Sustainable Development Update - August 2017 #2

by Allen Matkins
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Sustainable Development Focus

Salesforce taps SF’s clean energy program to power its offices

San Francisco Chronicle - Aug 7 CleanPowerSF, the green energy program run by San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC), has enrolled its most prominent customer to date. Software giant Salesforce, which is based in San Francisco, is now drawing 100 percent renewable energy in two of its San Francisco high-rises: 50 Fremont Center and 350 Mission St., which together house about 5,000 employees. By tapping the SuperGreen service, which is generated entirely from renewable sources, as its energy provider, Salesforce will reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 1,700 metric tons each year — an amount equivalent to burning 1.8 million pounds of coal, or driving more than 4 million miles in a typical passenger vehicle, according to the PUC. City officials are looking for more companies to follow its lead.

Energy Department helping develop new A/C technologies

Proud Green Building - Aug 4 According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, space cooling will consume an estimated 1.28 quadrillion British thermal units across the United States in 2017 — the equivalent to almost 39 million homes’ electricity use in a year. In residential buildings, space cooling alone makes up 9 percent of a home’s total energy consumption. Additionally, typical air conditioning units use fluorocarbon refrigerants as a coolant, which, if leaked, can lessen the efficiency of an AC system and negatively impact the environment. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office is working on new air conditioning technologies to greatly reduce energy use. For example, the University of Florida is developing a prototype that combines a water heater, dehumidifier, and air cooler, which could result in more efficient heat transfer. This technology provides enhanced dehumidification control in residential buildings, resulting in better comfort and significant energy savings.

Powin Energy to get a Hawaiian solar boost

Portland Business Journal - Aug 3 After landing a series of big utility deals, Powin Energy is edging into the market for energy storage paired with non-utility solar projects, a market that is expected to grow rapidly. The Tualatin, Oregon-based battery systems company said Wednesday it will deploy a total of 2.4 megawatt-hours of storage capacity across seven "behind the meter" solar projects in Hawaii for Adon Renewables. With a 100 percent renewable electricity goal by 2045 and the nation’s highest energy prices, Hawaii has relatively deep distributed solar penetration. That’s created concerns about keeping the grid operating smoothly. Plus, solar’s peak output (early afternoon) isn’t usually matched to peak demand (evening). Paired with solar projects, battery systems like those made by Powin can help tackle both issues, the company says.

Better home batteries are changing the sustainable energy game

Curbed - Aug 3 As the cost of solar and wind power continues to drop, sustainable energy is in the middle of a growth spurt. One of the technologies that may fuel the next phase of sustainable power for homes, companies, and cities has nothing to do with turbines and rooftop installations. It’s all about batteries. Consider the new Peña Station Next project taking shape in Denver, a joint venture among local government, Xcel Energy, and Panasonic. This forthcoming 400-acre “sustainable small town” will run on the energy coming from a large series of solar panels connected to a 1-megawatt, grid-connected battery. Peña Station Next could be an early example of how the confluence of a new generation of energy generation and storage technology helps cut energy costs, and even help some homes and businesses go carbon-free. As analysts at McKinsey & Company put it, energy storage is the next disruptive technology in the power sector, and may be a key to helping public and private players achieve their sustainability goals.

Blockchain-enabled electric car charging comes to California

Greentech Media - Aug 2 A residential electric-car charger spends most of its time just hanging around unused. That underutilization looked like an opportunity to Val Miftakhov, CEO of the smart charger startup eMotorWerks. On Tuesday, the company launched a beta test of a distributed, peer-to-peer charging marketplace in California that lets drivers pay each other for use of their home chargers. If successful, this concept could drastically expand the population of readily available EV chargers, at least in places with a high density of home charging stations. That reduces range anxiety, promoting more EV ownership and potentially generating a virtuous cycle.

Manufacturer covers majority of plant’s power needs with solar

Solar Industry Magazine - Aug 8 Zurn Industries, a manufacturer of plumbing, building, and water solutions for commercial, municipal, and industrial markets, recently completed a solar project to power its facility in Paso Robles. California-based REC Solar built the 550-kW rooftop system and expects the project to meet 88 percent of the facility’s electricity needs, generate 940,000 kWh of electricity annually, and save Zurn Industries an average of about $110,000 every year for the life of the system. REC Solar says the solar system is being financed via a power purchase agreement, which allows Zurn Industries to purchase energy at a lower rate, without paying any upfront costs for the system construction and maintenance.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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