Weekend readsers) Feb 13 - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions, Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  March 27, 2021

Weekend reads: Biden looks to clean energy in recovery plan; Powering Scottish EVs with ocean waves

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

Biden’s Recovery Plan Bets Big on Clean Energy (The New York Times) President Biden’s next big thing would fuse the rebuilding of America’s creaky infrastructure with record spending to fight climate change, a combination that, in scale and scope, represents a huge political shift, even for Democrats who have been in the climate trenches for decades. A guiding philosophy of the Biden proposal argues that the future of good jobs is the transition to an economy that no longer churns out carbon dioxide through the burning of coal, oil and gas. Aides are set to brief Mr. Biden this week on plans to invest between $3 trillion and $4 trillion in spending and tax credits on a wide range of efforts meant to bolster the economy. The money is currently planned to be split between two packages, starting with an infrastructure bill that is rooted in the effort to halt the emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide. Administration officials stress that the details remain in flux.

Why won’t companies release good corporate sustainability data? (Fast Company) Most of us now recognize that the ascendance of data in our lives is not always a good thing. We are tracked across the internet and fed a steady stream of information that matches our personal interests and views—or at least what some artificial intelligence algorithm has been programmed to perceive as our views. Yet, when it comes to arguably the most important issues facing our world, we have very poor data. Sustainability, while an overused term, refers to the issues we must manage so that our children and grandchildren will inherit a better planet and standard of living. And unless you have been living in a cave, you know that this promised future is threatened. So where is all the great sustainability data?

The sun will power large parts of Africa’s Covid-19 vaccination program (Quartz) There’s hope that some industrialized countries will achieve near-universal vaccination against Covid-19 in the coming months. Yet the effort to vaccinate even the most essential workers in developing countries has only just begun. By current estimates, achieving herd immunity (to current strains) will require at least 75% of the world’s population to be vaccinated. Some developing countries haven’t reached that level of coverage even for common vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and polio. Many low-income countries will soon get vaccine access through the COVAX initiative. The first doses distributed in sub-Saharan Africa under COVAX were injected at the end of February. Around 30 million more doses are expected to arrive in March 2021.

What’s Up With China EVs? Here’s a Clue (Bloomberg) Dense as it may be, the Chinese government’s annual work report – a summary of the country’s recent economic and social developments, as well as a list of future ambitions — is worthwhile reading material. It gives some key insights into Beijing’s thinking and by extension, a hint about what investors should keep an eye on in the world’s second-largest economy. The phrase “new energy vehicle” has been mentioned religiously in the report since 2014, in conjunction with the government's mandate to promote electric car sales. This has played a big part in positioning China as the world’s biggest market for EVs, attracting serious money from, among others, Tesla, which set up a factory in Shanghai.

Ocean Waves Alone Power the EV Charger on This Remote Scottish Island (The Drive) Aremote Scottish island has had its first EV charger installed that runs solely off tidal power. The project on Yell, part of the Shetland Islands, has been led by Nova Innovation, a company that's been using its tidal turbines to deliver power to the island for half a decade but had never previously directly wired an EV charging point to its supply. Although at a maximum of 22 kilowatts—the charging isn't particularly fast—it could be a great solution on, ironically, an island near North Sea oil supplies. Yell isn't a big place. It's the second-largest of the Shetlands but covers a pretty cozy 83 square miles of land, so journeys on the island are unlikely to start testing even the most limited EV's range. As with anywhere, the Shetlands have had a tension between residents being very willing to switch to electric cars and both the price and charging infrastructure proving prohibitive. 

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