Selected category: Climate

The Killer App for The Internet of Things? Combating Climate Change.

graphicCo-authored by David Kirkpatrick, Techonomy’s CEO.

When Elon Musk announced his lower-priced Tesla 3 electric car in the spring of 2016, he opened the press conference with rhetorical questions. “Why does Tesla exist? Why are we making electric cars?” The audience of car fanatics and techies didn’t expect the answer he gave, though a clue came from the fact that Musk was already working to fold his other company, SolarCity, into Tesla. He continued: “Because it’s very important to accelerate the transition to sustainable transport…for the future of the world.”

Then Musk started talking about the world’s “record CO2 levels,” noting, “The chart looks like a vertical line, and it’s still climbing!” He sees Tesla as targeting climate change — the cars will connect to the solar systems and home storage batteries, so “every individual is their own utility,” and less carbon is emitted. Not what you’d expect from a car company.

Musk seldom uses the phrase, but what he was talking about was the Internet of Things (IoT) — putting computing intelligence into the objects and systems that surround us, connecting them to the network, and stitching it all into a digital ecosystem. Tesla’s cars, solar collectors and batteries all are connected, communicating via the internet. While the concept of IoT has been batted around the tech industry for a decade, with companies including Cisco and Intel placing hefty bets on its success, only now — suddenly — is it starting to make sense. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Innovation, Energy Storage, Grid Modernization, Solar Energy, Time of Use, Utility Business Models, Wind Energy| Comments are closed

How EDF and Google are Mapping a Cleaner, More Efficient Energy Future for Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and EDF Chief Scientist Steve Hamburg check out the methane-sniffing Google Street View car

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and EDF Chief Scientist Steve Hamburg check out the methane-sniffing Google Street View car

*UPDATE: Days after this data was released, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued draft permits that will help reduce methane emissions from select oil and gas facilities across the state – making Pennsylvania the latest state to take commonsense action on methane .*

EDF and Google have released new interactive maps that show Pittsburgh residents just how much methane may be escaping from city pipelines.

Methane is the main component of natural gas. Millions of families across Pennsylvania and the country depend on it to heat homes and prepare their dinners. But when leaked into the atmosphere, it can wreak havoc on our climate, represent millions of dollars’ worth of wasted American energy, and pose serious risks to public health and safety.

That’s why we spent the past year working with Peoples Gas in Pittsburgh to use Google Street View mapping cars specially equipped with state-of-the-art methane sensors to determine how many pipeline leaks there are, how much methane is leaking, and where these leaks are located. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Methane, Natural Gas, Pennsylvania| Tagged , , | Comments are closed

Solar Ready Vets Trains Veterans for Jobs in Booming Solar Industry

ga_los-angelesBy: John A. Nicholson, Col., USMC (Ret), and EDF consultant

Veterans Day is a time for our nation to recognize and thank all those who have served in the military in peace and war. Moreover, it is a day to reflect and recommit to honoring the service of veterans.

But consider this: Five years ago, the unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans was 12 percent. About 12 percent of veterans between the ages of 18-34 lived below the poverty level. One in seven homeless people were veterans.

These startling statistics prompted a national call to action in 2011 from the White House and others for employers to hire veterans and their spouses.

Enter Solar Ready Vets, a Department of Energy program aimed squarely at training veterans to work in the rapidly expanding solar energy industry, in which jobs have grown more than 20 percent in each of the last three years. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Military, Solar Energy| Read 2 Responses

How Sensible BLM and EPA Methane Rules Can Mean Millions to Tribal Communities

By Daniel Roda-Stuart, Fellow
rp_NatlGasFlares_142558250_Photos-RF-300x197.jpg

With oil and natural gas production, it’s not only the industry that benefits monetarily. Mineral rights holders (the people who actually own the oil and gas deep below the earth’s surface) benefit too. Depending on where you look in the United States, who owns these mineral rights varies. In many places those minerals are owned by individuals and in other situations it’s the federal or state government.

In the Western U.S., it can often be Native American tribes that own the rights to these resources. And the revenue from the production of these tribal resources can be invaluable for funding education, health care, and other programs. So, what happens when faulty equipment and poor practices allow valuable natural gas to escape to the atmosphere before making it to the sales line? It can result in millions of dollars of lost royalty revenue for Native American tribes.

A recent EDF analysis focuses on the value of this wasted gas and the financial impacts to the Northern Ute tribe in the Uintah Basin of Northeastern Utah. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, BLM Methane, Methane, Natural Gas| Tagged , , , | Comments are closed

Aliso Canyon Disaster One Year Later: Some Progress, But More Action Needed

When the gusher of methane pouring out of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field was discovered last October 23, it almost instantly transformed the sleepy Los Angeles suburb of Porter Ranch into the site of one of the biggest environmental disasters in recent history. It would ultimately take four months to stop the massive leak. According to a new report released today, it pumped nearly 100,000 tons of methane into the atmosphere.

Now, a year later, the question: What’s been done to fix the problem, and to prevent future blowouts – either at Aliso Canyon, or the 400 similar facilities in more than 30 states? The answer is, while there’s been some progress, it’s not nearly enough.

Read More »

Also posted in Aliso Canyon, California, Energy Storage, Methane, Natural Gas| Tagged , | Comments are closed

What would it mean for Los Angeles to go 100% renewable?

10182500174_6070b2f074_kThe Los Angeles City Council recently passed a unanimous resolution requiring Los Angeles Department of Water and Power – the largest municipally-owned utility in the country — to study how the city can achieve a 100% clean energy future. With help from research partners, including academic institutions, the U.S. Department of Energy, and environmental and consumer groups, the study has the potential to become a foundational roadmap for running the utility on only clean and renewable energy.

California currently has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, with half of the state’s energy supply powered by renewable electricity by 2030. To achieve these targets, it is imperative for the state to look seriously at how to get off of fossil fuel dependency for our energy needs. Utilities and cities can be the key to reaching those climate goals. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, California, Clean Energy, Energy Storage, Gas to Clean, Natural Gas, Wind Energy| Tagged , , | Comments are closed
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