Weekend reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, Sourcing Renewables  -  May 16, 2020

Weekend reads: How HP engages people through sustainability; Google goes after data center emissions

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

Will Sustainability Remain a Corporate Priority After Covid-19? (AdWeek) In Venice, Italy, without a gondola or tourist in sight, a jellyfish was spotted wading through the city’s famous canals. In New Delhi, India, the city’s toxic air pollution, once visible from space, has begun to clear. Along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor route, from Maryland past Boston, air pollution fell 30%, according to NASA—the cleanest it has been since the agency started measuring. Los Angeles is experiencing its longest stretch of “good” air quality since 1995. Carbon emissions in China fell nearly 25% when manufacturing shut down to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Google Turns Demand Management On Its Head To Cut Data Center Emissions (Forbes) As more and more renewable energy comes on to the grid, networks are having to deal with more intermittent supplies from wind and solar power. Energy storage using batteries and other technologies are one answer, enabling surplus energy that is produced at times of low demand to be stored and used later, when more power is needed. Demand response management is another option, where large electricity consumers switch off at times of high demand to enable the system to cope without needing to deploy extra power stations. Now Google has come up with another option, one that could transform the way companies consume power in future, particularly those that operate data centres.

In a First, Renewable Energy Is Poised to Eclipse Coal in U.S. (New York Times) The United States is on track to produce more electricity this year from renewable power than from coal for the first time on record, new government projections show, a transformation partly driven by the coronavirus pandemic, with profound implications in the fight against climate change. It is a milestone that seemed all but unthinkable a decade ago, when coal was so dominant that it provided nearly half the nation’s electricity. And it comes despite the Trump administration’s three-year push to try to revive the ailing industry by weakening pollution rules on coal-burning power plants.

HP's Mary Curtiss on how sustainability engages people through place (Women in Sustainability/Design the Future Podcast)   Mary Curtiss is the head of sustainability for HP, which includes 120 sites around the world. For her, this is a mandate about buildings and people. She explains why storytelling and empathy are as important as the technical side of buildings. She describes how she sees sustainability as something that engages everyone who enters a building, and how she thinks about that experience along with efficiency, renewables, and other specific sustainability factors. She also shares thoughts about the promise of (and challenges around) renewables today in the U.S. and globally, and how cities are helping to advance progress and innovation with regulation. 

Moving towards 100% renewable power in Hawaii (with a little help from sheep) (UN News) Neatly arranged rows of deep marine blue-coloured photovoltaic panels are lined up on the undulating hills of one of Hawaii’s volcanic islands, creating a sea of solar-energy generation. It’s midday, and the strong tropical sun is beating down on this power plant, which will provide electricity to over 70,000 people. This is Kauai, one of seven inhabited islands in the northwest of the Hawaiian archipelago, where energy generation is not just an aspiration but also a necessity. The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC), a non-profit organization runs this plant, and its 77,000 solar panels generate at least 10 per cent of the islands power, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Energy costs in Hawaii, one of the world’s remotest island communities, have typically always been high, as fossil fuels have to be imported to fire the power plants.


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