Weekend reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

October 20, 2018

Weekend reads: Google graphs data centers; EVs conquer Antarctica

It's the weekend! Kick back and relax with these must-read stories from around the web: 

Five graphics from Google show how carbon-intensive its data centers really are (ARS Technica)  Google has long been a carbon-neutral company in a theoretical sense. That is, even when it's physically impossible for Google's data centers and offices to consume renewable energy, the company offsets that "dirty" energy with "clean" energy purchases at other times and locations. The problem is, this does not make Google carbon-neutral in a practical sense, because the company still needs polluting energy sources to keep functioning. In a new report, Google has acknowledged this limitation and offered a few interesting graphics showing how much carbon-free energy its data centers actually consume.

UK move to distributed energy could cut CO2 footprint by 11% (SP Global)  The UK's health, industry and hospitality sectors could deliver savings of 137 million mt of CO2 between 2017 and 2030 if 50% of sector companies adopted distributed energy technologies, Centrica said Monday. By far the biggest single contribution comes from the application of energy efficiency and cogeneration, the two together delivering around 90% of the CO2 cuts estimated for health and industry, and 36% for hospitality. 

The Faster, Cheaper, Better Way to Charge Electric Vehicles (Wired)  CHINESE CARMAKER NIO, the world’s newest electric vehicle unicorn, has a big idea: battery swapping. In theory, the process is quicker and more convenient than a fast charge. A driver rolls into a battery swap station, and a robot replaces the drained battery with a fully charged spare. But even though NIO’s battery swapping stations are already deployed in major cities across China, retail investors don't seem to be taking NIO’s swap network seriously.  

The Energy 202: Climate change gets rare moment in sun on political talk shows (Washington Post)  Environmentalists demanding action on climate change often complain that the news media does not pay enough attention to what they see as the biggest long-term crisis facing the world. But over the weekend, there was a sign that the issue of global warming is breaking through the maelstrom of political news — at least a little bit. At least a half-dozen members of Congress and the Trump administration, including the president himself, were questioned about climate change during major network news programs Sunday. The interviews themselves “are news because they are complete aberrations,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, an environmental scientist at Yale who studies public perceptions of climate change. 

Check out this 3D-printed, solar-powered EV set to conquer Antarctica (Top Speed)  It’s not the flashiest of rides, but the Solar Voyager electric buggy is special in its own right for a lot of different reasons. Created by Dutch couple Liesbeth and Edwin ter Velde, the Solar Voyager is a solar-powered electric buggy that the couple plans to take all the way to the South Pole as part of their Clean2Antarctica project. The Solar Voyager is unlike any car you’ve ever seen. It’s not really a car, at least not in the traditional sense. 

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