Weekend Reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

September 25, 2021

Weekend Reads: Unlocking the Rooftop Solar Market; A Look at Amazon's Climate Pledge

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

NYSE’s new investment vehicle—‘natural asset companies’—will tap into ESG fever (Fortune) America’s most iconic stock exchange wants to bridge the gap between nature and the concrete jungle that is Wall Street. With investors now closely scrutinizing the environmental, social, and governance or ESG credentials of companies, the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday unveiled a partnership two years in the making with Intrinsic Exchange Group to open up investment opportunities in what IEG calls “nature’s economy.” “There haven’t historically been mechanisms to encourage the capital formation necessary to preserve and restore the natural assets that ultimately underpin the ability for there to be life on Earth,” NYSE COO Michael Blaugrund told Fortune. So, the Big Board is helping create one.

Careful Policy Design Could Unlock Massive Rooftop Solar Market Around The World (BloombergNEF) Customer-sited solar is a major untapped opportunity, which could see 167 million households and 23 million businesses worldwide hosting their own clean power generation by 2050, according to a joint report by research firm BloombergNEF (BNEF) and Schneider Electric. These deployments will unlock major decarbonization benefits, but policy and tariff design will be critical to enable them. The report ‘Realizing the Potential of Customer-Sited Solar’ finds that rapidly falling costs of solar technology have already made it economical for homes and businesses to generate their own power in some markets. In Australia, for example, the payback period for households investing in solar has been favorable, at less than 10 years, since 2013. As a result, adoption has already taken off, with more than 2.5 gigawatts of residential solar added in 2020 alone.

In the face of partisan politics, Biden's climate goals need corporate leadership to become a reality (The Hill) When the Trump administration stepped away from climate action, it was the country’s cities, states, businesses and investors who maintained and ramped up efforts to put the United States on the path to a zero-emissions transformation. Now the White House is back in the fight and galvanizing other countries to follow suit. President Joe Biden has promised to begin slashing U.S. emissions this decade, in a way that rebuilds the economy, spurs job growth and regenerates nature. But with the prospects of comprehensive federal policy in question, we need private-sector leadership to turn this political ambition into reality.

Advancing the energy transition requires an honest discussion of costs, outages and land, analysts say (Utility Dive) Recent extreme weather-driven outages around the country, and threats of more, make clear the urgent need to transition to a variable and distributed resources power system that eliminates the emissions aggravating the climate crisis, scientists agree. As California's urgent call this summer for customers' help to reduce power demand peaks showed, it is also time to acknowledge this transition's potential temporary threats to reliability and costs, power providers and system analysts are realizing. "Many don't understand the real intricacies of grid reliability and expansion," said Mark Ahlstrom, VP for renewable energy policy with NextEra Energy Resources and NextEra Analytics, who spoke to Utility Dive as president of engineering think tank Energy Systems Integration Group (ESIG).

Amazon Climate Pledge: Two Years In And Going Strong (Forbes) You can't turn on the news these days without seeing the devastating and likely consequences of climate change, from more prolonged and more intense fire seasons in the west to freak blizzards in Texas to stronger and more frequent storm systems inundating the Gulf Coast and eastern seaboard. At this point, the well-established scientific consensus is these worsening conditions are directly related to and exacerbated by man-made climate change. While unregulated industry is looked at as the main culprit, that same business world is in a unique position now to do something about it. Without proper governmental leadership on the issue, big business might be our best chance at curbing carbon emissions.

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