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Friday, May 1, 2015

New York and California are Building

We will start to run more stories on the grid of the future.  It is key to powering our lives, getting efficient, saving energy, integrating new power sources, and it is critical that we all start to understand what reshaped grids, micro-grids, battery storage and, perhaps, satellite-delivered energy will look like and how we can best connect and use it.

New York and California are Building the Grid of the Future

How the two states are betting big in different ways on distributed energy resources


In The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell popularized the process—first described by Everett Rogers—by which innovative ideas, policies, and products start with a small but influential minority of early adopters and then spread rapidly to a much wider segment of the market. The planning and design of the electric grid could be at just such a tipping point, with New York and California leading the charge on how to integrate significantly higher amounts of distributed energy resources (DERs) onto a grid historically built around centralized assets like large power plants.

While New York and California have different existing levels of DER adoption, electricity policy objectives, history, and market structures, the two initiatives share common drivers. Both states recognize the importance of fundamental changes to the regulated investor-owned utility business model and distribution planning process. Both processes are designed to position the electric system to succeed in an environment of changing technology costs and capabilities, improve system resilience and customer opportunities, and address the electric system’s impact on climate.

NY and CA’s initiatives at a glance

In April 2014, the New York Public Service Commission launched the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding. The ambitious initiative is the first in the nation to propose an entity to perform the role of a “distributed system platform (DSP) provider.” The DSP model gives life to a new market for distributed resources to provide energy services, similar to a distribution-level independent system operator (ISO) but focused on DERs rather than central grid assets.

The DSP in NY will interface between the bulk power system, utilities, DER providers, and retail customers. While much is yet to be decided, the REV proceeding envisions DSPs as platforms for innovation and market-based deployment of DERs.

California launched a rulemaking proceeding in July 2014 pursuant to Assembly Bill 327, which requires the state’s investor-owned utilities to develop distribution resources plans (DRPs) to better integrate DERs onto the grid. California is the national leader in installed capacity of solar PV, and therefore faces unique challenges related to an existing, scaled deployment of DERs that has not yet materialized in New York.  Moreover, due to the California statutory requirement to focus on DRPs, the process is focused on technical matters related to DER integration, and does not explicitly explore how utility business models may need to change to better integrate DERs. The California initiative does not create a new distributed resource market like the one envisioned in NY. However, like NY, the California process intends “to mov(e) the IOUs towards a more full integration of DERs into their distribution system planning, operations and investment.”

Four big questions

To understand where each state may be headed, we focus on four key questions:
  • What is the role of markets versus mandates in creating the future system?
  • What does distribution system planning look like in a high-DER future?
  • What is the best market structure and regulatory framework to attract data-driven innovation and new energy services?
  • What are the roles of the customer and the utility in the future system?

Markets vs. mandates

The proceedings are notable for the degree to which each envisions markets versus mandates to characterize future distribution system planning and investment.

California has historically relied on innovative policy mandates to achieve energy system goals.
While California led the initiative in the 1990s to deregulate retail electricity markets, the electricity price disruptions and associated utility financial impacts in early 2000s led to strong corrective mandates that remain influential in the policy landscape. The current DRP process scope is directly tied to AB 327, the legislative mandate directing the utilities to develop distributed resource plans.

New York has also relied on targets and mandates to guide energy policies related to energy efficiency goals, DER integration, and renewable power procurement. However, in contrast to California, New York’s deregulated retail electricity market remains in place and has resulted in energy cost savings for many large commercial and industrial customers.

New York’s electricity policy direction is explicitly market-oriented. Richard Kauffman, New York’s chairman of energy and finance, notes the need for clean energy markets, not programs or mandates.

“There are a growing number of people across political boundaries that are seriously looking at these issues,” Kaufman states. “We need to get to that system not by creating more programs, but by animating markets."

Distribution system planning

Both states recognize that, to make a more distributed, efficient grid work, regulators and utilities need to plan ahead. Historically, the electricity system has not fully valued DERs in distribution system planning and investment, despite potential benefits of DERs to the grid. While some utilities have employed DERs to modify peak loads and reduce wholesale peak costs, DERs can provide other services that may not been fully accounted for in existing tariffs. In fairness, utility companies may not have fully leveraged DERs in part because the regulatory framework guiding utilities’ business model did not explicitly orient the utility to recognize that value. Now that is changing. Due to cost reductions and accelerating adoption curves, DERs matter, and states and utilities are taking DERs more seriously in business model development and planning.

Pursuant to the regulatory compact, utilities have long maintained a monopoly control of the distribution network. This allows for reliable system planning, but has also resulted in a “black box” around distribution system planning and costs. Both states have the opportunity to shed light into the distribution system planning processes and costs. One way to achieve this would be for utilities to file resource plans to make public where grid constraints exist and investments required, and to shift planning and investments toward integration of DERs.

In consideration of these and related issues, the NYDPS Staff Straw Proposal proposes that utilities should file near-term “distributed system implementation plans” (DSIPs), in which utilities will describe how they plan to transition to being a DSP provider, and how they will recognize DER contributions that might otherwise compete against traditional infrastructure investments.

In California, AB 327 requires IOUs to file DRPs that include scenario-based planning as well as integration analyses. Scenario-based planning accounts for different DER adoption scenarios, as well as other factors that might impact the need for DERs, such as retirement of large power plants. The CA IOUs are required to define the criteria for determining what constitutes an optimal location for DER deployment, and then identify values for the deployment via online mapping tools. The IOUs are also required to conduct integration analyses to measure the threshold integration of DERs, based on assumptions related to DER impacts on electric system reliability and safety.

The proposed CA approach is different from the NY approach because the utility, rather than the market, is in an active position to define the DER valuation and criteria for determining how much DERs can safely be added to the system (although both analyses are subject to public processes).

Data-driven innovation and new energy services

The pace and scale of DER deployment in both NY and CA will rest, in part, on the breadth and depth of system and customer data and the availability of that data to customers (to manage their use), as well as to DER service providers (to develop new services and target those to locations most in need). For example, combined with a price signal, system data (such as metering at substation or other system nodes) exposes areas on the system where DERs can provide the most value, for example by alleviating congestion in load pockets. Customer usage data reveals the largest users of power, and therefore those most likely to be interested in DER solutions that can reduce their bills.

California has the head start in metering data collection due to roll-out in advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), as well as pioneering data-sharing tools such as Green Button, Green Button Connect, as well as other data-sharing mechanisms to make DER valuation more transparent that are considered in the DRP process.

However, NY has the potential to leapfrog CA on data in novel ways. The NYDPS straw proposal envisions a two-way data exchange, where DER providers are required to provide DER size and load reduction data to the DSP (like a generator would to a bulk system operator), and utilities would share system and customer data to the DER providers. Also, while AMI is an important enabler of measurement, verification, and communication, alternative metering and communication solutions such as revenue-grade metering and communication chips embedded in smart devices may offer more advanced features than existing AMI functionalities, particularly where metering is a challenge in environments such as New York City.

Additionally, in NY, the REV proceeding seeks to create a distributed system platform that allows customers, third-party service providers, and energy service aggregators to interact, not unlike other platform markets such as computer operating systems and smartphones. For example, the Apple iOS and iPhone serve as the platform on which other services are available, linking data and algorithms to devices that perform countless tasks, such as car sharing.

While it may take time to get there, an energy platform model could similarly allow DER service providers (e.g., solar companies) to link specialized electric grid distribution data with customer-facing technologies and applications.

For example, electric system data such as wholesale electricity prices and distribution node data, combined with other relevant information such as building footprint and weather, may allow developers to build new load management products that go beyond traditional utility electricity services, appeal to and pay customers, and have the added benefit to help make the system more balanced and efficient.

Role of the customer and the changing role of the utility

In both states, the customer is central to the adoption and integration of DERs, as well as the future business model of the utility. While utilities have established trust with many of their customers and provide safe and reliable service, there is an opportunity to let other companies offer more innovative customer solutions integrated with our online, digital lives. JD Power recently found that while overall customer satisfaction with utilities has improved, utilities are not keeping pace with other tech companies such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon that are positioned to disrupt the residential electric utility business models.

Both states have an opportunity to open the DER market to providers that have direct access to customers, with new products and services that attract and excite customers to adopt DERs and actively manage them. New York has clearly stated its intent to change the utility’s role from commodity service provider (kWh) into a platform for an untold number of new energy services and service providers.

Don’t change that dial

The fundamental distinction at this point in the proceedings is that while in CA utilities must consider privately financed DERs in their planning, the process is technically focused, and still largely utility-directed. In NY, by contrast, REV seeks to enable market forces to influence customer and third-party DER deployment and valuation, which utilities would therefore have to take into account in the marketplace.

It is too early to say where exactly these reform proceedings will settle on these important issues, as both states are just out of the starting blocks in their respective efforts. A year from now (and certainly in five or ten), we will likely look back on this point as marking a major shift in electricity market design, when the first of many states undertook major reforms to create the clean electricity system that we deserve.

The Effect of Urban Lifestyle Change

Urban centers present tough challenges around sustainability.  They also come with some real advantages realizing we can be very efficient when we congest many services and mixed-use real estate in tight quarters.

We need, though, smart growth around these centers of commerce.  If we get too big too fast, as we see here, we suffer gigantic health risks.  We can't survive over development, over consumption and a clear lack of balance between the economics of quality of life and the ecology of quality of life.

Which would you prefer?

The Effect of Urban Lifestyle Change on Energy Demand in China: The Need for a National Policy

14th FINA World Championships - Previews

The population of China stands at 1.338 billion people. The Chinese economy after the open policy of 1978 has experienced tremendous growth. The average GDP growth rate of China during the last decade was about 10.03%. The increase in growth of Urban China accounts for a greater portion of the overall growth, which has led to significant increase in demand for energy. To support such rapid economic growth, China’s energy consumption has quadrupled from 603 million tons of coal equivalent (Mtce) in 1980 to over 3,000 Mtce in 2010 and it is still on the rise (National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS), 2010). In 2010, China consumed 17.4% of the world’s energy compared to only 7.9% in 1975, making it the world’s largest energy consumer and top greenhouse gas emitter. According to the IEA (2010), China’s share will surge to 22% through 2035 and will account for over 30 per cent of the projected growth in global energy demand.

China is the second largest energy consuming country behind the United States. The household lifestyle has undergone significant change due to the rapid economic growth it has experienced in the last decade. This change has led to an increase in incomes, demand for goods and services as well as energy consumption. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of change in urban household lifestyle on energy consumption and related carbon emissions. The study employs the use of the Consumer Lifestyle Approach (CLA) in measuring the direct and indirect effects of household lifestyle changes on energy demand. The results show that energy consumption and annual carbon emissions have increased throughout the study period, while energy intensity has shown a declining trend.

From figure 1 below, it is clear that the level of energy consumption has increased over the period for all household indicators. This suggests that changing lifestyles are having proportional changes on energy consumption. During the period, the indirect carbon emissions of food, clothing, household facilities and services was 62.9, 16.5 and 12.5 per cent respectively. The carbon emissions of food production showed an upward trend during the years. The share of food production in carbon emissions is growing over the years as food demand increases. This is because food processing is highly energy intensive (requiring Liquefied Petroleum Gas and/or kerosene) and therefore related carbon emissions are considerable.

sohan1 sohan2
From figure 3, it is evident that the share of coal in household energy use presented an upward trend and accounted for the greatest share in the fuel type analysis during the period 2009-2012. The share of petroleum was highest in 2012. The share of diesel, electricity and natural gas is rising indicating a transition in home energy use of urban households. The total household energy consumption grew from 47.9 million Kwh in 2009 to 54.9 million Kwh in 2012. Total annual carbon emissions caused by household energy consumption, grew from 15.3 million in 2009 to 21.8 million in 2012 (30% growth). Of these, coal accounted for the largest share, followed closely by petroleum.
The results of the above analysis quantify conclusively that urban household lifestyle does have significant impact on energy consumption and associated carbon emissions. That is, energy demand and use as well as related carbon emissions are all directly and indirectly impacted by changing lifestyles in the country.

The trend analysis on total household energy consumption (figure 5) shows that the Chinese economy would experience a tremendous growth in energy consumption from 46 million Kwh in 2009 to 282 million Kwh in 2030 which represents over 500% growth in energy demand over the next two decades. A similar pattern is observed for the forecast of total carbon emissions. The trend shows that this would grow from 19.7 million Kwh in 2009 to 75 million kWh in 2030, indicating a growth of more than 300%. The forecast shows that carbon emissions growth will be less than the growth in energy consumption.
The main policy implication emerging from these findings is that policy makers must take into consideration the impact of a growing urban population on energy consumption as a key macroeconomic determinant in policy formulation. There is a dire need for policy makers to focus on policies that will conserve energy through the use of taxation, rigorous energy efficiency standards and price ceilings in the energy markets.

Thursday, April 30, 2015


In New England, as we face electricity shortages, including brownouts and blackouts in the next few years, we North to Canada to provide, we hope, new large-scale supplies of hydropower.



Hydropower is also referred to as the water power, and refers to power which derives from the force of energy of the moving water. Hydropower has very long history, and has been used since early days for irrigation, today hydropower is mostly used to generate electricity.

United States hydropower info

Hydropower is the most important renewable energy source in United States, which currently accounts for around 8% of nation's electricity.

The biggest hydroelectric dams in the United States are found in the Northwest, the Tennessee Valley, and on the Colorado River.

United States is currently fourth largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world, behind China, Canada and Brazil.

The United States currently has more than 2,000 hydroelectric power plants which supply close to 50% of its total renewable electricity.

The largest U.S. hydroelectric power plant is the 6,800-megawatt Grand Coulee power station on the Columbia River in Washington State.

Idaho, Washington, and Oregon are US states that use hydroelectricity as their main power source, and hydroelectric plants exist in at least 34 US states.

State of Washington leads the nation in hydropower and accounts for around 31% of the total U.S. generated hydropower.

Hydropower has very long history in United States as the first U.S. hydroelectric power plant was opened almost 130 years ago, on the Fox River near Appleton, Wisconsin, on September 30, 1882.
Most dams in the United States were built mainly for flood control and irrigation, and only a small percentage of all dams in the United States generates electricity.

US can currently generate enough hydropower to supply electricity needs for close to 29 million households.

In 2008, hydropower represented 2.5% of the total energy consumed in the United States.

Micro hydro systems info

Micro hydro systems are hydroelectric power installations that typically produce up to 100 kW of power, and are mostly used to provide power to an isolated home or small communities.

In some areas micro hydro systems are used to complement for solar energy panels. This is because in the winter, when the amount of sunshine is at minimum, available hydropower is at its maximum.
Micro hydro systems unlike large hydropower plants usually do not have a dam or reservoir because these systems compared to large hydropower plants require minimal flow of water to be available year-round.

Micro hydro systems are very efficient because they require a very small amount of flow to generate electricity (around two gallons per minute should be enough). They are also very reliable, and their peak energy season is during the winter when water flow is the highest.

Micro hydro systems are not connected with high costs. A small-scale hydro-power system in average costs from $1,000 – $20,000, depending on site electricity, requirements and location. Maintenance costs are also fairly low.

Many energy experts believe small hydro systems would be one of the best energy options for developing countries because they are connected with low costs, and last for long time.

The main disadvantage of micro hydro systems are low power in the summer months because during the summer months there is less flow. Another disadvantage is the fact that is not that easy to find the suitable site to build these projects because you need to consider many factors like stream size, flow rate, distance from the power source, etc.

Micro hydro systems use several different types of water turbines, depending on the head of water, the volume of flow, and other factors like the availability of local maintenance and transport of equipment to the site. For mountainous regions where a waterfall of 50 meters or more may be available, a Pelton wheel is mostly used. For low head installations, Francis or propeller-type turbines are used while very low head installations of only a few meters may use propeller-type turbines in a pit.

Micro hydro systems have minimal environmental impact. Still, when building these systems constructors need to be cautious to ensure there will be no damaging impact on the nearby ecosystems.

California Is Rationing Water Use For First Time

Let's not lose sight of our pending crises, around the globe, as look head on into mega-droughts and severe water shortages.

California Is Rationing Water Use For First Time Thanks To Climate Change

This pole was supposed to measure snow.
On Wednesday, California Governor Jerry Brown walked into a meadow in the Sierra Nevada mountains with snow survey chief Frank Gehrke, who carried an extremely tall pole to measure snowpack depth. They wore hiking shoes instead of skis, which signaled a serious problem.

“We’re standing on dry grass,” Brown said. “We should be standing on five feet of snow.”

Standing on that dry land and facing a historic drought, Brown then demanded “unprecedented action.” That action took the form of California’s first-ever statewide mandatory water use restriction. Brown signed an executive order detailing to local water supply agencies how they could cut usage 25 percent from 2013 levels.

Last week Brown signed a $1.1 billion emergency drought relief bill, which could help localities meet the 25 percent water cuts outlined in the executive order. Brown said the order he was issuing was unique in its level of detail — the likes of which he’d “never seen … before.”

It directs the State Water Resources Control Board to implement water savings plans in cities and towns across the state to meet the 25 percent goal. Local water agencies will be changing their pricing structures to limit excess use. Landscaping will change from lawns to drought-tolerant vegetation across 50 million square acres of the state. Consumers can receive higher rebates for efficient appliances. And as desalination plants go up on the coast, urban areas can begin to reduce the drain on reservoirs.

Last year the state failed to achieve a voluntary 20 percent water use reduction, and while officials said punitive fines could be used to enforce the new guidelines, they expected not to have to resort to that.

The drought forcing these responses is now the worst on record.

California’s rainy season typically lasts from October to March, but instead of being flush full reservoirs and a healthy snowpack, the state has entered its fourth consecutive year of drought — the worst in 120 years of state recordkeeping. With the last week’s temperatures averaging more than 10°F hotter than normal, snowpack levels, already at five percent of normal, will continue to shrink at even faster rates. Five percent is less than one-third the previous record low: 25 percent of average set in 2014 and 1977.

“The west continued to cope with much-above-normal temperatures, further depleting already-dire snowpacks and reducing spring runoff prospects over much of the region,” reported the U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday.

The Monitor noted that the last water year “ended on an abysmal note,” with 10 percent the normal precipitation levels over the last 30 days. It warned that additional precipitation “would likely do little to improve the state’s dire drought prospects.”

Even after the big storms that rolled through the state last December, it needed 11 trillion gallons of water to end the drought, a situation made worse as much of the precipitation fell as rain rather than snow.
The drought monitor map for the week ending on March 31, 2015, released on April 2.
The drought monitor map for the week ending on March 31, 2015, released on
In April 2014, at the end of last year’s rainy season, 23 percent of the state was in “exceptional drought” — this year it’s 41 percent.

The snowpack usually supplies 30 percent of California’s water use, and 60 percent of the water needed to help fill the rest of the state’s traditional reservoirs. But water resource managers like Gehrke are essentially telling reservoir operators not to expect water from the snowpack this year.
When it comes to reducing the demand those reservoirs have to meet, the elephant in the room is agricultural water use, which accounts for 80 percent of the state’s yearly consumption. Gov. Brown’s executive order addresses farming mainly in the form of an increased enforcement against illegal water waste.

Big agricultural water consumers “will be required to report more water use information to state regulators, increasing the state’s ability to enforce against illegal diversions and waste and unreasonable use of water under today’s order,” a state press release said.

But large farms will not fall under the 25 percent guideline. The state is likely mindful of keeping food prices from rising more than they have, wary of cutting water allocations to large farms further. But finding ways to cut water use significantly will become more critical for California’s growers, as the drought is likely to get worse, not better.

One big reason is climate change.

When people ask why this drought has been so bad, and how much worse it could get, scientists point to two main factors: lack of rain, and extreme heat. Droughts happen when it does not rain, and they get worse with extreme heat. When half the years are warm, and half are cold, this is less of a problem. But with climate change pushing global temperatures higher and higher, it’s very likely that California has not seen the worst of it.

The climate change connection to this particular drought’s lack of rain may be less direct, though for each degree warmer the atmosphere gets, it can hold four percent more moisture. This means less frequent precipitation events as the air holds more water, though when it does rain, it rains a lot all at once, making it harder for the land to easily soak up the water.

Princeton climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer put it to the New York Times this way: “The rain deficit isn’t clearly connected to climate change, but the planetary warming has made it more likely that the weather would be hotter in California.”

A recent study noted that soil moisture levels are worse than they’ve been for more than a millennium: “the current event is the most severe drought in the last 1200 years, with single year (2014) and accumulated moisture deficits worse than any previous continuous span of dry years.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

EPA: New Cars Are More Efficient Than Ever

We thought this would be a good story to run with the Tesla piece today.  Tesla's first priority is to build great cars while delivering a lot of miles-per-charge (though, using their amazing new battery technology to store energy at home is a great idea and application as well).  Part of keeping EPA ahead of their goals in terms of miles-per-gallon will depend a lot on hybrids and EV's.  We hope you shop them when buying a new car.

This is great news that we hope keeps traction.

EPA: New Cars Are More Efficient Than Ever, Beating Standards By A ‘Wide Margin’




For the second year in a row, new cars are ahead of the game when it comes to reducing their carbon footprint.

According to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency, the auto industry beat out domestic greenhouse gas emissions standards by a “wide margin” in 2013, with cars getting an average of 1.4 more miles per gallon than required.

This trend is promising as the EPA is tightening greenhouse gas compliance regulations on light-duty vehicles — cars and small trucks — each year in an effort to meet the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards’ target of an average fuel economy of 54.5 mpg by 2025. Nine of the 13 biggest-selling automakers beat the CAFE targets.

Vehicles from 2013 achieved an all-time record fuel economy of 24.1 mpg, a 0.5 mpg increase over 2012 and an increase of nearly 5 mpg in the last decade. The CAFE standards covering vehicles made between 2012 and 2025 are projected to save 12 billion barrels of oil, cut 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases and save drivers more than $8,000 in fuel costs, according to the EPA.

The standards also help protect consumers from the pocketbook pain that can come from volatile gas prices.

“I think everybody is familiar with the fact that gas prices go up and down over time,” Janet McCabe, the acting assistant administrator of the EPA, said on a press call. “The best way for people to make sure that they’re going to be able to weather high gas prices or low is to invest in a fuel efficient vehicle.”

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), 2013 cars are emitting 9 percent less carbon pollution than in 2010.

“The EPA report shows that tailpipe emissions are falling, improvements in air-conditioning technology are happening even faster than expected, and on average, vehicles are a full year ahead of where they need to be to keep up with the standards,” said Don Anair, the research and deputy director of the Clean Vehicles program at UCS.

Two-thirds of the over-compliance in 2013 vehicles came from reductions in tailpipe emissions, according to the EPA, with the remaining third deriving from air conditioning improvements and automakers using credits for building things like flex fuel systems.

“In the design of the program, we anticipated automakers taking advantage of these different market mechanisms, so this was always part of our projections,” Chris Grundler, the EPA’s director in the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, said on the press call. “The fact that the industry is doing substantially better is very good news and tells us that this kind of innovative policy design is indeed producing the results that we expected.”

While consumers turned towards fuel-efficient cars during the economic downturn and sustained period of high gas prices, the recent plummet in gas prices has caused interest in large, heavy-emitting vehicles to spike again. As Bloomberg reports, interest in “gas guzzling trucks and SUVs” started to pick up early in 2014 and has continued to increase as gas prices fell to their lowest levels in half a decade, approaching $2 a gallon.

At the same time, interest in electric vehicles is ramping up as companies like Tesla and GM plan more affordable models of their EVs. Last year Tesla announced it was building its $5 billion lithium-ion battery “gigafactory” in Nevada. The plant is primarily meant to provide batteries for the forthcoming Model III EV, expected to be released in 2017 with a price tag of around $35,000.

In January, Chevrolet, a division of GM, revealed plans to launch the $30,000 Bolt, a car that the company thinks will directly compete with Tesla’s the Model III, which will have a similar price tag and a similar range of slightly over 200 miles-per-charge.

According to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, EV battery prices have been falling faster than expected and these vehicles may be able to compete economically with gas-powered cars sooner than expected.

“If prices keep falling at this rate, we could be on course to reach $150 per kWh — the price point around which some people believe EVs can become directly competitive with petrol-driven cars — in the next decade,” said the authors of the study, who work for the Stockholm Environment Institute.

Is TESLA About To Rebuild Your Home?

Get to our home site today as we have this and other great stories/updates waiting for you.  We also posted, which fits great with the live show we did today on our flagship station, WRNP 1320, our interview with Ian Leahy from American Forests  As we heard today as well, forest, urban canopies of trees, vegetation of all types play a critical, many times misunderstood role not just in our quality of life, but economic survival and prosperity as well.  Go to our front listen in and send us comments.

For now, here's the story on Tesla.  Get ready to be a big part of the next industrial revolution:

All eyes will be on Tesla this week as the eagerly awaited Tesla home battery is  unveiled.

The online world was abuzz last week when Jeff Evanson, Tesla’s 
VP of Investor Relations, said details of the Tesla home battery and a very large utility scale battery would be announced on April 30.

In February, Tesla founder Elon Musk said a residential battery storage solution would be in production in “About 6 months.”

Rumour has it that the Tesla battery will be initially available in 10 and 15 kWh configurations.
Any time the Tesla name pops up, it’s sure to grab attention. Expectations are high of a game-changing product – a top performing battery at a very competitive pricing point. If anyone can do it, Tesla can thanks to its extensive experience in refining electric vehicle batteries.

But Tesla is by no means Robinson Crusoe when it comes to home energy storage sector – in fact, the sector starting to look a little crowded already before the home battery revolution has even really kicked in. 

This is good news for consumers as affordable residential energy storage will happen far quicker than anticipated. It’s perhaps not such good news for power companies worrying about grid defection or equally as troubling, load defection. In north-east USA, customer load defection could reduce annual energy sales by ~10–20% by as early as 2020.

Assuming a reasonably priced and good quality product is available, many solar households kin the U.S. may choose to further reduce their reliance on the mains grid – or ditch it altogether by adding storage to an existing system.

As was the case with the rooftop revolution, with choice will come challenges for consumers in identifying quality battery products. However, some big names have already jumped onto the energy storage bandwagon; which will make an informed choice an easier task.
- See more at:

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How Can Business Be More

What better piece to run today to coincide with the great radio show we are doing in a few hours.

Think, too, how can you be more eco friendly?

How Can Business Be More Eco Friendly?

The world is striving to be a greener place with many people actively opting to reduce their own personal carbon footprint. But it shouldn’t stop there. Businesses can play a large part in helping to reduce pollution and contribute to a greener, more economically friendly environment for everyone.

In our latest post we have decided to look at some easy to achieve ways that businesses can actively reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a better environment.

How Can Business Be More Eco Friendly?

The world is striving to be a greener place with many people actively opting to reduce their own personal carbon footprint. But it shouldn’t stop there. Businesses can play a large part in helping to reduce pollution and contribute to a greener, more economically friendly environment for everyone.

 In our latest post we have decided to look at some easy to achieve ways that businesses can actively reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a better environment.


One of the main ways that your business can reduce its impact on the environment is to change the lighting throughout your building to incorporate LEDs. LED lights typically last 25 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs while also using around 75% less energy which means they are a great way to not only save money but to also reduce your impact on the environment. The more lights that you switch to LEDs the more money you could potentially save as the running cost of an LED is far less when compared to incandescent bulbs.


The European Environment Agency has set its members a target of recycling 50% of waste by 2020. While the UK is currently on track to achieve these targets there is always room for improvement and businesses can really help contribute to help achieve these targets. One key area of recycling that is often over looked is that of computers. Each year in the UK around 1.3 million tonnes of gadgets are thrown away and end up on the scrap heap but specialist recycling companies such as AWA Refiners can actually take your old and unwanted computer and help recycle them. This process is ideal for companies who are looking to upgrade a lot of hardware at once and are unsure of what to do with their old computers.

Become A Paperless Office

There are many benefits to becoming a paperless office and it’s not just to reduce your environmental impact. Firstly you will create more space without having large files or storage cabinets lying around. Secondly reducing the use of your printer and their expensive ink cartridges will have a positive effect on your office budget! It is estimated that around 50% of all office waste going into landfills is paper and if everyone switched to a paperless system then it could save around 1.4 trillion pounds of paper as well as a lot of CO2 emissions!

Encourage Carpooling

One of the biggest environmental challenges that the world faces is trying to encourage people to use their cars less often. Some companies have been able to offer incentives to their employees with the Government backed cycle to work scheme. You could look to offer some sort of incentive for those who carpool and it doesn’t even need to be financial, something as simple as being able to park closer to the building could help encourage lift sharing to work.