Companies Commit to Clean Energy

by Sharon Ha

Companies are beginning to show increased interest in investment and implementation of clean energy. The RE100 initiative, which encourages companies to go 100% renewable, currently has 56 businesses signed up and continues to grow. Many of these companies are influential and established brands, such as Ikea, Adobe, and Coca- Cola Enterprises. Furthermore, Intel recently constructed the largest corporate solar carport in the US at its Folsom, California campus. The solar carport will be able to meet over 50% of the campus’s energy needs. Additionally, Google, Apple, and more than 20 other companies have signed contracts to supply their respective headquarters with clean energy. However, there is still a long way to go to ensure that clean energy is sustainable and profitable for businesses. In this GreenBiz article, reporter Heather Clancy outlines three different ways that companies can best utilize renewable energy. Continue reading

Future of Energy Lies in Unscaling Energy

by Sharon Ha

In this TechCrunch article, Hemant Taneja, founder of Advanced Energy Economy, and Managing Director at investment firm General Catalyst, predicts that solving climate change and the energy crises lies in unscaling energy; creating alternatives to large power plants. He asserts that the government and energy companies need to support and incentivize entrepreneurs to rethink existing energy markets; less than 2% of the Federal Research & Development budget was spent on energy and big energy companies spend only 0.3% of their revenue on energy R&D. However, energy must become more of a priority because not only will unscaling energy allow for more creative and accessible solutions and prevent further climate change, it will also help the job market and lead to economic growth. Taneja predicts that new technology and entrepreneurship in energy will reinvigorate the market and consumer transactions, much like the inventors of Uber or Skype did to the transportation and communications markets. Continue reading

Moving Towards Consumable Energy: From Power Plants to Solar Panels

by Sharon Ha

In a Greentech Media article, Bennett Cohen predicts a revolutionary shift towards the consumerization of energy, in which the customer will purchase a variety of energy options as opposed to buying from a centralized power plant. Cohen, the chair and co-founder of clean energy financing organization Empower Generation, has also worked for Royal Dutch Shell, Rocky Mountain Institute, and CPower. He states four trends that support his claim: 1. the popularization of distributed energy, 2. the push from government and corporations for lower-carbon energy, 3. the internet of things, and 4. the leap-frogging of developing countries. Continue reading

Mobile Energy: Moving Power Sources Offshore

by Sharon Ha

A recent Greentech Media article outlines the worldwide trend of mobile energy plants being moved into the ocean. Author Julia Pyper surveys energy initiatives regarding mobile power plants across the globe, including China, Russia, Japan, U.S., and Norway. Much of construction will be completed soon, by late 2010s or early 2020s. Pyper also examines the pros and cons of each policy, noting how benefits differ depending on the type of energy plant. Also, these plants are expected to be less harmful to the environment than onshore plants, take up less livable space, and are cheaper to maintain. However, it will be hard to find staff and equipment for these floating devices, and radioactive substances could potentially contaminate the surrounding areas. Continue reading

Bringing Electricity to Off-The-Grid Communities by Micro-Financing

by Sharon Ha

According to a New York Times article published in January 2016, there have been several solar power companies hoping to provide renewable energy to the 300 million people in rural India who do not have access to electricity. The article focuses on the efforts of Selco, a solar power company that is targeting the rural village of Paradeshappanamatha in Southern India, and urban settlements in Bangalore. By utilizing creative financing solutions, Selco, which was founded in 1995, hopes to disprove the myth that only wealthy people can purchase or use solar energy. Continue reading