Weekend reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions, Sourcing Renewables  -  June 16, 2018

Weekend reads: Billionaires go RE; Microsoft manages efficiency w/AI & more

Kick back with these must-read energy stories from around the web:

Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and other influential billionaires are investing in 2 startups that could solve the biggest problem with renewable energy (Business Insider)  Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and a host of their uber-rich compatriots are investing in two energy startups that could solve one of the biggest problems with renewable energy. They are investing through a $1 billion fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, known as BEV, which announced last year that energy storage would be one of its main focuses. Launched in 2016, the fund is also supported by LinkedIn's founder, Reid Hoffman; Alibaba's CEO, Jack Ma; and David Rubenstein, the executive chairman of the private-equity giant Carlyle Group.

Microsoft is using AI to cut the cloud’s electric bill (Fast Company)  Microsoft’s cloud services are 93% more energy efficient and up to 98% more carbon efficient than traditional enterprise data centers, the company said in a study it issued last month in partnership with the engineering firm WSP. That efficiency is in part thanks to hardware carefully managed by artificial intelligence. AI guides the computers that drive the company’s own data centers, helping decide which virtual server to use at any given point in order to complete a task, the company says. 

This concrete can trap CO2 emissions forever (CNN Tech)  Concrete is the most abundant man-made material on earth. There's a good chance you're standing on it right now, and it's holding up the buildings around you. But concrete has an emissions problem. Its essential ingredient, cement, has a huge carbon footprint. Cement is the glue that makes concrete strong, but the process of making cement requires superheating calcium carbonate, or limestone, and releases massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. 

William Shatner's new enterprise: A solar-powered bitcoin mining farm in Illinois (SaukValley.com)  Captain Kirk might be able to discuss the properties of dilithium crystals and give directions to Rigel XII, but don’t ask him to explain bitcoin. “The concept is so, I guess the word is bizarre,” Kirk’s alter ego, William Shatner, said by phone Wednesday. “You have to blank your mind and say, ‘What is blockchain, again? How does mining operate, again?’ The concepts are really strange, and yet when you begin to grasp it, it makes sense.” 

Brooklyn Chef Arrested for Attempted Tree Murder (Grub Street)  Sometimes you have to do a little evil for the greater good. Just look at Brooklyn chef Adam Harvey, who was reportedly arrested for poisoning his Windsor Terrace neighbor’s 60-year-old tree, which prevented sunlight from reaching his solar panels. It is, in other words, a true-crime story for the modern age. Harvey is the co-owner and chef of Gowanus’s Bar Salumi, formerly known as A&E Supply Co. The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office says that he was arrested in May, after he was spotted by neighbors on April 30 executing his nefarious arborcide. 

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