Sustainable Development Update - April 2017

by Allen Matkins

Sustainable Development Focus

Affordable energy storage with power-to-gas technology?

IEEE GlobalSpec - Mar 31

New research, conducted at the University of California, Irvine and funded by Southern California Gas (SoCalGas), on power-to-gas technology suggests the energy storage technique holds the ability to increase the use of intermittent renewable energy. The study used data from the UCI campus microgrid, which includes solar panels that produce about 4 megawatts (MW) of peak power. With power-to-gas technology, excess electricity can be used to make hydrogen that can be integrated into existing natural gas pipeline infrastructure and stored for later use. Simulations showed that by storing excess solar power on sunny days and using an electrolyzer to produce renewable hydrogen, the microgrid could support an additional 30 MW of solar panels. The increased solar deployment raised the fraction of renewable power used on campus from 3.5% to 35%.

The race to put more zero-emission cars on the road

GreenBiz - Mar 28 California has led the charge for electric vehicles with an ambitious strategy to put 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025 (Executive Order B-16-2012) with the ultimate goal of transitioning virtually all personal transportation in the state to zero-emission cars by 2050. This leadership has paid off; California continues to make up for about half of the growth of electric vehicles in the U.S. Electric-car sales continue to climb despite relatively low gas prices. That said, a new study by the California Center for Jobs and the Economy suggests that the EV picture isn’t as bright as it seems ― finding that California is underperforming to reach its 2025 goal. About 71,000 zero-emission vehicles (electric and hydrogen-powered) are being sold each year in the state, but annual sales need to be about 175,000 to reach the target in the coming decade.

Del Mar City Hall hopes to go solar

Del Mar Times - Mar 28 As construction of Del Mar’s sprawling new civic center on Camino Del Mar bulldozes ahead throughout the rest of this year, the roof of the future city hall will bear perhaps the project’s crowning achievement: an array of solar panels connected to an innovative battery storage system that will together make the civic center one of the most energy-efficient endeavors anywhere in the region. The solar endeavor—and the civic center overall—marks the first major step toward implementing the landmark vision laid out in the Climate Action Plan city leaders enacted last year, which calls for Del Mar to run exclusively on renewable energy by 2035. All told, the solar component is expected to cost nearly $493,000. The city is awaiting word on a $393,000 grant from the California Energy Commission, with the remainder to be covered by an in-kind match.

Berkeley Lab building earns gold recognition

Proud Green Building - Apr 3 Berkeley Lab’s Shyh Wang Hall, home to the Computing Sciences organization, is being commended for its environmental and energy-efficient design after earning a gold LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, according to a press release. Examples of features that contributed to the certification include innovative cooling that eliminated the need for conventional chillers and maximized the use of outside air, large hydro-modification tanks underneath the facility that mitigate storm water runoff impact, and a low-emissivity roof to reduce radiant thermal energy, she said. Wang Hall, officially unveiled in November 2015, is Berkeley Lab’s sixth building to earn LEED certification, including one LEED platinum and four other LEED gold certifications.


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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