July 21, 2018

Weekend reads: Microsoft data center tests batteries; Croatia takes the (energy) lead

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

Big batteries at data centers could replace power plants (E&E News)  The cutting edge in American efforts to green the power sector can be found in a shipping container sitting in the parking lot of a sprawling Microsoft Corp. data center in southern Virginia. A team of engineers assembled here to conduct a series of tests to simulate the interaction between a data center and a grid operator. Their question: Can extensive battery systems installed at data centers like this one be used to help grid operators smooth out the small spikes and drops in electric demand that occur throughout the day? It's technical, tedious work, but the implications for the electric system are sweeping. 

The Business Case for Sustainability in Commercial Real Estate (National Real Estate Investor)  Earlier this year ING issued a survey, which found that in the Americas, sustainability strategies have shifted from being a cost-cutting or brand reputation strategy to being a true revenue driver. This holds true for commercial real estate as well. The importance of sustainability in commercial real estate as a growth engine is now recognized by market participants both on the equity and on the debt side. No longer limited to simply “doing the right thing,” market participants’ decisions to go green are based upon positive impact on revenues, reduction of operating costs and the reduction of capitalization rates, all leading to higher property values.

Croatia’s renovation projects can teach us as much as their football (Euractiv)  Croatia may not have lifted the World Cup this year – and the country may not be the first place that decision-takers would think to turn to for policy advice. But if they do, they will find a source of inspiration at least as surprising as the national team’s exploits on the football pitch. Let’s go back to basics. We know that we need to sharply accelerate our pace of building renovations to meet the climate promises made in Paris, and the question of how exactly to do this has been giving energy experts sleepless nights. Enter Croatia. 

Formula E Teaches Car Companies How To Make Electric Vehicles (Forbes)  Formula E, the all-electric grand prix, finished its fourth season on Sunday, leaving automakers to apply lessons from the race track to their road car technology. When the battery-powered Jaguar I-PACE SUV goes on sale later this year, the British marque will be the first brand with a Formula E race team to sell consumers an electric vehicle at dealerships, too. The automaker’s Panasonic Jaguar Racing team placed sixth overall at this weekend's season finale held on a closed course running through the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook. 

The Energy Consumption Quandary of Cannabis Growers (Cannabis Now)  The rapid expansion of indoor cannabis cultivation comes with a unique set of challenges, particularly in states where recreational cannabis is legal and more product is being grown. In 2012, a study in California found that legal, indoor medicinal cannabis cultivation utilized 3 percent of the entire state’s energy consumption. With recreational cannabis now legal, and the potential for California’s cannabis economy to become the world’s largest, energy consumption and its impact on the grid are becoming pressing issues for utility companies and state officials. 

Keywords: Weekend reads

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