Germany is embarking on an innovative project to turn a coal mine into a giant battery that can store surplus solar and wind energy and release it when supplies are lean.
The Prosper-Haniel coal mine in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia will be converted into a 200 megawatt pumped-storage hydroelectric reservoir that acts like a giant battery. The capacity is enough to power more than 400,000 homes, according to Governor Hannelore Kraft.
You might think common urban complaints in the major cities of Western Europe might be about the state of the roads, or property prices. But there’s increasingly a more serious complaint: not being able to breathe. Cities might be efficient machines for living, but when we collectively burn gas to heat our homes and then collectively sit in traffic every morning, we’re making our machines unliveable.
Despite global progress made on lowering emissions, cities from London to Beijing to São Paulo have atmospheres that are so polluted that residents are often warned not to leave their homes unless they have to. To combat the problem, three European cities–London, Paris, and Barcelona–and their mayors are pursuing radical policies to cut traffic, often to the deep chagrin of the cities’ drivers, but at great benefit to their citizens’ lungs.
Tesla’s Kauai solar power facility is officially open for business, with a 13 MW SolarCity solar farm installation providing power to a Powerpack storage facility with 52 MWh of total capacity. The beauty of the new facility, in terms of the specific needs of the sun-soaked island in the Pacific, is that it can capture energy from the sun during peak daytime production hours, and then keep that power ready for peak consumption hours at night.
Tesla’s new solar facility in Kauai isn’t going to completely reduce its dependence on fossil fuels — the island will still rely on diesel shipped in to provide some of its power requirements. But the new facility will offset some of that use of dirty burning fuel, reducing overall usage of fossil fuels for power needs by around 1.6 million gallons per year.
Across the world, myriad efforts are underway to make energy systems cleaner, smarter, and more efficient. But it’s hard to get a sense of the total size of those efforts, as they are spread across so many different industries and regions. Navigant Research reports on the growth and size of both the national and global advanced energy industries from 2011 through 2016, and there are some very interesting findings:
Here’s an article by our very ownProfessor Stuart L. Hart in which he writes about the Jungian concept of enantiodromia and tells us what business must do going forward.
Hart stresses that the majority of corporate growth (and later, profits) comes from new strategic initiatives rather than from the continuing development and improvement of existing businesses.
We must refocus our attention on new, transformational strategic moves (or initiatives).Rather than chasing the fantasy of rating entire corporations as to their “sustainability,” let us instead shift the “unit of analysis” and spend more time understanding (and driving) the Green Leap – new strategic initiatives within corporations focused on leapfrog, clean technology and disruptive new business models that serve and lift the poor.
Only 2 percent of the 78 million tons of plastic used each year for packaging is actually recycled. The remaining 98 percent finds its way into landfills, incineration plants and the environment. New innovations and initiatives from across the U.S. and Canada, however, are offering new solutions to tackle the ever-growing plastics problem.
Part of the problem lies within product composition: Currently, polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) — which comprise the majority of the world’s plastics — cannot be repurposed together. But Geoffrey Coates, professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Tisch University, and a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota may have found a solution.
When temperatures surged well over 100 degrees in Australia during a heat wave in February, the electric grid couldn’t handle the demand from air conditioners, and 90,000 people lost power. Normally, the government would fire up a backup gas power plant to meet surges in demand. But instead, new software could let rooftop solar power do the same thing.
On Wednesday, February 1, the Senate passed a resolution to remove the Stream Protection Act, a decision that is certain to be stamped with the seal of approval by President Trump in the coming weeks. As summarized by Coal Age, a pro-coal mining news source:
“The final rule (Stream Protection Act) updated the 33-year-old regulations with stronger requirements for surface coal mining operations. The rule would require companies to restore streams and return mined areas to the uses they were capable of supporting prior to mining activities, and replant these areas with native trees and vegetation, unless that would conflict with the implemented land use. The rule requires the testing and monitoring of the condition of streams that might be affected by mining — before, during and after their operations — to provide baseline data that ensures operators can detect and correct problems that could arise, and restore mined areas to their previous condition.”
54 senators opposed the Stream Protection Act, arguing that the law was too burdensome and would kill jobs in the coal industry.
Click to register for this free, informative webinar
Over the past 25 years, most major business schools have added some kind of program focused on sustainability, corporate citizenship, or social entrepreneurship, though they are not integrated into the core DNA of the institution.
The University of Vermont’s Sustainability Entrepreneurship MBA (SEMBA) is unique in that it fundamentally reinvents business education and the MBA degree to address the urgent sustainability challenges we face in the 21st century. The curriculum is focused 100% on sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship. In this webinar, Professor Stuart Hart will describe the design and significance of the SEMBA — a 12 month, AACSB-accredited program focused on developing the next generation of business leaders who will innovate enterprises to move us more rapidly toward a sustainable world. Vinca Krajewski, a SEMBA graduate and currently Associate Brand Manager at Seventh Generation, will describe her experience in the program and how it has uniquely prepared her to be a changemaker for sustainable innovation.