This essay is the first of a six-part collaboration between Benjamin Bovarnick and Sara Harari. The collection closely examines the barriers facing adoption of new, advanced energy technologies that can revolutionize electric-grid operations and utility business models and spark potential solutions to elicit faster transformation in this expansive industry.
Although clean energy may not take center stage as the star employment generator in the Great Recession recovery, it plays an important supporting role, according to Jim Barrett, chief economist at American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. This goes above and beyond the economic benefits of climate protection reported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Adoption of solar power and microgrid technologies has been on the rise in frontier and growth markets. This trend results from declining equipment costs and increasing support from development funds, government programs, and impact investors. But there is much room to fill. There are as many as 1.1 billion people around the globe who still don’t have access to a reliable supply of electricity. Microgrids can help address the issue without expensive transmission and distribution infrastructure.
Is the sun rising on a new opportunity in Chicago that may fill the venture capital (VC) gap for clean-energy startups? On Aug. 1, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Innovative Pathways Program announced funding for 11 organizations that are advancing emerging technologies and leveraging private capital. Benjamin Gaddy, director of technology development at Clean Energy Trust, spoke with Clean Energy Finance Forum about the award his accelerator has received. He also said his team’s projects are bringing fresh energy to the regional and national market.
A number of senators and representatives led by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) have cosponsored The Green Bank Act of 2017 (PDF) (S. 1406. H.R. 2995). The act is expected to support the establishment of a national green bank capitalized with $10 billion in treasury-issued green bonds. This is the third time legislators have proposed it.
Energy storage for solar PV is a critically important technology because of its ability to resolve the primary drawback of solar power – namely, that the sun doesn’t shine all the time. Organizations such as Clean Energy Group (CEG) are leveraging software to advance these technologies as a means to expand energy resiliency and affordability.
How can solar financing be improved in the United States? Experts shared their vision for the future at the Green Investing Conference held by the Information Management Network (IMN) on April 27 in New York City. Attendees included energy investors, rating agencies, legal counsel, and other professionals. The opening panel, “The Green Landscape for Investing: What, When, Where and Why?” addressed both current situations and future goals.
Who is driving corporate sustainability forward? In this interview, David Lubin, co-founder and managing director of Constellation Research and Technology, shared his perspective on CFOs’ role in steering the wheel of these decisions. It often takes a dedicated commitment made by a CEO to make a compelling case – and an integrated sustainability plan carried out by the CFO to make it happen.
While energy-storage technologies are becoming an increasingly viable option, storage for solar (solar+storage) is mostly serving only high-end commercial markets. However, since this combination reduces costs and increases resilience, this emerging market is uniquely positioned to greatly benefit low-to-moderate-income (LMI) communities. The challenge is: how can we make it financially viable for this underserved demographic?
The MIT Energy Conference, which took place on March 3-4 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, explored the financial and social barriers to the major infrastructure projects that are required to support next-generation energy investments. Speakers analyzed the many changes that stakeholders face when they start expanding their use of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
In regions of the developing world where electrical grids are weak or nonexistent, people often rely on kerosene. In a webinar on Sept. 16, staff from four pay-as-you-go solar companies described how they are building rural sales networks in Africa and India to replace kerosene lighting.
On May 7, 2014, Unilever and NRG Energy announced the formation of a strategic partnership. The goal? To source 100 percent of the energy used by Unilever’s United States operations from onsite and offsite renewable generation by 2020. During a recent two-day conference, managers from both companies reflected on the progress they’ve made and the lessons they’ve learned during the past year.
In the United States, microgrids are concentrated in the Northeast, according to Katherine Tweed, a writer at Greentech Media. How can microgrids expand their footprint and reach other regions and cities?
Climate resilience retrofits for affordable multifamily housing are critical to the survival of apartment residents. Jim Newman, principal of Linnean Solutions, said in a workshop at BuildingEnergy 15 on March 4 in Boston that “a lot of people are going to be sheltering in place.”