Category: Opinion & Perspective

How AI’s full power can accelerate the fight against climate change

AI has the potential to become the ‘Swiss Army knife’ in our fight against climate change. AI can measure and reduce emissions at scale for any given institution; enable innovative business models to help the climate; improve resilience of societies to climate hazards. It is down to global business leaders to effectively leverage AI’s strengths and utilise them to tackle the most complex challenges obstructing the reduction of emissions at scale.

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Four New Trends in EV Charging Software and Platforms

Electric vehicle infrastructure is a topic that is constantly in the news, and as the industry continues to rapidly evolve, utilities and charging network operators need to be prepared for the future of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) software and platforms. Kimley-Horn’s Ryan Gram, P.E., recently moderated a REGlobal webinar on the future of EV Charging Software and Platforms. Read on to learn the trends to watch, tips to bring value to your customers and maximize efficiency, and predictions for what’s ahead.

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Does Fit for 55 live up to expectations?

The European Commission’s proposals to deliver the European Green Deal are impressive. They are laying out the necessary architecture and measures needed to drive a fair socio-economic transformation to climate neutrality. Key elements of the proposals must however be strengthened through the upcoming negotiations to not only pick up the pace on the transformation of EU heating, power, and industrial sectors, but also boost its social and international credibility.

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If data is the new oil, is Hydrogen the new gas?

Reducing the cost of green H2 depends crucially on two inputs: A combination of cheap RE and large-scale electrolysers reduces the cost of H2 by 75 per cent. Add in the potential for cheap financing via green bonds, expected to grow from issue volume of US $2 trillion this year to US $50 trillion by 2030, the possibility of government subsidies and the dream becomes an achievable tech-play.

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Complete rethink of U.S. electricity transmission is needed to manage climate change: Niskanen Center

Most analyses find that to manage climate change, the United States will need to double or triple the size of its electric transmission system to move low-cost wind and solar energy around the nation and back it up with always-on power plants. But a newly released report from Clean Air Task Force and the Niskanen Center finds that the current piecemeal, project-by-project approach to expanding U.S. electricity transmission won’t get us there. It instead calls for a new system to rapidly scale capacity — including by potentially establishing a National Transmission Organization that would plan, site, and fund a national grid to ensure that burdens and benefits are fairly shared.

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Hydrogen energy could be key to carbon neutrality in the People’s Republic of China

Low carbon hydrogen is an important initiative right now for countries around the world and particularly in the People’s Republic of China, one of the world’s largest producers of hydrogen energy. The People’s Republic of China produced about 20 million tons in 2019. One percent or less was renewable energy hydrogen with the remainder being hydrogen produced from fossil energy (70-80%) and from industrial by-products (more than 20%).

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Major Barrier to Demand Response Needs to End

Earlier this year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) floated the idea of opening up markets for “demand response.” Today, many states, mostly in the Midwest, prohibit their electricity customers from directly providing demand response into FERC-regulated regional power markets through what are known as third-party “aggregators.”

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Innovative finance for cities tackling the net-zero carbon transition

The timeline of the work that needs to be done to move cities to net zero carbon is such that it also requires thinking about stewardship and governance. This is ten to twenty years work which doesn’t fit neatly with our typical political cycle. Setting up governance structures in a way that avoids these programmes being derailed by politics every 3 to 4 years is critical to their chances of success.

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Nordic power markets: At the heart of Europe’s energy transition

With Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden leading the way on renewables integration we explore the outlook for the Nordic power markets. The Nordics have taken an early lead in the energy transition race. With a heavy focus on renewable power and abundant system flexibility, the region is arguably decades ahead of other markets and will play a pivotal role in wider European net zero ambitions. So, how is the Nordic power mix evolving and what will that mean for power prices in the region?

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US wind industry hopes capacity market rule changes place breeze at its back

Planned offshore wind facilities off the U.S. East Coast are effectively blocked from participating in the PJM Interconnection’s multibillion-dollar capacity market under Trump-era rules promulgated by a Republican majority at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

But now that is set to change. With Democrats poised to gain a 3-2 majority at FERC, PJM is set to file changes to its mandatory capacity market that would enable clean energy resources, like offshore wind farms built pursuant to existing state clean energy policies, to fully participate, giving the fledgling industry access to the grid operator’s all-important capacity auctions.

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Banding Together: How Aggregation Helps Cities Buy Renewables at Scale

In March 2021, 24 local governments in Maryland joined together on a plan to purchase enough renewable energy to power more than 246,000 homes a year. They did this by issuing a joint request for proposal (RFP) through the Baltimore Regional Cooperative Purchasing Committee (BRCPC) to seek a supply of up to 240,000 MWh of renewable energy starting in 2022. This large-scale transaction was made possible by an energy procurement approach known as energy aggregation, which is a way for two or more buyers to purchase electricity from a utility-scale generation facility.

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80% Clean Power by 2030: Achievable with Massive Benefits

President Biden’s proposal is cleaning up the nation’s electric power system, the second largest source of the carbon dioxide pollution driving the climate crisis. The president has proposed a target of achieving 80 percent clean electricity by 2030. Cutting power plant emissions on this scale will accomplish at least half of President Biden’s commitment to reduce America’s overall climate changing pollution by 50-52 percent by 2030.

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California Forging Ahead on Zero Emission Buildings

The California Energy Commission (CEC) took a major stride toward zero-carbon emissions buildings in the 2022 update of the statewide building energy code it just adopted. Energy use in buildings is responsible for a quarter of California’s climate pollution, and seven times more toxic nitrogen oxide air pollution than all the state’s power plants.

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Can the US offshore wind industry reach Biden’s 30 GW target?

2021 does mark a clear milestone for the offshore wind industry in the US. Although the federal government had not impeded progress, as the Department of the Interior had conducted leasing of offshore wind areas and permitted demonstration projects, it was not until the Biden administration that the federal government demonstrated firm support for the industry.

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US Can’t Meet Climate Goals While Spending Billions on Gas Infrastructure

The gas industry and utilities are pushing hydrogen, biomethane, and other lower-carbon gases as a reason to maintain gas distribution infrastructure while reducing emissions, hoping that consumers will be willing to cover the costs. A study published in April 2021 by the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy argues for continued investment in the US gas delivery system and advocates for hydrogen and biogas to be used in these systems.

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Major Agreement on Clean Cars Nevada Program Announced

Since Governor Sisolak announced the Clean Cars Nevada initiative in June of 2020, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) has been hard at work developing requirements as part of its Clean Cars Nevada program to expand the availability of electric vehicles, reduce air pollution, and fight climate change. Sixteen other states and the District of Columbia have already adopted or are in the process of adopting clean car programs which, under the Clean Air Act, must be based on California’s requirements. Stakeholders in Nevada, together with the agency, worked for months to resolve key issues, with changes that ultimately provide increased certainty for all parties that the program will be—in practice—neither weaker nor tougher than California’s program as the state phases into the program. The agreement also paves the electric road—so to speak—for organizations to work together on complementary EV programs. 

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Supranational Offshore Wind Projects Possible in The EU Amid Deepening Energy Ties

The EU will offer continued support for multi-national offshore wind projects with attractive advantages. At the end of 2020 the European Commission has proposed its strategy for offshore wind in the EU which includes a 60GW target for 2030 and 300GW by 2050, a significant increase from its current installed capacity at 12-14GW. In order to achieve these goals, we expect to see an increase in supranational developments as markets look beyond their waters for development opportunities. This will drive increased cooperation between member states on offshore interconnection projects.

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Benchmarking 2021: Still Big Opportunities for Cleaner Power

The Biden administration has committed the United States to delivering 50-52 percent economy-wide GHG emission reductions by 2030 through its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), setting the stage for strong global action on climate. NRDC has shown that reducing emissions is achievable and technologically feasible at modest costs with smart planning and policymaking. While achievable, reaching this goal is no small feat, and significant shifts towards clean alternatives to fossil-based energy must continue throughout the economy, beginning with the power sector.

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Mayors Call for Bold Climate Investments

Over 140 mayors from across the nation have signed onto a letter urging Congress to prioritize climate investments in any infrastructure package and center the needs of cities and communities in the process. These mayors want the opportunity to collaborate and innovate with the federal government to ensure cities will receive the much needed, direct funding.

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