Weekend reads: Time's - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Storage, GHG Emissions, Commercial, Solar  -  December 14, 2019

Weekend reads: TIME Person of the Year; Who has the greenest cloud?

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

Greta Thunberg: 2019 Person of the Year (TIME) Greta Thunberg sits in silence in the cabin of the boat that will take her across the Atlantic Ocean. Inside, there’s a cow skull hanging on the wall, a faded globe, a child’s yellow raincoat. Outside, it’s a tempest: rain pelts the boat, ice coats the decks, and the sea batters the vessel that will take this slight girl, her father and a few companions from Virginia to Portugal. For a moment, it’s as if Thunberg were the eye of a hurricane, a pool of resolve at the center of swirling chaos. In here, she speaks quietly. Out there, the entire natural world seems to amplify her small voice, screaming along with her.

Amazon, Google, Microsoft: Here's Who Has the Greenest Cloud (WIRED) “Data is the new oil” may have outlasted its usefulness as a metaphor, but one aspect still rings true: Both industries have a serious environmental footprint. According to the Department of Energy, data centers account for about 2 percent of all electricity use in the US. That means the cloud—which powers every Netflix binge, PUBG match, and email—has a lining made not of silver, but of carbon. For individuals, the bits in question don’t amount to much. The digital footprints of businesses, however, can be large enough to ding the environment. For them, finding the greenest way to store their data would help cut down on their emissions. But how does a high-minded plutocrat go about that? The answers are not always obvious. The top three cloud providers—Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure—account for approximately two-thirds of all rentable computing services, so WIRED has compiled a guide to help you understand how they decarbonize your data.

California now has 1 million solar roofs. Are 1 million batteries next? (LA Times) For Clovis Unified School District outside Fresno, the economics of solar power have been too good to pass up. And for the solar industry, the district’s investments in sun-generated electricity have helped fuel a milestone 14 years in the making. Clovis Unified has installed solar systems covering parking lots and play areas at 47 of the 52 school sites it operates — and more installations are planned. Five high schools also have lithium-ion batteries, which store energy for use after the sun goes down.

World’s first fully electric commercial aircraft takes flight in Canada (The Guardian) The world’s first fully electric commercial aircraft has taken its inaugural test flight, taking off from the Canadian city of Vancouver and flying for 15 minutes. “This proves that commercial aviation in all-electric form can work,” said Roei Ganzarski, chief executive of Australian engineering firm magniX. The company designed the plane’s motor and worked in partnership with Harbour Air, which ferries half a million passengers a year between Vancouver, Whistler ski resort and nearby islands and coastal communities.

Africa's 'first fully solar-powered village' wants to be a model for a renewable future (CNN) Near Morocco's sunny Atlantic coast, the tiny community of Id Mjahdi is being touted as Africa's first completely solar-powered village. Solar power has the potential to become one of Africa's top energy sources, according to the International Energy Agency, but more infrastructure needs to be installed -- of all solar power in use globally, less than 1% currently comes from the continent. Morocco is leading efforts to fulfill that potential. It already meets 35 percent of its electricity needs from renewables and aims to increase its use of renewable energy to 52 percent by 2030, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). "Morocco is unquestionably a leader in sustainable energy," says Francesco La Camera, director-general of IRENA.


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