Citi Deploys $100 Billion on Clean Energy

by Nour Bundogji

Citi, the leading global bank, announces a sustainability strategy that should last for over ten years— $100 billion for lending, investing, and facilitating sustainability solutions. This eye-popping financial commitment is part of Citi’s five-year plan that was launched by CEO Michael Corbat in New York last week. “It includes three strategic priorities that align the company’s corporate and sustainability strategies: combating climate change, championing sustainable cities, and promoting social progress, including universal human rights” reports Joel Makower from Greenbiz.com who sat down with ­­­ Val Smith, Citi’s director of corporate sustainability. Furthermore, Corbrat informed Mary Lubber at Forbes.com that this strategy will include “financing for large renewable-energy projects such as municipal infrastructure to reduce water waste; assistance for clients to address environmental risks; and an 80 percent absolute greenhouse gas reduction target.” Continue reading

A Tesla Battery for Your Home?

by Nour Bundogji

With the emerging energy storage market, Tesla Motors Inc., best known for their Model S all-electric sedan, announces plans to release a lithium-ion battery to power your home. Elon Musk, Chief Executive Officer of Tesla Motors, stated in an earnings conference call, “We are going to unveil the Tesla home battery, a consumer battery that would be for use in people’s houses or businesses fairly soon.”

What is this battery?

Well, Musk said that it “will be like the Model S pack: something flat, 5 inches off the all wall, mounted, with a beautiful cover, an integrated bi-directional inverter, and plug and play.” Continue reading

The New European Energy Union Faces Some Critiques

by Nour Bundogji

The World Nuclear News recently discussed The European Commission’s intention to begin a new European Energy Union. This initiative will help “reform how Europe (EU) produces, transports, and consumes energy.”

The meeting took place on February 4, 2015 in Riga, Latvia where The European Commission outlined the intention and goals of this initiative. It’s primary aims are: “diversifying energy sources currently available to Member States, helping European countries become less dependent on energy imports, making the EU number one in renewable energy in the world, and leading the fight against global warming.” With these aims, the European Commission listed five goals for the European Energy Union, which are:

1) ensuring security of supply

2) building a single internal energy market

3) raising energy efficiency

4) decarbonizing national economies, and

5) promoting research and innovation. Continue reading

Nigerians Push for Renewable Energy to Solve Power Crisis

by Nour Bundogji

For many years now, Nigeria has been facing an extreme electricity shortage. Why? Well let’s look at Nigeria by the numbers. Overall, Nigeria consumes 2.5 million barrels of oil a day. Additionally, Nigerians spend, on average, ten dollars a week for a grid of electricity regardless of whether their grid works or not. Lastly, Nigeria spends $5 billion a year on fuel to generate electricity leaving about two thirds of Nigerians with no access to electricity (which is more people without electricity than any other country in the world except for India). Kennedy-Darling and her colleagues at University of Chicago reason that these energy deficits are a result of financial and structural problems in Nigeria’s current energy system. These problems demonstrate a ripple effect where the decreased efficiency of the energy producing capacity in Nigeria (a structural problem) leads to low productivity, excessive debts, and high fixed costs associated with power (financial problems) (Mohammad, 2007). Continue reading

Underground Storage of CO2 : Attempts to Eliminate Carbon Emissions

by Nour Bundogji

Postdoctoral researcher Yossi Cohen and Professor of Geophysics Daniel Rothman, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recently published an article in the Royal Society Proceedings on the effectiveness of storing carbon dioxide underground in an effort to decrease carbon emissions in our atmosphere. When I first read this I immediately envisioned suction cups elevated high into earth’s atmosphere connected to long pipes extended deep within earth’s crust. Yet, you guessed it, the technology is quite different. Instead, greenhouse gases emitted by coal-fired power plants would be pumped into salt caverns 7,000 feet underground where these gases would react with the salt water and solidify (Cohen and Rothman, 2015). The U.S. Environmental Protection agency estimated that this technology could eliminate up to 90 percent of carbon emissions from coal-fired facilities. Considering the current state of our ozone layer and the drastic climate changes we’ve been experiencing these past years, this seems like a promising step forward in saving our environment. However, commentators on this technology, like Christopher Martin from Bloomberg, pointed out a few flaws. I knew it was too good to be true. Continue reading