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This Week in CleanTech

This week In #CleanTech September 17, 2017

Here is your weekly roundup of the unique, hottest stories related to cleantech, and climate policy for the week of September 17, 2017.

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Image Credit via Pixabay by Alexas_Fotos Under Public Domain via Creative Commons

Mars Inc. who owns M&M’s is getting creative within supporting the battle against climate change. M&M’s this week released a commercial “Fans of wind” to educate the customer on the potential for renewable energy. The ad features wind blowing into the faces for young consumers and M&M customers, to prove wind energy is a powerful tool.

M&M is using a very creative commercial which engages customers on the importance of developing sustainable corporations. They are the first major food company to get all of its electricity for its US operations from renewable electricity, according to Fast Company.

Mars Inc. is going big on fighting climate change by putting down $1 billion US in sourcing sustainable food, and renewable energy. They have wind farms in Scotland, Texas, which can provide enough electricity to produce all of the world’s M&M’s. Mars Inc. is also looking to add nine wind and solar power plants by 2018. Mars expects to shed its carbon emissions by 27% by 2025, and 67% by 2050.

Climate change is going to affect food supply, and chocolate is one of those favorite foods at risk.

And finally, check out my first articles for PVBuzz.com, where I talk about the most recent US solar market report from the Solar Energy Industries Association. It makes me wonder if the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) would be willing to do a quarterly analysis of the solar markets within Canada. It would be a good thing to provide updated solar market information for consumers as it provides hints to investors on where the markets are going.

Have a question on cleantech or climate policy? Drop a line at salayconsulting@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter at @salayservices.

This week In #CleanTech September 10, 2017

Here is your weekly roundup of the unique, hottest stories related to cleantech, and climate policy for the week of September 10, 2017.

China and the United Kingdom (U.K.) announced this week they are collaborating on five next generation off shore renewable energy technologies (ORE).

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Offshore Wind Turbine via Pixabay by andreas160578. Under Public Domain via Creative Commons.

According to CNBC.com, both countries will work on five projects over three years which will focus on the challenges of developing ORE systems related to wind, tide, wave, and offshore energy.

Funded jointly by the U.K.-China Offshore Renewable Energy Program,  the partnership will also look at the social and economic benefits of ORE projects, including the possibilities for coastal communities of providing steady, clean power, CNBC notes.

“This £4 million investment will support collaborative research into the next generation of offshore technologies with one of our largest global trading partners, unlocking further opportunities for projects across the U.K. and the rest of the world,” said Richard Harrington, the United Kingdom’s Minister of Energy.

By announcing a collaboration with the U.K., shows China’s furthering strength of not only as a clean tech leader but also firming itself as a world political powerhouse. China leads in wind and solar installations and has committed to at least $360 billion in cleantech investments by 2020.

China also gains further a partner in developing its offshore renewable energy potential by teaming up with a country with offshore experience of the United Kingdom. The U.K. ranks as a leader in offshore wind power as they are an island country utilizes its offshore wind power. The U.K. accounts for just below 36% of all global offshore wind energy capacity, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). Meanwhile, the UK also gains from China’s advanced knowledge of how to scale renewable energy projects, with its solar and wind power industries.

And in a week of collaboration announcements continues. Germany will be helping India with the integration of renewable power on the grid.

According to CleanTechnica.com, the European and Asian giants will work together under the Indo-German Energy Programme — Green Energy Corrido. GIZ, a German development organization, will help provide technical advice to regulators and agencies in India on fusing renewable energy into its current grid infrastructure.

It’s hoped the project will have by 2022 175GW of renewable energy capacity tied to the grid. Grid integration of renewable electricity has already become a challenge within the country. CleanTechnica.com notes developers of direct solar and wind power decrease generation when there is not sufficient transmission capacity on the grid. Direct revenue losses to project developers occur when this happens. India is going big on renewables including on solar, as they look to curb carbon emissions. CleanTechnica.com said India plans to install 100GW by 2022.

Have a question on cleantech or climate policy? Drop a line at salayconsulting@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter at @salayservices.

This week In #CleanTech August 27, 2017

Here is your weekly roundup of the unique, hottest stories related to cleantech, and climate policy for the week of August 27, 2017.

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Image Credit via Pixabay by AmberAvalona. Under Public Domain via the Creative Commons

The US Southwest is becoming a major player within the US renewable energy sector. Ecowatch.com earlier this week had written a good summary on the rise of clean power within the region. The article points to four southwest state ranking in the top ten in total solar capacity: Arizona (No.3), Nevada (#4), Utah (#6), and Texas (#9). Many southwest states also are becoming major players within the wind energy markets. Texas ranks number one in total capacity nationally with 21.044 GW, Kansas 5th  with 5.1 GW, and Colorado 10th with 3.026GW, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Ecowatch.com attributes a combination of declining prices for renewables, the investment tax credit (ITC) for solar energy, which is attracting utilities to increase clean power capacity. If that was not enough many southwestern cities have pledged to commit to the Paris climate agreement including Houston, Denver, Phoenix, Reno, and Tucson.

Considering this region has an abundant in solar energy potential, the region can seriously become a big-time player within the US renewable energy game. Policy makers, business, and regional non-governmental organizations will need to all work together in ensuring they are on the train.

Mexico announced this week they are planning to go in on upgrade their grid infrastructure. According to BNAmericas.com the Latin American giant said they plan to put $646 USD million into smart grids over the next eight years. Mexican utility CFE said this year alone they plan to invest approximately $794 USD million in updating transmission and distribution networks. This would allow private and pubic utilities to improve electricity service to consumers.

Mexican Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquín Coldwell said in a presentation to an audience Mexico can take advantage of current day technology and communications, while utilizing the skills and knowledge of its people to provide a modern-day  safe, efficient and effective grid.

As more renewables are coming onto the grid, smart grid implementation is increasing. Estimates have smart grid markets reaching a total of $120 USD billion by 2020, according to Zion Research.

And finally, The Manitoba Environmental Industries Association is hosting the first annual Western CleanTech Innovation Forum at the Winnipeg Convention Centre November 29th and 30th. The conference will feature 34 technical presentations, and key note presentations from Thomas Homer-Dixon, author of Carbon Shift:  How the Twin Crises of Oil Depletion and Climate Change will Define the Future, and Terry O’Reilly of This I Know. For registration, you can go to the (MEIA) website for more information.

Have a question on cleantech or climate policy? Drop a line at salayconsulting@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter at @salayservices.

This week In #CleanTech August 20, 2017

Here is your weekly roundup of the unique, hottest stories related to cleantech, and climate policy for the week of August 20, 2017.

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Australia Flag via Pixabay By becca282bl. Under Public Domain via Creative Commons

Australia is getting a big boost in its wind energy capacity. According to Fortune, General Electric (GE) announced they would add a total of 123 turbines at a wind farm, 250 km north-west of Brisbane Australia. Currently, the plant has a capacity of 453MW. It will be the largest addition to Australia’s wind capacity, increasing it by 10%.

Fortune notes the project would potentially provide clean power for 260,000 homes, and slash carbon emissions by 1.18 million tonnes yearly.

It’s good news for Australia, who is gaining traction in renewable energy capacity. Australia has over 5.5GW in total solar capacity, according to the Australia Energy Council, while there has been 4.3GW of wind energy installed, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). Australia is far behind other countries, including China, US, and Germany on wind power.

Austin, Texas raised the bar this week when it comes to being powered by clean power. City council approved a plan where city utility Austin Energy must have 65% of its power come from renewables by 2027, according to The Austin Monitor. Currently, Austin Energy was on track to reach its previous goal of 55% renewables by 2025. Approximately 32% of Austin’s energy is coming from clean energy sources.

There was a debate on what the updated goal should be, as some within the community wanted to have the city reach a 75% target by 2027.

However, after concerns were brought up a more ambitious goal in the short run would execute the risk of the city losing its utility in the future as many Republican state senators would like Austin energy privatized.

Austin, Texas, is one of the more liberal cities in Texas and is well-known for its South By South West festival, which discusses the hottest issues in technology, music, and culture.

Austin’s plan to increase its renewable energy sources is a very good move and showcases its tradition of being a progressive city, yet faces the challenges of being hamstrung by a state government who does not necessarily share its values.

And finally, check out my review of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, where I go over the Al Gore’s sequel to the 2006 ground breaking documentary on climate change. I also review why the sequel has not reached the box office heights of its predecessor, thanks to a changing platform landscape.

Have a question on cleantech or climate policy? Drop a line at salayconsulting@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter at @salayservices.

This week In #CleanTech August 13, 2017

Here is your weekly roundup of the unique, hottest stories related to cleantech, and climate policy for the week of August 13, 2017.

The home Disney World this week became the 40th US city in going towards 100% renewable energy. According to EcoWatch.com, Orlando, Florida city commission approved unanimously in supporting a move to all renewables by 2050. It’s now officially the largest city in Florida to pass such a resolution.

The First 50 Coalition, a broad-based group of progressive organizations led by the League of Women’s Voters in Orange County worked hard in making central Florida more sustainable were celebrating the vote.

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Image Credit: Disney World by BBarth via Pixabay. Under Public Domain via Creative Commons

“This is a first, important step, and we plan to continue to support and encourage the City to follow with concrete measures that solidify this commitment,” said League of Women’s Voters co-president Carol Davis to EcoWatch.com.

US cities are ramping up their obligations in going towards 100% renewables by 2050. Already 118 mayors are committed to this goal as cities are looking to meet the Paris Agreement, despite US President Donald Trump announcing earlier this summer the US will leave the accord.

US wind energy capacity increased by 8.2 GW in 2016, according to a new report from the US Department of Energy. Overall capacity advanced by 11% to 81.31GW from 2015 as companies invested $13 USD billion was invested into US wind energy. The wind producer tax credit along with other key policies were key drivers in moving US wind energy markets forward, the US DOE noted. Texas installed the most wind power in 2016 with 2.611 GW and leads the nation in cumulative capacity with over 20GW.

“The wind industry continues to install significant amounts of new capacity, and supplied about 6 percent of total U.S. electricity in 2016,” said US DOE acting assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy Daniel Simmons on Climate Progress regarding the growth of US wind electricity as its slowly becoming more plentiful on the grid.

Despite the gains, US wind energy is far behind China which leads with 168.69GW. China is going big on renewables including promising to invest $361 USD billion by 2020 into renewables as they look to fulfill their duties with the Paris agreement.

Don’t worry. The US is still way ahead of Canada. Currently, Canadian wind energy has a total capacity of 11.9GW. Ontario leads the way in Canadian wind capacity with 4.78GW, followed by Quebec with 3.5 GW.

With more US cities going committing to 100% Renewable energy by 2050, how should Canadian cities reach this goal, specifically Winnipeg? Drop a line at salayconsulting@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter at @salayservices.

This week In #CleanTech August 6, 2017

Here is your weekly roundup of the unique, hottest stories related to cleantech, and climate policy for the week of August 6, 2017.

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Image Credit via Pixabay by Clker-Free-Vector-Images. Under Public Domain via Creative Commons.

California is one step of reaching its state being powered on 100% by renewable energy by 2045. According to Salon.com, the California passed a bill this week which was introduced by Democrat Kevin de Leon, would allow the state to receive all of its power within twenty-eight years from various sources of renewable energy, including the wind, solar, and biofuels. Currently, the Golden State has plans on having half of its power from renewables by 2030. The bill is expected to reach Governor Jerry Brown’s desk soon and be in law. California is at the forefront of the US’s renewable energy backbone, including leading in total solar capacity in 2016. Jerry Brown has battled US president Donald Trump for backing away from the Paris climate agreement. A move to going 100% by 2045 would only cement California’s leadership role in the battle on climate change while sending a message towards Trump on this issue being of key importance moving forward.

Meanwhile, in Manitoba Canada, a new coalition was formed this week into pressuring Premier Brian Pallister’s Progressive Conservative government to support a carbon pricing plan. According to CBC.ca, The Manitoba Carbon Pricing Coalition announced during a press conference at the Manitoba Legislature this past Thursday, that having a price on carbon is essential to reduce carbon emissions, as Manitoba needs to do its part in battling climate change. Currently, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are the only two provinces not opting in yet on the federal government’s emission pricing proposal. Under this idea, each province must have either a cap-and trade (Ontario), carbon tax (Alberta) or both. Federal Environmental Minister Catherine McKenna said in June both Manitoba and Saskatchewan would lose out on financing to reduce carbon emissions, if neither has a plan in place. Manitoba’s government has stated that they are working on a “made in province” solution towards a plan, yet have been slow in providing details. Currently, the Pallister government has asked University of Manitoba law expert, Bryan Schwartz, to see if it’s constitutional for the federal government to have the authority to put carbon pricing requests on Manitoba.

Is there enough will power to support a carbon price in Manitoba? Or does the idea of carbon pricing need further education? Or perhaps now this is the best time to talk about a complete revamp of the current income tax system in Manitoba/Canada to make it more inclusive for carbon pricing without hurting the most vulnerable? What do you think? Drop a line at salayconsulting@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter at @salayservices.

This week In  #CleanTech July 30, 2017

Here is your weekly roundup of the unique, hottest stories related to cleantech, and climate policy for the week of July 30, 2017.

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In one blockbuster announcement, JP Morgan Chase announced this week it plans to use only renewable energy by 2020. According to CNBC.Com, the global financial giant said it plans to cut its energy consumption while buying purchase power agreements (PPA’s) and creating on-site renewable energy power plants. JP Morgan Chase will install on-site solar at 40 commercial and 1,400 retail buildings, and work with GE to add LED lights at 4,500 Chase locations.

Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan Chase CEO said business must be leaders in developing answers to grow the economy and protect the environment.

If that were not enough, JP Morgan Chase by 2025 would provide $200 billing of cleantech financing.

This announcement is big news and continues a steady trend of global financial institutions going all in on renewable energy as prices continue to plummet. Bank of America announced last year  $125 billion in clean energy financing. However, climate activists have been severely harsh on big global banks, on investing in fossil fuel projects, including the controversial Dakota Access pipeline.

Despite these challenges, significant financial institutions are seeing the possibilities of a clean energy economy, as the world gradually shifts towards low-carbon solutions.

And finally, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power is now in limited release. This time the documentary focuses on Gore’s continued battle on climate change, including behind the scenes work in getting the Paris Accord finalized, to the challenges faced by a new Donald Trump administration.

The documentary has received positive reviews by critics.

An Inconvenient Truth was one of the highest grossing documentaries of all time and received an Academy Award for best documentary in 2006. The film is in full release August 4th. A full review will be on our website August 8th.

I am off at the Canada Summer Games. If you live in Winnipeg, get out and support our future Canadian Olympians as they strive for excellence.

What do you think of JP Morgan Chase’s new renewable energy plans, including to go all in on renewables by 2020? Drop a line at salayconsulting@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter at @salayservices.

This week In #CleanTech July 23, 2017

Here is your weekly roundup of the unique, hottest stories related to cleantech, and climate policy for the week of July 23, 2017.

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Image Credit via Pixabay by lukabieri. Under Public Domain via Credit Commons

General Electric’s (GE) renewable energy section saw a strong profit jump in the first half of 2017. According to reNEWS, GE’s cleantech division showed a gain of $267US billion, up from $211US billion (27%) for the first six months of 2016. A big wind turbine order for Invenergy’s Texas wind farm and collaboration with Fortum’s digital hydro plant in Sweden provided underlying support for GE, reNEWS noted. Overall, GE renewable energy business earned $4.5US billion, another big jump compared to the first half of 2016 ($3.8US billion). GE’s investments in renewable energy were perhaps one of the few highlights for the multinational company, whose revenue was 2% for the first half of 2017, compared to the first six months of 2016. GE Jeffrey Immelt in recent years have been adamant on the need for going big on renewable energy investment, as he sees it as a key growth sector. He even urged US president Donald Trump to stay in the Paris climate accord. Too bad, Trump did not see it that way. Moving forward in the second half of 2017, it will be interesting how not only GE’s overall financial performance is but their cleantech section. If GE’s renewable energy continues to grow, while the rest of the company’s margins drop, expect more investors eyes to glaze over GE’s renewable energy portfolio.

In India, Tata Power will infuse $90US million in Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited. CleanTechnica.com said the Indian company would use the financing to support large-scale solar projects totaling 320MW. Currently, Tata Power has 2GW worth in wind and solar energy projects. Although India is one of the highest carbon emitting countries on Earth, they are also becoming an emerging leader in the global renewable energy markets. Earlier this spring, India had passed 12GW of solar installed, more than four times of total capacity in 2014 (2.650GW). Concerns over extreme weather events from a changing climate, reducing energy poverty, while utilizing clean power, are some reasons why India is building on its renewable energy investments in recent years.

Just when you thought 2017 would not be one of the hottest years on record, you could be wrong. According to Scientific American, global temperatures have been 1.64F above the global temperature average (56.3F) this year. If everything continues at this pace, 2017, will be the second hottest year, just behind last year, 2016.

What scientists are stumped is how high the temperature increase is. Scientific American notes in periods after El-Nino, global heat patterns would drop or stay flat. However, temperatures have continued to go up, even without El-Nino. Gavin Schmidt predicts a 57% chance 2017 will be the second warmest year in the planet’s history, only behind 2016.

With increasing temperatures also increases the risks of extreme weather, according to analysts. This year is holding those patterns valid all over the globe. Ontario February thunderstorms, record rainfall in eastern Canada, causing flooding, to British Columbia wildfires are just some of the extreme weather events which have played across Canada this year. Meanwhile, Futurism said 2017 in the US has been one of the wettest and hottest recorded.

Perhaps Climate Progress said it best when “This matters because when a month — or six-month period — see record high global temperatures in the absence of an El Niño, that is a sign the underlying global warming trend is stronger than ever.”

Do you think GE’s Renewable Energy division will continue being a bright spot heading into the last six months? Do you think 2017 will be the second hottest year on the planet?

Drop a line with your thoughts at salayconsulting@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter at @salayservices.

This week In #CleanTech July 16, 2017

Here is your weekly roundup of the unique, hottest stories related to cleantech, and climate policy for the week of July 16, 2017.

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Image Credit via Pixabay via Real-Napster. Under Public Domain.

Apple announced this week they are building a second data centre in Denmark, which will run on 100% renewable energy. According to Fortune, the southern Denmark city of Aabenraa will house the centre. The centre, will house power for the App Store, iTunes, iMessage, Siri, and Maps for Europe. Apple Nordic Manager Erik Stannow said to Fortune they are excited to increase their data facilities while supporting clean power in Denmark. Apple has ramped up renewable energy projects recently. This includes building a data centre in China, which will also run on renewable energy. Apple has been supportive of the move to clean power, going against US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw out of the Paris climate accord. This makes sense considering the information technology, and cleantech sectors are closely connected with each other, as our energy system is becoming more digitized,  like the Internet.

California is one step closer to running on 100% renewable power. According to Climate Progress, a bill sponsored by Senate President Kevin de León (D), passed through a legislative committee this week. The proposed bill, if it becomes law, would require the state’s electricity to come from 100% renewable sources (wind, solar, hydroelectricity) by 2045, while bumping up the 50% requirement from 2030 to 2026. Hawaii is also targeting 100% renewables, while other states, including Massachusetts, are contemplating similar policies as states attempt to modernize their energy systems.

And lastly, a new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) suggests climate change will have severe repercussions on Asia. If emissions are not cut, the ADB warns, temperatures could rise 6C by the end of the century, setting the stage for many shocks. This includes a 3C increase seeing grain production decrease by 10%; More health risks from waterborne diseases; further migrations into already sprawling populations, which would add further strain on dwindling resources.

What do you think of Apple’s push to on going towards 100% renewable energy for its data centers? Or is 100% renewable electricity possible for California in our lifetime? Drop a line at salayconsulting@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter at @salayservices.

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