Friday, September 29, 2017

Wind, solar to be cheapest form of power generation by 2030: Study/ The Economic Times

The freight train of renewables just picked up a lot more steam as it rolls into 2030 as the cheapest form of power.

That, of course, secures clean energy's future and is the milestone we all hoped the industry would some day hit.  Great news for our new, booming green economy.

It said that India has made significant progress towards it target of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022.

NEW DELHI: Wind energy and solar power will be the cheapest form of power generation in every G20 country, including India, by the year 2030, a study today said. 

With the G20 summit underway in Hamburg today, the study carried out by Greenpeace Germany said in about half of the G20 countries, renewable energy has been cheaper or equal in price to electricity generated from dirty coal or hazardous nuclear power plants since 2015. 

"Wind energy and solar power will be the 
cheapest form of power generation in every G20 country by the year 2030 at the latest," the study said. 

It said that India has made significant progress towards it target of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. 

Solar tariffs quoted in the latest bid for the Bhadla solar power project in Rajasthan fell to a record low of Rs 2.44 per unit and wind power tariffs also fell to a new low of Rs. 3.46 in the last auction, putting both technologies at or below the cost of electricity from new coal-fired or nuclear power plants. 

"Any G20 country that is still investing in coal and nuclear power plants is wasting their money on technology that will not be competitive in coming years. 

"The G20 now has a responsibility to send a clear signal that accelerating the clean energy transition is not only the right thing to do for the climate, but also for the economy," said Ashish Fernandes, Greenpeace campaigner. 

The Finnish Lappeenranta University of Technology study, commissioned by Greenpeace, calculates the electricity generation costs in all G20 countries for the years 2015 and 2030. 

The study found that wind farms already generate the cheapest form o .. 

What Are GMO Labels?

This is a simple explanation on a subject that is often misunderstood.  To be or not-to-be as a GMO crop.

The writer points out here that VT recently passed laws to require proper labeling of food.  You know that because we've covered their legislation extensively through our main site and radio.  It should be a good first experience--in a small state--on the ramifications of labeling laws.

This issue is a game-changer in the food business.  It impacts every part of the food chain...from producers to retailers.  Are consumers being mislead?  Is it true both types of food are healthy, and modifications simply make the crops more resilient and productive?  Tough questions to answer and, as you know, it brings up larger issues pitting industrial production against local supplies.

As consumers, at the end of the day, our best hope is true, transparent information that accords us a true chance to make a good buying decision.

What Are GMO Labels?

Demand is growing for GMO-free labels on food products, according to the Non-GMO Project, one of the principle suppliers of the label.
Demand is growing for GMO-free labels on food products, according to the Non-GMO Project, one of the principle suppliers of the label.
There’s a heated debate happening right now about GMOs and labels.
Big food companies like General Mills, Mars and Kellogg’s say they plan to put labels on their products that tell consumers whether or not the food contains ingredients derived from genetically engineered plants.

So what’s the big deal? What are GMO labels, and what do they tell you?
Watch the video below to get the full scoop on GMO labels.
Here are three things you should know:

1. Think processed food
GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. GMO labels would be slapped on food that contains ingredients made from plants that were genetically engineered.

Many processed foods contain corn syrup, soybean, canola or cottonseed oil. Most of those crops grown in the U.S. are genetically engineered. Scientists can insert a gene into a variety of corn, for instance, to make it immune to a weedkiller, so when farmers spray their fields the weeds die but the corn doesn’t.

2. Don’t think safety or nutrition
Some food and consumer groups say products made from GMO crops should have special labels for the sake of transparency.

Food regulators here in the U.S. don’t require them, though, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says genetically engineered ingredients are just as nutritious and safe to eat as ingredients from other crops. GMO labels won’t verify safety or nutrition.

Other advocates object to the cultivation of the current slate of engineered crops for environmental, economic and political concerns.

3. Think Vermont
Vermont passed a law requiring GMO labels on food sold in the state. And there’s a deadline: the labels must be in effect by July 1.

In response, some companies are going ahead with the labels, saying they can’t afford different labels for different states. Other companies are fighting the law – they worry the labels will look like a warning and scare consumers.

Of course, if you want to go GMO-free you can buy food labeled by the Non-GMO Project, a nonprofit organization, or you can buy organic. Food that sports a USDA organic seal is not allowed to contain ingredients derived from genetically engineered plants.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Coffee and Bees: New Model of Climate Change Effects/Sustainable Science/RNN

The ever changing face of our environment, and the potential winners and losers.

Areas in Latin America suitable for growing coffee face predicted declines of 73-88 percent by 2050. However, diversity in bee species may save the day, even if many species in cool highland regions are lost as the climate warms. The research, co-authored by David Roubik, senior scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute was published in an early online Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“For my money, we do a far superior job of predicting the future when we consider both plants and animals (or in this case the bees) and their biology,” Roubik said. “Traditional models don’t build in the ability of organisms to change. They’re based on the world as we know it now, not on the way it could be as people and other organisms adapt.”
A research team modeled impacts for Latin America, the largest coffee-growing region under several global-warming scenarios — considering both the plants and the bees. The team consisted of experts from the Smithsonian in Panama; the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Vietnam; the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center in Costa Rica; Conservation International and the University of Vermont in the U.S.; CIRAD in France; and CIFOR in Peru.

Evaporation Could Power Much of The United States/Sustainable Science/RNN

Great front page story on our main network site today--

Innovation lives on every street corner.  Labs are bursting out with new concepts, ideas.  Renewables live all over our atmosphere.  Great time to be alive and think about what is possible and what is coming.

In the first evaluation of evaporation as a renewable energy source, researchers at Columbia University find that U.S. lakes and reservoirs could generate 325 gigawatts of power, nearly 70 percent of what the United States currently produces.
Though still limited to experiments in the lab, evaporation-harvested power could in principle be made on demand, day or night, overcoming the intermittency problems plaguing solar and wind energy. The researchers’ calculations are outlined in the Sept. issue of Nature Communications.
“We have the technology to harness energy from wind, water and the sun, but evaporation is just as powerful,” says the study’s senior author Ozgur Sahin, a biophysicist at Columbia. “We can now put a number on its potential.”
Evaporation is nature’s way of cycling water between land and air. Sahin has previously shown how this basic process can be exploited to do work. One machine developed in his lab, the so-called Evaporation Engine, controls humidity with a shutter that opens and closes, prompting bacterial spores to expand and contract. The spores’ contractions are transferred to a generator that makes electricity. The current study was designed to test how much power this process could theoretically produce...


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Kim Marotta//Director of Sustainability at MillerCoors Beer Company/For tomorrow's show

Join us tomorrow at 1p, ET as we interview Kim and talk about Molson's overall contribution to a changing world:

2025 Targets: Raising the Bar on Beer2025 Targets: Raising the Bar on Beer

Informed by our materiality assessment in 2017 and with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in mind, we’ve identified three important areas for us to focus on, underpinned by a set of ambitious goals aligned with our key priorities. And with this, we’re putting a stake in the ground and Raising the Bar on Beer.

Our 2025 goals in a chart:

Our 2025 Goals in a Chart

A Brief History of Utility-Scale Energy Storage

One of the highlights of this story is the reuse of EV batteries.  Good commerce shares resources.  Saving waste while utilizing, for a second time, batteries for storage is incredibly efficient.  Then storage grows quickly and affordably. 

Layer on core grid capability smart management systems, and our use of electricity starts to drive income and expansion. 

A Brief History of Utility-Scale Energy Storage

Five years ago, a mere 0.34 GW of energy storage could be found globally. Fast forward and the market is expecting 6 GW to be installed in 2017 alone. Globally, analysts expect the energy storage market to grow 47 percent in 2017 over 2016 installations. Most of these deployments will be utility-scale projects, while other markets are also showing significant growth. Best practices from recent storage projects are revealing ways to shorten project timelines, reduce costs and effectively deploy electrical energy storage systems.

5-MW Utility-Scale Demonstration Was First of its Kind
In October 2012, a 5-MW/1.25-MWh energy storage system, part of a broader U.S. Department of Energy Smart Grid Demonstration project, was commissioned for Portand General Electric (PGE). This early energy storage system was integrated with an existing distribution feeder and utility-dispatched distribution generation, to form a high-reliability zone. The system was an industry-first; it used lithium-ion battery technology in a large, utility-scale application that could operate connected to the traditional utility supply or as an island in voltage forming mode, allowing the generation on the feeder to connect to it.
When connected to the substation, through intelligent power management, the energy storage system can store or release energy depending on energy market conditions to optimize lower cost generation resources. The system can also prioritize renewable generation over fossil fuel plants, ensuring that the utility makes the best use of renewable energy that is already available.
Amsterdam ArenA partnered with The Mobility House, Nissan and Eaton to provide back-up power from second-life Nissan LEAF batteries. Credit: Eaton.

The integrated control system operates the energy storage system in a variety of modes interfacing with inverters, power meters, the battery management system and the utility’s upstream system controls. This control system with closed-loop controls coordinates the operation of the inverters and balances states of charge among the forty battery blocks. In the event of an upstream outage, the control system, combined with custom inverter programming, provides seamless support for loads. The system also allows the operator to request that the batteries be equalized in charge and enables the storage system to respond to real and reactive power commands from the utility, helping the utility test its smart-grid control algorithms.

The intelligent energy storage system along with the dispatchable generators create a high-reliability feeder, which can detect faults and island the medium voltage feeder, helping to improve service reliability. Inside the high-reliability zone, a 2.5-mile smart feeder system provides reliable power for residential, commercial and light industrial customers. Additionally, the energy storage system has sufficient capacity to support the microgrid for several minutes, creating a backup power supply.

In 2012, this system was at the forefront of smart grid technologies that are helping build the intelligent DERs of today while continuing to deliver value for the utility’s customers.

Today: Fast-tracking Energy Storage in Southern California
In Southern California, energy storage systems from two different developers totaling about 39.5 MW were built in late 2016 to provide critical grid support and capacity services. The first, a 2-MW/8-MWh project in Irvine was part of the Southern California Edison 2016 Aliso Canyon Energy Storage Resources Adequacy (RA) Only solicitation.
The second 30-MW/120-MWh system was built in Escondido with a third, 7.5-MW installation in El Cajon.

All three systems were built in response to the CPUC’s order to Southern California investor-owned utilities to fast-track energy storage in order to provide better regional energy reliability.

The lithium-ion battery projects are balancing renewable generation so that local stored energy resources can be tapped based on regional electrical demand. The projects are installed in areas to help mitigate the threat of electricity service interruptions to critical load areas.

The systems were developed, manufactured, installed and commissioned in about six months, thanks to the developers, local utilities and municipalities helping expedite permits and grid interconnection. The projects used both small and large central storage inverters. All three projects utilized Eaton grid connection switchgear and medium voltage transformers.

Tomorrow: Amsterdam ArenA To Use Recycled Batteries
In November 2016, the Amsterdam ArenA signed a ten-year contract with The Mobility House, Nissan and Eaton to provide back-up power from a mix of second-life and new batteries. This system will be used for a host of purposes, including: to provide back-up power services to the arena; to enable the arena to power the surrounding neighborhood in the case of a grid outage; to function as an emergency power supply, capture peaks in energy demand and support grid stability through frequency regulation, load shifting and PV usage optimization.
 An operational microgrid at Eaton’s Power Systems Experience Center near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania includes the Power Xpert Energy Optimizer controller. Credit: Eaton.

Approximately one third of the batteries used on the project will be repurposed from previously used EVs. Once complete, the 3-MW/2.8-MWh system will be the largest energy storage system powered in part by second-life batteries used by a commercial business in Europe.

The xStorage Building System used by the Amsterdam ArenA efficiently stores and distributes energy when it is needed and supports frequency regulation, peak shaving and battery-backup for events. The system powers four on-site electrical distribution feeders and utility connected transformers. Shipments of the energy storage system are expected to start in late 2017.

Storage Is Growing
Whether replacing a critical fuel source or acting like an on-demand power plant - residential, commercial and industrial customers are all taking advantage of the massive benefits provided by utility-scale energy storage systems.

These electrical solutions are now proven in projects of large scope, and are providing a model for utilities around the world to optimize the use of renewable energy.
John Vernacchia is a segment manager for renewables at Eaton.

Beyond The Battery: Energy Storage System Components
Regardless of the battery technology used, the electrical system supporting large-scale energy storage projects looks largely the same; grid-tied power conversion systems, electrical balance of system equipment to connect to the utility grid or facility and the controller that intelligently manages it.Inverters play a crucial role in storage projects and provide the direct interface with the batteries. The inverter charges and discharges the batteries and also provides the expected grid regulation functions, complying with appropriate power quality requirements and supporting the grid during abnormal conditions with high, low and frequency ride-through functions.

Much like in solar PV plants, large-scale storage projects use either large central inverters or rely on many smaller inverters. Typically, large storage inverters range from 500 to 2500 kW, are mounted on a concrete pad or skid and are rated for the outdoors. Smaller storage inverters range from 50 to 250 kW, are rated for the indoors and installed on the floor or a rack.

The electrical solutions supporting energy storage include everything from the AC and DC switching and protection to medium-voltage transformers to step up voltage to the utility level. Typically, the utility dictates the requirements for switchgear and metering.
An energy storage system controller is the interface between the battery management system (BMS) and the utility or building control system and supports specific application requirements like frequency regulation, renewable firming, load shifting, or demands made to the system.

Best practices for energy storage control systems dictate that they are modular and scalable when designed for large-scale, utility applications. Modularity is important so that the system has the flexibility to expand its control to other forms of DERs. The controller for the energy storage system typically needs the ability to operate in both grid-connected and islanded modes. - JV

Africa solar photovoltaic Market is expected to grow at the CAGR of 10% during the forecast period 2016 – 2023/

More good, global news on the solar front.  Always good to look behind the numbers and identify the material factors driving most of the growth.  That gives some insight into the risks of seeing the increases abate.

Africa solar photovoltaic Market is expected to grow at the CAGR of 10% during the forecast period 2016 – 2023

frica solar power industry is expected to boost its alternative energy capacities by installing large number of large scale photovoltaic power stations. Increasing demand for electricity, rising awareness about environment sustainability accompanied by the benefits of resorting to renewable energy sources is expected to drive the industry demand. In addition, attributes such as superior output efficiency, economical solar PV installation cost and affordable maintenance is expected to positively impact the industry growth. Falling prices along with favorable government regulations and schemes might boost the industry over the forecast period.

Cost optimization offered by these systems is expected to intensify the industry demand. Proliferating installation of these systems is likely to encourage job creation, stimulate local economies and also deliver low cost energy. Rising blackout threats and increasing load shedding frequency might propel the industry growth from 2016 to 2023.

Although this clean source of energy is steadily growing, the ignorance about the technology among the people might hamper industry growth in the region. As the region has enjoyed many years of readily available thermal power the mind set change among the people might take a little longer. Providing guidance on the initial outlay for purchasing solar PV might furnish massive growth avenues for Africa solar PV market over the several upcoming years. For instance, the domestic government recognizes the value for public-private joint ventures in development of solar projects.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Morgan Stanley and Citi Say They Will Run on 100 Percent Clean Energy

There's a direct relationship between the story we just ran on NJ developing more wind, and a company's ability to run on 100 percent clean energy.  That being, virtually net metering and a traceable offset of carbon.

Production of renewables has, in so many ways, become very complicated.  In particular how we finance it and get upfront contracts with off-takers.  Here, we see major companies in urban centers looking for nearby sources of clean power.  Hence, why wind production in nearby NJ would be the perfect fit and the best means for them meeting their clean-energy goals.

Morgan Stanley and Citi Say They Will Run on 100 Percent Clean Energy

clean energy 
Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc. announced they will get all of their energy from renewables in a few years, another show of corporate support for climate action running counter to U.S. President Donald Trump’s view on the issue.

The New York-based banks are aiming for their operations to be carbon-neutral, Morgan Stanley by 2022 and Citi by the end of the decade, according to separate statements from the companies. Both plan to buy power from clean energy projects.

“Morgan Stanley has been committed for over a decade to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions through strategic energy efficiency in our buildings and adding new renewable energy capacity to the grid from on-site power generation at our own properties,” said Vice Chairman Tom Nides.

The statements is another sign that business has different views from Trump on climate after the president vowed to pull the U.S. out of the 2015 Paris Agreement involving almost 200 nations in a pledge to cut pollution. That promise requires cutting fossil-fuel emissions and boosting use of clean forms of energy such as wind and solar power.

“We’re committed to using renewable power sources for our global operations while continuing to provide financing for our clients’ renewable energy and energy efficiency projects around the world,” said Citi CEO Michael Corbat.

Both banks also are joining RE100, an initiative that brings together over 100 large companies that are working towards only running on clean energy. Other members include HSBC Holdings Plc, Bank of America Corp and Swiss Re AG.

Private companies are signing deals to buy electricity from renewable-power generators. Corporate buyers of power-purchase agreements include Apple Inc. which said it reached 93 percent clean-energy use in 2015.

Change in New Jersey Leadership Could Help the State

Good to see a potential governor recognize the value of a fully developed plan for growing all forms of renewables.  Wind energy is massive if properly harnessed.  The returns look great.

Image result for pictures of offshore wind turbines

Change in New Jersey Leadership Could Help the State Fulfill Its Offshore Wind Potential — And Then Some

New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy has an environmental plan for the state that includes setting an offshore wind target of 3,500 MW by 2030.

Despite its legislation calling for mechanisms to support offshore wind development, New Jersey has yet to realize that promise, but that could change this fall with the election of a new governor.

“You can see plausibly with a change in leadership, New Jersey could very quickly spring to life as a major new market for offshore wind energy development,” Shiva Polefka, associate director, ocean policy, for the Center for American Progress, told Renewable Energy World.
Polefka said Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy has come forward with a strong goal for offshore wind as part of his campaign.

In April, Murphy released a plan to combat climate change, which included setting the most ambitious offshore wind target in the country at 3,500 MW by 2030.

Murphy’s opponent, Republican Candidate Kim Guadagno, is New Jersey’s Lieutenant Governor — Gov. Chris Christie’s second in command. While she does not mention climate change or address any environmental issues on her campaign website, she has said publicly that she would support installation of offshore wind turbines in New Jersey waters.

Initial polling shows Murphy holding a strong lead over Guadagno, and Washington D.C. news outlet The Hill reported this week that President Barack Obama plans to host an event for Murphy.

Learning from Other Successes
Polefka said that New Jersey’s offshore wind law creates a carve-out similar to Maryland that establishes offshore renewable energy credits (ORECs), and sets mandates for electric power distributors to procure those credits in certain proportions over the long term.

He said that New Jersey and Maryland both show promise in creating offshore wind markets that are as successful as markets now under way in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island.
While New Jersey’s executive branch has stalled in its efforts to create the mechanisms necessary for establishing ORECs, Maryland in May moved ahead with an award for ORECs that supports development of two offshore wind projects with a total capacity of 368 MW.

In a report released this week, Polefka surveyed the origins of offshore wind policy in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island and outlined the case for state government action to foster the fledgling domestic offshore wind energy industry.

The report, State Policies Can Unleash U.S. Commercial Offshore Wind Development, provides policy options for coastal states considering pursuit of the strategic benefits of offshore wind energy, based on the key elements underpinning early success in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island.
Among other things, Polefka recommended in the report that states consider comprehensive ocean planning, and he said that ocean planning is an area in which states can collaborate to achieve progress.

“Offshore wind development really does have to be done well and with great mindfulness of all the traditional industries and other public oriented laws and policies for coastal and ocean spaces, whether it's respect for tribal sovereignty or conservation goals — like marine protected areas, as well as protection and rehabilitation of protected species, like right whales,” Polefka said.

According to Polefka, Rhode Island represents a great example of the ocean planning element in practice.

“There is an opportunity for regional cooperation here, and thankfully we have a framework set up for that under President Obama's national ocean policy executive order and the regional ocean planning bodies that exist to carry out that kind of work,” he said.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

We Shouldn’t Always Need a “Business Case” to Do the Right Thing

This is an interesting perspective, different than our prism of "the business side of green".

We, in fact, do make a financial case around everything sustainable.  We think the numbers are always compelling.  Yet, here we go in a different direction.  Perhaps a better place to be.  We shall see.


I’ve been a consultant for almost 20 years, advising companies on complex challenges in ethics, risk, and responsibility. Each year several clients raise the same issue: the need to get buy-in from a skeptical senior executive in order to demonstrate a concrete benefit that will follow a proposed investment in an ethical business initiative or function. The executive needs a business case. And so I get asked questions like “What evidence can I provide that doing the right thing will make or save a company money?” and “How can I persuade the organization that embracing integrity is a win-win?”

It’s a relief to have finally moved on from the era in which corporate responsibility meant feel-good philanthropic efforts divorced from an enterprise’s main activities. Happily fading from memory is the cliché that ethics and compliance teams effectively constitute a “business prevention department.” Many managers can easily recite the business case for ethics: Who doesn’t want better risk management, deeper employee engagement, reduced regulatory costs, public trust, and a lure to purpose-driven Millennials? The dominance of the win-win orthodoxy is a sign of progress.

The problem is that our obsession with making the business case for ethics makes us sound apologetic and hollow. After all, there is also a business case for tax avoidance, deregulation, and even higher death rates. We do ourselves — and the world — no favors by locking ourselves into this instrumentalist argument. There are (at least) three major flaws with it.

Metrics Are Not Your Friends
Let’s be clear. While there is a business case for integrity, an organization that embraces it must make a conscious decision to prioritize the long term, the intangible, and the existential over the specific and measurable. A growing body of evidence shows that ethical companies outperform financially over time, but trying to translate such a broad finding into the short-term planning metrics used by most businesses is perilous. For every “shared value” example of an energy-saving initiative that reduces operational costs, or of a social investment that enhances customer loyalty, one can find a less comfortable result. It can cost more to ensure better labor standards in a supply chain, or to meet environmental standards. The benefit to a company should ultimately manifest in an improved reputation and long-term strategic position, but advocates for reform must hold their nerve in the short term, especially as investor sentiment vacillates.

Moreover, the business benefits of integrity have many variables. How do you demonstrate that a company’s best-in-class compliance program — not a tightened labor market — enhanced employee engagement? How do you know that recent growth resulted from greater public trust in a product, not a competitor’s screw-up? Such difficulties in attributing causation have led to a focus on recording effort rather than impact, and they have driven initiatives that are incremental rather than transformational.

You’ll Never Convince a Skeptic
Frankly, I’ve never attended a meeting at which a doubtful executive was won over solely by a business case for integrity, no matter how persuasively it was delivered. This partly reflects the measurement-and-causation challenges highlighted above; they invite challenge by anyone with a hard-nosed focus on profit and loss. There is evidence that simply introducing the concept of the financial benefits of ethics might muddy your case, since focusing on money undermines peoples’ ethical intentions.

Relatedly, arguments for ethical business tend to focus heavily on the upside of risk prevention: avoiding the possibility of regulatory investigation or reputational scandal. While the argument for risk prevention can be compelling, it ignores the culture of most private sector organizations. Human beings are goal-oriented, competitive, and highly social, with limited memories and attention spans. People are generally overconfident when they assess risk, more comfortable focusing on its probabilities than on potential impacts. Given that senior decision makers in organizations often attained leadership precisely because they are keenly competitive, audacious people, they are particularly unlikely to be swayed by calls for caution. Tell an executive that they need to spend a lot to avert a low-likelihood, worst-case scenario, and their eyes will glaze over.

It’s Not Your Best Argument
On the other hand, senior executives often respond enthusiastically to the potential of business integrity to provide an inspirational narrative. Amid the world’s faltering political will to tackle long-term social and environmental challenges, business is well-placed to assume a leadership role. Most corporate leaders know this. They understand the power of reputation and relationships. They think often and hard about their personal legacy at the company and their opportunity to change the world for the better. They are less subject to short-term operational pressures, and accordingly less risk-averse.

The recent statements from Microsoft and Apple in support of DACA are just one example of this. A tiny proportion of these companies’ employees is directly affected by the cancellation of the program, making this an incremental issue that there is no obvious business case to address. But as a means to signal corporate values to the American public, it can easily command senior attention and energy.

Arguing that companies should prioritize integrity simply because it is the right thing to do could not be more unfashionable. It is not surprising that we avoid it. But our fear of sounding naïve means we’ve ended up in the unenviable position of trying to make a simplistic commercial case for corporate “purpose” — contradicting and exposing ourselves in the process. A recent survey from EY saw broad agreement that purpose is more important than shareholder value, but no clear definition of what purpose is. In fact, a company has purpose when it deliberately prioritizes its ethical principles over profit-making opportunities, at least some of the time. We tie ourselves in knots trying to skate over this reality. The result is that employees and customers today see corporations as hypocrites, spouting meaningless value statements in glossy brochures.

To drive change in organizations, of course we need to measure and understand the financial benefits and costs of ethical initiatives. But if we try to make a case for integrity solely using these short-term operational planning tools, we miss a bigger opportunity.

Corporations today have a critical role in building a sustainable future for our children and our planet. Doing so offers a path to restoring public trust and ensuring long-term survival. In this context, isn’t the business case a bit reductive?

Alison Taylor is Director, Advisory Services at BSR and an Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law School. She focuses on approaches to sustainability through risk management, strategy, stakeholder engagement, transparency, ethics, and organizational change.

Hinckley unveils design for world’s first electric luxury yacht/PBN

Continued progress around consumer products that hit the mark on triple-bottom line benefits.  This is a good step forward in an industry, boating and shipping, that contributes a great deal to our pollution levels:

THE HINCKLEY DASHER, shown above, is the world's first fully electric luxury yacht, powered by twin 80-horsepower electric motors and dual BMW i3 lithium-ion batteries. / COURTESY THE HINCKLEY CO.

Luxury yacht manufacturer The Hinckley Co. has revealed its design for the world’s first fully electric luxury yacht, called the Hinckley Dasher. “Since 1928, Hinckley has pioneered beautiful, timeless and highly innovative yachts,” said Peter O’Connell, president and CEO of Hinckley. “From the early use of fiberglass in the Bermuda 40 in the...


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Art of Sustainability/RNN Radio

Don't forget we are live today at 1p, ET.  In the meantime check out these two great segments on our main site:

Allison Newsome, today’s guest, is an amazing artist.  From her early days, inspired by the CA redwoods, Allison has captured and reused nature to create beautiful and functional pieces of work.
Recently that manifested in her designs for ceramic rain capture that now grace parks in New England.  She is designing extraordinary rain capture cisterns into classic buildings.  Her designs marry the old with the new.  She showcases old pieces with modern uses.  The story of reinventing history is a remarkable part of this interview.
Allison Newsome is an educator, renowned artist, friend to the environment, world traveler sharing her work and blends unique talents around architecture and art into pragmatic solutions to some of our eco challenges.  Allison imagines, and then shows us through her pieces, a lot about our interaction with the world around us.  Her work inspires our spirits and souls.  As always one person’s creativity takes us to unimagined places

RI’s Infrastructure Bank, Financing Sustainability and Beyond

At RNN we talk a lot about good policy. Sometimes that is government initiated; sometimes it is on a public/private front. Either way, as we’ve seen many times, good policy will become a platform for collaboration, investment, and growth.
Today’s guest, Jeffrey Diehl, Executive Director and CEO of Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, and his organization thrive under the umbrella of regulatory innovation. Starting off in RI as the Clean Water Finance Agency, the RIIB has grown from a micro concentration on water improvements to helping fund tremendous overall success in the State. Jeff and his team now finance efficiency gains, renewables, restoring brown fields into economic centers and they offer valuable financing to cities and towns to rebuild their core.
Money breathes life into projects. Those projects reinvigorate commercial markets and entire communities. From the core of recycling gray water, into better bridges, roads, waste-to-energy facilities to great programs around helping companies cut costs and reinvest capital, these are the building blocks of smart commerce. All of this progress, of course, takes hard work, collaboration…such as you will hear from Jeff, a relationship with EPA–great design and quick, not painstaking, execution. Jeff’s background as a global investment banker fits perfectly with an agency entrusted with public debt and equity funds. His skill of evaluating good projects and getting them the seeds to make it work is a skill we all need. Even on a personal level.
This story and interview excites us. Here are the fundamentals, the foundation, of radically scripting a new world of the living and working. A financial world that benefits all, including the planet. RIIB has delivered to the State of RI and its people huge returns on better facilities, resources, jobs and a bright future for maintaining momentum. How will you, your company, your community diversify and expand? Here’s one very proven formula.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Electric cars dominate the buzz at Frankfurt auto show

This is very timely in relationship to the update we just gave you on energy storage advances.  Think about how EV technology has already changed the auto industry, and how other verticals--including hybrid buildings--are learning and using the same improvements.

Getting buzz is a good thing.  Garnering attention around a new, smarter, cleaner way to drive will, in fact, lead directly to higher consumer awareness, acceptance and sales.  This is a very big step in that direction.  It is possible, as we know, that within a few years, EV's and hybrids could represent 50% of the available models on lots.  That is when you know they have arrived.

Electric cars dominate the buzz at Frankfurt auto show

September 12, 2017 by David Mchugh 
Carmakers at the Frankfurt auto show are unveiling the low-emissions vehicles and technology strategies they hope will let them profit from the sweeping changes expected to hit the auto industry in the next few years. 

Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz on Tuesday unveiled a compact electric vehicle under its EQ sub-brand that showcases its efforts to make connected, electric, shared and autonomous vehicles. The EQA has two electric motors that can give it different driving characteristics depending on which mode the driver chooses.

The Stuttgart-based automaker also had the GLC F-Cell, a "pre-production" model of a battery-fuel cell hybrid SUV that can run on hydrogen and emits only water vapor.
BMW AG is showing off the four-door i Vision Dynamics electric concept vehicle to join its i3 and i8 electric models. The company says the i Vision Dynamics can hit 200 kph (124 mph) and accelerate to 100 kph (62 mph) in a quick 4.0 seconds.

Carmakers are spending heavily to develop and improve electric cars to meet increasingly tough government regulations limiting air pollution. That is even though current electric models do not enjoy high sales because of limited range, higher price, and a lack of fast-charging stations. Analysts think that as batteries get better and costs come down, electric sales may eventually take off.

According to research and analytics firm IHS Markit, battery-only cars were 0.57 percent of global production in 2016 and will increase to 0.86 percent in 2017.
Visitors stand next to a Smart 'Vision EQ' on the first press day of the Frankfurt International Motor Show IAA in Frankfurt, Germany, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (Uwe Anspach/dpa via AP)
Britain and France have proposed eliminating internal-combustion cars by 2040. China's industry ministry is developing a timetable to end production and sale of traditional fuel cars and will promote development of electric technology, state media reported Sunday.

Volkswagen AG showed off a revised version of its electric ID Crozz crossover SUV concept vehicle as it announced a long-term electrification campaign, saying its brands would introduce 80 new electric vehicles by 2025. The company plans to invest 20 billion euros ($24 billion) in upgrading plants, creating two new electric car platforms and training workers.

The company said that depending on market developments it could sell 3 million battery-only vehicles a year in 2025.

"Now the big question that everyone is asking is, 'When will we see (electric cars) in mass volume?'" Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller said Monday ahead of the show. "But it is not just a matter of what is being offered from manufacturers but also the electric charging infrastructure. That's why it is important to have a fact-based conversation about the urgent problems with electric mobility and how they can be solved. This needs to be discussed jointly, with electricity companies, with states, with local authorities."

The arrival of battery-powered cars is just one anticipated change. Automakers are also searching for ways to adapt to a future in which people find ways of getting from one place to another without necessarily owning a car, such as car-sharing or ride-hailing through smartphone apps. They are also working on developing autonomous vehicles that could drive themselves—under limited circumstances such as corporate campuses or limited access freeways at first, and possibly more widely later.

The three German luxury carmakers were the home team and showed it with large display areas. Some other carmakers are skipping the Frankfurt show this year because of costs, the ability to display cars in other ways, like livestreams, and less focus on Germany and Europe as a market. No-shows include Fiat Chrysler's namesake Fiat and its Jeep and Alfa Romeo brands, Peugeot and its DS luxury division, plus Nissan, Infiniti and Volvo. General Motors, which sold its European subsidiary to PSA Group, is also not attending.

Even Porsche, part of Volkswagen, didn't wait for the show but showed off its new Cayenne SUV on Aug. 29 with an elaborate streamed event from its base in Stuttgart, Germany.

Small SUVs are also a theme at the show as manufacturers crowd into a segment that has proven a winner with consumers. New offerings of SUV or SUV-like body stylings on compact car platforms include: Volkswagen's T-Roc, the SEAT Arona, Jaguars E-Pace, Kia Stonic, Citroen C3 Aircross and the Skoda Karoq.

And high-end cars remain a fixture as before. Daimler unveiled its Mercedes-Benz-AMG Project ONE, a low-slung, race-car like two-seat hybrid with an overhead air scoop and a long carbon-fiber tail fin. It generates 1,000 horsepower for a top speed of 350 kph (217 mph).

Drax plans world’s largest battery storage facility/PEI

Do yo think we are on our way to massive amounts of energy storage?  As we drive towards this ambitious goal, think about the industrial, commercial and residential changes this will open up?  The potential of this new technology is unlimited.  It will, by itself, reshape our economy and world.  
Drax logo

UK power giant Drax has submitted planning permission for what would be the world’s largest battery storage facility, and an equally ambitious gas-fired power plantfacility, as it continues its retreat from coal-fired power.

The company wants has already converted three of its six coal-fired units in North Yorkshire to biomass, in its attempts to adapt to the UK’s phase out of coal by 2025.

It said on Wednesday that it was considering building up to 200 MW of battery storage at the site, double the size of the current largest, the under-construction 100 MW Tesla facility in Australia. 

In addition, the company wants to convert two of its remaining three coal units to gas. It would create up to 3.6 GW of gas power capacity, making it comfortably the largest gas plant in Britain, ahead of the 2.2 GW gas plant in Pembrokeshire.

Drax is now seeking a “development consent order” from the UK’s Planning Inspectorate, a process it believes could take up to two years. A decision to go ahead with the project would then rely on the company winning a 15-year subsidy contract with the government. If it did decide to proceed, it envisages both facilities could be up and running by 2023. 

A spokeswoman for the group told the Financial Times that both the gas and battery storage capacity figures in the planning application were a maximum size and the projects could turn out to be smaller. 

Drax said its plans would provide the sort of “flexible generation and grid support services Britain’s electricity system will need” as coal and ageing nuclear plants are decommissioned.