Follow by Email

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

We should replace angry climate porn with a positive message’

"Be more gentle.  Be more kind.  Smile more".  How many times have we heard this?  How often have we acted accordingly?

Our goal at RNN has been to compel people to a sustainable world by highlighting the many personal and professional benefits.  We, in fact, don't beat up or take sides.  We bring the best experts, on both sides, and work to inform.

This article reaffirms a similar, national approach.  Non-confrontational, collaborative in nature, perhaps we win the war on climate change with "sales sizzle".  And, perhaps we win the game of life the same way:

Solitaire Townsend

By Solitaire Townsend

Scare tactics simply aren’t working when it comes to altering our behaviour to tackle climate change, believes Solitaire Townsend, CEO of sustainability consultancy Futerra. Highlighting instead what we stand to gain is something that everyone can get on board with, she writes

David Leonhardt writing in the New York Times recently called for a new climate narrative. Reacting to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, he asked: “What would a more politically persuasive message about climate change sound like?” This is a good question. And the answer might come from a surprising source.

In the 1940s a famous salesman named Elmer Wheeler made what Time magazine called “a handsome living” by advising US businesses “don’t sell the sausage – sell the sizzle!” Wheeler knew that the big secret to successful selling is that you don’t advertise the sausage itself – because actual sausages are made from intestine, fat and the bits of pig that are only fit for grinding up. Instead, it’s the sizzling sounds and smells which get the juices flowing and the people buying. This is the secret to sales.

And right now, climate change is the pig gut. It doesn’t sizzle.


Which isn’t surprising when the most common message on climate change is that we’re all going to hell. That’s what climate change looks like when you get right down to it: rising seas, scorched earth, failing food supplies, billions of starving refugees tormented by wild weather. And hell, simply doesn’t sell. Although these Armageddon climate scenarios might be eye-catching, they haven’t changed attitudes or behaviors nearly enough. Threats of climate hell haven’t seemed to hold us back from running headlong towards it. So, what if we looked at climate change not as a scientist’s problem – but as a salesman’s problem?

First, we need to stop the angry climate porn. The gratuitous and guilt-wrenching images of a planet in meltdown. Even if the fear of the climate curse keeps you up at night. Even if you’re bloody furious at Trump. Even if you want to shake people by the shoulders and scream “don’t you get it, we’re going to lose everything on this gamble!” Remember Shakespeare’s quote: “the nature of bad news infects the teller”.

Instead, we need to take a deep breath and find another way. At Futerra we like to sell the sizzle. We believe in a climate narrative that changes hearts, minds and even behaviours. An approach needed now more than ever before. And it’s the opposite of climate hell. Because what people want now is to imagine better. And better is exactly what we’ll get if we start to properly tackle climate change.


Because almost everything we must do to solve climate change happens to solve something else. Cutting down on air pollution will cure so many health problems, especially asthma in our children. Moving towards renewable energy will make countries energy-independent and avoid oil-induced conflicts and wars. Solar panels cut carbon emissions and, better than any other type of modern fuel, they can bring light and hope to the poorest or most isolated people. Green energy isn’t just green; it’s now cheaper to source in many places in the world.

.
What if we looked at climate change not as a scientist’s problem – but as a salesman’s problem?

Building a new climate-friendly infrastructure is a massive task and will mean millions of new jobs and even entire new industries. In our own lives, we know that saving energy saves money. Electric cars cut oil use and cost much less to run (while accelerating like a jet). The Lancet medical journal has even published a series of papers over the last decade proving that a ‘low-meat and high-vegetable’ diet would radically cut the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. It also happens to be exactly the diet they recommend to protect your heart, slim your waistline and add years to your life. So, from our health to our homes and jobs, taking positive action on climate change, be it large or small, seems to come with big practical paybacks.

This reward message could even work for Trump followers by promising jobs and ways to secure communities’ future. The climate action message is ultimately one of independence, freedom and happiness.

But this isn’t only a political message, it’s also a personal one. In 2006, UK research group ESRC reviewed more than 100 studies of how people change their behaviour for the better. They found that the least effective behavioural motivator was fear or regret. Which is why leaders like the former UN chief climate negotiator Christiana Figueres call themselves ‘stubborn optimists who will never give up’.


She’s one of the new climate optimists. Like Richard Branson who calls climate change ‘the greatest entrepreneurial opportunity of a generation’. This is a growing community of people who don’t just believe we can win. But that winning comes with the promise of a better future.

.
What people want now is to imagine better

A whopping 81 per cent of Donald Trump’s supporters think life has worsened in the past 50 years. Among Britons who voted to leave the European Union, 61 per cent believe that most children will be worse off than their parents. So, the promise that fighting climate change comes with built in rewards might change more than just policy, it could change politics itself.


The new story of climate change is a story of adventure. Our chance to overcome a great monster, and snatch our reward from its jaws.

Monday, October 30, 2017

SEforALL CEO Outlines Challenges in Achieving Sustainable Energy for All/LLSD

We just posted the very good news on uniform support for investments in renewables.  Here's some of the challenges standing in the way--though, we will clear them--of those projects:

16 October 2017: Rachel Kyte, Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), has highlighted seven challenges to achieving sustainable energy, emphasizing the areas in which policy innovations are needed to provide reliable, resilient and clean energy by 2030.
In her keynote address marking the launch of the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Kyte said there is a need for a step change in policies in order to deliver sustainable energy for all. She added that the pathway to success goes through success in South Asia, which is a focus of ISEP.
The seven areas for policy advances that Kyte highlighted as priorities if we are to achieve the international community’s goals for 2030 are as follows:
  • First, she noted that we have made progress in identifying the one billion people without access to electricity, but we need to develop business models to deliver electricity to them, including by identifying the “missing middle” level for finance.
  • Second, she noted that progress in increasing energy productivity should be a priority, and requires a total government approach with support from the highest levels. On this issue, she said efforts to enhance industrial-use efficiency, use efficiency of new buildings, retrofiting existing buildings, and increased appliance efficiency should be addressed.
  • Third, on carbon capture, storage and/or use, she said policy around carbon use is the most exciting area for attention.
  • Fourth, Kyte noted that the coal mining vocation encompasses cultural advantages, and policy attention to coal should be focused on identifying transition policies that will address the needs of coal mining communities.
  • Fifth, on finance, she highlighted the need for infrastructure finance and said one challenge is for development banks to be more risk tolerant. She rejected the idea that underperforming pension funds could be unlocked to provide such funding, and highlighted a recent SEforALL publication titled, ‘Energizing Finance,’ which finds that only half of the needed finance to achieve SDG 7 is flowing.
  • Sixth, Kyte said mindsets, institutions and transparency should be addressed. She noted that country planning for achieving the SDGs and the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on climate change are better than the previous generation of national plans, and highlighted that countries have been able to learn from their neighbors. She stressed the need for policy coherence, including through the reduction of subsidies, to allow developing countries to make progress. She also emphasized that investors, shareholders and regulators need to be on the same page.
  • Seventh, Kyte stressed the importance of pursuing policies that embrace the principles of universality and inclusivity, and noted the need to consider how services could be bundled for the poor and to ensure that services reach women.
In conclusion, Kyte said “time is our enemy,” and we have no time to lose. [SEforALL website][SAIS event webpage][SDG Knowledge Hub sources]

The Paris climate agreement calls for big investments in renewable energy. Here’s why governments love it./Washington Post

Not only do governments love big investments in renewables, but we do as well.  That is one of the backbones to breathing life into the green economy, and is the essence of our focus--the business side of green.

]

Ice breaks off from the northern wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier on Nov. 29, 2015, in Los Glaciares National Park, part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field in Argentina. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

This past December, governments of the world met in Paris to negotiate a global climate agreement. It’s considered a breakthrough. Here’s why.
Until now, climate agreements were “top-down,” giving countries targets and timetables for reducing climate-warming carbon emissions. The Paris agreement, by contrast, allows governments to come up with their own emissions reduction plans. Every five years, governments meet to review how well each country has done in meeting its pledges. This “bottom-up” strategy is a remarkable departure from the conventional top-down approach.
But for this bottom-up strategy to work, governments must be willing to invest heavily in climate mitigation. Most research on climate change treats it as a global collective-action problem (as Scott Barrett detailed in 2008). Individual nations must take on the expense and effort of reducing emissions — but the benefits spread throughout the globe. Governments are therefore tempted to take a “free ride” by reaping the benefits of others’ efforts without reducing their own emissions. As a result, everyone suffers from climate change.
So how can a bottom-up strategy based on decentralized action work?
Renewables: The $300 billion question
The most important reason for optimism is that nations around the world have been investing heavily in technologies that offer renewable energy — wind turbines, solar panels, biomass and so on. In 2014, those global investments reached $270 billion. China led the pack, investing $83 billion in wind turbines and solar panels. The United States was the distant second, investing $38 billion, especially in wind energy. Indonesia, Chile, Mexico and Kenya invested more than a billion dollars each.
The investment boom comes in large part because the cost of renewable electricity generation has decreased rapidly. However, companies will keep investing in these technologies only in nations with government policies that support the growth of renewables. Because polluting fossil fuels are still mostly cheaper than renewables, clean energy requires subsidies or similar policies.
Are governments ready for the challenge? Recent political science research shows that renewable energy investments allow governments to both realize their national environmental goals and reap political gains by distributing resources to politically powerful groups.
For governments, renewables are a political winner
Governments of all kinds like renewables because they help the environment and, at the same time, make influential constituencies happy.
In a recent article, we show that democratic governments in particular are likely to adopt ambitious, effective renewable energy policies when their electoral institutions give rural voters a lot of influence through what political scientists call malapportionment.
Malapportionment means that some votes are more valuable than others. In rural electoral districts, there are few voters per representative, so the political value of each vote is very high. Malapportionment doesn’t always help the environment; it simultaneously results in lower gasoline taxes and less support for climate agreements. But in this case, it helps.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

For Tonight's Broadcast/RNN

We hope you can be with us tonight but, if not, we will have the full broadcast for you soon.



DESCRIPTION

The Creative Side of Sustainability

Are you ready to embrace the creative side of sustainability and learn how you can differentiate yourself, your business, or organization? If yes, you'll want to join us on Thursday evening, October 26, as RNN in collaboration with One Earth Air Plant Center presents, "Together, We Can, Rhode Island." This special FREE event brings together an All-Star Team of Sustainable Change Makers who have put their passion to work while making a difference. 

PRESENTERS

Allison Newsome - Environmental Sculpture

Allison Newsome is an award winning sculptor inspired by the redwood forests in her native California, Allison sculpts on site, in response to the land. Her work addresses issues of environment and human interaction. It provides an avenue into figuration with embedded abstraction, at the same time inspired by ancient forms.
Allison will be showcasing her rain harvesting sculpture, RainKeep.

Susan E Fox - Artist, Author, Educator, Creative Coach

Susan Fox is the co-founder of the Expressive and Creative Arts Program at Salve Regina University. As a Holistic practitioner her speciality is in art based transformational learning and embodied whole brain approaches to creativity.
Her recent work in reverential ecology and self-expressive practices guides individuals to reconnect with our natural environment and to reflect on one's relationship to the "web of life" while embracing creativity as a force for shifting perspectives and opening hearts.
Susan will be sharing her work and passion for sustainability consciousness through self-expression and the arts.

Mary Healey Jamiel - Documentary Filmmaker

Mary Healey Jamiel is an award winning documentary filmmaker and is an Associate Professor of Film/Media & Communication Studies at the Harrington School of Communication & Media at the University of Rhode Island where she combines her passion for teaching and love of her students with her filmmaking. 
Mary will be discussing her latest film project, SEARCHDOG that chronicles transformative connections between humans and dogs where the consequences of "trusting a dog" can mean life or death for a missing victim, others where the goal is to provide answers and closure for decades-old tragedies. This film shows how "unadoptable" shelter dogs are transformed into Search & Rescue/Recovery Dogs, and ultimately their lives are saved and become a force for good.

Paula Kleniewski - Founder of Full-Swing Golf

Paula Kleniewski, is the Founder and Executive Director Full Swing Golf RI. By day Paula works three jobs, she is a professional physical therapist, an accountant, and golf instructor. As a physical therapist who works with children and with her background in golf, Paula saw the potential of combining the two the result was Full Swing Golf.
Paula will share how this non-profit has given children confidence and has provided them a recreational outlet that didn't exist before. She will also explain how the organization was able to raise the monies needed to purchase a Paramobile that has helped change the life of so many children.

Molly Andrus - Director of Honey for Haiti

Molly Andrus is the Director for Honey For Haiti. Molly shares how a trip to La Maison L'Arc-en-Ciel d'Haiti an orphanage located in Kenscoff, Haiti, where the children that live in the orphanage are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS inspired Honey For Haiti to be created. The organization is helping to raise monies to build a self-sustaining home for these children through the use of renewable clean energy.
Molly will explain how this project is not only helping these children of Haiti, but how it's become a life and business lesson for students in Rhode Island.

Valerie Tutson - Special Guest Host

Valerie Tutson is an award winning artists, broadcaster, and storyteller with a Masters Degree in Theatre Arts from Brown University. She has been telling stories in schools, churches, libraries, festivals and conferences since 1991. She draws her stories from around the world with an emphasis on African traditions. Her repertoire includes stories and songs she learned in her travels to South Africa, her experiences in West Africa, stories from African American history.
We are honored to have Valerie as the host and MC for the evening.

- COMPLIMENTARY FOOD & BEVERAGES -

(RESERVE YOUR SEAT EARLY)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

GAO: Climate change already costing US billions in losses/ProJo

Does it make sense to sit by and let the data build up on costs of climate change and not react swiftly?  Normally, there would be a public outcry on government fixing things quickly.  Not here.  Not even an agreement that the cause exist.

How much more data will Washington need to see before it recognizes a pending liability and, at the same time, a great investment opportunity?



WASHINGTON (AP) — A non-partisan federal watchdog says climate change is already costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars each year, with those costs expected to rise as devastating storms, floods, wildfires and droughts become more frequent in the coming decades.
A Government Accountability Office report released Monday said the federal government has spent more than $350 billion over the last decade on disaster assistance programs and losses from flood and crop insurance. That tally does not include the massive toll from this year’s three major hurricanes and wildfires, expected to be among the most costly in the nation’s history.
The report predicts these costs will only grow in the future, potentially reaching a budget busting $35 billion a year by 2050. The report says the federal government doesn’t effectively plan for these recurring costs, classifying the financial exposure from climate-related costs as “high risk.”
“The federal government has not undertaken strategic government-wide planning to manage climate risks by using information on the potential economic effects of climate change to identify significant risks and craft appropriate federal responses,” the study said. “By using such information, the federal government could take the initial step in establishing government-wide priorities to manage such risks.”
GAO undertook the study following a request from Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resource
“This nonpartisan GAO report Senator Cantwell and I requested contains astonishing numbers about the consequences of climate change for our economy and for the federal budget in particular,” said Collins. “In Maine, our economy is inextricably linked to the environment. We are experiencing a real change in the sea life, which has serious implications for the livelihoods of many people across our state, including those who work in our iconic lobster industry.”
The report’s authors reviewed 30 government and academic studies examining the national and regional impacts of climate change. They also interviewed 28 experts familiar with the strengths and limitations of the studies, which rely on future projections of climate impacts to estimate likely costs.
The report says the fiscal impacts of climate change are likely to vary widely by region. The Southeast is at increased risk because of coastal property that could be swamped by storm surge and sea level rise. The Midwest and Great Plains are susceptible to decreased crop yields, the report said. The west is expected to see increased drought, wildfires and deadly heatwaves.
Advance copies were provided to the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency, which provided no official comments for inclusion in the GAO report.
Requests for comment from The Associated Press also received no response on Monday.
President Donald Trump has called climate change a hoax, announcing his intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accords and revoke Obama-era initiatives to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Trump has also appointed officials such as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, all of whom question the scientific consensus that carbon released into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels is the primary driver of global warming.
Earlier this month Trump nominated Kathleen Hartnett White of Texas to serve as his top environmental adviser at the White House. She has credited the fossil fuel industry with “vastly improved living conditions across the world” and likened the work of mainstream climate scientists to “the dogmatic claims of ideologues and clerics.”
White, who works at a conservative think tank that has received funding from fossil-fuel companies, holds academic degrees in East Asian studies and comparative literature.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

EPA cancels talks by 3 agency scientists at Providence event/ProJo

Here we see a major, and important, federal agency shifting like political winds.  No showing up is the wrong answer.  At least come to the event and tell us what you think, even if you've now flip-flopped on supporting renewables and a general fight against climate changes.

Government for the people is absent when you cannot have a public conversation with the people you represent and work for:

Administrator Scott Pruitt

Tom Borden, director of the estuary program, said that Wayne Munns, director of the Atlantic ecology division of the EPA’s Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, called him to deliver the news, but did not give an explanation.
“I’ve not received any clarity as to why it happened,” Borden said in an interview Sunday afternoon.
When asked for an explanation, the agency said the following in an emailed statement: “EPA supports the Narragansett Bay Estuary, and just this month provided the program a $600,000 grant. EPA scientists are attending, they simply are not presenting; it is not an EPA conference.”
The cancellation was first reported by The New York Times. John King, chair of the estuary program’s science advisory committee, told the Times that he believed the scientists were being blocked from speaking because much of the workshop will be focused on climate change.
Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, and other members of the Trump administration have denied the role of carbon emissions in climate change
In an interview Monday morning, hours before the workshop was set to begin, King, a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, said that nothing he had heard over the weekend had convinced him that there was another reason behind the cancellation.
“They have not provided any explanation,” he said. “But what else could it be about?”
He said the cancellation undermines the scientific process.
“Pruitt has said on record that he wants to see more peer review of reports,” King said. “The key to that is having scientists getting together and talking.”
He continued, “As soon as you start trying to censor science, how do you keep it out of the realm of the political? This looks like the opening volley of the war on science.”
King and Borden both said that their understanding is that the EPA scientists will attend the workshop, but they will not present.
They will not be at an earlier news conference to officially release the report, according to what Borden and King were told, but none of them were scheduled to speak at that event. Rhode Island’s congressional delegation, which includes Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a vocal critic of Pruitt, will participate in the news conference.
Besides Oczkowski, the other EPA scientists who were affected by the decision are Rose Martin, a postdoctoral fellow at the Narragansett lab, and Emily Shumchenia, a consultant with the EPA and a former student at URI under King.
Shumchenia, who wrote a chapter on the Bay’s seafloor, was the only one of the three to contribute extensive work to the report, Borden said. Five other EPA scientists also contributed.
Borden emphasized that the estuary program has a very good relationship with the Narragansett lab, and in general with the EPA, which contributes funding to the program.
He also made clear that the report looks at a variety of factors influencing the health of Narragansett Bay.
“The changing conditions were certainly discussed throughout the report, but by no means was it only a climate change report,” he said.
King said he’s unsure whether anyone from the EPA will feel comfortable attending the workshop.
“It’s a little bit chilling,” he said.

Monday, October 23, 2017

SEP – the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy/For an Upcoming Show

Good government policy, of any type, takes a lot of work.  Here's a group, based at Johns Hopkins, providing great guidance, research, leadership on energy.

ISEP – the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy – is an interdisciplinary research program that uses cutting-edge social and behavioral science to design, test, and implement better energy policies in emerging economies.
Hosted at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), ISEP identifies and pursues opportunities for policy reforms that allow emerging economies to achieve human development at minimal economic and environmental costs. The initiative pursues such opportunities both pro-actively, with continuous policy innovation and bold ideas, and by responding to policymakers’ demands and needs in sustained engagement and dialogue.
A unique feature of ISEP is the pragmatic recognition of the administrative, political, and socio-cultural constraints on policy reform. The initiative is based on the premise that the obstacle to energy policy reform is rarely the lack of better alternatives to the current situation, but rather the vexing difficulty of enacting, implementing, and sustaining these alternatives. We adopt a balanced method that considers both sustainability and access to energy crucial priorities, and conduct rigorous research for evidence-based policy advice.

LEADERSHIP AND UPCOMING GUEST: Johannes Urpelainen
ISEP Founding Director

Johannes Urpelainen

Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of
Energy, Resources and Environment
Johns Hopkins SAIS

Website: www.JohannesU.com
Email: JohannesU@jhu.edu
Twitter: @jurpelai

Johannes Urpelainen is the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment at Johns Hopkins SAIS and the Founding Director of ISEP.  He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan in 2009 and spent the next eight years at Columbia University.

Johannes is the award-winning author of four books and over a hundred refereed articles on environmental politics, energy policy, and global governance. At SAIS, he teaches action-oriented classes on energy and environmental policy to equip the next generation of global leaders with deep knowledge, advanced analytical skills — and a passion for transformational social change. One of the world’s top energy policy experts, Johannes frequently advises governments, international organizations, and the private sector on energy and environment.

As the Founding Director of ISEP, Johannes is responsible for the vision, strategy, and general management of the initiative. His work under ISEP offers pragmatic but effective approaches to providing the world’s population with affordable and abundant energy at minimal environmental impact. In his spare time, Johannes reads biographies and tries to improve his Hindi.

SEforALL CEO Outlines Challenges in Achieving Sustainable Energy for All

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Kyte identified seven areas for policy advances if we are to achieve the international community's goals for 2030.
The areas are: access to energy; energy productivity; carbon capture and use; transition for coal mining communities; infrastructure finance; mindsets, institutions and transparency; and how to achieve universality and inclusivity.
16 October 2017: Rachel Kyte, Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), has highlighted seven challenges to achieving sustainable energy, emphasizing the areas in which policy innovations are needed to provide reliable, resilient and clean energy by 2030.
In her keynote address marking the launch of the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Kyte said there is a need for a step change in policies in order to deliver sustainable energy for all. She added that the pathway to success goes through success in South Asia, which is a focus of ISEP.
The seven areas for policy advances that Kyte highlighted as priorities if we are to achieve the international community’s goals for 2030 are as follows:
  • First, she noted that we have made progress in identifying the one billion people without access to electricity, but we need to develop business models to deliver electricity to them, including by identifying the “missing middle” level for finance.
  • Second, she noted that progress in increasing energy productivity should be a priority, and requires a total government approach with support from the highest levels. On this issue, she said efforts to enhance industrial-use efficiency, use efficiency of new buildings, retrofiting existing buildings, and increased appliance efficiency should be addressed.
  • Third, on carbon capture, storage and/or use, she said policy around carbon use is the most exciting area for attention.
  • Fourth, Kyte noted that the coal mining vocation encompasses cultural advantages, and policy attention to coal should be focused on identifying transition policies that will address the needs of coal mining communities.
  • Fifth, on finance, she highlighted the need for infrastructure finance and said one challenge is for development banks to be more risk tolerant. She rejected the idea that underperforming pension funds could be unlocked to provide such funding, and highlighted a recent SEforALL publication titled, ‘Energizing Finance,’ which finds that only half of the needed finance to achieve SDG 7 is flowing.
  • Sixth, Kyte said mindsets, institutions and transparency should be addressed. She noted that country planning for achieving the SDGs and the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on climate change are better than the previous generation of national plans, and highlighted that countries have been able to learn from their neighbors. She stressed the need for policy coherence, including through the reduction of subsidies, to allow developing countries to make progress. She also emphasized that investors, shareholders and regulators need to be on the same page.
  • Seventh, Kyte stressed the importance of pursuing policies that embrace the principles of universality and inclusivity, and noted the need to consider how services could be bundled for the poor and to ensure that services reach women.
In conclusion, Kyte said “time is our enemy,” and we have no time to lose. 

Beyond Growing Pains: Germany’s New Normal in Renewable Energy Policy/INITIATIVE FOR SUSTAINABLE ENERGY POLICY (ISEP)

Thank you to ISEP for this article.  We will profile them soon here and on the radio show.

This is an important report.  It chronicles how plummeting costs of solar and other renewables is forcing countries, in a good way, to change their policies on pricing and incentives.  The market is becoming fully independent and is now driven by low-cost providers.

Lot to be learned from Germany's shift from a feed-in-tariff.  Renewables are like our child who starts to walk and run without us.  Scary at first but a true blessing and milestone for the child and us.

Germany, then, leads again as it implements full-scale auctions on projects.



Note: This post is written together with Patrick Bayer (School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow). Follow him on Twitter at @pol_economist.

In July 2016, the German government decided to abolish the country’s feed-in tariff (FIT) for renewable electricity generation. Instead, the government now plans to auction contracts for renewable electricity deployment to the lowest bidders.

The FIT is a policy that basically forces electric utilities to buy renewable electricity from generators for a premium price. Since 1990, the German FIT had played a key role in making the country a pioneer in the use of renewable energy. Why did Germany replace the FIT after almost three decades of unparalleled growth in renewable electricity generation?

As a policy, the FIT has many virtues in the early stages of renewable electricity generation. It reduces uncertainty for electricity producers as the FIT guarantees a fixed, above-market price for a defined time period, such as ten years.

The German law also gives priority to renewable electricity, thus granting grid access to renewable producers. This design protects independent small-scale producers by preventing electric utilities from closing the electricity market. Politically, this feature is key to understanding the FIT’s popularity: it creates benefits to a large number of small generators.

No wonder, then, that the FIT has been the most critical driver behind Germany’s aggressive growth in renewables. In fact, renewable electricity generation since 1990 increased by a factor of ten, with renewables now accounting for almost a third in the country’s electricity mix.

However, the cost of the FIT policy increases over time, as the cost of generating renewable electricity declines. This development typically shows in increased electricity prices for household customers. As a result of the FIT, average retail prices have soared, at least over the last decade. Residential consumers are charged about 35 cents/kWh compared to about 13 cents/kWh in the United States, making Germany the country of some of the highest electricity prices in Europe.

Germany’s decision to drop the FIT policy and to become an auctioneer is thus an attempt to control the rate and cost of growth in renewable electricity generation. Auctioning not only promises to reduce the cost of renewable electricity generation, but it also gives policymakers more flexibility in achieving their goals.

The German government can now create “deployment corridors” by setting renewable energy production targets for different technologies. In turn, the “breathing caps” adjust the premium for renewables depending on how well actually installed capacities match targets.

The move into auctions also shows political acumen. Now that renewable electricity generation is much cheaper than just a decade ago, rapid growth in the sector is no longer the overriding priority. Now the question is whether Germany can keep increasing the share of renewables in the power sector without continued increases in electricity prices and other problems, such as outages.

Indeed, the German FIT had recently drawn a lot of fire. Critics of the FIT point to the continued use of polluting coal in Germany, as renewables have reduced the use of natural gas and nuclear power. Others note that electricity has now become a “luxury good” in Germany, no longer affordable to the poor.

Now that cost-effectiveness of renewable production is becoming more and more important relative to mere growth, tailoring cash incentives towards the government’s strategic expansion plans is key to success. Auctions enable continued growth in renewables at a low cost relative to the FIT, while giving the government more control over technologies and types of renewables. In this sense, auctions promise to be a useful tool in Germany’s pursuit of a “new normal” in renewable electricity production.

In applauding the Merkel government’s policy choice, we do not want to belittle the challenges of designing auctions. It remains to be seen if – and how much – the German auctions reduce the cost of renewable capacity installation and whether the disappearance of the certainty provided by the FIT creates problems.

A particular challenge for Germany is that auctions are not suited for supporting the growth of small-scale, distributed renewable electricity generation. Because small producers cannot compete on cost basis with major players or do the complicated paperwork in bidding, different policies are needed to support this segment. The goal here must be to continue to support distributed electricity generation in the country of Bürgerenergie – citizen energy. The German government recognizes these issues. For example, small installations still benefit from an FIT up to a certain limit.

To sum it all up, the German government is again leading the way in renewable energy policy. Auctions are the future for renewable energy now that the sector has left growing pains behind. However, much depends on the design of auctions and finding the right complementary policies for small-scale, distributed renewable electricity generation.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Hybrid Power Solutions industry on the rise as popularity and cost-effectiveness of renewables continues to increase

No doubt about it: Hybrid technology is leading us away from fossil fuel as our primary source to power our economy.  Market conditions look great for growth.

The global hybrid power solutions market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8.1% from 2016 to 2021, to reach a market size of USD 689.5 Million by 2021. Download PDF brochurehttp://www.marketsandmarkets.com/pdfdownload.asp?id=121425179 

Browse 68 market data tables and 47 figures spread through 131 pages and in-depth TOC on “Hybrid Power Solutions Market by System Type (Solar-Diesel, Wind-Diesel, Solar-Wind-Diesel), Power Rating (Upto 10 kW, 11 kW–100 kW, and Above 100 kW), End-User (Residential, Commercial, Telecom), and Region - Global Forecast to 2021"

To enable an in-depth understanding of the competitive landscape, the report includes profiles of some of the leading players in the hybrid power solutions market. These players include SMA Solar Technology AG (Germany), Siemens AG (Germany), Huawei Technologies Co., LTD (China), ZTE Corporation (China), Flexenclosure AB, LTD (Sweden), and Heliocentris Energy Solutions AG (Germany) among others. Leading players are trying to penetrate the markets in rural areas of developing economies and are adopting various strategies to increase their market share.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Could Puerto Rico’s Disaster have a “Solar Lining?” Elon Musk Believes, YES./RNN

Mankind has proven to be resilient.  We steadily pick ourselves up off the mat when flattened and quickly rebuild.  We see this again in an island pounded by Mother Nature this year--Puerto Rico.

One of the things holding them back, and is a potential liability for all of us dependent on an antiquated grid, is restoring electrical service.  Elon Musk steps in and offers new tech to rebuild their system.  Why would we not take advantage of today's smart tech?



The ever business minded, problem-solving entrepreneur, Elon Musk says he could rebuild Puerto Rico’s shattered electrical infrastructure with his solar energy technology.
The vast majority of the island territory remains without power, weeks after it was hit by Hurricane Maria.
On Twitter, Mr Musk said his technology, which powers several smaller islands, could be scaled up to work for Puerto Rico.
The island’s governor responded to Mr Musk with the message: “Let’s talk”.
“Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your Tesla technologies? Puerto Rico could be that flagship project,” the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, said.
Mr Musk’s Tesla company is best known for its electric cars, but it also incorporates SolarCity – a solar panel firm which specialises in efficiently storing large amounts of electricity in power banks.
The company says it has powered small islands, such as Ta’u in American Samoa. There, it installed a solar grid which can power the entire island and store enough electricity for three days without any sun....MORE AT RENEWABLE NOW NETWORK.com

Thursday, October 19, 2017

First zero-emissions transport refrigeration unit unveiled by eNow/PBN

eNow is a tech co--focused on using batteries, solar and advanced/smart energy management systems to reduce emissions within the transportation industry--we've been following for many years.  In fact their CEO, Jeff Flath, spent a year with us as a rotating co-host and expert on revamping our global transportation system.

Good to see they continue to innovate with new products that meet the operational, financial and environmental needs of their customers.  It helps all of us breath easier as emissions are significantly cut.



THE REFRIGERATED delivery truck pictured above is equipped with eNow's new zero-emissions Rayfrigeration unit, powered by photovoltaic solar panels mounted on the vehicle's roof. / COURTESY eNOW

WARWICK – Renewable-energy company eNow announced a new solar-powered refrigeration unit last week that has been declared the first zero-emissions unit for the urban commercial transport industry.
Unlike traditional refrigeration units, which are powered by high-polluting, small diesel engines, the Rayfrigeration system features eNow solar photovoltaic panels mounted on the truck’s roof in combination with a Johnson Truck Bodies refrigeration unit and Emerson compressor technology.
The refrigeration unit’s cold plates and auxiliary batteries are initially charged via utility power when the vehicle is plugged in overnight, but while on a delivery route, the roof-mounted solar panels provide power to keep chilled products at the correct temperature.


Tested on a dairy-product delivery truck in Fresno, Calif., the Rayfrigeration unit reduced the truck’s total emissions by 98 percent nitrous oxide, 86 percent carbon dioxide and 97 percent particulate matter over the five-month test period. The 1,800-watt eNow solar system provided enough energy to maintain optimum temperature throughout a typical day of opening and closing the truck doors in California’s summer heat.
In addition to eliminating harmful emissions, the Rayfrigeration unit is projected to reduce operations costs by up to 90 percent compared with diesel-powered units, by eliminating diesel fuel and maintenance costs and improving battery life.
“The Rayfrigeration product is an important step forward in reducing emissions while maintaining the highest levels of efficiency and customer satisfaction for companies delivering perishable goods,” said Jeff Flath, president and CEO of eNow. “[Our] solar technology is powerful, reliable and efficient, and more than up to the task of providing emissions-free energy for critical tasks such as refrigeration of fresh foods, even the most challenging conditions. We are proud to be a part of this important project.”
Rayfrigeration solar-charging technology is available through eNow, which currently has more than 4,000 solar-powered systems operating nationwide on trucks, buses, emergency and utility vehicles.
The Rayfrigeration initiative was funded in part by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Technology Advancement Program, which encourages innovation through the development of new emission-reduction technologies.
Galen Auer is a PBN contributing writer. Email galen.auer@gmail.com or follow on Twitter at @PBNAuer.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Air Pollution Affects Kids’ Working Memory/RNN

Ouch.  Kids walking to school in dirty air feel the affects in their lungs and, under this study, in their brains.

Of course some kids may now use air pollution as an excuse for bad grades.  Not a bad line.  But as playful as this scenario might get, bad environmental conditions diminish our health--period.

Do we want our kids wearing masks to school?  Is that the solution?  Cans of clean air.  Or, do we speed ahead with a clean energy plan that restores good air quality for all?  What is the better, long-term strategy?  Is that a worthy industrial revolution?

MORE AT OUR HOME:  RENEWABLE NOW NETWORK.COM



A study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), an institute supported by the “la Caixa” Banking Foundation, has demonstrated that exposure to air pollution on the way to school can have damaging effects on children’s cognitive development. The study, published recently in Environmental Pollution, found an association between a reduction in working memory and exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon during the walking commute to and from school.
The study was carried out in the framework of the BREATHE project. Previous research in the same project found that exposure to traffic-related pollutants in schools was associated with slower cognitive development. The aim of the team undertaking the new study was to assess the impact of exposure to air pollution during the walking commute to school. The findings of an earlier study had shown that 20% of a child’s daily dose of black carbon — a pollutant directly related to traffic — is inhaled during urban commutes.
“The results of earlier toxicological and experimental studies have shown that these short exposures to very high concentrations of pollutants can have a disproportionately high impact on health” explains Mar Álvarez-Pedrerol, ISGlobal researcher and first author of the study. “The detrimental effects may be particularly marked in children because of their smaller lung capacity and higher respiratory rate,” she adds.
The study was carried out in Barcelona and enrolled over 1,200 children aged from 7 to 10, from 39 schools, all of whom walked to school on a daily basis. The children’s working memory and attention capacity was assessed several times during the 12-month study. Their exposure to air pollution over the same period was calculated on the basis of estimated levels on the shortest walking route to their school....

Green space coming along nicely/The Times

Here's one example, in a midsize New England city, of green space growing in urban settings.

The expansion of open space in our most congested cities is critical as we contemplate a future in which 60% of the population will reside in those places.  Sure, there are other factors driving people back into old downtowns:  great schools, mixed-use spaces, good transportation systems but quality of life, with lots of play areas, arts, culture, sports is the main draw.

Whether it is parks, vegetation for controlling rain runoff, grass roofs or tree canopies, green space is much needed amid our concrete jungles:

gazebo

PAWTUCKET — Work is ongoing on a new passive park in the gateway to the Quality Hill neighborhood, which city officials say will bring green space and a place for recreation to the area of Summit and Division streets.
The Summit Street Park is currently being built on a parcel of land adjacent to Interstate 95 on the city's east side within walking distance of such destinations as the Seekonk River, McCoy Stadium, Saint Raphael Academy, and Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church.
The contract for the construction of a new passive park along Summit Street was recently awarded to Green Acres Landscaping and Construction Co. of Lakeville, Mass. The project will include the installation of a new gazebo, concrete walkways, lighting, fencing, landscaping, lawn areas, new electric and water service, and an irrigation system, city officials said.
“As we continue to invest in our infrastructure, roads, and schools, it’s important that we also create spaces for residents to get outside and enjoy their neighborhood,” Mayor Donald R. Grebien said via email. “I look forward to opening the park with residents.”
The park's budget is $282,065, which is funded through a Community Development Block Grant. It's estimated to be complete and ready for use by the middle or end of next month.
Follow Jonathan Bissonnette on Twitter @J_Bissonnette