Weekend reads - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions, Finance, Solar  -  September 12, 2020

Weekend reads: The carbon footprint of Hollywood; Embracing solar in Japan

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

Inside The Big Threat To Sustainable Investing (Forbes) Due in part to the growth in corporate engagement and shareholder action, the U.S. Department of Labor last week released a proposed rule that would address the application of the prudence and exclusive purpose duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to exercising shareholder rights. ERISA establishes minimum standards that govern the operation of private-sector employee benefit plans: it requires fiduciaries to run plans solely in the interest of participants and beneficiaries; for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits and paying plan expenses; and with care and prudence. The Department of Labor’s proposed rule is designed to ensure that plan fiduciaries execute their ERISA duties cost-effectively by limiting exercises of shareholder rights to matters that have an economic impact on the plan. Exercising shareholder rights includes proxy voting, the use of written proxy voting policies and guidelines, and the selection and monitoring of proxy advisory firms.

After 2011 Disaster, Fukushima Embraced Solar Power. The Rest Of Japan Has Not (NPR) Atop a small hill on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu sits a small solar farm with big, broad panels lined up in rows, tilting to catch the sun. Lush vegetation creeps over the edges of the surrounding fence. In the center of the panels, there's a tall marble gravestone, with an inscription in Japanese. "Remember that this family evacuated Futaba town, Fukushima prefecture," it reads, "and moved here due to the nuclear accident following the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011." The grave belongs to Hiroyuki Endo, a supervisor and maintenance worker at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. He fled Fukushima with his family after the disaster and settled nearly 1,000 miles away, as far south as they could drive. He and his family decided to build this solar farm for a living. When Hiroyuki suddenly died four years ago of a brain aneurysm, his wife, Chiyomi Endo, took over.

FERC summit highlights reliability concerns for renewables + storage, but has California found a solution? (Utility Dive) New data shows hybrid renewables+storage projects grew even faster in 2019 than previously reported. The last major obstacle to ever greater deployment may be easing system operators' reliability concerns. Federal regulators took a big step toward an overdue rulemaking to address those concerns at a July 23 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission conference. Participation by Commissioner Richard Glick suggested action will follow, advocates told Utility Dive. They and system operators are working toward market rules that will enable hybrids' unique value.

U.S. spends the most stimulus but smallest share on green energy (Axios) The U.S. has spent the biggest share of its GDP on discretionary stimulus spending compared to other major economies, but it’s spent the smallest share on clean energy, per a new analysis from consultancy Rhodium Group. Why it matters: To what degree the world invests in clean-energy technologies as it recovers from the pandemic-induced recession could go a long way toward reaching climate goals.

Carbon Impact of Average Tentpole Equivalent to 11 Trips to Moon, BFI- and BAFTA-Backed Sustainability Report Says (The Hollywood Reporter) The average tentpole film creates 2,840 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent carbon impact of 11 one-way trips from the Earth to the moon, according to a new sustainability report. Titled "A Screen New Deal — A Route Map to Sustainable Film Production," the report was commissioned by the British Film Institute in partnership with Albert, the BAFTA-led consortium that has been calculating the carbon footprint of British TV programs and the most recent BAFTA Awards, as a way to encourage energy efficiency. The key aim of the report, which was researched and analyzed by engineering company Arup, was to examine the “systemic changes” needed in the film industry to reduce carbon emissions, alongside providing proposals for studios, recommendations and case studies of best practices and new innovation models from around the world.

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