Saturday, April 29, 2017

KFC Announces to Eliminate Antibiotics from its Chicken

All right...progress on the fast food side.

Is this in response to consumer demand or part of KFC embracing healthy changes?  No doubt our buying power brought much of the momentum around this change.  It is a positive reminder of how we can shape the marketplace.   And bring all of us great health benefits.

See much more at our main site:

Kentucky Fried Chicken this month extended its food promise to customers, announcing that, by the end of 2018, all chicken purchased by KFC U.S. will be raised without antibiotics important to human medicine. 

This move marks the first time a major national quick service restaurant (QSR) chain in the U.S. has extended an antibiotics commitment beyond boneless chicken to its chicken-on-the-bone menu items. “We’re constantly working to meet the changing preferences of our customers, while ensuring we deliver on the value they expect from KFC. 

Offering chicken raised without medically important antibiotics is the next step in that journey,” said Kevin Hochman, president and chief concept officer for KFC U.S. “Making this change was complex and took a lot of planning. It required close collaboration with more than 2,000 farms, most of them family-owned and managed, in more than a dozen U.S. states where they raise our chickens.” 

- See more at:

Friday, April 28, 2017

China Continue to Drive the Growth in Energy Storage Systems Market till 2022/From Global Energy Professionals

We think this is a very important part of the renewable message today and going forward.  Energy storage is a game change on every level.  As prices come down on batteries, as deployment of stored power gets more efficient, the ROI increases daily on such systems.

Those assets also allow for market growth in newer technology like hybrid electric buildings and micro grids.  All of which means we use less KW's, get better data on what we use and get really smart about keeping our homes and commercial buildings up and running.

Interesting that China has emerged as a leader on this front.  What does that portend on the future of their economy and environment?

China and South Korea are driving the growth of energy storage systems market in Asia-pacific with an increasing focus on production of electric vehicles in future. global market was valued at $172,236 million in 2015, is expected to garner $264,953 million by 2022, registering a CAGR of 6.4% during the period 2016 - 2022.

The increasing production of renewable energy by major economies across the world is driving the market for energy storage systems. Coupled with the increasing usage of renewable resources, the growing interest towards adoption of electric vehicles will also fuel the growth of energy storage systems. 

Although there is a keen focus of major economies such as China, United Kingdom, France, Holland, Spain, Germany, Japan, U. S. on increased production of electric vehicles with an objective to save to high cost incurred due to fuel consumption.

Get PDF Brochure of Energy Storage Systems Market Report Study: 

China Continue to Drive the Growth in Energy Storage Systems Market till 2022

The Climate Threat in Your Front Yard/Bloomberg

This is very cool.  We've reported many times on the destruction caused by leaking gas pipes, particularly in urban centers.  Now a possible fix comes along at least in detecting leaks.

The major financial problem, though, is this:  It is cheaper, in most places, for the utility company to pay fines than fix the leak.  It is great to be more nimble on locating them.  But, who fixes them and how quickly?

No doubt this is a major health risk.  It is literally under our noses.  Yes, it can be re mediated.  But, like our sagging infrastructure, by whose money and will?  Perhaps residents will now rise up and demand an end to allowing noxious gas to seep into their homes and businesses.


Smokestacks and tailpipes may be the biggest and most obvious sources of greenhouse gases, but they're not the only ones to worry about. An invisible, underappreciated one is right in America's front yards: leaking pipes that carry natural gas into people's homes.
The good news is that scientists have devised a clever way to find these leaks, by attaching methane detectors to car bumpers -- they've used Google's "Street View" photography cars -- and driving along the city streets. It's a strategy that natural gas utilities should use to monitor their networks and seal the biggest leaks.
Utility companies and their state regulators have long known that some of their pipe networks are not air-tight, but their primary concern is leaks that threaten to explode. Even rather large leaks are often considered "nonhazardous" if they're venting into the air through someone's front lawn or via cracks in the sidewalk.
But leaked natural gas -- largely methane -- is a very hazardous greenhouse gas. Although it is not as ubiquitous as carbon dioxide, and remains in the air for only about a decade (compared with more than a century for CO2), methane is 80 times better at trapping heat. So even though leaks from city networks make up a small fraction of all methane leaks in the U.S., they can do significant climate damage.
They're also expensive. In Boston, an estimated $90 million worth of natural gas escapes the network every year -- a loss that gets passed along to customers. Cities outfitted with modern plastic or coated-steel pipes have very few leaks, while those with century-old cast-iron or bare steel pipes have thousands.
Putting those methane detectors on car bumpers is a way to quickly assess a city's leaks, and steer utilities toward the biggest offenders. In the places scientists have examined so far, a small number of large leaks account for an outsized share of the problem. By plugging just 20 percent of the leaks, utilities can cut their methane emissions in half.
State governments, which regulate utilities, should require utilities to monitor leaks, prioritize them and get to work plugging them. In California, officials are looking into mandating drive-by surveys. Other states are considering requiring that utilities repair leaks for environmental as well as public-safety reasons. Above all, states should no longer allow utilities to charge customers for the gas that escapes the system.
This is a case in which scientists have been able to deploy new technology both to identify the scope of a climate problem and to create a path toward solving it. Natural gas utilities -- and their state regulators -- should take advantage of the breakthrough.
To contact the senior editor responsible for Bloomberg View’s editorials: David Shipley at

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Five trends n creating energy-efficient cities

This is a big number...65 percent of the world's population in cities by 2050.  Providing quality of life in those cities for that many people will be one of our greatest challenges.  

Five trends in creating energy-efficient cities

In 2050, more than 65 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, according to the United Nations. Increased urbanization and growth of the middle class, particularly in China and India, will help drive global energy demand higher even with significant efficiency gains, as outlined in the ExxonMobil 2017 Outlook for Energy. The push for greater energy efficiency is already well underway with city governments implementing innovative sustainable solutions that are transforming city life.

Scientists Wrong On Danger of Butter – But Right On Global Warming?/Daily Wire

This headline caught our attention.  Is this a fair comparison?  Is science simply going through a fad around climate change warnings?

Our view:  Does it really matter?  If we can do more with less, why not?  If we can preserve and protect natural assets, how is that a bad thing?  If we are in the beginnings of a multi-trillion dollar investment opportunity as we migrate away from fossil fuels, should we not take advantage of the financial windfalls and rebuild our economy?

We like the dollars and cents of investment and return.  And those numbers, in our view, are great.   We are, in a very positive way, reaping what we sow.

The world is in the grip of global warming. Everything will keep getting hotter and hotter. Then we'll all die.
That's the consensus from the scientific "community." That's the "settled science" Barack Obama always talked about.
But getting to the point that any science is actually "settled" – as in 100 percent accurate – is very difficult. There may be strong evidence to point to one conclusion, but it may turn out that we didn't have all the information needed to arrive at the correct finding, or, data may change over time, leading us down a different path.
"In the 1970’s scientists were predicting a new ice age, and had 60 theories to explain it. The cooling trend heralds the start of another ice age, of a duration that could last from 200 years to several millenia..." the Depot wrote.
Now, that's a good thing that they had 60 theories. Scientists should postulate hypotheses based on information available at the time, but they should always be ready to jettison some ill-formed conclusion if later data contradicts it. Science is hard. Just when you think you've got enough info to draw a "settled" conclusion, in comes data to shoot it down.
Settled Science? Sorry, liberals, there's often no such thing. Sure, science has found some irrefutable truths. Doctors washing their hands before surgery was once laughable, but we know today – without a shadow of a doubt – that dirty hands carry germs, and germs cause infection. But there are still tons of things we don't know. 
Food is a perfect example. For decades, we’ve been told to stay away from butter and cream and eggs and cheese because the fats in them will lead to heart disease. Now, a group of doctors has come out to say there's no data to conclude such a thing, and they claim the notion that saturated fats clog the arteries is incorrect.
"Despite popular belief among doctors and the public, the conceptual model of dietary saturated fat clogging a pipe is just plain wrong," Dr. Aseem Malhotra of Lister Hospital in Britain, Pascal Meier of University College London and U.S. cardiologist professor Rita Redberg wrote in a British health journal.
They say moderate consumption of foods rich in saturated fat isn't actually bad for you. Some of those fats actually help protect your heart, like those found in olive oil and nuts. "It is time to shift the public health message in the prevention and treatment of coronary artery disease away from measuring [blood fats] and reducing dietary saturated fat. Coronary artery disease is a chronic inflammatory disease and it can be reduced effectively by walking 22 minutes a day and eating real food. There is no market to help spread this simple yet powerful intervention."
All of this has happened before: Eggs were said to be bad for you (then doctors said they're actually great for you). Then they said carbohydrates and sweets make you fat. They don't. Calories (too many of them) make you fat. A nutrition professor once ate only Twinkies for 10 weeks – and lost 27 pounds. 
Me, I'm OK with science getting things wrong from time to time. I didn't stop eating eggs because they said I'd get heart disease, and I won't start eating six dozen eggs a week now that they're OK again, either. Science gets things wrong. It's the only way they ever get things right – trial and error, and lots more research.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Drive Electric: Sierra Club Update

Drive Electric

National Drive Electric Week 2017

Mark your calendars! National Drive Electric Week 2017 is September 9th - 17th. The seventh annual NDEW celebration is gearing up to be the best year yet for EV enthusiasts and the public at large to learn about all the great benefits of going electric. 

Webinar on Thursday, April 27th. If you're thinking of organizing or helping at an event, please join us on our upcoming webinar: Generating Media Attention.

National Drive Electric Week, September 9-17, 2017, is a nationwide celebration to heighten awareness of today's widespread availability of plug-in vehicles and highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more. They are fun to drive, are less expensive and more convenient to fuel than gasoline vehicles, are better for the environment, promote local jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Are you considering going electric? Come talk to owners who have successfully done so.
Started in 2011 as National Plug In Day with the simple idea to hold simultaneous events across the country on the same day, by popular demand we have expanded to an entire week of events and changed the name to emphasize the thing we all want to do: drive electric. We expect National Drive Electric Week 2017 will again grow to include more events in more cities with more drivers reaching out to share the many advantages of driving electric with the public.

Want to organize or help with an event? Go to our events page to see if there's one near you, then go to the volunteer page to offer your assistance. Thank you!
Contact sponsorship-2017 for national sponsorship opportunities.

Each event is led by local plug-in drivers and advocates and typically includes some combination of EV parades, ride-and-drives, electric tailgate parties, press conferences, award ceremonies, informational booths, and more. Plug In AmericaSierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association serve as the national team providing support to the events throughout the country. We are pleased to partner with the many other organizations and individuals working to bring National Drive Electric Week to communities across the country.

NDEW 2014 in Montclair, NJ

Green Commuter/For Today's Show


Company Summary

Green Commuter, headquartered at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, offers vanpooling, car share and fleet replacement in zero-emission, all electric vehicles to reduce greenhouse gases, improve traffic flow and decrease the cost of mobility. The synergy between our proprietary technical platform and vehicle repurposing throughout the day results in full ZEV utilization, expanded client base, positive impacts and a multi-revenue stream model.
GUEST:  Barton Sidles  Director of Corporate and Business Development
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Barton has 20+ years’ experience in international business development, investment banking, finance, app development, and consulting services. As a successful multilingual entrepreneur and founder of two start-ups, Barton leads the fund raising and related corporate and business development initiatives at Green Commuter to help drive innovative change. He has advised on over 20 M&A transactions with values totaling over $750M.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Welcome to the New RNN

Some of the headlines you will find at Renewable Now



A Note from Peter Arpin, RNN Founder & President
As we commemorate Earth Day and Earth Week 2017, Renewable Now Network (RNN) honors Planet Earth around the clock and around the year, through our mission of empowering and advancing sustainability as the foundation for global environmental, social and economic change and opportunity.  We here at RNN are extending the officially designated Earth Week through our own March for Science by reinforcing sustainability as the cornerstone to our philosophy, values, and vision and the key to the world's short and long-term success, and by celebrating our own exciting milestones.
Our New Website -  RenewableNowNetwork

First, we are proud to unveil the first phase of our new and enhanced website showcasing an informative and resource-rich platform on anything and everything sustainable, how "green" touches each and every part of our daily lives, and how we can harness the wilderness of opportunity that it presents to all.   The website's wide variety of domains range from Broadcast, Business and Living, to Food, Education, Building, and Transportation, with specific categories falling under each area to highlight thought leadership, events, initiatives and programs across all industry sectors in business, government, academia, philanthropy, and lifestyle. Stay tuned for an ongoing series of updates from me highlighting the multitude of media channels, programs, events, and resources to learn more about anything and everything sustainable. 
 Masters of Sustainability & "The Business Side of Green"

A new program to highlight includes the RNN Masters of Sustainability Webinar Series, presenting leading innovators from different companies and organizations sharing their very applicable lessons on how to incorporate sustainability into your business and life goals, as well as on how to leverage it for capital gain.  Our speakers thus far include the pioneer of an entirely new automotive category, the founder and leader of a solar energy transportation company, and the head of the Climate Action Business Association. Masters of Sustainability is the ideal program for companies to promote corporate social responsibility endeavors, while also engaging with like-minded audience and increasing its own audience's engagement and reach. We also continue to interview these "Masters" and more on my radio show & podcast  "The Business Side of Green." 
We remain actively engaged in our local community and the international community to influence and shape policy, change the conversation, and ignite action.  Most immediately, we are in the process of building out our new offices in Providence, Rhode Island. As we look ahead to the fall, we hope you mark your calendars for the RNN FULL-SWING Golf Tournament for Sustainability on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at Button Hole Golf, in Providence, Rhode Island. For those with early interest such as volunteering, creating a team, or sponsorship opportunities click HERE.

We are always looking for new lessons from leaders around the globe through the plethora of media, business, and entertainment resources available for sustainability gurus. At the top of the RNN Book Club/reading list is Climate of Hope from former Mayor of New York City and world-renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist  Michael Bloomberg and former head of the Sierra Club Carl Pope.  This book promises to not only be a rich and interesting read, but also a source of renewed motivation for meaningful action and change.  Let's discuss this and what's on your reading list, as well as other highly relevant sustainability topics and issues, on our social media channels, so join our conversation on Facebook and Twitter.
Join us in RNN's celebration of Earth Week this week and all-year long, so that this annual commemoration becomes a daily ritual and practice to treasure each and every day.  As we forge ahead disrupting and transforming the path to a clean global economy and the preservation of our beautiful Earth - RNN is here to guide, inspire, and empower you - every step of the way.
Peter Arpin
RNN Co-Founder & President

Monday, April 24, 2017

Apple to start mass production of micro-LED displays by 2018

Another major shift to smaller and more efficient technology.  Apple helps lead the way to LED lighting displays.

Apple to start mass production of micro-LED displays by 2018

Apr 21, 2017: Apple is all set to start production of a small amount of micro-LED displays from a northern Taiwan facility by 2017 end. The company will use them in its new Apple watches.
Apple will start mass production of energy-efficient micro-LED displays at the Taoyuan plant from 2018. According to industry analysts, this will put pressure on its rival display manufactures like Samsung and LG Display.
Apple will test micro-LED displays in its small size Apple watch before it uses them on larger devices like iPhones and iPads. Apple is likely to use micro-LED display on its smartphones after experimenting the panel on the Apple watch.
Micro-LED is a new display technology that is emerging fast. Since Apple acquired LuxVue Technology, a US-based micro-LED display manufacturer in 2014, the company has been investing in it to develop the technology and start mass production.
Although Apple has not revealed any details, the Apple building in Longtan District, Taoyuan was opened in 2015. It is reported that Apple has also recruited engineers to develop the new display technology.
Industry insiders pointed out that if Apple switches to micro-LED panels for its new Apple watch, LG Display, the sole supplier of OLED panels for Apple’s smartwatches, will be affected.
Currently, manufactures of micro-LED displays are making efforts to cut down the production cost. The potential scale of the future micro-LED market could reach US$30~40 billion.

Danielle Fong: the scientist who’s making wind and solar power available 24/7

Is there a holy grail in renewables?  What is the next giant step forward in converting unlimited amounts of sun and wind into energy?

Storage, of course,  Capture it when it is there;  deliver on demand.  Get as close to 100% efficient as possible.  Imagine the financial return when you cease wasting so many hours when you can not generate and use power at the same time.

Here we take another step closer to the holy grail.  Innovation is the life blood of our network.  And it is the network of reshaping our global economy.  Behind this will come other holy grails. What will they be?  Who knows.  Perhaps astonishing new delivery systems.  Or combined wind and solar designs that flawlessly integrates both sources of clean energy.  For now we will enjoy the boom around storage.  Let's ride this wave into the next one.

If you ask LightSail Energy’s cofounder and chief scientist, Danielle Fong, she’ll tell you that launching a clean tech enterprise at 20 years old wasn’t her first choice. But it was the only path she could see to solve what industry insiders consider the “holy grail” of green energy issues: inexpensive renewable energy storage.
“I thought I could make a difference,” says Danielle, whose company has the backing of technology power players such as Bill Gates and Vinod Khosla. Now 29, Danielle has been named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and Fortune’s 40 Under 40 lists for her achievements.
At a time when wind and solar power are becoming more affordable, the clean energy sector is challenged with making these intermittent resources available whenever people need them – not just when the wind’s blowing and the sun’s shining. Danielle’s solution? Build the world’s cleanest, most economical compressed-air energy storage system.
It’s an ambitious undertaking, but the rising entrepreneur likes a challenge. After all, she enrolled at Dalhousie University in her native Canada at age 12, and graduated with honors in physics and computer science by 17. Her passion for sustainable energy then led her to a PhD program at Princeton University, where she worked on nuclear fusion research. In 2007, she moved to northern California to start a business, launching LightSail Energy less than two years later.
Solar and wind power have become incredibly economical. Unfortunately, solar panels do not work at night, nor well through overcast skies. Wind turbines harness strong winds, but on calm days produce little power. We need economical ways to store the energy for when it is needed most. This is what we are trying to develop.” 
Danielle Fong
Today, LightSail continues to refine its innovative energy storage system and carbon fiber, high-pressure air tanks to bring to commercial market. The company is getting closer to Danielle’s long-term vision for changing the world.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

In Virginia Push for Pumped Storage Hydro, Questions Arise About Viability

As you know there's been lots of talk for the past two months about coal's future.  Or lack of one pushed aside by natural gas, renewables and other, cheaper forms of energy

Here's a good example of why a decline in one source does not have to be a loss of revenue and jobs.  Shifting investments around, even in hard hit areas, quickly regains momentum and pushes innovation across other sectors.  Politics aside, the markets can react quickly.  That is true leadership and examplary public service.

In Virginia Push for Pumped Storage Hydro, Questions Arise About Viability

pumped storage
In a bid to boost the economy in Virginia’s coalfield region, legislation to be signed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe seeks to spur the development of pumped storage hydro electric power plants using water from abandoned coal mines.

While the companion bills in both the Senate and House of Delegates drew virtually unanimous support from both chambers, researchers, coal reclamation experts and even some renewable energy advocates say the idea is still unproven. While pumped storage facilities exist in Virginia and elsewhere, no plant drawing water from abandoned coal mines has been built anywhere in the world.

The effort led by Sen. Ben Chafin, Del. Terry Kilgore and Del. Todd Pillion focused on seven counties in the western end of the state. Like much of Appalachia, this region has seen dozens of coal mines close over the past decade, draining local governments of tax revenues to fund schools and other government services.

Pumped storage plants work by using cheap, excess electricity at night to pump water uphill into a higher elevation lake or reservoir. Energy can be recaptured during times of higher demand by reversing the flow and sending the water through turbines to a lower reservoir.
Pumped storage plants are operating throughout the world and have been assessed for abandoned iron pits in Minnesota, where the presence of iron and the threat of rust when water oxidizes threatens operations. In addition to the amount and the quality of the water needed, the coalfield region needs to be geologically stable, said Don Fosnacht, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s Natural Resources Institute.

Hayes Framme, Gov. McAuliffe’s point person on many energy issues as the state’s Deputy Secretary of the Department of Commerce and Trade, said engineers from the state’s Division of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) have been kicking around the idea for several years. While pumped storage has never been tried with water trapped in abandoned coal mines, Tarah Kesterson, a spokeswoman for DMME, said her colleagues believe the iron levels to be below any harmful threshold.

Linda Church Ciocci, executive director of the National Hydropower Association, said a recently-licensed pumped storage project in Southern California by Eagle Crest Energy intends to draw on water from an abandoned mine east of Palm Springs and may bode well for similar approaches in Virginia.

An ‘Intriguing’ Concept
Because pumped-storage can serve as a type of “battery,” it can sometimes be paired with wind systems which often operate best at night when wind speeds in suitable locations are highest. With the strong appetite for renewable sources throughout the PJM power grid that includes Virginia, the low-cost, daytime, electricity could find willing buyers there to offset peak prices, especially on summer days when demand for electricity drives wholesale prices skyward.

The largest such pumped-storage plant in the world happens to be in Virginia in Bath County. There, Dominion Virginia Power has been operating a 3,000 megawatt-capacity plant since the mid-1980s. It has drawn rave reviews as the “world’s biggest battery” and visits by curious engineers and government officials from around the world.

Sen. Chafin and Delegates Kilgore and Pillion visited the Bath County plant in December. They drew up Senate Bill 1418 and paired it with House Bill 1760. The bills, now combined, await McAuliffe’s signature.  Hamme signaled McAuliffe will sign it this spring.
“We think the concept is an intriguing one … enough (not) to stop initial development in its tracks,” Framme said.

Framme and Matt Ogburn, Sen. Chafin’s legislative aide, said most of the attention thus far is on several 50–400 MW facilities which could amount to more than 2,000 MW. There are pairs of reservoirs in Wise and Dickenson counties that appear, at least initially, to be suitable, Ogburn said.

Questions About Who Pays
Unlike any other type of power plant, existing language in both bills declares “construction of these generation and storage facilities … to be in the public interest” and free of many permitting and other rules that utilities and other new plant applicants must submit to.
But therein exists a potential hurdle: how much such a facility will cost ratepayers and the company’s shareholders? While Dominion Virginia Power and Appalachian Power (APCo), as investor-owned utilities, would effectively be offered this streamlined path to approval and full recovery from ratepayers, neither would commit to pursuing such a facility without extensive study.

Fosnacht estimated from two studies he has led that a 100-MW pumped storage facility would likely cost about $120 million.

John Shepelwich, a spokesman for APCo, said, “We’re talking about two possible scenarios here in a combined (APCo–Dominion) study. One is the traditional approach to pumped storage, the other will focus on water trapped in abandoned coal mines.”

As the utility that serves the coalfield region, APCo already has a large, traditional, pumped storage facility to the east of the coalfield region near Roanoke, Virginia at Smith Mountain Lake.

Shepelwich said tapping water from coal mines “might be more of a stretch. We have a bit of a learning curve. That said, there are other parties who may look at that option in the future.”

“Since the Bath County and Smith Mountain Lake facilities were constructed, there have been new applications of pumped storage developed world wide,” said David Botkins, a spokesman for Dominion. “This legislation allows use of these new approaches.”

Beyond such projects’ technical feasibility, among the utilities’ other considerations are the additional transmission lines that would be required to connect the power to their respective networks and to the PJM grid.

Botkins projected: “If constructed, (each) pumped storage facility would create hundreds of construction jobs and 10-15 high-paying, permanent, jobs.”

Ogburn also notes the counties would benefit from additional tax revenue.
Adam Wells, who works on economic diversification initiatives for the Appalachian Voices advocacy group and lives in Norton in the heart of the coalfield region, signaled what’s contemplated would garner significant support if such a facility could be paired with a large wind or solar energy system.

“There’s growing favorable sentiment among elected leaders and county developers for solar. We can remain as an energy-producing region. It’s just that the medium is going to change,” Wells said.

“We’re trying to tackle a whole lot of things all at once,” Ogburn said. “How are we going to diversify the economy; how are we going to create jobs; how are we going to create tax revenue?”

Divine Mercy and Earth Day

We hope Divine Mercy weekend leads to a great Earth Week for you.  Should it?  What is the connection, if any?

Earth Day is 47 years old.  Divine Mercy flowed the first time 2000 years ago.  But it was not fully understood until told in detail many years later to Saint Faustina.  One of the greatest champions of Divine Mercy was Pope John Paul II.  No one radiated love and mercy more than Pope John Paul II.

Today there are millions dedicated to the preservation of both our physical and spiritual homes.  In so many ways we have destroyed both.  Is it because we are cavalier about our gifts and blessings?  Do we not cherish our natural beauty and the beauty of our untarnished souls?  Is there a faith element to our hopes, dreams of building a sustainable future.

Undoubtedly, yes.  Love of nature is missionary.  Giving more than you take is benevolence.  Grace is building a cleaner future others.  Most of whom you will never meet or know.  And the work of saving the planet and souls is done in community...not alone...together.  Not one but many.  Billions of hands restore water and soil.  Billions of prays restoring souls.

These challenges make us all students again.  We don't know it all.  We make lots of mistakes.  We misjudge.  We depend on the wrong principles and people at times.  We over consume which gets us into trouble on both sides.

Yes, these journeys of restoration are true gifts from God.  They offer us redemption.  They inspire us, fill us with warmth, ignite our hearts and bring unbridled happiness.  Not just happiness.  They shower us with grace and mercy.  They open doors to new friends.  They build trust.  Mostly they rekindle, so it overflows, our faith.

Perhaps there is no greater time in life to celebrate Earth Week and Divine Mercy.  Our lives are full of promise.  Our opportunities to excel seem endless.  We can move mountains.  We can move at warp speed.

What, then, stands in our way?  Selfishness, arrogance, a failure to offer global social and economic unwillingness to listen, to be humble, to find common ground.  Those times we fail to collaborate dooms us to failure.

The US is a hotbed for being guardians of our eco system and converts to Divine Mercy and consecrations to Blessed Mother and Holy Spirit?  Coincidence?  No.  Both take armies of believers.  There is massive transformation required in each to change the world.  Education, promotion, extolling to the masses is key on both fronts.  Believers need a vision.  They must wait a very long time for rewards.  Patience.

What is the single greatest common theme?  Health?  Short term, long terms, eternity.  Health of the mind, body, spirit soul.  People and Earth in balance.  Living clean.  Carrying the goals of Earth Day and Divine Mercy beyond a few days is a very tough fight.  There will be many dark days along the way.  But when you get to the light, the radiance of success, life will indeed be eternal.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Crystalline Material Could Replace Silicon to double efficiency of solar cells

More good news from our main site and from the solar industry.  One of the questions we have, seeing cells doubling their production levels, is, in addition to selling a lot more new panels, will current users retrofit their systems?  Is so that bodes well for a renewed explosion of sales and jobs within the industry.

A new material has been shown to have the capability to double the efficiency of solar cells by researchers at Purdue University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Conventional solar cells are at most one-third efficient, a limit known to scientists as the Shockley-Queisser Limit. The new material, a crystalline structure that contains both inorganic materials (iodine and lead) and an organic material (methyl-ammonium), boosts the efficiency so that it can carry two-thirds of the energy from light without losing as much energy to heat. In less technical terms, this material could double the amount of electricity produced without a significant cost increase.

 Enough solar energy reaches the earth to supply all of the planet’s energy needs multiple times over, but capturing that energy has been difficult – as of 2013, only about 1 percent of the world’s grid electricity was produced from solar panels. Libai Huang, assistant professor of chemistry at Purdue, says the new material, called a hybrid perovskites, would create solar cells thinner than conventional silicon solar cells, and is also flexible, cheap and easy to make. “My graduate students learn how to make it in a few days,” she says. 

The breakthrough is published this week in the journal Science. The most common solar cells use silicon as a semiconductor, which can transmit only one-third of the energy because of the band gap, which is the amount of energy needed to boost an electron from a bound state to a conducting state, in which the electrons are able to move, creating electricity. 

Incoming photons can have more energy than the band gap, and for a very short time – so short it’s difficult to imagine – the electrons exist with extra energy. These electrons are called “hot carriers,” and in silicon they exist for only one picosecond (which is 10-12 seconds) and only travel a maximum distance of 10 nanometers. At this point the hot carrier electrons give up their energy as heat. This is one of the main reasons for the inefficiency of solar cells. Huang and her colleagues have developed a new technique that can track the range of the motion and the speed of the hot carriers by using fast lasers and microscopes. “The distance hot carriers need to migrate is at least the thickness of a solar cell, or about 200 nanometers, which this new perovskite material can achieve,” Huang says. “Also these carriers can live for about 100 picoseconds, two orders of magnitude longer than silicon...."

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Portland and Multnomah County Commit to 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Have you been to our expanded network site?  If not this story will help drive you there.

We strongly believe that every entity, individuals, communities, cities, nations, must fully commit to efficiency and renewable levels...short and long term.  Portland has done just that.

City of Portland and Multnomah County leaders vowed today to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. The goal is to meet the community’s electricity needs from renewable sources by 2035 and shift all remaining energy sources to renewables in the 15 years after. The City of Portland currently powers all of its operations with renewable energy and starting in 2018, Multnomah County will purchase green energy to meet its operational needs. The announcement places the Portland-metro region alongside 25 other cities that have committed to 100 percent renewables, including Salt Lake City and San Diego. Nearly 90 major U.S. companies have also committed.

“Getting our community to 100 percent renewable energy is a BIG goal,’’ said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “ And while it is absolutely ambitious, it is a goal that we share with Nike, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Google, GM, Coca Cola, Johnson & Johnson, and Walmart. We have a responsibility to lead this effort in Oregon.’’

“This is a pledge to our children’s future,’’ said Chair Deborah Kafoury. “100 percent renewables means a future with cleaner air, a stable climate and more jobs and economic opportunity.’’ Jeremy Clark, 12, said that “The adults in this room- the leaders of Portland and Multnomah County – have great power. But with that great power comes a great responsibility. You have the responsibility of keeping my future bright.” “It gives me a lot of hope that the leaders of my community are promising today to drastically reduce our community’s carbon emissions,’’ Jeremy Clark said. “Keeping our climate sustainable is the most important issue for the success of my generation. ...

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

This Old Mine Is Now British Columbia’s Largest Solar Farm

From a coal musuem to an old mine, solar continues to help transform old resources to new.  We've reported before on converting landfills to renewable sites.  This is the first time we've seen a similar change on a mining site.

This Old Mine Is Now British Columbia’s Largest Solar Farm


For over a century, the landscape north of Kimberley, British Columbia, was used for intensive industrial hard-rock mining — but now it’s home to the largest solar farm in all of British Columbia.

Over the decades, the site of Teck’s (formerly Cominco’s) Sullivan Mine hosted a steel mill, fertilizer plant and tailings ponds, rendering the area tree-less for the foreseeable future.

What to do with an elevated, south-facing slope that could never again see natural shade? Ecosmart, a Vancouver-based nonprofit, had a brilliant idea in 2008. Why not mine the sun?
“Solar energy is one of the fastest growing industries in North America, and its potential in B.C. is exceptional,” explains Ecosmart president and CEO Michel de Spot, one of the main visionaries behind the project.

The solar potential of the sunny Kootenay region of British Columbia is obvious to residents, many of whom moved to, or stayed in the region because of the reliable sunny weather, particularly in Kimberley, a town of 7,500 people.

At 1,120 meters above sea level, it is known as one of the highest elevation municipalities in Canada — high enough to be clear of the dreary inversions that blanket many interior British Columbia valleys with cloud for much of the long winters.
Monitoring activities from 2008 to 2010 showed that Kimberley bakes in the sun for more than 2,150 hours per year, and the sun shines on more than 300 days. This makes the south-facing slope in the Teck lands prime solar power real estate.
With land and capital contributions from Teck, the Province of B.C. Innovative Clean Energy Fund, and a $2 million loan to the City of Kimberley approved by 76 percent of voters, Kimberley’s SunMine project powered up in June 2015.
“EcoSmart convinced us it could be done without any taxpayer money,” explains Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick.

SunMine is the largest solar tracking facility in Western Canada, the largest solar project in British Columbia and the first solar project in the province to sell power directly into B.C. Hydro’s power grid.

After the first full year of operation, the numbers are looking good. The SunMine’s 4,032 solar cells generated 1,681 MWh of electricity, which was just over 87 percent of projected production. The shortfall resulted from the failure of four of the 32 inverters, and delays in finding and installing replacements. Spare inverters have since been purchased and stored at hand to ward off this kind of setback in the future.

In terms of revenue, the SunMine generated 88 percent of projected annual income, due to the aforementioned technical set back. With power shortfall insurance, returns came in at 95 percent of the projected $202,375 annual revenue to the City of Kimberley.
Not bad for year one.

Annual operating expenses came in a sunny 28 percent below expected costs, at $55,203. This left ample revenue to cover loan payments and left more than $12,000 in profits to go toward the City’s SunMine reserve fund.

At peak operation, SunMine powers an estimated 200 Kimberley homes, and can generate nearly $250,000 annually in revenue to help repay the initial $2 million loan, cover operating costs and, hopefully, expand the project in the future.

Thomas Metzler is a local electrician who counts himself lucky to have been part of the project.
“To be part of the largest solar project in western Canada makes me want to do more,” Metzler said. “Thanks to the City of Kimberley’s leadership, we are doing something for our planet, will generate clean energy for our homes, and have taken the first steps for others to follow.”

With acreage and transmission capacity for a 200-fold increase beyond its current size, the project could one day become the largest facility of its kind in the world. SunMine’s partnerships with local colleges as well as a host of other local governments and organizations mean that Kimberley is poised to blaze the trail for solar power production, research and development into the future.

Forward-thinking electricians such as Metzler see the project as a leader that will not only pave the way for more large-scale projects, but also for smaller, home-based solar power generation.

“The cost of solar technology has decreased by 30 to 40 percent over the past four years,” explains Metzler.

With B.C. Hydro’s net metering option, which pays small power producers 9.99 cents per kilowatt-hour, not only can homeowners reduce their power bills to zero, but they can actually begin to pay off their systems.

Smaller producers and the many owners of sunny, south-facing rooftops are waiting for British Columbia to offer more realistic incentives and pricing for small energy producers.
Solar energy has taken off in many parts of the world, but has been slow to catch on in British Columbia, mainly due to a lack of power production incentives. Programs in Ontario pay residents the true costs of power generation and delivery (between 40 and 80 cents per kilowatt-hour), while B.C. will still only pay the heavily subsidized B.C. Hydro rate-payers rate (currently 9.99 cents/kwh), which does not take into account all the costs associated with the generation and delivery of electricity, or the mitigation of impacts associated with power generation, such as endangered species recovery due to river impoundment and valley inundation behind hydroelectric projects.

Nova Scotia offers lucrative incentives for in-home solar hot water heat, home heating and photovoltaic panel installation.

Many hope the SunMine project will help raise the bar and urge B.C. Hydro to encourage more renewable energy sources, ones that help B.C. meet its energy conservation targets while concurrently negating the need for multi-billion dollar investments in mega-projects, such as the controversial Site C hydroelectric dam on the Peace River.

Countries like Germany, which generates nearly seven percent of its annual energy needs using solar power, and China, Taiwan, Japan, and Italy are leading the way in the production of solar renewable energy, while Canada ranks eighth globally in solar energy production. Canada is well-positioned to take the lead, however, with 30 percent higher solar potential than even Germany.

Kimberley’s SunMine has its own groundbreaking individual power purchase agreement with B.C. Hydro, the first of its kind for a solar project, and one that will bring in over a quarter million dollars annually to help cover the start-up costs and ongoing maintenance of the site.

So far, the SunMine has won a total of six major national and regional sustainability, energy, and innovation awards, including 2017’s Canada Clean 50: Outstanding Contributors to Clean Capitalism, sponsored by TD Bank.

Beyond the project’s accolades and stellar PR returns, Mayor McCormick believes the SunMine was worth the financial risk.

“This project created many firsts, and is definitely outside the usual services associated with a municipality,” McCormick said. “It was an opportunity for Kimberley to rebrand itself as a progressive community. The SunMine is the vehicle to get that message to the world.”

The city is currently seeking a partner to help it move forward towards its vision of expanding the SunMine to eventually power a business park near the facility.

“We are looking to sell the SunMine to a partner with deep enough pockets to expand the facility, ensuring it will make money long term. We then collect taxes, which is really our business model,” McCormick said.

So, who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? As a century of hard-rock mining evolves into the next century of sustainable energy innovation, the City of Kimberley knows it can be done. Now, they just have to wait for the rest of the pack to catch up.

Kentucky Coal Mining

Interesting choice of energy by the KY Coal Mining Museum.  Why?  Savings, fixing costs hopefully, too, cleaner energy which is better for their patrons.

Kentucky Coal Mining Museum switches to solar power

The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum is switching to a new form of energy -- solar power.
The museum in Benham began installing the solar panels on Tuesday, WYMT reported. Brandon Robinson, the museum's communications director, said the goal is to save money in the long run.

"We believe that this project will help save at least $8,000 to $10,000 off the energy costs on this building alone," Robinson told WYMT.

The museum is owned by Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. Robinson said the savings would go back to the school and its students.

Robinson admitted the switch from coal to solar energy is "a little ironic," but said the two power sources work "hand-in-hand."

"And, of course, coal is still king around here," Robinson said.

The project is being funded through an outside foundation and will cost thousands of dollars, according to Robinson.

Twenty solar panels, the average needed to power a house, would cost between $17,000 and $20,000 to install, though the costs would be recouped from savings within five to seven years, according to WYMT.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Here's the link to get registered for tomorrow's Master of Sustainability Webinar with Michael Greene, CABA

RNN Masters of Sustainability Webinar Featuring Michael Green

Michael Green wants you to learn how small businesses can contribute to the fight against climate change. As the Executive Director of  Climate Action Business Association (CABA), Michael  is a seasoned advocate for climate policy and environmental action. Since 2012, he has served as a representative to the United Nations focusing on international climate science and policy. As an activist, he has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change.

In his role at CABA, Michael manages staff and oversees the development of all program areas. He sits on the Board of Boston area non-profits as well as a policy advisor to national business associations on topics ranging from energy policy to climate adaptation. Michael is a Northeastern University graduate with degrees in international affairs and environmental studies,  course work at the University of Edinburgh’s MSc Program in Environmental Protection and Management and Harvard Business Schools CORe Program.

For our upcoming webinar: Climate Action Business Association/Michael Greene

Our Masters of Sustainability Webinar Series is building traction around the world.  Next up is CABA Executive Director, Michael Greene.  Below is information on CABA.  Then we'll follow with a link for you to get registered.  

Perhaps no other webinar fits RNN,, our prism around the business side of green, than this one.  We look forward to sharing this with you.

Local business leaders organizing to be more effective advocates for climate change action


Climate Action Business Association is a membership-based organization in Boston, Massachusetts, that helps businesses take targeted action on climate change. We provide our member businesses with the resources and tools needed to work within their business on sustainability efforts, political advocacy and building a community of shared values.


To help solve the climate crisis by organizing local business leaders to be more effective advocates for climate action within our businesses and communities, as well as at the state, national, and even international levels.


A new economy based on a strong, cooperative local business community, working together to create and maintain a resilient and sustainable future that is responding to climate change, with business leaders helping to achieve bold leadership from the local level to the international scene.


CABA welcomes all independent businesses looking to take action on climate change. We offer three program areas for our member businesses to participate in: Sustainability, Political Advocacy, and Community. Our programs guide and support businesses down a pathway of increasing engagement in climate work. Each stage includes concrete, actionable ways for businesses to get involved and make an impact on climate change, while integrating these considerations into everyday operations and culture.