Weekend reads - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions, Sourcing Renewables  -  September 19, 2020

Weekend reads: How Google set the tone for corporate RE; Accelerating clean energy innovation

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

Berkeley study: 90% carbon-free electricity achievable by 2035 (Yale Climate Connections) Imagine the U.S., over the next 15 years, achieving 90% carbon-free, “clean” electricity. No need to just imagine, better yet read about it. That’s the conclusion of a new University of California Berkeley study “2035 – The Report: Plummeting Solar, Wind, and Battery Costs Can Accelerate Our Clean Energy Future,” by the university’s Goldman School of Public Policy. The report is featured in the current installment of videographer Peter Sinclair’s “This Is Not Cool” video. That goal – 90% carbon-free electricity by 2035 – can be achieved without increasing consumer electricity costs “at all,” says Dan Kammen, PhD, of Berkeley.

Google made clean energy cool for corporations, and it’s about to do the same for batteries (Quartz) By 2030, Google plans to precisely match every electron of electricity flowing into its offices and data centers with one produced from a renewable source. If someone clicks on a search at 3 AM, Google will find the electricity to power that query from a battery, wind turbine, solar panel, hydroelectric dam, or some other carbon-free technology at that precise moment. That goal, announced on Sept. 14, would make Google the first major company to run its entire business on carbon-free energy around the clock. If the history of renewable energy is any guide, this could have an industry-shifting impact on the market for energy storage and batteries.

Webinar: Safety First! Disinfectant UV Lighting Solutions for Healthy Environments (EMC) Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 2:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time. There’s no denying the major impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on nearly every aspect of our lives. To mitigate the rapid spread of the virus, businesses are turning to the use of ultraviolet lighting for safer environments. Unlike chemical sprays administered by employees or cleaning crews, disinfectant UV lighting technologies offer an effective, convenient and consistent approach to inactivating COVID-19 and other pathogens upwards of 99.9%. In this webinar, EMC will explore the types of UV, their properties, and how they work; UVGI technology available today and in the future, and applications to safely incorporate UV lighting in retail, commercial and educational facilities. REGISTER HERE

Wildfire Smoke Decreases California Solar Energy Output (KQED) Thick layers of ash and smoke in California have made it harder for solar panels to absorb sunlight, decreasing their energy output by as much as around 20% over the last few days, according to the California Independent Service Operator (California ISO), which oversees the state’s electricity supply. Most large-scale solar grids are out in the desert, where smoke isn’t as concentrated, said Severin Borenstein, director of the Energy Institute at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. But if that smoke were to gather over those major grid systems, it could reduce solar output even more.

We have to accelerate clean energy innovation to curb the climate crisis. Here’s how. (Vox) “Innovation” is a fraught concept in climate politics. For years, it was used as a kind of fig leaf to cover for delaying tactics, as though climate progress must wait on some kind of technological breakthrough or miracle. That left climate advocates with an enduring suspicion toward the notion, and hostility toward those championing it. Lately, though, that has changed. Arguably, some Republicans in Congress are still using innovation as a way to create the illusion of climate concern (without any conflict with fossil fuel companies). But among people serious about the climate crisis, it is now widely acknowledged that hitting the world’s ambitious emissions targets will require both aggressive deployment of existing technologies and an equally aggressive push to improve those technologies and develop nascent ones.

A solar-paneled roof over everyone’s head? Totally doable, she says. (Grist) Rahwa Ghirmatzion is used to being called radical. The activist and 2017 Grist 50 Fixer believes that everyone, regardless of income, should be provided with affordable, climate-friendly housing as well as good-paying green jobs. According to Ghirmatzion, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a dramatic shift in how like-minded people think about policy advocacy. “Everybody is pretty radical now,” she says. Born in the East African country of Eritrea, Ghirmatzion moved to Buffalo, New York, with her family when she was 8 years old. Now, she leads the housing nonprofit PUSH Buffalo, which buys up old buildings and rehabs them into energy-efficient, affordable homes — while providing job training for local residents in the green-building industry. The org also works to advance climate- and housing-justice policies, particularly in the West Side neighborhood, which is home to thousands of immigrants and refugees.


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