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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Capacity Crowd for Sports and Sustainability

We hope you caught this show live last week.  What an amazing group of experts.  Soon we will be adding a monthly show on sports and sustainability.

In the meantime get to our main site at Renewable to see the report we filed today:

Last week, RNN launched its 2016 Masters of Sustainability series, kicking things off with the Sports and Sustainability panel. The event was streamed live to a global audience and was also shot in front of a capacity audience who attended the event at Button Hole Golf in Providence, Rhode Island.

Participating in the event’s panel discussion were 5 time X-Games Gold Medalist, Kevin Robinson, professional golfer Aubrey “The Green Golfer” McCormick, and Jack Groh, Director NFL Environmental Program.  Hosting the panel was Peter Arpin from RNN’s Business Side of Green. The panel discussed everything from how sports of all kinds can begin to incorporate the principles to sustainability early on, all the way to how broadcasters and leagues could do more to bring awareness to the masses. The entire event will be available for on-demand viewing starting next week, but before than, we invite you to watch this short video of how the day culminated and interviews from those who attended.

- See more at:

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Columbus as Winner of Unprecedented $40 Million Smart City Challenge

Wow, what a win for a great city like Columbus Ohio.  We cannot wait to see the money invested across its many assets.

Note this money is just part of the raise;  total for Columbus for is $150MM.  Technology obviously plays a key role in improving their many services. Note, though, the key to their win was collaboration within the city.  That is the magic elixir to making transformation of our world take hold.  

 See much more at our main network site:  Renewable Now. biz

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced today that Columbus, OH has been selected as the winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation's (U.S. DOT)'s Smart City Challenge. As winner of the Challenge, Columbus will receive up to $40 million from U.S. DOT and up to $10 million from Paul G. Allen's Vulcan Inc. to supplement the $90 million that the city has already raised from other private partners to carry out its plan. Using these resources, Columbus will work to reshape its transportation system to become part of a fully-integrated city that harnesses the power and potential of data, technology, and creativity to reimagine how people and goods move throughout their city.

"Each of the seven finalists put forward an array of thoughtful, intelligent, and innovative ideas that defined a vision for the future of the American city and formed a blueprint to show the world what a fully integrated, forward-looking transportation network looks like," said Secretary Foxx. "The Smart City Challenge required each city to think about transportation as cross-functional, not in silos, but as a transportation ecosystem. The bold initiatives they proposed demonstrated that the future of transportation is not just about using technology to make our systems safer and more efficient – it's about using these advanced tools to make life better for all people, especially those living in underserved communities. While Columbus is the winner of the Challenge, we believe each city has come out of this process with a stronger sense of how to address transportation challenges with technology and innovation."

President and Chief Operating Officer of Vulcan Inc. Barbara Bennett, United States Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Mayor of Columbus Andrew Ginther announce the Smart City Challenge winner, Columbus, Ohio at the city's Douglas Community Recreation Center.

"We are thrilled to be America's first Smart City. Our collaboration between public, private and nonprofit sectors is the perfect example of how we lift up our residents and connect all communities," said Mayor Andrew Ginther. "Smart Columbus will deliver an unprecedented multimodal transportation system that will not only benefit the people of central Ohio, but potentially all mid-sized cities. I am grateful to President Obama, Secretary Foxx, the U.S. Department of Transportation, all of our partners and especially the Smart Columbus team."

The Smart City Challenge generated a significant amount of excitement and interest amongst cities. U.S. DOT received seventy-eight applications in total – one from nearly every mid-sized city in America. The Challenge called on cities to do more than merely introduce new technologies onto city streets, requiring them to boldly envision new solutions that would change the face of transportation in our cities by closing the gap between rich and poor; capturing the needs of both young and old; and bridging the digital divide through smart design so that the future of transportation meets the needs of all city residents.

The seven finalist cities that were announced at South by Southwest (SXSW) in March – Austin, Columbus, Denver, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Portland, and San Francisco – rose to the Smart City Challenge in an extraordinary way. They presented innovative concepts, proposing to create new first of a kind corridors for autonomous vehicles to move city residents, to electrify city fleets, and to collectively equip over thirteen thousand buses, taxis, and cars with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication.

Columbus was selected as the winner because it put forward an impressive, holistic vision for how technology can help all of the city's residents to move more easily and to access opportunity. The city proposed to deploy three electric self-driving shuttles to link a new bus rapid transit center to a retail district, connecting more residents to jobs. Columbus also plans to use data analytics to improve health care access in a neighborhood that currently has an infant mortality rate four times that of the national average, allowing them to provide improved transportation options to those most in need of prenatal care.

Public-private partnerships were essential to the success of the Smart City Challenge. The Department announced partnerships with some of the most innovative folks in the private sector, including launch partner Paul G. Allen's Vulcan Inc., cloud partner Amazon Web Services, NXP® Semiconductors, Mobileye, Autodesk, Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs, AT&T, DC Solar and Continental Automotive.  In addition, these seven cities were able to leverage U.S. DOT's $40 million grant to raise approximately $500 million more in funding – a vast majority of which comes from a diverse group of over 150 partners.  These partnerships illustrated the private-sector enthusiasm to help build an inclusive transportation system of the future.

- See more at:

Forward Thinking: What Would a Sustainable World Look Like?

Good article from Bloomberg.  Because we are making progress on all fronts, we can start to imagine and tantalize our sensors with images of a smarter planet.  For people and animals they preach getting our systems in balance for healthy living.  Should it be any different for our world?  Balance brings beauty and stability.  It will bring us prosperity as well without chewing up our natural capital.

Will technology make our energy and transportation habits obsolete?

BY:  Caroline Connan

We've relied on fossil fuels for generations.
Every day, nearly 100 million barrels of oil are used around the world. In 2014, fossil fuels still accounted for 85% of our global energy consumption.
But the volatility in oil prices and the devastating impact of carbon dioxide emissions on climate change and pollution have made us rethink our strategy towards greener technologies.
The economics of renewables are supporting this dramatic energy transition. In the last five years, solar prices have plunged about 75%, while wind energy has become 25% cheaper.
While enough sun falls on the surface of the earth in one hour to power the entire planet for one year, storing energy at night remains a technological challenge.
One country wants to be at the center of this revolution. On the edge of the Sahara desert, Morocco has just switched on the world's largest solar power plant. When completed, the gigantic Noor project will provide solar energy for 2 million people.
Transportation is also undergoing the biggest transformation since we transitioned from horses to cars. Vehicles will go from fossil fuels to electric, from human-driven to automated, and from car ownership to car-sharing. We may see the end of the automotive industry as we know it.
Will the technology disruption be enough to irreversibly change our energy mix? Are we on the verge of an energy revolution?

Forward Thinking: Making Sense of Tomorrow’s Problems

A six-part series that seeks to understand the challenges facing our world using the latest Bloomberg data and analysis. Watch on Bloomberg TV and

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The 4th Largest Economy In The World Just Generated 90 Percent Of The Power It Needs From Renewables

God must have been beaming down on Germany on a Sunday morning when they generated 90% of their power needs with renewables.  What a remarkable achievement for a country running on as much sun as Alaska.

Noted here this is powering a huge economy.  For the rest of us we have a standard set and can hope for a similar Sunday morning when our communities are running on clean power.  Bringing energy production local is a huge boast to every state and country.  Not importing large quantities of fossil fuel brings instance financial benefits and local job creation. 

Interesting to note how individuals in Germany are driving much of this change.  Proves again we can all make a material difference in our migration away from a fossil-fuel economy. 

The 4th Largest Economy In The World Just Generated 90 Percent Of The Power It Needs From Renewables

On Sunday, for a brief, shining moment, renewable power output in Germany reached 90 percent of the country’s total electricity demand.

That’s a big deal. On May 8th, at 11 a.m. local time, the total output of German solar, wind, hydropower, and biomass reached 55 gigawatts (GW), just short of the 58 GW consumed by every light bulb, washing machine, water heater and personal computer humming away on Sunday morning. See the graph below, courtesy Agora Energiewende, a German clean energy think tank. (It’s important to note that most likely, not all of that 55 GW could be used at the time it was generated due to system and grid limitations, but it’s still noteworthy that this quantity of power was produced.)

Germany is the fourth-largest economy on the planet. Germany’s $3.7 trillion GDP beats the economic output of any other country in Europe or, for that matter, any U.S. state. Sunday’s spike in renewable output shows that wind and solar can keep pace with the demands of an economic powerhouse. What’s more, the growth of clean energy has tracked the growth of Germany’s economy.
Germany is an unlikely leader in solar. Germany ranks second in installed photovoltaic solar capacity, according to the International Energy Agency. Until recently it was the world leader. It’s notable that, on solar, Germany is outpacing the United States, a country four times as populous. What’s more remarkable is that Germany sees about as much sunshine as Alaska.

Individuals are driving Germany’s energy revolution. Sunday’s performance highlights the success of the Energiewende, or “energy transition,” Germany’s push to expand clean energy, increase energy efficiency, and democratize power generation. Smart policies have opened the renewable energy market to utilities, businesses and homeowners. As of 2012, individuals owned more than a third of Germany’s renewable energy capacity.

Germany still gets most of its power from fossil fuels. Sunday’s spike resulted from a combination of reduced demand — a Sunday morning lull in power consumption. It also came from robust supply — an abundance of wind and sunshine to drive up renewable energy output. On average, renewables supply 30 percent of the country’s power. That is nonetheless a huge proportion. By comparison, the U.S. gets just 13 percent of its power from renewables.

Oceans Gasping for Breath

Think about your own lungs filled with emissions gasping for breath.  Destroying our natural capital destroys us and the economic stability these assets offer. 

Oceans Gasping for Breath, Oxygen Running Low!

Deoxgenation due to climate change is already detectable in some parts of the ocean. New research from NCAR finds that it will likely become widespread between 2030 and 2040. Other parts of the ocean, shown in gray, will not have detectable loss of oxygen due to climate change even by 2100. Image Credit: NCAR
Deoxgenation due to climate change is already detectable in some parts of the ocean. New research from NCAR finds that it will likely become widespread between 2030 and 2040. Other parts of the ocean, shown in gray, will not have detectable loss of oxygen due to climate change even by 2100. 

 Rising levels of CO2 are making it hard for fish to breathe in addition to exacerbating global warming and ocean acidification.
Climate change has caused a drop in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans in some parts of the world, and those effects should become evident across large parts of the ocean between 2030 and 2040, according to a new study led by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado.
The oceans receive their oxygen supply from the surface via the atmosphere or from phytoplankton, which release oxygen in the water by photosynthesis.
When the oceans are warmed they absorb less oxygen and marine life tend to move more slowly. The oxygen that is absorbed has a harder time reaching deeper into the ocean because when water heats up, it expands and becomes lighter than the water below it and is less likely to sink, according to the National Science Foundation report.
Curtis Deutsch, associate professor at the University of Washington’s School of Oceanography, studies how increasing global temperatures are altering the levels of dissolved oxygen in the world’s oceans. 
Scientists have been warning that decreasing amounts of available oxygen will increase stress on a range of species, even as they also face the effects of rising temperatures and ocean acidification.
"Since oxygen concentrations in the ocean naturally vary depending on variations in winds and temperature at the surface, it's been challenging to attribute any deoxygenation to climate change. This new study tells us when we can expect the effect from climate change to overwhelm the natural variability," said lead author Matthew Long of NCAR.
The researchers discovered that deoxygenation caused by climate change could already be detected in the southern Indian Ocean and parts of the eastern tropical Pacific and Atlantic basins. 
However, the study shows that at least in some parts of the ocean—including areas off the east coasts of Africa, Australia, and Southeast Asia—deoxygenation from climate change may not be evident even by 2100.

Monday, June 27, 2016

New Battery Technology Has Off The Charts Charging Capacity

New Battery Technology Has Off The Charts Charging Capacity

A nanowire-based battery material that can be recharged hundreds of thousands of times has been developed by researchers at University of California, Irvine, edging us closer to a battery that would never require replacement. The breakthrough invention could lead to commercial batteries with vastly lengthened lifespans for smartphones, computers, cars and spacecraft.
The findings were published in the American Chemical Society’s Energy Letters.

  Scientists have long attempted to use nanowires in batteries. Thousands of times thinner than a human hair, they’re highly conductive and feature a large surface area for the storage and transfer of electrons.

However, these filaments are highly fragile and don’t hold up well to repeated discharging and recharging, or cycling. In a typical lithium-ion battery, they expand and grow brittle, which leads to cracking.

The researchers solved this problem by coating a gold nanowire in a manganese dioxide shell and encasing the assembly in an electrolyte made of a Plexiglas-like gel. The combination is reliable and resistant to failure.

Hard work combined with serendipity paid off in this case, according to senior author Reginald Penner.

Study leader, UCI doctoral candidate Mya Le Thai, was playing around, said Penner, and:
“She coated this whole thing with a very thin gel layer and started to cycle it. She discovered that just by using this gel, she could cycle it hundreds of thousands of times without losing any capacity.
That was crazy. because these things typically die in dramatic fashion after 5,000 or 6,000 or 7,000 cycles at most.”
Thai cycled the testing electrode up to 200,000 times over three months without detecting any loss of capacity or power and without fracturing any nanowires. The researchers believe the gel plasticizes the metal oxide in the battery and gives it flexibility, preventing cracking.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Climate Change isn’t Gloom and Doom

Interesting perspective.  We would agree the future looks bright given our collaboration about accelerating our push from a fossil-fuel economy to one driven by clean energy.  We see this challenge more as a 7 trillion dollar financial boom than a catostrophic enivronmental disaster (we hope, anyway).

We will try to book Mr Somerville on the radio show.

Climate Change isn’t Gloom and Doom Issue, says Climatologist Richard Somerville

Climate Change isn’t Gloom and Doom Issue, says Climatologist Richard Somerville
Undoubtedly, climate change is a real phenomenon and our planet is warming rapidly. Due to climate change, many changes in weather patterns have been noticed across the world. Many studies and climate scientists have shown a fearsome forecast of climate change. However, climatologist Richard Somerville offers hopeful outlook for the planet’s worsening conditions.

Richard Somerville, a climatologist and professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, has noticed a glimmer of light amid climate change’s depressing predictions. On Thursday, the professor will have a discussion at University of California, San Diego, on global warming.

Earth’s temperature is rising continuously and many regions on the planet are experiencing ill-effects of global warming, but it doesn’t mean conditions cannot be improved, said Somerville. It’s a serious issue, but not a gloom and doom issue, he added. Somerville believes the world has realized that climate change is happening and steps that different nations are taking to deal with it are in the right direction.Somerville will guide people how to deal with climate change in his talk named ‘Climate Change: Strong Science, Forceful Actions, Positive Outcomes’.

In a statement, Somerville said, “I really want to do several things, including cover the status of climate science and then I’m going to talk about the task ahead and what the world needs to find a way to do, in order to limit climate change to moderate levels, and not let it spiral out of control”.

The climate expert will also tell what he feels about the Paris climate talks. According to him, there are no strict mechanisms, but still it is a good first step to combat global warming. The Paris talks last fall alone has achieved more than what other previous climate talks accomplished together, Somerville said.

Governments have a plan to reduce CO2 and other harmful gases that are harming earth’s environment, and continued. It is very hopeful, he added.

A report published in Goskagit revealed, "The more accurate way to discuss the issue is to use "global warming." That phrase emphasizes that it is a global temperature increase over thousands of years, and this occurs roughly every 100,000 years. We are in an intergalactic warm period and should be thankful. Glaciers are not covering half of the U.S."

Those that would like to be really informed about the scientific facts of the case need to do a little research of their own. I can suggest a search for Easterbrook, Salby and Tim Ball. The latter has a book called "The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science" that demonstrates how this all developed. It stems from the exaggerated claims of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

"Science can flourish when experts disagree, but in the governmental realm uncertainty can lead to inadequate policy and preparedness. When it comes to climate change, it can be OK for computational models to differ on what future sea levels will be. The same flexibility does not exist for determining the height of a seawall needed to protect people from devastating floods," according to a news report published by EurekAlert.

"Scientists working in climate change know that the models used throughout climate research have shortcomings. At the same time policymakers need to know the future of sea-level rise, and they need as robust a prediction as we can give," said Michael Oppenheimer, Princeton's Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs and the Princeton Environmental Institute and first author of the paper.

According to a report in San Diego Union Tribune by Deborah Sullivan Brennan, "Somerville, a distinguished professor emeritus and research professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, will speak at U.C. San Diego Thursday about the prospects for turning the tide on the worst impacts of global warming."

“I think the Paris talks accomplished more than all the previous talks put together,” he said. “They produced an action plan, in which governments committed to what they would do to reduce carbon dioxide and other heat trapping gases into the atmosphere. It provides a means of tracking that, and for governments to revisit it every few years. I think it’s very hopeful, and I’m guardedly optimistic.”