Weekend Reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

December 24, 2021

Weekend Reads: The Climate Implications of a Build Back Better Collapse; The Future of EV Charging

It's the long holiday weekend! Kick back and catch up with these must-read articles from around the web. And Happy Holiday to all!

The Past, Present And Future Of Electric Vehicle Charging (Forbes) Throughout the history of motorized transport, vehicles and their fuels largely lived parallel lives. With the Ford Motor Company at the helm, the automobile industry embraced the internal combustion engine and ensured many profitable decades for the oil industry, an endless stream of recurring revenue at the fuel pumps of the industrial age. After nearly 100 years of petrochemical fuels, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s dream of electrified transportation is now becoming reality. Not only are electric vehicles (EVs) commonplace on today’s roads, but we are also witnessing unprecedented growth and innovation around using electricity as a transportation fuel.

What the Stalled Build Back Better Bill Means for Climate, in One Chart (The New York Times) The fate of the imperiled Build Back Better bill in Congress will have major consequences for America’s ability to tackle climate change, researchers have estimated. If the bill passes in something like its current form, with hundreds of billions of dollars for clean energy, the United States could get within striking distance of President Biden’s goal to cut the country’s planet-warming emissions in half by 2030. That could bolster global efforts to stave off a drastic rise in temperatures. But if the bill dies, it could prove extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the United States to meet those aggressive climate targets. This week, Senator Joe Manchin III, a key Democratic swing vote, said he opposed the current version of the bill, putting legislative talks on the brink of collapse.

The US could reliably run on clean energy by 2050 (Popular Science) The Biden administration has pledged to create a carbon-free energy sector by 2035, but because renewable resources generate only around 19 percent of US electricity as of 2020, climate experts warn that our transition to a green grid future needs to speed up. A group of researchers at Stanford led by Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering, has set out to prove that a 100 percent renewable energy grid by 2050 is not only feasible but can be done without any blackouts and at a lower cost than the existing grid. “One of the biggest concerns with renewables is that they’re intermittent, that wind doesn’t always blow or the sun doesn’t always shine” says Jacobson, who notes that people have claimed this unreliability caused blackouts in California, which relies heavily on renewables–and in Texas, which doesn’t. “So we wanted to test this contention.”

Webinar: State of Energy Management (Atrius) Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. For the past 3 years, the State of Energy Management report has focused on noting the trends and perspectives within our industry. Built from the perspectives of over 600 leaders in energy, facility, and sustainability roles, this year’s report found increased focus on creating safer spaces, raising awareness of corporate level sustainability initiatives, and leveraging the right tools to streamline data management. In this webinar, we’ll be reviewing key findings from the report with an expert panel discussing top priorities for energy and sustainability programs, increased focus on corporate driven awareness of sustainability programs and why time and money are still big barriers to implementing an EMIS. REGISTER HERE

Why Green Stocks Are Slumping During an ESG Boom (Bloomberg) Despite a drop in clean-energy stocks and intensifying concerns about widespread greenwashing, the market for investment products sold as being ESG-related had another record year by most yardsticks. Issuance of sustainable loans and bonds, where proceeds are supposedly earmarked for environmental projects or to further a company’s social goals, exceeded $1.5 trillion, including about $505 billion of green bond sales; ESG-focused exchange-traded funds attracted almost $130 billion in 2021, up from $75 billion a year ago; and investment in early-stage climate tech companies approached $50 billion. It also was a year of big fees for U.S. managers of sustainable funds, with revenue climbing to almost $1.8 billion from $1.1 billion in 2020, according to data compiled by researchers at Morningstar Inc.

Concrete Doesn’t Have to Be an Ecological Nightmare (Curbed) Imagine your refrigerator is made of concrete, a two-ton slab buckling the kitchen floor — that’s your individual share of the world’s concrete production this year alone. Next year, you’ll be statistically responsible for another, slightly larger refrigerator-size block and another the year after that. Humanity has an insatiable thirst for that gray ooze of ground-up rock and water. But the same substance that grows the world’s cities is also heating the air and doing its part to bring on climate catastrophe. We are building our way to oblivion.

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