Weekend reads - Smart Energy Decisions

Regulation, Sourcing Renewables  -  April 11, 2020

Weekend Reads: The RE rebellion; Fixing the economy AND climate

It's the weekend! Kick back, catch up and stay safe with these must-read articles from around the web.

Virus Or Not, US States Foment 100% Renewable Energy Rebellion (CleanTechnica) If fossil fuel stakeholders hoped for the COVID-19 crisis to give them a little breathing room, they may have to do some re-hoping. The US Energy Department dropped yet another one of its renewable energy truth bombs earlier this week, and now a coalition of economically powerful US states has followed up with a new initiative aimed at accelerating 100% clean energy goals across the country. That’s not just a state-level thing, either. The new initiative aims at municipalities, corporations, utilities, and other stakeholders, too.

4 ways to reboot the economy that fix the climate at the same time (Fast Company) With the COVID-19 pandemic driving the economy toward another recession, policymakers are looking for ways to revitalize the workforce and our financial system. But as they think about how to rebuild the economy, and what our future looks like post-coronavirus crisis, it’s crucial to take steps that simultaneously prioritize our climate goals.

Covid-19 May Change Corporate Sustainability as We Know It (Bloomberg) Sustainability will probably redefine itself in the Covid-19 era. It may need to. Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, has become a shorthand for what companies do to integrate environmental, social and governance issues into their businesses. Until now it’s been a mashup of philanthropy, employee engagement, renewable energy programs and investor relations. But the coronavirus pandemic will press industries and investors to make sure CSR is truly connected to delivering value. The frenzy around sustainability and ESG investing at the end of last year might have led to some froth, but this is a moment when the wheat will be separated from the chaff, says John Goldstein, head of the sustainable finance group at Goldman Sachs.

The Green New Deal Is Cheap, Actually (Rolling Stone) Opposition to the Green New Deal is often framed as a matter of cost. President Trump’s re-election campaign blasted the “radical” plan, claiming it would “cost trillions of dollars, wreck our economy, and decimate millions of energy jobs.” But science shows that the costs of unchecked global temperature rise are far higher than transitioning to clean energy — which will, in fact, boost the economy. “Everybody thinks, ‘Oh, you have to spend a huge amount of money,’” says Mark Jacobson, a civil and environmental engineering professor at Stanford University. “Well, yeah, there’s an upfront cost, but this is something that pays itself back.”

The Ocean Could Be The Ultimate Renewable Energy Source (Nasdaq) For all their hype as the biggest and final frontier in clean energy production, tidal and wave power have never quite lived up to their potential. The IEA estimates that we harnessed just 1.2TWh of energy from the world’s vast oceans in 2018--a minuscule fraction of the ~170,000TWh in global primary energy consumption. This sad situation is not for lack of trying, though. More than 70 companies have developed various technologies to generate electricity from ocean tides or the kinetic power of waves, leading to global ocean energy production rising tenfold over the last decade. Yet, most never advance past the pilot stages into full commercialization.

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