limited to helping the environment: it can also be a challenge and opportunity to ingenious designers who work with materials most people would consider waste to create amazing things. Some of the following designs serve multiple purposes: illustrating the material possibilities of what most would consider trash while also maximizing the aesthetic potential of what would otherwise be considered waste objects. Clothes become rugs, airline trolleys become furniture, cardboard becomes bridges and sewage turns into …

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Friday Green Numbers round-up 11/19/2010

Green Numbers

And here are this week’s Green numbers…

  1. Smart grids could save the EU ?52 billion annually, according to leading smart grid companies that have teamed up to promote European leadership in smart grids.

    The sizeable savings would arise from reducing losses in the electricity distribution network through automation and encouraging consumers to cut energy consumption with smart meters that provide more accurate and timely information, experts from the Smart Energy Demand Coalition said at its launch yesterday (15 November) in Brussels

    Utilities will also be able to lower the system voltage level and make meter-reading redundant, argued Chris King, chief regulatory officer at eMeter. After deducting necessary costs like the installation of smart meters and new software, the net benefit would still be ?31 billion per year, he said.

  2. Exelon Corp. plans to invest $3 billion to boost the output of its nuclear plants as environmental regulations make competing coal-fired generation more expensive.

    The investment is part of a plan announced Tuesday to spend $5 billion between 2010 and 2015 to increase generation capacity and reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

    The company already has the lowest carbon footprint of any major power producer because 93% its power is generated by its huge fleet of nuclear reactors, which emit almost no carbon dioxide. As Exelon increases its output of nuclear power, the company will close a pair of money-losing coal plants in Pennsylvania.

  3. To reduce emissions of greenhouse gases 10 percent below 1990 levels, Oregon?s PGE (Portland General Electric) plans to replace coal plants with 2,362 MW of wind energy and 557 MW of simple-cycle combustion turbines burning natural gas

    To pay for the new investment in building renewable energy, utility rates will likely rise 13% in 2019, and 25% in 2020, the utility calculates.
    But the other utilities in the state that utilize the regions plentiful hydro can make a gentler transition, as they currently have surplus generation from clean sources in the spring and winter.

  4. The Carbon Disclosure Project launches first water disclosure report on world?s largest companies

    The report findings show that water is already impacting business operations with 96% of responding companies able to identify whether or not they are exposed to water risk and more than half of those reporting risks classifying them as current or near-term (1-5 years). 39% of companies are already experiencing detrimental impacts relating to water including disruption to operations from drought or flooding, declining water quality necessitating costly on-site pre-treatment, and increases in water prices, as well as fines and litigation relating to pollution incidents.

    Water security is already high on the corporate agenda with 67% reporting responsibility for water-related issues at the board or executive committee level. The majority of companies (89%) have already developed specific water policies, strategies and plans, and 60% have set water-related performance targets.

Photo credit millicent_bystander

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Friday Green Numbers round-up 08/27/2010

Green Numbers

Photo credit tiffa130

And here, after a short break, are this week’s Green Numbers:

  • Consumption of electricity from wind rose by 28% between 2008 and 2009, according to the federal government’s annual energy report.

    tags: us wind energy renewables greennumbers

  • The installed capacity of Spain increased by 2,459 MW in 2009, reaching a total of 19,149 MW (these figures include both the activities of national and international operators). This way, wind energy rose as the third technology of the system with demand coverage of 14.4%, reaching peaks of over 50% on certain occasions.?

    tags: greennumbers spain wind wind energy installed capacity

  • Three firms control 89% of US soft drink sales. This dominance is obscured from us by the appearance of numerous choices on retailer shelves. Steve Hannaford refers to this as “pseudovariety,” or the illusion of diversity, concealing a lack of real choice. To visualize the extent of pseudovariety in this industry we developed a cluster diagram to represent the number of soft drink brands and varieties found in the refrigerator cases of 94 Michigan retailers, along with their ownership connections.

    tags: soft drink sales coca cola pepsi dr pepper greennumbers

  • Clare County Council has given the go-ahead for construction on the largest community owned wind farm development in Ireland.

    The ?200 million project will see West Clare Renewable Energy build 28 3MW wind turbines on a mountain slope between Ennis and Miltown Malbay, and will generate enough power to cover every home and business in Co Clare. Construction of the project will generate up to 300 jobs.

    tags: Clare County Council community owned wind farm greennumbers wind energy

  • Just beneath the wind-stippled surface of the Hudson River here, huge pipes suck enough water into the Indian Point nuclear plant every second to fill three Olympic swimming pools. And each second they take in dozens of organisms ? fish and crabs, but mostly larvae ? that are at the center of a $1.1 billion debate: should the plant have to put in cooling towers that would vastly reduce the intake of water?

    tags: greennumbers Nuclear Plant Indian Point cooling towers

  • A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.? A power grid is only as secure and reliable as its most overloaded and vulnerable distribution areas.? A single point of failure can interrupt power for thousands, even millions of customers.? This flaw in our grid is becoming more apparent as electricity demand has increased quickly over the past few decades.? Since demand is outpacing the available supply of electricity generation capacity, power grid failures are becoming more common, but this need not be the case.? Smart grid technologies can efficiently schedule and redistribute electricity usage, smoothing the demand curve and reducing the peaks.? If we invest in smart grid technology, automating the detection of grid malfunctions before they become catastrophic, we will save billions of dollars a year.

    tags: greennumbers smart grid investment

  • Digital Lumens today announced that Maines Paper & Food Service, Inc. has deployed the company?s Intelligent Lighting System in their 460,000 square foot headquarters in Conklin, New York, to slash energy use, improve light levels, and meet corporate sustainability targets.? Lighting-related energy use has dropped by 87%.? Maines expects to save 1,726,108 kWh per year (more than enough electricity to power 200 homes for a year), and 1,240 metric tons of CO2.

    tags: Digital Lumens Intelligent Lighting System led lighting greennumbers

  • As we collected baseline data for our first and second group of servers, we have been able to pull together some initial reports for our NightWatchman Server Edition case study environment.? Taking into account that we have a few servers that are not yet up and running with the software, it is worth noting that these are preliminary reports, but it is interesting to see what the data will look like and how it will help us begin to develop a plan in order to put the data to best use.
    In this blog we?ll share the first set of reports around server utilization.?Here is the information we pulled from the tool around our pilot servers:

    tags: greennumbers 1e csc NightWatchman Server Edition

  • Apparently China’s Ministry of Commerce has had it with disposable chopsticks. It sent out a warning to chopstick makers in June to warn them that: “Production, circulation and recycling of disposable chopsticks should be more strictly supervised.” The reason? With about 45 billion disposable chopstick pairs made every year in the country, or about 130 million a day, a lot of wood is being wasted, and that in a country that is trying to increase its forest coverage (from about 8% in 1949 to 12-13% today, compared to 30% for the USA).

    tags: china chopsticks greennumbers disposable chopsticks forests wood

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Friday Green Numbers round-up 07/23/2010

Green Numbers

Photo credit tiffa130

And here are this week’s Green Numbers:

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Friday Green Numbers round-up 07/16/2010

Green Numbers

Photo credit XcBiker

And here are this week’s Green Numbers:

    Smart Grids

  • 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.”

    tags: ge greennumbers electricity $200 million challenge smart grid

  • 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?

    tags: greennumbers smart grid investments spending

  • 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.

    tags: trilliant smart grid financing round investment greennumbers

  • Policy and Regulation:

  • 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….

    tags: europe eu low carbon emissions 30% 20% carbon greennumbers

  • “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.”

    tags: uk govt greennumbers central Government estate Central Government Carbon Management Service

  • 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.

    tags: china smart grid state grid greennumbers

  • Sustainability

  • 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.

    tags: sustainability triads Seven Triads of Sustainability greennumbers

  • 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.

    tags: remuneration remuneration report eurofirst300 greennumbers

  • 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.

    tags: environmental impacts social impacts csr corporate reporting greennumbers accounting standards

  • 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.

    tags: at&t att cng compressed natural gas vehicle fleet greennumbers

  • Renewables

  • 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.

    tags: morocco wind farm greennumbers

  • 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.

    tags: germany electricity renewable energy greennumbers fossil fuel

  • 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.

    tags: Andy Sharpless TedxOilSpill oilspill offshore drilling greennumbers

  • 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.

    tags: salazar oilspill Gulf of Mexico oil wells gas wells abandoned oil wells greennumbers

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It is surprisingly easy to leave yourself open to claims of Greenwashing!

Spinning wind power

Photo credit Doxi

Companies need to take a lot of care when making Green claims. The whole Green energy space is massively complex and it is surprisingly easy to leave yourself open to claims of Greenwashing.

What do I mean?

Well, take the Irish energy sector, for example. Anyone who generates electricity in Ireland, which is to be distributed on the grid, is required to sell that power into the wholesale pool – the Single Energy Market (SEM).

Then any retailer who wishes to sell that power to businesses or residential customers, buys the electricity from the pool and sells to their customer base.

Now if you are grid connected in Ireland for your electricity supply (as most organisations are) you get your power from this pool.

Can you see where I am going with this?

Most electricity companies in Ireland do generation as well as retail. Some of them have a significant portfolio of renewable resources (chiefly wind). However, because of the structure of the market, they can’t sell this power directly to consumers, it has to go to the SEM pool first.

When the electricity retailers sell electricity, they have to purchase it from the SEM pool to sell to their customers. Because all electricity sold in Ireland comes from the same SEM pool, everyone has the same percentage of renewables in their supply (unless they have a private supply).

What this means in effect is that you can’t selectively buy renewable electricity in Ireland.

If you see companies saying that their Irish operations are “running on almost 90 percent wind power”, for example, they are either ill-informed, or they are Greenwashing.

If you can’t selectively purchase renewable electricity, what can you do to reduce the carbon footprint of your energy consumption?

Well, the best thing to do then would be to move your loads to times when the percentage of renewable sources in the pool is highest! Any company committing to doing that would be making a bona fide Green statement.

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Smart Grid Heavy Hitters – Jon Wellinghoff, Chair of US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – part 1

Jon Wellinghoff is the Chairman of the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) – the FERC is the agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. As such, the FERC was the agency which Google Energy applied to for its licence to buy and sell electricity on the wholesale market, for example.

Shortly after his appointment as Chair of the FERC in 2009 by Barack Obama, Chairman Wellinghoff made headlines when he said

No new nuclear or coal plants may ever be needed in the United States… renewables like wind, solar and biomass will provide enough energy to meet baseload capacity and future energy demands

A chance came up recently to have him on this show, so I obviously jumped at it!

We had a great chat – so good, in fact that I turned it into two shows rather than edit any of it out.

In this first video we discussed:

  • What a smart grid is and its benefits
  • The backlash to early smart grid rollouts in Texas and California
  • How long it will be before we see full smart grids deployments

I will publish the second part of the interview next week.

In part two Chairman Wellinghoff will once again state that the US does not need to build any more coal or nuclear power plants, that renewables can meet the energy requirements of the US and he will discuss how electric car owners in some trials are being paid over $3,000 per annum for use of their batteries for grid regulation services by their utilities!

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Friday Morning Green Numbers round-up 04/09/2010

Green numbers

Photo credit Unhindered by Talent

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