The renewable energy market is fast-paced and growing with each passing day. It’s hard to keep up with every industry announcement and insight, so we decided to highlight interesting developments that took place during the past few weeks, and some valuable insights that are worth revisiting.
Worries including the conflict with ISIL, Ebola, and economic slow-down in Europe, sent the stock market down in the month to October 3rd, with small cap stocks and clean energy stocks falling even farther than the large cap S&P 500.
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The European Union is seeking to speed up the creation of a common energy market to help its shift to a low-carbon economy and boost security of energy supplies amid a natural-gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine.
Renewables became Germany’s most important power source for the first time this year, according to Agora Energiewende.
Over 95 percent of climate scientists have concluded that CO2 is the primary cause of global warming. Solving the problem requires a dramatic reduction in CO2 emissions. Some people are altruistic, but almost all businesses are bottom line oriented and will not reduce their CO2 emissions unless they have an economic incentive to do so. There are two realistic incentives: taxing CO2 emissions or setting up a cap and trade program for CO2. Since increasing taxes is politically unfeasible, the most practical approach is with a cap and trade program.
As a businessman exploring investments, I need simple answers, however complicated the problem. I wish to know: Are microgrids economical? How much investment is needed and for what? What are the factors that principally affect profitability, within the system and in the environment? If microgrids are not profitable at the present, when will they be? I recognize that understanding microgrids as a system requires complicated mathematics and modeling. I’m sympathetic to and respect those who do that.
The Energy Storage Association (ESA) is the forum for energy storage stakeholder engagement, and has been an active and tireless proponent for the advancement of the energy storage industry for the last 25 years. And what a change those years have brought. From humble beginnings, when eight pioneering U.S. power utilities sent their executives t
Europe’s concern about its reliance on Russian fossil fuels may spur governments to prioritize alternative energy, the head of Neste Oil Oyj said.
Scotland’s decision to vote no to independence from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has elicited a collective sigh of relief from energy sector players. Those companies with significant investments in Scottish renewable energy assets had understandably been anxious over the uncertainty that an independent Scotland would engender, for example potentially changing the rules on support measures for renewable energy investment north of the border.
California and Quebec, which together created the largest carbon market in North America this year, may come away empty-handed as they woo northeastern U.S. states to join their system.
More than 100 world leaders converged upon New York City today to discuss international efforts to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change. The list of speakers at the UN Climate Summit included U.S. President Barack Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, French President François Hollande, and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.
As Climate Week 2014 quickly approaches, all eyes are on New York City (NYC), the host of this year’s events. And given the recent release of New York’s progressive draft State Energy Plan, “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV), it is perhaps the most appropriate place to hold such discussions about how to create and implement low-carbon solutions. T
The threat of climate change is driving China and the U.S. — frequent rivals and the world’s two largest greenhouse-gas emitters — to collaborate on dozens of potential clean-energy breakthroughs.
After bailing out Wall Street in 2008, are Americans ready to provide a one trillion dollar bailout to our electric utilities in 2030? Even though worldwide demand for energy is estimated to rise 41 percent by 2035, Barclays recently downgraded their outlook for utilities. The question we should ask ourselves is what does it mean when you downgra
For 2013, we reported a carbon footprint of 1.77 million metric tons to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). Our gross carbon footprint was up slightly from 2012, but our data center efficiency initiatives, renewable energy purchases and high-quality carbon offset purchases brought our footprint back down to zero. We’re proud to report that our carbon intensity dropped for the fifth year in a row, down to 31.8 metric tons of CO2 / million dollars of revenue, a drop of 3.6% from 2012.
Last year when we posted our 2012 update we calculated that serving an active Google user for one month is like driving a car one mile. We updated our numbers and this calculation still holds true. To serve that user, Google emits about 8 grams of CO2 per day.
This annual update also provides a nice opportunity to look back on the steps we’ve taken over the past year as we’ve worked to reduce our environmental impact:
- Data centers: We addressed efficiency, industry challenges and how to solve them at our “How Green is the Internet” summit in 2013. Being the most efficient is important to us, especially at our data centers where we use 50% of the energy of a typical data center.
- Environmental certifications: We’re the first major Internet company in the U.S. to get multi-site ISO 50001 Energy Management System certification, for 9 data centers in the US and EU (so far).
- Renewable energy: To date, we’ve signed long term contracts for over a gigawatt of renewable energy for our data centers and facilities. We have stayed true to our rigorous method for purchasing clean energy. We look for renewables when evaluating new locations and we factor an internal carbon price into our financial calculations.
- Renewable energy tariff: We use renewable energy when we can, but because of some utilities’ rules, we don’t always have a choice. Last year we worked with Duke Energy, a major utility, to develop a “green source rider.” This gives the option for Google and other companies like us to purchase renewable energy directly from Duke. Google was the first customer to request and successfully receive this. We have detailed our approach to help others in the industry to do it too.
- Carbon offsets: To bring our footprint to zero, we invest in projects that reduce carbon emissions at sources outside of Google. We're very picky to make sure that our investments have a positive impact - one that wouldn’t have happened without us.
- Investments: We’ve also been hard at work bringing more clean energy to everyone. We’ve signed agreements to provide $1.5 billion in funding to renewable energy projects, like Ivanpah, which was named Plant of the Year for its innovative solar power tower technology. With our investments, we’re helping energize 2.5 GW of renewable energy across the world. That’s enough to power 500,000 homes and far more energy than we use as a company.
Overall, 35% of our energy for our operations—that includes offices, all of our data centers and other infrastructure—came from renewable sources last year. That’s an increase from the previous year, which is no mean feat given how quickly we’re growing as a company. To keep up with that growth, we’re continuing to sign new long-term energy contracts, like our recent 407 MW agreement with MidAmerican Energy. As these projects come online, the amount of energy we get from renewable sources will continue to grow.
Posted by Kelsey Vandermeulen, Program Manager, Carbon Offsets
It was good news for renewable energy when President Barack Obama in June proposed carbon dioxide restrictions on existing power plants. It is even better news now that he may use the plan to leverage an international climate accord.
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A new report written by Nathaniel Bullard at Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) highlights the difficulties large institutional investors would have divesting from fossil fuels. What it does not specifically discuss is that these difficulties could lead to large financial losses for investors who see the difficulty of divesting as a reason to delay.