Shoes that tell runners which way to turn. Bracelets that tell beachgoers which sunscreen to use. All around us, formerly inert objects are being refashioned with the capacity to connect to cyberspace. But while wearable technology for consumers might be most visible manifestation of the phenomenon known as the Internet of Things, it isn’t going to have the greatest impact on the corporate bottom line. That distinction belongs to industrial smart machines.
Companies across the corporate spectrum are increasingly using equipment outfitted with sensors that connect to the Internet . The consumer and industrial goods, energy, and transportation industries, in particular, are making increasing use of sensors that transmit usage patterns, productivity levels, location, and even weather conditions. The much more complete view of operations that results allows companies to better monitor equipment use, report unusual problems, and track output, with the ultimate aim of cutting costs and improving productivity.
Consider a Siemens’ plant in Amberg, Germany, that produces so-called programmable logic controllers. Smart machines connected to the Internet autonomously control 75 percent of the facility’s production, enhancing efficiency so much that there are only 12 defects per million units produced.
In commercial aviation, a GE-Accenture joint venture named Taleris outfits aircraft with sensors that provide real-time information about the condition of parts. That allows the scheduling of maintenance based on actual need rather than the number of trips an aircraft has flown, thereby reducing costs and better ensuring safety.
In transportation, there’s the case of NYK Logistics, which handles freight for the retailer Target at an enormous 70-acre yard in Long Beach, California. Historically, NYK used manual labor to track incoming and outgoing shipping containers, with personnel roaming the hub with clipboards and walkie-talkies, tracking inventory by scanning bar codes. When increased volumes rendered such a system untenable, NYK tapped Zebra Technologies to install a wireless tracking system known as WhereNet on the yard’s containers, trailers, dock doors and parking slots. Today, 90 percent of the yard’s equipment is automated and connected to a central database, and the company pretty much knows exactly where everything is at all times.
So those are the opportunities. The challenge? Unlike the above examples, most companies haven’t figured out how to cultivate and benefit from machine-generated data. Some 95 percent of the information generated by industrial machines is “unstructured,” meaning that it isn’t organized into traditional data formats and cannot be easily crunched by the relational database software sold by the likes of Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM. And the problem is only getting worse: according to market research firm IDC, the amount of data managed by corporations will increase by a factor of 50 over the next decade.
In the meantime, the machines will get smarter. Interested investors can come at the trend from several directions. Demand is fast increasing for the sensors used in smart machines, which are produced by companies such as SAP and Splunk. Industrial companies are also facing an enormous need for software that gives them the capacity to analyze and understand machine data, made by the likes of ZL Technologies, SAS and Inxight. But it’s not just those selling the sensors and the software. Indeed, the companies that are intelligently investing in their own intelligent machines are also worth a look. “You want to consider both sides,” says Michael O’Sullivan, Chief Investment Officer in Credit Suisse’s Private Banking and Wealth Management Division “Focus on the IT companies making the software as well as in the companies who use these technologies well.”
Photo of Siemens’ Amberg Electronics Plant courtesy of Siemens.
Several IT brands have begun showing an increased commitment to social and environmental responsibility. A new report from TCO Development shows that 17 brands have increased their efforts in implementing codes of conduct and corrective actions by working with the structured platform of TCO Certified, directed by sustainability organization TCO Development.
Niclas Rydell of TCO Development comments: “Since introducing social responsibility criteria in the TCO Certified program, we’re seeing evidence of a more open dialog between brands and suppliers as well as more brand awareness of what’s happening in the supply chain.”
By prioritizing socially responsible manufacturing when selecting IT products, buyers can directly influence brands toward continued improvements. The new EU Public Purchasing Directive pushes buyers to include social and environmental factors when buying IT equipment, and to make use of certifications to verify product compliance with those demands. “The challenge for buyers is how to know whether the products you buy actually meet the sustainability criteria you set. TCO Certified offers this verification, providing both manufacturers and buyers with the confidence of third party verification,” concludes Niclas Rydell.
TCO Certified is an international third party sustainability certification for IT products. Criteria in TCO Certified address environmental and social risks throughout the IT product life cycle. This unique mix of criteria makes TCO Certified the world’s most comprehensive third party certification of IT products.
About TCO Development
TCO Development promotes sustainable development in IT. Through the TCO Certified sustainability certification we make it possible to select products that meet criteria for environmental and social responsibility throughout the life cycle; manufacturing, use and end of life phases. TCO Development is owned by TCO, a non-profit organization based in Stockholm, Sweden.
The New York Times has finally broken away from the old narrative that renewable power is simply too expensive to be really competitive, with a ground-breaking if incomplete piece on the global and spreading impacts of the Germanenergiewende (energy transformation).
The article points out that by creating a secure, ring-fenced market for renewable electricity,Germany not only built up its own manufacturing capacities to make solar and wind cheaper, but lured the Chinese into the market at such a dramatic scale that renewables are now slicing off increasing segments of the global electricity market—and eating market share in ways that are disproportionately disruptive of the existing utility model and the centralized fossil fuel architecture that underlies it.
The reporter, Justin Gillis, warns that “A reckoning is at hand, and nowhere is that clearer than in Germany. Even as the country sets records nearly every month for renewable power production, the changes have devastated its utility companies, whose profits from power generation have collapsed.”
He identifies one leverage point: solar panels generates the maximum electrons precisely when load peaks—on hot afternoons—the hours in which many electricity sector players make most or all of their profits. In California, as shown below, although less than 2 percent of total electricity is solar, that 2 percent has essentially eliminated the afternoon peak, and as Gillis points out, threatened the cash cow that many electricity players count on.
But he misses another—by echoing the conventional wisdom that “The Achilles’ heel of renewable power is that it is intermittent.” Well it’s true that utilities and electricity planners don’t like intermittency, because electricity is not a true market. The fundamental structure of our utility system was that intrinsically unstorable electrons were produced in surplus by monopoly generating companies, who took the risks of volatility and maintained reserve supply in exchange for guaranteed profits. Intermittent electrons make electricity act more like a spot market. And as Gillis points out, coal plants in particular do not like to be turned on and off—so not only are solar electrons crunching utility profits, wind electrons (which track consumption less closely than solar) are squeezing the operating life of utility generating assets. This has caused German utilities to consider shutting them down altogether—bad for utility planners, but in a market sense a disruptive advantage for wind entrepreneurs. The more renewable power is deployed, the more advantageous it is to replace the remaining fossil resources with clean energy.
The biggest shortfall in the Times piece is that it focuses, like the conventional wisdom, almost entirely on generating assets—power plants and solar panels—and very little on the grid itself, the network which fundamentally comprises the heart of modern electrification. How does a 21st century grid meet the reliability goals of the traditional utility model without incurring the exorbitant costs, waste and pollution of the current system? Well, as Gillis says, “More high-voltage power lines could link wind farms and solar panels in disparate locations, smoothing out the variations. This is politically difficult, but some such lines are being built in both the United States and Germany.” But in reality countries like China are pouring massive capital into exactly such long distance transmission lines, and the Northeastern U.S. already pays billions of excess fees every summer for its inability to import cheap, if remote, renewable electrons. The grid will be built out—and as it is the advantages of clean energy over fossil fuel just keep getting bigger.
And once the utility revolution is linked to the cresting electric vehicle future, those “unstoreable” electrons will suddenly be stored in hundreds of millions of vehicles, changing the fundamental challenge on which the entire utility monopoly system was built. It will indeed, be “wrenching.” But also liberating, and incredibly profitable for innovators, and innovative societies.
A veteran leader in the environmental movement, Carl Pope spent the last 18 years of his career at the Sierra Club as CEO and chairman. He’s now the principal advisor at Inside Straight Strategies, looking for the underlying economics that link sustainability and economic development. Pope is co-author—along with Paul Rauber—of Strategic Ignorance: Why the Bush Administration Is Recklessly Destroying a Century of Environmental Progress, which the New York Review of Books called “a splendidly fierce book.”
The report card is in, and thousands of U.S. schools are bringing home straight A’s for going solar.
In a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind study released today, America’s K-12 schools have shown explosive growth in their use of solar energy over the last decade, soaring from 303 kilowatts (kW) of installed capacity to 457,000 kW, while reducing carbon emissions by 442,799 metric tons annually—the equivalent of saving 50 million gallons of gasoline a year or taking nearly 100,000 cars off U.S. highways.
Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools was prepared by The Solar Foundation (TSF)—with data and analysis support from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)—and funded through a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot program.
The Solar Foundation’s report is the first nationwide assessment of how solar energy helps to power schools in communities across America. Most importantly, the report shows that thousands of schools are already cutting their utility bills by choosing solar, using the savings to pay for teacher salaries and textbooks. What’s more, the report estimates that more than 70,000 additional schools would benefit by doing the same.
Here are the report’s key findings:
- There are 3,752 K-12 schools in the U.S. with solar installations, meaning nearly 2.7 million students attend schools with solar energy systems.
- The 3,727 PV systems have a combined capacity of 490 megawatts (MW), and generate roughly 642,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity each year, which represents a combined $77.8 million per year in utility bills—an average of almost $21,000 per year per school.
- Despite this promising progress, solar potential remains largely untapped. Of the 125,000 schools in the country, between 40,000 and 72,000 can “go solar” cost-effectively.
And if you think that’s good news, then get a load of this: An analysis performed for this report found that 450 individual school districts could each save more than $1,000,000 over 30 years by installing a solar PV system. That’s right—a million bucks!
In a time of tight budgets and rising costs, solar can be the difference between hiring new teachers—or laying them off. Just as importantly, solar is also helping to fight pollution, providing hope for our children, as well as for future generations of children.
The new report also found:
- More than 3,000 of the 3,752 systems were installed in the last six years. Between 2008 and 2012, solar installations on U.S. schools experienced a compound annual growth rate of 110 percent.
- Nearly half of the systems currently installed are larger than 50 kilowatts (kW) and 55 schools have systems that are 1 megawatt (MW) or larger. About a quarter of the PV systems at schools are smaller than 5 kW.
- As schools system sizes increase, so too does the incidence of third-party ownership.
- Excluding small demonstration systems, the median system size of K-12 school PV systems was found to be 89 kW (approximately equal to 18 average residential solar PV systems).
As is the case with the solar industry at large, the report found that more schools are going solar as installation costs decrease. According to the SEIA/GTM Research U.S. Solar Market Insight report, by the second quarter of this year, national blended average system prices had dropped 53 percent since 2010.
So anyway you look at it—from economics to innovation to the environment—more and more U.S. schools deserve high marks for their commitment to America’s future.
China’s renewables market is the most attractive destination for investors looking to invest in the sector, according to EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) published today.
The RECAI ranks 40 renewables markets on the attractiveness of their energy prospects. In a significant reshuffle at the top of the index, China returns to the top for the first time since May 2013, while Europe and the US continue to lose ground to emerging markets. Despite significant deployment and investment opportunities in the US renewables market, congressional gridlock and drawn-out approvals have had a negative effect on the country’s ability to provide investors with long-term certainty, causing it to fall to second place.
Gil Forer, EY’s Global Cleantech Leader comments:
“China’s government is placing increased emphasis on renewable energy as the country battles pollution, ushering in new market opportunities for foreign investors. Aggressive policy targets, an increased focus on consolidation and the roll-out of pilot carbon emissions trading schemes also support the country’s pollution reduction initiatives and reflect the renewables sector’s strategic economic value.”
Elsewhere in the index, only two of the traditionally attractive markets managed to hold on to their previous rankings. Germany and Japan remain static, in third and fourth place respectively, as their markets reflect on the latest legislative and energy strategy updates. In contrast, mixed signals and policy tinkering have prompted yet another drop in the rankings for the UK and Australia, to seventh and tenth place respectively. At the same timeItaly and Spain are seeing the repercussions of retroactive changes to support mechanisms, with both falling several places down the index.
On the other hand, dynamic emerging markets are becoming more prominent in the index. India jumped to sixth place as an energy sector overhaul by the new government looks set to galvanize public and private renewables investment. In what is becoming a consistent theme, Brazil, Chile, South Africa and Kenya have again risen up the index thanks to robust deployment pipelines and consistent policy support while major project financings in the Netherlands and Israel have prompted a boost in the rankings for these markets.
Forer continues, “The significant movement in our index reinforces the view that attractive renewable energy prospects are no longer the remit of only a few mature markets – they are truly global, providing opportunities in both developed and developing markets. This shifting landscape will drive corporations and governments to review their energy strategy to ensure long term competitive advantage.”
The latest report highlights that Europe is currently at an inflexion point, striving to become a global sector leader but facing strain funding, infrastructure and supply capabilities.
According to Ben Warren, EY’s Global Cleantech Transactions Leader, “The industry must liberate itself from the shackles of the past and go in search of grid parity as the fastest route to secure and affordable energy. The role of policy-makers therefore becomes one of enablement rather than fiscal support, as well as looking to create a level playing field across all energy sources through greater cost transparency.”
Microfinance models to become more than just a trend
The report highlights that smaller-scale distributed applications are becoming increasingly more critical to both developed and emerging markets with the outlet for localized financing models, such as crowd-funding is expanding as a result. The pool of capital available for such financing has significant potential to increase if the risk-reward profile can be structured such that it becomes a viable alternative to other retail investment channels.
Warren comments: “Far from just being the remit of the ‘socially conscious’ investor, crowd and community sourced finance is increasingly becoming a smart investment channel with a significant role to play in shaping our future energy mix and creating the stimulus for new funding models to emerge.”
The report also focuses on the imperative for more cost-effective and sustainable energy across the world’s island nations, representing significant investment and deployment opportunities as well as the potential to lead in the creation of new energy microsystems. According to Warren, “The question is whether today’s investors, developers and innovators want to be at the forefront of creating an island model of energy with potentially far-reaching implications for the global energy sector, or just wait to ride the second wave as micro goes macro.”
With new clean energy investment of US$63.6b in Q2 representing the strongest quarterly performance in two years and indicating a rebound in annual global investment for 2014, the latest RECAI report concludes that an increasing shift toward democratic finance and the opening up of new markets will be critical in maintaining this uplift in global investment volumes.
“Consumers, including home owners, commercial businesses and corporations, are becoming more empowered to take control of their own energy supply and demand. As a result, investors are also becoming increasingly motivated and empowered. This is not only driving the democratization of energy, but is also channeling significant volumes of capital to where they are most needed,” concludes Forer.
“Looking forward, advancements in technology, changes in policy, and continuous reduction in cost will enhance the new energy landscape and drive affordable, reliable and low carbon energy in more areas around the globe.”
Wind, solar and other renewable power capacity grew at its strongest ever pace last year and now produces 22% of the world’s electricity, the International Energy Agency said in a report published at the end of August 2014.
More than $250bn (£150bn) was invested in “green” generating systems in 2013 Worldwide, although the speed of growth is expected to slacken, partly because politicians are becoming nervous about the cost of subsidies.
However, the US wind energy industry is poised for solid growth in the next few years, according to a major new report from the US Department of Energy (DoE). As costs continue to fall and the technology approaches grid parity in many parts of the country, the second-largest wind energy market in the world and is on track to double renewable electricity generation by the end of this decade.
The Wind Technologies Market Report assesses the state of the US wind industry in 2013 and concludes that despite a tough year, the sector is now well placed for several years of solid growth. Confirming that the total installed wind capacity in the US in now 61GW, meaning that nearly 4.5 per cent of US electricity demand can now be met using wind in an average year.
This compares favourably with the UK, which according to The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) report; Renewable sources of energy: chapter 6, Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics (DUKES)‘ 5.2 % of energy consumption in 2013 came from renewable sources.
Europe may be leading the way, but the US is hot on their heels.
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Nothing makes a business stand at attention more quickly than a potential threat to its bottom line.
ThinkProgress has a report today on big food companies that are at least thinking about the effects climate change could have on their business models. In March, Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle mentioned in its annual report to investors, filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the possibility that climate change could threaten its guacamole supply. Following up on that story, reporter Emily Atkin found seven more companies that alerted investors to possible climate impacts to their businesses in their latest SEC reports.
Keurig Green Mountain Coffee noted in its SEC filing, “Decreased agricultural productivity in certain regions of the world as a result of changing weather patterns may limit availability or increase the cost of key agricultural commodities, such as coffee and tea, which are important sources of ingredients for our products, and could impact the food security of communities around the world. Increased frequency or duration of extreme weather conditions could also impair production capabilities, disrupt our supply chain or impact demand for our products.”
That theme was echoed by Michaels Food Group, which makes products like Simply Potatoes and Better’n Eggs. It cited extreme weather and increased pest infestations as potential threats to its supply sources. Heinz, Big Heart Pet Brands (Meow Mix, Kibbles ’n Bits) and Coca-Cola all also cited extreme weather, crop disruption and pest infestation in their reports.
“The growing political and scientific sentiment is that increased concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are influencing global weather patterns,” said Coca-Cola’s SEC filing. “Changing weather patterns, along with the increased frequency or duration of extreme weather conditions, could impact the availability or increase the cost of key raw materials that the company uses to produce its products. In addition, the sale of these products can be impacted by weather conditions.”
Two other companies, Omega Protein, which makes organic fish solubles like omega-3 fish oil, and Marine Harvest ASA, the world’s largest producer of Atlantic salmon, have an additional concern: the state of the oceans.
“Climate change poses a potential challenge to our industry,” said Marine Harvest ASA’s AprilSEC filing. “Fish farming is dependent on thriving aquatic ecosystems which are particularly vulnerable to the effects of a warming planet. … Our fish stocks can be depleted by biological factors such as algal blooms, low oxygen levels and fluctuating seawater temperatures.”
It added, “Furthermore, we may not be able to prevent contamination of our fish by pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, dioxins or heavy metals. Such contamination is primarily the result of environmental contamination of fish feed raw materials which could result in a corresponding contamination of our fish feed and our fish.”
“While politicians continue to bicker over whether or not climate change exists, companies now have no choice in the matter—they must acknowledge the science and the risk and disclose the reality of that risk to their investors’ pocketbooks,” said ThinkProgress’ Atkin. “Whether that risk actually manifests itself is another matter, but the fact that companies are increasingly putting climate change on their threat lists speaks volumes to the severity of the problem.”
Building upon the successful launch of its on-site green energy program in 2013, Verizon this year is investing more than $13 million to expand the program at three company locations across New Jersey. This year, Verizon will install 3.5 megawatts of new solar power systems at facilities in Carteret, Freehold and Piscataway. Installation of the systems is taking place over the next two months, with completion scheduled by year-end.
Over the last two years, Verizon has invested more than $34 million in its on-site green energy program in New Jersey. Upon completion of the new solar projects, Verizon will operate roughly 7 megawatts of green energy systems in the state. The systems will produce more than 23 million kilowatt hours of green energy — enough to power more than 2,000 homes annually. Verizon’s total green energy efforts in New Jersey are also expected to offset more than 6,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
“From network investments to philanthropic investments to investments in on-site green energy, Verizon is improving the quality of life in the communities we serve in New Jersey,” said Leecia Eve, vice president of state government affairs for Verizon New Jersey. “Verizon’s investments in, and commitment to, New Jersey are helping to position to state to compete and move forward economically.”
Top Solar-Power Producer Among U.S. Communication Companies
Verizon is on track to become the No. 1 solar power producer among all U.S. communications companies, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the U.S. trade association for companies that research, manufacture, distribute, finance and build solar projects domestically and abroad.
“Based on its existing solar power capacity and on-site generating systems, combined with its new solar energy expansion plans for 2014, it’s clear that Verizon is on a path to become the solar power leader in the U.S. telecom industry,” said SEIA president and CEO Rhone Resch. “In fact, we project that Verizon will be among the top 20 of all companies nationwide in terms of the number of solar installations it operates, and one of the top 10 companies in the U.S. based on solar generating capacity.”
To date, Verizon has invested nearly $140 million in on-site green energy. Upon completion of its new solar projects, the company is on track to deploy upward of 25 megawatts of green energy across the United States. Verizon has long been focused on energy efficiency and instituting sustainable real estate practices. As an early adopter of fuel cell technologies, Verizon invested in one of the largest fuel cell sites of its kind in 2005 – helping to power a call-switching center and office building in Garden City, New York.
Verizon also uses 26 solar-assisted cell sites in remote areas in the western United States to help power a portion of the nation’s largest and most reliable wireless network.
In addition to various solar and fuel cell installations, Verizon has also implemented better cooling efficiency and energy-consumption reduction measures in its data centers. In 2009, Verizon developed new standards for energy consumption on select telecom equipment, with a target of 20 percent greater efficiency.
All of Verizon’s energy-efficiency strategies support the company’s ultimate goal of cutting its carbon intensity – carbon emissions produced per terabyte of data flowing through Verizon’s global wired and domestic wireless networks – in half by 2020.
The company also is a key sponsor of the upcoming New Jersey Sustainability Summit Sept. 18 at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, which will focus on how small businesses can reduce their environmental impact and increase profits.
Naomi Klein, Canadian author and social activist, best known for her international bestsellers; No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, is back with her new book; This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate.
Klein characteristically takes a critical look at capitalist big business, exposing the hypocrisy of green champions such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson, for not doing enough and living up to their original ‘pledges’ to invest $billions into green innovation.
“Gates has a similar firewall between mouth and money.” Klein writes, “Though he professes great concern about climate change, the Gates Foundation had at least $1.2bn invested in oil giants BP and ExxonMobil as of December 2013, and those are only the start of his fossil fuel holdings. When he had his climate change epiphany, he, too, raced to the prospect of a silver-bullet techno-fix, without pausing to consider viable – if economically challenging – responses in the here and now. In Tedtalks, op-eds, interviews and in his annual letters, Gates repeats his call for governments massively to increase spending on research and development, with the goal of uncovering “energy miracles”.
“By miracles, he means nuclear reactors that have yet to be invented (he is a major investor and chairman of nuclear startup TerraPower), machines to suck carbon out of the atmosphere (he is a primary investor in at least one such prototype) and direct climate manipulation (Gates has spent millions funding research into schemes to block the sun, and his name is on several hurricane-suppression patents). At the same time, he has been dismissive of the potential of existing renewable technologies, writing off energy solutions such as rooftop solar as “cute” and “noneconomic” (these cute technologies already provide 25% of Germany’s electricity).”
The fix she proposes broadly relies on people power; groups of activists, indigenous peoples and grassroots climate organisers, who are already prepared to take on corporate power. She is a member of one such group, 350.org which has been instrumental in delaying a pipeline project in Nebraska, which Obama has repeatedly put off making a decision about.
There are already signs of a push back on Twitter from some environmental bloggers, but Klein is no stranger to controversy. I invite you to read the book and make your own minds up.
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The California Energy Commission approved more than $5 million in grants to promote efficient use of natural gas, reduce emissions from natural gas-burning cooking systems, and improve indoor environmental air quality during its monthly business meeting today. The Energy Commission also approved $8 million in grants to advance biofuels as a low-carbon transportation fuels.
Grant recipients include:
Fisher-Nickel, Inc.: More than $900,000 to demonstrate a suite of energy-efficient, natural gas-fired cooking appliances for restaurants and commercial applications. The company also received about $900,000 to demonstrate an energy-efficient hot water system for commercial food service.
Institute of Gas Technology: Received about $800,000 to demonstrate a boiler heating system with ultra-low emissions.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: Received three grants totaling about $2.4 million to develop a new type of burner that can reduce emissions from commercial and residential cook tops and ovens, develop technology to better control outdoor air ventilation rates in new and existing commercial buildings, and to conduct a field study to determine how 2008 Title 24 building efficiency standards have impacted indoor air quality in new homes with natural gas appliances.
GFP Ethanol: Received $3 million to develop a program that provides an expanded and reliable supply of grain sorghum feedstock for production of low carbon transportation fuel.
AltAir Fuels: Received $5 million to expand production of renewable diesel fuels at its Paramount facility in Los Angeles County. AltAir currently produces 30 million gallons of renewable diesel fuel a year and will expand production to 40 million gallons a year.
Natural gas grants are funded by the Energy Commission’s Natural Gas Research and Development Division that invests in technologies and projects that have the potential to improve the delivery and use of natural gas, benefit the environment and lower costs. Biofuel grants are funded by the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) and advance the development of California-based biofuel production facilities. The projects will support the state’s goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and the Bioenergy Action Plan target of producing 40 percent of all in-state biofuels by 2020. To date, the Energy Commission’s ARFVTP has provided more than $125 million to promote in-state biofuel production from low-carbon feedstocks.
Additionally, the Energy Commission approved a water supply amendment to its May 2000 Decision for the High Desert Power Plant, which is an 830 megawatt natural gas-fired generation facility in Victorville. The Energy Commission ordered the High Desert Power Plant owner to secure a temporary backup of limited regional groundwater for addressing the drought impacts on its primary supply from the California State Water Project. The owner must also file a plan for a drought-proof, sustainable water supply by November 1, 2015.
A detailed list of all items before the commission at today’s business meeting can be found online.
# # #
About the California Energy Commission
The California Energy Commission is the state’s primary energy policy and planning agency. The agency was established by the California Legislature through the Warren-Alquist Act in 1974. It has seven core responsibilities: advancing state energy policy, encouraging energy efficiency, certifying thermal power plants, investing in energy innovation, developing renewable energy, transforming transportation and preparing for energy emergencies.——————
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Allen & York are a leading international Sustainability Recruitment Consultancy and we have been partnering global business for 21 years. Our Planning & Built Environment Group work with; Consultancies, Private & Public Sector, Surveyors, Architects and Construction companies to source quality talent worldwide.
The global economic upturn has seen a marked increase in Planning, Surveying and Design jobs coming onto the market and as such, Allen & York have strengthened their Planning & Built Environment Group to meet the growing demand.
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Sarah Kerr as Team Leader, Planning & Built Environment. Originally from Boston USA, Sarah has a BSc in Environmental & Coastal Management, recruitment experience across the environment and energy marketplace, with a more recent move into Planning & Built Environment.
Her focus is the delivery of high calibre recruitment services across a variety of infrastructure projects and opportunities.
Allen & York Planning & Environment Group would like to talk to you if you are currently looking for a career move or to recruit into your planning teams.
For more information about our services, please contact;
Sarah Kerr, Team Leader Planning & Built Environment
+44(0)1202 888 986
The California Energy Commission became the sole administrator of the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) September 1. The program provides incentives to homeowners, builders and developers installing solar energy systems on new homes in Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) territories.
“The decision was made in part to increase consistency by having a single point of contact for stakeholders,” said Energy Commission’s Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller. “Plus, administering the program at the Energy Commission will reduce administrative costs so that more money can be spent on rebates.”
Over the next month, Energy Commission staff will work closely with each of the utilities to ensure a smooth transition with as little program disruption as possible. The utilities will continue to work with stakeholders on reservation applications and payment claims that were previously submitted and are currently under review.*
Last week, the Energy Commission also approved updated program guidelines that include a new incentive for west-facing solar energy systems. Systems that face west are designed to make the most of the late-day sunshine when electricity demand is greatest. The additional rebate can be as much as $500.
“We are hoping to squeeze more energy out of the afternoon daylight hours when electricity demand is highest,” said David Hochschild, lead commissioner for the agency’s renewable energy division, which will be administering the program. “By encouraging west-facing solar systems, we can better match our renewable supply with energy demand.”
The goal of the NSHP program is to install 360 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic capacity by the end of 2016. The Energy Commission has distributed more than $100 million with another $80 million reserved for pending projects. In 2006, the California Legislature established a statewide solar program, the California Solar Initiative (CSI), which set a goal of having residents and businesses install 3,000 MW of solar energy by the end of 2016. More than 2,200 MW have been installed under CSI, which includes the NSHP program.
The investor-owned utilities—SCE, SDG&E, and PG &E—had administered the program since its inception in 2008 and helped offset costs of more than 12,500 new systems capable of producing about 40 MW of electricity. Another 14,500 systems that are capable of generating that same amount of electricity are awaiting installations.