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Nine maps that show how climate change is already affecting the US

Nine maps that show how climate change is already affecting the US | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Climate change isn't just a problem for future generations — it's already affecting broad swaths of the United States.

That's the upshot of the National Climate Assessment, a massive new US government report detailing the current and future impacts of global warming around the country. The report is particularly useful in detailing how specific regions and sectors will be affected — and outlining some possible ways we could adapt.

There's a lot of information in the report, but find nine highlights at the link.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



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Via Lauren Moss
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Convincing maps. Great information.

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Russell Roberts's curator insight, May 19, 9:07 PM

Check out this infographic from the National Climate Assessment.  The effects of "climate change" are already being felt.  On the U.S. mainland, the summers are getting hotter and the winters getting colder.  According to data from the Mauna Loa Solar Observatory, the amount of Carbon Dioxide and other "greenhouse" gases is  in the atmosphere is increasing.  Although the climate chage is slight at present the trend will intensify in the next 200 to 1,000 years.  About all we can do is adapt to the coming changes and mititgate the more serious effects as best we can.  Aloha, Russ.

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Germany's Grid: Renewables-Rich and Rock-Solid - IEEE Spectrum

Germany's Grid: Renewables-Rich and Rock-Solid - IEEE Spectrum | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Last Friday Germany’s grid regulator released the 2013 data for grid reliability, and the figures have renewable energy advocates crowing. The latest numbers (released in German) reveal no sign of growing instability despite record levels of renewable energy on the grid — 28.5 percent of the power supplied in the first half of 2014. In fact, Germany's grid is one of the world's most reliable.

According to the Bundesnetzagentur, unplanned outages left the average German consumer without electricity for 15.32 minutes in 2013, down from 15.91 minutes in 2012 and 21.53 minutes in 2006. The performance, using the power industry's System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI), affirms Germany's place in the top five for grid reliability for European countries.

German grid reliability, meanwhile, far outstrips the best SAIDI results delivered by U.S. and Canadian utilities. The top quartile of SAIDI results captured by last year's North American reliability benchmarking exercise by the IEEE Power & Energy Society, for example, had consumers without power for an average of 93 minutes — six times longer than outages experienced by the average German consumer.


What makes Germany's grid reliability notable is the repeated insistence by critics of renewable energy that blackout risk is rising under the German Energiewende or 'energy transition'. As Craig Morris, lead author of the Berlin-based German Energy Transition, writes this week: "The news may come as a surprise to international critics of the Energiewende."

Morris highlights one critical piece published by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Energy Research on the day that the Bundesnetzagentur released its data. The free market, fossil fuel-oriented group argues that German laws driving the installation of relatively clean but intermittent energy sources such as wind turbines and solar panels have already caused a "destabilization of the grid."

The outcome of the Energiewende, predicts the group, will be "a higher potential for blackouts." As Morris' post this week notes, the most likely reason for Germany's grid reliability is the preponderance of underground lines in the distribution networks. Over 80 percent of Germany's low-voltage lines and over 90 percent of its medium-voltage lines are underground. Other European countries scoring high on SAIDI have similar preponderance of underground distribution, including Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands, according to a December 2013 reliability assessment from the Brussels-based Council of European Energy Regulators.

For Germany to maintain its reliability, it may ultimately need a lot more lines. A December 2012 study by the Berlin-based German Energy Agency or DENA found that continued growth in renewables would require 135,000-193,000 kilometers of new lines by 2030, and the upgrading of another 21,000-25,000 km. Stephan Kohler, DENA's CEO, raised doubts that distributors could handle that €27.5-42.5 billion investment, despite financing mechanisms provided by the Bundesnetzagentur to spur investment: “The Federal Network Agency legally mandated an attractive profit. However, our study reveals that in practice the profits from increasing integration of renewable energy systems ... are not adequate for the distribution grid operators to survive."

Upgrades are, however, proceeding at the transmission level. Germany's transmission operators are planning a set of internal high-voltage direct current (HVDC) lines that are expected to help distribute wind power generated in the North to consumers in the South, and to help push excess solar generation in the opposite direction.

The controllability of those HVDC lines should also be a boon for Germany's neighbors. North-South power flows regularly loop out of Germany's grid and hitch a ride over neighboring transmission grids instead. That's an added burden that Poland, in particular, doesn't need. While German consumers enjoy the highest levels of reliability, those in neighboring Poland suffered through an average of 254 minutes of unplanned outages in 2012. In other words, Poland's grid operators have all the work they need just managing their internal system challenges.



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Via Official AndreasCY
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Germany is an example for all when it comes to renewable energy.

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New transparent solar cells can be used on windows, smartphone screens

New transparent solar cells can be used on windows, smartphone screens | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Named a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and developed by researchers in Michigan State University in the US, this material can be used to cover anything that has a flat, clear surface. Transparent solar cell technology has been attempted before, but the energy the cells produced was poor and the materials they were made out of were highly coloured.

"No one wants to sit behind coloured glass,” said one of the researchers behind the technology, chemical engineer Richard Lunt, in a press release. "It makes for a very colourful environment, like working in a disco. We take an approach where we actually make the luminescent active layer itself transparent.”

The new transparent solar cells are made from tiny organic molecules that absorb invisible wavelengths of sunlight such as ultraviolet and near infrared light. This invisble light is then guided to the edge of the solar panel, where thin strips of photovoltaic solar cells pick it up and convert it into energy. "Because the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, they look exceptionally transparent to the human eye," Lunt said.

Not only are they transparent, these solar cells are also flexible. The researchers are now working on scaling the technology up for commercial applications such as window coverings for residential and office buildings, smartphone and tablet screens, electronic signs, and car windows.

"It opens a lot of area to deploy solar energy in a non-intrusive way,” said Lunt. "It can be used on tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader. Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there."



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Via S. Diez de Medina
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Cool!

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Maine Solar Solutions's curator insight, August 21, 5:34 AM

The future is here! Let's distribute it evenly.

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Global Renewable Energy Status Uncovered

Global Renewable Energy Status Uncovered | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

More than a fifth of the world's electrical power production now comes from renewable sources and in 2013 renewables accounted for more than 56 percent of all net additions to global power capacity. These remarkable conclusions come from this year’s Renewables Global Status Report ) (GSR) from REN21. This highly-regarded annual analysis — the 2014 edition was released this summer — concludes that renewable electricity capacity jumped by more than 8 percent overall in 2013, to produce some 22 percent of all global power production. Total global installed renewable electricity capacity reached a staggering 1,560 GW in 2013. More details here: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/08/global-renewable-energy-status-uncovered



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great progress.

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MANAGED GREEN's curator insight, August 17, 10:03 AM

Progress takes time.  Let us help add #Green to your bottom line.  Give us a call today 714.512.5820

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Ocean Energy Turbine project aims to harness energy from the ocean

Ocean Energy Turbine project aims to harness energy from the ocean | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

We've grown accustomed to seeing wind turbines peppered across open patches of land, but researchers working under Crowd Energy are eyeing a different location for generating energy: the depths of the ocean. If successful, a single 100-foot turbine could generate 13.5 megawatts of power.


The project was detailed to the folks at Livescience, with the goal being to create turbines deep in the ocean that use currents to generate power. Crowd Energy was founded by Todd Janca, who came up with the idea and discussed it in detail recently.

The turbine developed by Crowd Energy is a slowly-rotating unit with three large blades that have center-most parts composed of shutters. Depending on water flow, these shutter sections will open or close, resulting in a current rotating the blades in much the same way air works with wind turbines.

Crowdfunding is being used to fund the project, with the goal being to build a turbine with a 100-foot wingspan that could, says the developers, result in 13.5 megawatts of energy. This would greatly outpace the energy produced by wind turbines, and would power thousands of homes.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Interesting concept for generating energy, combined with crowdfunding.

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This Supermarket Runs on Its Own Food Waste! ~ Brenna Fischer

This Supermarket Runs on Its Own Food Waste! ~ Brenna Fischer | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it
It seems the UK supermarket chain, Sainsbury's, has figured out a way to power themselves entirely by their own food waste.

Though turning food waste into energy is nothing new, the fact that a huge chain like Sainsbury’s is using it exclusively to power their store, is huge! They have succeeded in producing zero operational waste going to the landfills.

According to BBC News, the head of Sainsbury’s sustainability department, Paul Crewe, said:

“Sainsbury’s sends absolutely no waste to landfill and we’re always looking for new ways to re-use and recycle.” 

How are they doing it?

Here’s the break-down:

First, if it’s still good for human consumption, the produce that hasn’t been purchased by the end of the day gets marked down (smart, right? I don’t know why stores don’t do this already). After that’s done, anything left over is picked up by charitable organizations and re-distributed.

Next, if it’s not fit for humans it moves onto the next stage and is turned into animal feed.

If the food waste makes it past these two stages without getting used, it’s picked up by Biffa—the waste management company—and taken to an anaerobic digestion plant.

Ok, so pay attention here, because this is really cool.

Biffa and Sainsbury have devised giant silos that act like human stomachs and actually break this food down into bio methane gas, and this gas can actually generate electricity!

Finally, in order to re-route the energy back to the store, Sainsbury has installed a 1.5km electricity cable that runs directly to the store. On top of that, if too much energy is created for the store to use, it all goes back onto the National Grid—talk about sustainability!

Fun fact: Sainsbury’s generates enough energy to power 2,500 homes each year.

Think of what we could do with that kind of energy production.

Hearing this news fills me with hope and excitement about where our future is headed. Knowing that these corporations are starting to move in the direction of sustainability speaks loudly of our voice as consumers.

Decisions at this level are based on what the costumer wants and, let’s face it, what they demand. It’s nice to see that we, as costumers, are starting to demand a better place to live.

I never liked the phrase, “The costumer is always right.” It implies the right to act like a jerk and skit responsibility, just because money is involved. However, it seems in this case we’ve finally decided to use our consumer-powers for good rather than evil.

 ~

Relephant:

All supermarkets should do this!

 ~


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great idea, ready to be duplicated all over the world. Entrepreneurs?

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Support for carbon tax grows when revenue fuels renewable energy

Support for carbon tax grows when revenue fuels renewable energy | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it
A carbon tax with revenues used to fund renewable energy programs gained support from 60 percent of Americans, according to a University of Michigan poll.

That's the highest among tax options presented and one that crossed the political divide with majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents saying they would support the tax, according to the National Surveys on Energy and Environment.

The survey is a joint effort of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at U-M's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the Muhlenberg Institute of Public Opinion at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa.



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-07-carbon-tax-revenue-fuels-renewable.html#jCp


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Support for carbon tax is growing.

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A world without water - FT.com

A world without water - FT.com | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it
“The marginal cost of water is rising around the world,” says Christopher Gasson, publisher of Global Water Intelligence. “Previously, water was treated as a free raw material. Now, companies are realising it can damage their brand, their credibility, their credit rating and their insurance costs. That applies to a computer chipmaker and a food company as much as a power generator or a petrochemicals company.”

To read the full article, click on the title or image.




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Via Marty Koenig
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Comprehensive article from the Financial Times covering the increasing water problems corporations deal with.

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HP, Intel, GM and Walmart demand changes to renewable energy industry

Frustrated by a lack of renewable energy and a purchasing system that's too complicated, a dozen major US companies have joined an initiative to force the government and utilities to change.

Marty Spitzer, director of U.S. Climate and Renewable Energy Policy for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said there is plenty of renewable energy demand from U.S. corporations, but there is not anywhere near enough supply. Additionally, setting up contracts for renewable energy is complex, time consuming and typically not achievable at the scale large corporations want."They want everyone in the utilities market to know they have significant...renewable energy goals and they're here for the long run," Spitzer said. "This isn't a passing fad."

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Once the corporations start to demand renewable energy, the sector will advance significantly.

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(Florida & Louisiana Watch Out!) Bipartisan Report Tallies High Toll on Economy From Global Warming

(Florida & Louisiana Watch Out!) Bipartisan Report Tallies High Toll on Economy From Global Warming | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it
Treasury secretaries dating to the Nixon years backed a new report predicting a heavy loss of coastal properties, a shift of farming northward, and dangerous outdoor conditions because of climate change.

More than a million homes and businesses along the nation’s coasts could flood repeatedly before ultimately being destroyed. Entire states in the Southeast and the Corn Belt may lose much of their agriculture as farming shifts northward in a warming world. Heat and humidity will probably grow so intense that spending time outside will become physically dangerous, throwing industries like construction and tourism into turmoil.

That is a picture of what may happen to the United States economy in a world of unchecked global warming, according to a major new report released Tuesday by a coalition of senior political and economic figures from the left, right and center, including three Treasury secretaries stretching back to the Nixon administration.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.




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Via Linda Alexander
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Global warming is happening. Corporations and lobbyists have been trying to prove the opposite. However, more and more evidence is unfolding. Top 'ex'-politicians are speaking out.

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The Gambier Island House / Mcfarlane Green Biggar Architecture + Design

The Gambier Island House / Mcfarlane Green Biggar Architecture + Design | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

From the architect. The Gambier Island House is a weekend getaway for young Vancouver couple with two children. Peacefully perched atop a steep rocky cliff along the northeast coast of Gambier Island in British Columbia, its design is a contemporary version of a cabin in the woods, offering the basic pleasures of a modern home, while also touching lightly on the ground to minimize its environmental impact. Gambier functions entirely off the grid and is powered by independent sources for heat and electricity.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great example of a green home with minimal environmental impact. It can be beautiful, functional and amazing. There is much more to green building than putting a few solar panels on your roof.

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U.S. solar projects get lift from online tool

U.S. solar projects get lift from online tool | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

As environmental groups gear up for their first "put solar on it" national campaign, an online platform made its debut Tuesday that allows people to nominate local buildings throughout the United States for rooftop solar panels.

The new tool by Mosaic, a company that crowdsources funding for solar projects, allows users to click their "support" for any of 300,000 non-profit buildings — mostly churches, schools, libraries, museums. For every 50 clicks in a building's favor, Mosaic will donate $100 to the solar installation.

"This is a way for everyone in the country to contribute to solar in their communities," says Billy Parish, founder of Oakland, Calif.-based Mosaic. His platform, Mosaic Places, launches in advance of the first National Solar Day of Action on Saturday, the longest day of the year, when a coalition of 32 environmental groups plan grassroots events to promote solar power.


...In March, Mosaic expanded its initial portfolio, which offered a fixed 4.5% annual return to people in New York and California who invested at least $25 in commercial projects, to homeowners wanting to finance rooftop solar arrays. It lends homeowners money for their projects and collects small fees from both the loan and the installers.

To read the full article, click on the title or image...



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Crowdfunding, solar energy, crowdsourcing, all mixed online.

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12 things you didn’t know will change because of climate change | ideas.ted.com

12 things you didn’t know will change because of climate change | ideas.ted.com | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it
Forget floods and droughts. Here are just some of the unexpected ways in which your world is about to change beyond all recognition.
We are familiar, perhaps too much so, with the adverse effects of climate change upon our natural environment. Most every day we learn of increased erosion, acidification, and some unfortunate kind of caterpillar that will not survive the impending endless summer. But that’s not even the half of it.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



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Buffett To Double Down on Renewable Energy Investments

Buffett To Double Down on Renewable Energy Investments | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Warren Buffett briefly lost track of how many billions of dollars his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is spending to build wind and solar power in the U.S. That didn’t stop him from vowing to double the outlay.

Describing the company’s increasing investment in renewable energy at the Edison Electric Institute’s annual convention in Las Vegas yesterday, Buffett had to rely on a deputy, Greg Abel, to remind him just how much they’d committed: $15 billion.

Without missing a beat, Buffett responded: “There’s another $15 billion ready to go, as far as I’m concerned.”

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



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Via The Business Plan Team
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Good news for the renewable energy sector. Money is starting to pour in from sources we never dreamed of.

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The Business Plan Team's curator insight, June 11, 3:31 AM

Doubt that renewables are a genuine investment opportunity? Look again....

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Renewable Energy Momentum Has Passed The Tipping Point

Renewable Energy Momentum Has Passed The Tipping Point | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Editor's Note: This is a great summary piece on the renewable energy revolution from one of CleanTechnica’s daily readers. Unlike with many of the recent reader articles we’ve published, this one doesn’t come from a frequent commenter but from one of the many, many lurkers who read CleanTechnica daily and silently. I’m happy he jumped...



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Great information

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3 Energy Companies Investing In Startups

3 Energy Companies Investing In Startups | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

As recently reported, NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) is acquiring Goal Zero, a company that makes portable solar battery chargers.

The deal is just the latest in a growing trend of energy companies acquiring innovative startups, in an effort to diversify and expand their markets. Here are some recent examples.


Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A)

Back in 2010, Shell acquired a stake in Virent Energy Systems -– a Wisconsin-based company that creates chemicals and fuels from “biomass-derived” sugars.

In 2012, using technology licensed from Virent, Royal Dutch Shell built a next-generation biofuels pilot plant at Shell's Westhollow Technology Center in Houston.


The pilot plant “allows us to explore further biofuels options as we continue to actively manage our advanced biofuels pathways to identify a feasible set of commercial solutions,” Luis Scoffone, Vice President, Alternative Energies at Shell, said at the time.

Virent also has partnerships with Cargill, Coca-Cola, the U.S. Navy, the USDA and the U.S. Department of Energy.


SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY)

While Elon Musk is best known for the Tesla electric car and his SpaceX chimerical space venture, he's also chairman of Solar City, one of America's largest installers of rooftop solar power systems.

And this past June SolarCity announced its acquisition of Silevo, a solar panel technology and manufacturing company.

In a blog co-signed by Musk, SolarCity said the company was in discussions with New York officials regarding the construction of a manufacturing plant in the state, a facility that within the next two years “will be one of the largest solar panel production plants in the world.”

“If we don’t do this, we felt there was a risk of not being able to have the solar panels we need to expand the business in the long term,” Musk said during a June conference call.


Pacific Gas and Electric (NYSE: PCG)

Also known as PG&E, the company is one of the biggest combined natural gas/electric utilities in the country -- supplying natural gas and electricity to an estimated 15 million people in north and central California.

In 2009 PG&E signed a contract with BrightSource Energy, a designer, developer and distributor of solar thermal technology, to create seven solar power projects that would produce an overall total of 1,310 megawatts (MW) of solar thermal power.

But the relationship hasn't always been to plan. Last year, PG&E canceled a plan to purchase power from two BrightSource plants, citing “uncertainty around the timing of transmission upgrades,”



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Five Environmentally Sustainable Startups Compete for $680,000 Prize

AMSTERDAM, Aug. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Five eco-friendly startups from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Vietnam will compete in the finale of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, an annual worldwide competition for startups with environmentally sustainable business plans. One of these entrepreneurs will win €500,000 ($680,000 USD) to realize his or her business plan. On Thursday, Sept. 11, finalists Diego Acevedo, Devin Malone, Arthur Kay, Pierre-Yves Cousteau and Trang Tran will present their ideas in Amsterdam before a jury led by Ellen MacArthur, British ex-solo sailor and founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

For the eighth year, the Dutch Postcode Lottery issued a worldwide call for inventions that reduce carbon emissions. The international competition aims to help green startups bring their innovative sustainable products and services to market. This year, the jury received 324 sustainable business plans from 57 different countries. The jury will award the €500,000 ($680,000) grand prize – intended to help the winner bring his or her product to market within two years – at the finale, taking place in Amsterdam. A runner-up prize of €200,000 ($272,000) is available for one or two other promising finalists.

The Finalists

Bio-bean ltd (United Kingdom): Arthur Kay

Arthur Kay is the co-founder of Bio-bean, a company that uses its patented process to upcycle waste coffee grounds into two advanced biofuel products, namely biodiesel and biomass pellets, used for powering buildings and transport systems. Bio-bean is acting in response to the need of the production of clean, cheap and local energy and responsible waste collection and disposal.

Bluerise (The Netherlands): Diego Acevedo 

Diego Acevedo is the co-founder of Bluerise. His company develops a technology that uses temperature differences in the oceans to generate electricity and cooling. Bluerise enables tropical islands and coastal regions to become 100 percent energy-independent and save up to 90 percent on cooling-related electricity use.

Fargreen (Vietnam): Trang Tran

Most of the world's rice is produced in Asia, where the most common method for rice straw waste disposal is burning. This process releases millions of tons of green house gases (GHG) every year. Trang Tran is co-founder of Fargreen, a company that works with local rice farmers to divert the straw from burning and, using Fargreen's technology, use it as a substrate to produce high quality mushrooms. In doing so, Fargreen stops the release of GHG and helps farmers escape poverty, increasing their income by 50 percent.

One Nights Tent (The Netherlands): Devin Malone

Tens of millions of people camp at music festivals annually. But when the music stops, 1 in 4 campers leave their equipment behind as waste. Devin Malone is the co-founder of One Nights Tent, a company that produces recyclable tents. Users pre-purchase their gear online and receive it right on the festival campsite. Afterwards, One Nights Tent recycles or composts anything left behind.

Turbosail (France): Pierre-Yves Cousteau
Pierre-Yves Cousteau is the co-founder of Turbosail™. This company develops an efficient wind propulsion technology for seagoing vessel operators, which is proven to deliver a 30 percent average reduction in fuel consumption as prototype. The Turbosail functions like an airplane wing, creating an aerodynamic power that lifts the vessel and pushes it forward.

Note to the editor:

For more information and photos:

  • General: www.greenchallenge.info
  • Press room: http://www.greenchallenge.info/index.php/press
  • Follow the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge on Twitter and Facebook

For interview requests with the finalists or jury members please contact monica.belgum@ogilvy.com

About the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge
The Dutch Postcode Lottery has held the Green Challenge every year since 2007 as part of its efforts to make the world a greener place. The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, the world's biggest annual sustainable innovation competition, is aimed at creative, innovative thinkers. Every eco-friendly product or service that cuts CO2 emissions and excels on design, user-friendliness and quality has a chance to win. Entrants submit detailed business plans for consideration by an expert preliminary jury. Previous winners have achieved success with their inventions, in part thanks to the publicity and contacts they obtained through the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge. www.greenchallenge.info

The Dutch Postcode Lottery was founded in 1989 to support charitable causes. Today, 2.5 million people in the Netherlands play every year, vying for hundreds of thousands of prizes each month. As they play, they're supporting charitable causes: half the price of each ticket is distributed among 90 charitable organizations. Since the Postcode Lottery's founding, it has donated more than €4 billion (roughly $5 billion USD) to organizations working on behalf of humanity and the natural environment.



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Some amazing ideas from all around the world.

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3 reasons why Tesla can scale where others have failed

3 reasons why Tesla can scale where others have failed | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Tesla rocked the automotive world last month with news that it plans to build a 5 GW lithium ion battery plant in the United States. That’s huge: 5 GW is equivalent to all of the world’s current battery production, so, Tesla will basically double global battery manufacturing.

This alone is not staggering; companies and industries scale rapidly all the time. What makes Tesla’s announcement so important is that it comes just a few years after battery companies such as A123 and Valence Technology filed for bankruptcy; big corporates such as Bosch and Dow Chemical left the industry, and electric car manufacturers Fisker and Bright Automotive closed their doors.

The battery business is a tough place to make money: capital is expensive, engineering costs are high, supplier qualification periods are long, supply chain economics are tight, and there never seems to be enough electric vehicle demand to get to production capacity. There are plenty of reasons why so many battery companies have struggled. And, since batteries are a sizable chunk of the cost of an electric vehicle (EV), EV manufacturers tend to flounder alongside their battery suppliers.

So, why can Tesla scale in an industry that was considered all but dead in the United States just a few years ago?

3 Reasons:

1.  Know and own your most expensive part

Tesla made the early decision to assemble its own battery packs. It struck a deal with Panasonic to buy small cylindrical battery cells and then assembled the cells and develop the thermal management system, software, electronics, and mechanical enclosure, on its own.

Around a quarter of the cost of a battery pack is in those non-cell components that Tesla is assembling. As volumes rise and designs mature, Tesla is able to directly benefit from any cost optimization.

Integrating a new third party battery pack into a vehicle can take at least 9 months of engineering time and resources. There are often communication hiccups between the battery management system and the vehicle system. Because Tesla designs its vehicles from the ground-up, it is able to optimize the battery pack with the vehicle design, thereby eliminating the time and resources involved in battery integration.

2. Don’t aim for radical technology disruption

New battery cell technology takes years of R&D and testing. Often results that are groundbreaking on a lab scale are not corroborated when the technology is scaled to production. It is very hard to scale new battery technology and maintain the performance, quality, and safety targets.

The Panasonic 18650 cells, which Tesla purchases, are standard small cells, about the size of those used in laptop computers. They are used widely across multiple industries and are already at production capacity. Tesla therefore benefits from volume pricing and logistics security. It has not had to go through the painful process of scaling a new technology and manufacturing plant to production capacity.

Now, Tesla is reported to be working on a second-generation cell design with Panasonic, but this will hit production after the company has already established its brand and has the flexibility to test a new product. Unlike its competitors, Tesla opted for a known technology that was already produced at volume, which lowered their technology risk, allowed volume pricing early on, and reduced the risk of supply chain disruptions.

3. Secure patient capital with a long-term view

The electric vehicle market is no place to make a quick buck. Although the market is growing, it takes five to eight years for most battery and vehicle platforms to see profitability. Indeed, it took Tesla 10 years.

Many investors in battery companies have had unrealistic expectations that stifled organic growth. Fisker Automotive, A123 and others received upwards of $130 million each in loans from the DOE to support their production. Many hailed these funds as the gateway to manufacture and get to market. However, these loans were chump change in such a capital-intensive industry. Fisker needed closer to $2 billion to be successful.

Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, has had no such illusions. In 2007, he spent his last $20 million to keep Tesla afloat, even when he was rumored to be living off of personal loans from friends. His strategy in fundraising was to set expectations on par with automotive industry standards, where everything – especially new technologies takes time, lots of time. Patience allowed Tesla to grow steadily with the market’s growth and bequeathed it the time it needed to optimize its production.

Shortly after Tesla announced its plans to build a 5 GW factory, the company opened up its patents to competitors, allowing any other car company to use the Tesla technology. These patents specify Tesla’s batteries, so Tesla was in effect catalyzing more demand for their batteries. This was another smart move, which simultaneously scales the electric vehicle ecosystem alongside the company’s own topline growth. Indeed, 5 GW may just be the beginning.

Mira Inbar is a business development consultant, specializing in bringing new technologies to market in the energy and advanced materials sectors. She was one of the founding member’s of Dow Chemical’s lithium ion battery business.

More about the companies and people from this article:
  • Tesla Motors

Tesla's goal is to accelerate the world's transition to electric mobility with a full range of increasingly affordable electric cars. Palo Alto, California-based Tesla designs and manufactures EVs and EV powertrain components. Tesla ha... read more »



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Via Justin Jones
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

What Musk is doing is really mind boggling. It's very disruptive in many ways. Hopefully the oil industry will allow him to do this.

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Sustainability's Mystery Metrics

Sustainability's Mystery Metrics | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it
How unjustified fears are holding back business.

Articles have been published recently making the case that for all of it's importance to corporate strategy, sustainability isn't valued yet by corporate investors and that the disconnect comes from a lack of clear metrics to report. While it may be true that a difference in reporting will better connect financial stakeholders to sustainability's value if you drill down you'll find that the underlying assumptions are a little silly and a lot counterproductive.

Tuesday's very well received post "The Sentence that Defines Your Sustainability Program" was all about metrics. For that reason you may expect agreement here with those articles, but internal value and value to in the eyes of investors are very different things. The case will be made that there are lots of critical business functions that add value but suffer from difficult and dis-uniform metrics.
Consider these three:

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Excellent article about business, investors, and how sustainability is not valued by investors.

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Green start-ups challenged to develop green business plans for chance to win $680,000

The fast-growing clean energy and technology market has the potential to make our economies more sustainable and future-proof. Today’s innovators have the ability to unlock a “green revolution” that builds resilience, creates value and grows prosperity.

The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge challenges the innovators to submit their sustainable business plans. This contest is seeking CO2 reducing ideas from sustainable entrepreneurs. Entrants for the Green Challenge can win $680,000.

The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is the largest annual worldwide competition for sustainable entrepreneurs who can instigate change. It is an effort of the Dutch Postcode Lottery to bring smart and innovative green products and services to the mass market and thereby helping to combat climate change. The competition aims to identify a product or a service that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is capable of being brought to the market within two years. People from all over the world can (free of costs) submit their sustainable business plan until June 3, at www.greenchallenge.info. This year the Dutch Postcode Lottery organizes the eighth edition of the Green Challenge.

“Climate change presents a challenge for us all. The world needs help embracing a more sustainable way of life. One bright idea can make a big difference,” says Marieke van Schaijk, managing director of the Dutch Postcode Lottery. “We started the Green Challenge to promote the invention of great new green products and services. Simple, yet effective ideas that have a massive impact, can be executed rapidly and are ready to speed up the transition towards a low carbon economy. The answers to the issues of our time are already in front of us. But it takes brilliant and innovative entrepreneurs to raise those answers and get then out into the world.”

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Here's a chance to win a significant amount of funding for your green idea.

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Blue chips unite to drive renewable energy revolution

Blue chips unite to drive renewable energy revolution | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it
A group of 12 leading companies have signed up to the Renewable Energy Buyers' Principles in an effort to better communicate their expectations of the renewables marketplace. - edie news centre

Key targets

The Buyers' Principles include six criteria to help companies achieve their targets in renewable energy. These include:

1) Greater choice in procuring renewable energy 
2) Cost competitiveness between traditional and renewable energy rates 
3) Access to long-term, fixed-price renewables 
4) Access to new projects to help drive emissions reductions beyond 'business as usual'
5) Streamlined third-party financing 
6) Opportunities to work with utilities to expand buyer choice


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This article adds more detail to what we've shared before.

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Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and other cities headed for imminent water supply collapse; wave of drought refugees now inevitable

Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and other cities headed for imminent water supply collapse; wave of drought refugees now inevitable | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it


Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and other cities headed for imminent water supply collapse; wave of drought refugees now inevitable.

One bizarre trait that strongly characterizes modern human civilization is a widespread inability to plan ahead. On every issue imaginable -- debt spending, fossil fuels, health care costs, resource extraction and so on -- our citizens and political leaders demonstrate near-retarded cognitive function by failing to see where their actions might lead. (And it's almost as if they're proud to be so stupid, too.)

There's no better example of this than the city of Las Vegas, Nevada -- a city of 600,000 people who almost universally depend on one lake for their water.

And that lake is running dry at an alarming rate, after which there will be no more water for Las Vegas.

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Via #BBBundyBlog #NOMORELIES Tom Woods #Activist Award #Scoopiteer >20,000 Sources >250K Connections http://goo.gl/ruHO3Q
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Planning ahead, beyond their term, is not on a politician's agenda. Here are some pretty bad examples.

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Sad statistics: 25 Alarming Global Warming Facts

Sad statistics: 25 Alarming Global Warming Facts | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Global warming is among the most alarming environmental issues that the world faces today. This phenomenon does not simply involve the significant rise in the earth’s temperature but a lot more. The adverse effects of global warming have become more and more apparent since the dawn of the 20th century, with more hurricanes and tropical storms causing massive destruction in different areas around the world, more animal species losing their habitats and becoming extinct, and more people dying because of too much heat. Here are 25 alarming global warming statistics.

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Alarming numbers.

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Jim Doyle's curator insight, June 23, 5:51 AM

Sad statistics: 25 Alarming Global Warming Facts

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Elon Musk is giving up Tesla’s patents for free (and no, he’s not insane)

Elon Musk is giving up Tesla’s patents for free (and no, he’s not insane) | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it


In a blog post today, titled “All Our Patent Are Belong To You,” Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, announced that the company is opening up its patents so other automakers can use its technology.

“Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters,” Musk began. “That is no longer the case. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.”

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Via Justin Jones
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Business has always been done in the spirit of 'competition'. The spirit of sharing and advancement will make the difference needed.

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California Water Supply, Drought | infographic

California Water Supply, Drought | infographic | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

California is suffering from a third year of drought, with near-record-low reservoirs, mountain snowpack, soil moisture, and river runoff. As a direct result, far less water than usual is available for cities, farms, and natural ecosystems. There are far-reaching effects that will intensify if dry conditions persist. Several response strategies are available that will provide both near-term relief and long-term benefits. This report from NRDC and the Pacific Institute examines the significant potential contributions available from four priority opportunities: improved urban and agricultural water efficiency, reuse and recycling of water, and increased capture of local rain water.

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Via Lauren Moss
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These response strategies challenge our innovation and efficiency. Survival is on the line.

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Climate Change Storytelling: How Stories Can Help Turn the Tide On Any Complex Issue

Climate Change Storytelling: How Stories Can Help Turn the Tide On Any Complex Issue | Investing in Renewable Energy | Scoop.it
There is no shortage of discussion on climate change; it seems almost pervasive these days. The media report extreme weather events, animal extinction (think polar bears floating off to sea), health problems, and the political push and pull around the issue.  The problem is also prevalent in popular culture, with magazines running special issues, movies showing the end of our days, and video games that presenting post-apocalyptic scenarios.  Yet, we have very little consensus about how to deal with it. Robert Redford recently wrote a blog post calling for more storytelling on “complicated, politically charged issues like our environment and the need for swift action to combat climate change.”

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Via Karen Dietz
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Glad to see influential people who know how to tell a story get involved.

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Karen Dietz's curator insight, June 12, 11:59 AM

If you are committed to positive change happening on any complicated social issue, stories can help. And here's a terrific post by Roxanne Bauer discussing how storytelling makes a difference -- and its limitations, too.


Years ago I coached the top global expert on grizzly bears. Her lament: "We scientists keep doing the same thing over and over again (sharing data and danger) and expecting different results. I think storytelling may be the answer to bring about needed change."


She is so right. Her stories about the importance of, decline of, and what to do about supporting grizzly bears got standing ovations.


This is not so much an article about "Yes we can". It's understanding more about how stories work on making complex issues less intimidating, and how they overcome the limitations of technical language where eyes glaze over.


I particularly like Bauer's statement that stories can/should address the underlying consequences of an issue that hit home for people. She's got good examples to make her point.


To change the world, get your storytelling game on. Let's remember what doesn't work/hasn't worked and share stories to experience different results.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

Joao Leao's curator insight, June 17, 8:43 AM

Climate change is NOT a Story!