Category: News

McAuliffe attracts heat from pipeline foes but kudos from clean energy sector during Roanoke visit

Meanwhile, several roundtable participants, including executives from businesses large and small that are involved in renewable energy projects, congratulated McAuliffe for his administration’s support of solar and wind energy and efforts to promote energy efficiency. Discussion focused on clean energy projects completed, underway or proposed, as well as on how utilities, state government and regulators, including legislators and the State Corporation Commission, could provide additional support for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

One sponsor of Thursday’s event was Advanced Energy Economy, a national association of businesses whose stated mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy companies. J.R. Tolbert, a vice president for Advanced Energy Economy, said before the roundtable that McAuliffe “has done more under his watch to open up our state to investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency than any other leader.”

Read the full story. (Roanoke Times)

How to raise trillions for green investments

SAVING our planet from the worst effects of climate change won’t be cheap. A new report from the United Nations says that the world will need to mobilize $90 trillion in public and private capital over the next 15 years.

As a point of comparison, global gross domestic product in 2015 was $73 trillion. But there is no question that the world needs to ramp up its transition to a low-carbon, environmentally sustainable and resilient economy, and to do so rapidly. The question is, how do we pay for it, given the limited availability of government funding, particularly in developing countries?

The answer: private financing. The good news is that there is a global abundance of private capital. To unlock these riches, governments must create conditions that encourage private investment in clean technologies and sustainable development. With smart, well-designed and coordinated policies, financing models and instruments like bonds and incentive programs, countries have the potential to solve some of the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges while still maintaining economic growth.

Read the full story. (New York Times op-ed)

Solar and energy efficiency need to work together like PB&J

Energy efficiency and solar advocates have on occasion butted heads over which option should be implemented in homes and buildings first and how much should be installed before the other is considered. Here at ACEEE we believe that, like market solutions vs. energy efficiency programs, this is a false choice. Both are valuable and can, and should, work together as an integrated solution to create cleaner and cheaper energy. While energy efficiency is just as clean as solar when it comes to emissions, efficiency by itself can’t produce energy for customers looking for a clean energy option, and solar without energy efficiency can’t reach the full extent of its potential.

However, in recent years, some solar companies and some consumers have been employing a solar-first strategy in the residential sector—installing solar systems without paying much attention to energy efficiency. This strategy has been spurred in part by substantial solar tax credits, net-metering rules in place in most states, and the availability of solar financing that reduces or even eliminates the initial purchase price, replacing the up-front cost with monthly payments that extend over many years.

Read the full story. (ACEEE)

Energy efficiency is the greatest energy story you haven’t heard

The phrase “energy efficiency” pops up all the time. Why? Because it’s a big deal. Energy efficiency is now the nation’s third-largest “electricity resource.” The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) believes this is a significant story, and we do too. Consider this: energy efficiency saves American households about $840 a year, on average.

ACEEE continues: “This paper quantifies the energy savings and other benefits from a set of energy efficiency programs and policies. We examine the combined savings from appliance and equipment efficiency standards, utility-sector energy efficiency programs, and building energy codes.”

The planet is desperate due to a lack of conservation and the overall exhaustion that has resulted from inefficient means of producing and using energy. Personal choices and technologies that improve efficiency have grown in competitiveness and adoption, though.

The ACEEE report shows that efficiency lowers pollution, and it reduces energy burdens for those most in need. It is a core strategy to halt climate change worldwide.

Read the full story. (Clean Technica)

Inside Nest’s 50,000-home virtual power plant for Southern California Edison

Nest’s smart thermostats are a device for the upscale and energy-aware consumer. But they’re also a resource for grid stability — when there are enough of them out there to make a difference.

In Southern California, where the Aliso Canyon emergency is threatening to cause blackouts next summer, Nest believes it can get 50,000 of them together to help keep the lights on.

Nest’s new deal with partner Southern California Edison was announced last month as part of the utility’s rushed response to the shutdown of the Aliso Canyon natural-gas storage facility. It calls for Nest to deliver about 50 megawatts, or 1 kilowatt per home, in reliable load reduction across a stretch of Southern California grid that may run short of power during hot afternoons next summer.

This is Nest’s biggest demand response contract so far, but it’s not being built from scratch. “We’ll be tapping our existing installed base to provide immediate relief,” said Ben Bixby, energy businesses director for the Alphabet (Google)-owned company, said in an interview last week.

Read the full story. (Greentech Media)

Three years after consumer bulb launch, Cree revamps bulb portfolio

More than three years after getting into the consumer-priced LED bulb business, Durham LED firm Cree has unveiled what it’s calling a “completely new portfolio” of bulb products.

“Cree has zigged when the industry has zagged,” Al Safarikas, Cree vice president of marketing for consumer products, said Tuesday in an interview following the product launch. He points to what he calls both “better light” and a “better warranty” associated with the new bulbs, which were developed, engineered and marketed out of Cree’s Durham headquarters.

Read the full story. (Triangle Business Journal)

Energy efficiency meets Reality TV

Companies usually don’t allow managers from other businesses to poke around their facilities, with television cameras no less, and criticize how they do things.

But that is just what happens in “Better Buildings Challenge Swap,” a reality-video series produced by the Energy Department in which two companies give each other an up-close look at their in-house energy uses and practices. The first season, with three episodes, stars Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Whole Foods Market Inc., and has more than 400,000 hits on YouTube.

Each episode is produced in the faux-dramatic style typical of competition-based reality television series. The two evaluating teams, comprising three members from each company, are free to roam about the other’s operation, take notes and issue judgments. Afterward, both sides join around a table to discuss what it thinks the other is doing right—and where it could improve.

The results can be revealing, sometimes embarrassingly so. But, the Energy Department hopes, productive as well.

Read the full story and watch the videos. (Wall Street Journal)

The quest for home utility bills…of zero

SANTA CLARITA, Calif.—The KB Home development here looks like any other middle-class subdivision in Southern California—rows of stucco houses with tiled roofs and two-car garages—except for the sticker on the entryway of one of its showcase units.

The sticker displays the average monthly cost to heat and cool the home and run the appliances: $119, compared with $252 for a standard-built home of similar size. If an owner adds solar panels, the monthly bill would drop to near zero.

Buried inside the extra-thick walls of these homes are layers of high-density fiberglass insulation flanked by rigid foam boards taped together at the seams to forge a thermal barrier. Every crevice, duct and electrical outlet is coated with a special sealant to prevent leakage.

“We’ve turned the home into an airtight fortress,” says Jacob Atalla, KB Home’s vice president for sustainability. All of the nearly 2,300 houses the company built in California last year were equipped with similar energy-saving features. Some had even more. The company presold all of them, at premiums of 1.5% to 3.8% above the price of similar homes without those features.

Read the full story. (Wall Street Journal)

Energy efficiency meets reality TV

Companies usually don’t allow managers from other businesses to poke around their facilities, with television cameras no less, and criticize how they do things.

But that is just what happens in “Better Buildings Challenge Swap,” a reality-video series produced by the Energy Department in which two companies give each other an up-close look at their in-house energy uses and practices. The first season, with three episodes, stars Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Whole Foods Market Inc., and has more than 400,000 hits on YouTube.

Each episode is produced in the faux-dramatic style typical of competition-based reality television series. The two evaluating teams, comprising three members from each company, are free to roam about the other’s operation, take notes and issue judgments. Afterward, both sides join around a table to discuss what it thinks the other is doing right—and where it could improve.

The results can be revealing, sometimes embarrassingly so. But, the Energy Department hopes, productive as well.

Read the full story and watch the videos (Wall Street Journal).

Virginia homebuilder pursues a center for ‘zero-energy’ makeovers

Charley Juris, recently retired as a custom home builder, thought his career was behind him when took a phone call from a neighbor who thought her furnace was on fire. Fortunately, it wasn’t – but he enjoyed helping her find the most energy- and cost-efficient solution to replace it.

That experience launched him toward what is now a one-stop shop in Alexandria, Virginia designed to help owners of existing homes who want to cut their energy bills way back – to near-zero where possible – without sacrificing comfort.

Juris’ success in a state with relatively low electricity rates and virtually no government or utility incentives for conserving energy or renewable energy systems signals how a market for integrated and holistic energy solutions may be underserved in Virginia and perhaps elsewhere. Juris calls his answer to this market need the Energy House Solutions Center.

After fielding, and turning down, requests from potential clients for one-off installations of more efficient energy systems, “that’s where my idea of a solutions center hit me,” said Juris, who recently turned 62. Rather than take on one-off jobs, he embarked on recasting customers’ entire energy systems and supporting materials such as the latest insulation.

Charley Juris
Charley Juris
“The only way to make it work is to be part of the overall design and construction process. We help people design energy efficiency into the remodels and work with contractors we’ve vetted who have proven to us they’ll do it right and for a fair price.

Read the full story. (Southeast Energy News)

1 22 23 24 25 26 29