Project Better Place: Danish Electric Car Network Plugs Into Wind to Create a “Virtual Oil Field”

Thomas Schueneman | Wednesday April 9th, 2008 | 3 Comments

Project Better Place: Creating a Virtual Oil Field“How can we make the world a better place? One electric car at a time.”

That’s the driving force (if you’ll excuse the pun) behind a partnership between a Danish energy company and Silicon Valley startup Project Better Place, announcing their plan to establish an electric car network in Denmark powered through 20,000 wind powered recharging stations. The cars will be recharged at night, when wind turbines are spinning but demand on the grid is low. DONG Energy will work with Project Better Place in the project, set to start in 2011 at a cost of $42.3 million. CEO of DONG Energy Anders Eldrup said, “With this project, we hope to contribute substantially to reducing CO2 emissions from Danish cars.”

The cars will be manufactured by Renault-Nissan using advanced lithium-ion battery packs produced in a joint venture by Nissan and NEC in Japan.

Project Better Place is the brainchild Israeli-American entrepreneur Shai Agassi, whose first project in Israel was announced last January.

Writing in his blog, Agassi likens the concept to a virtual oil field, “one that will never run dry, and will not kill us in the process…”

Project Better Place has secured $200 million in its first round of funding  and plans on focusing on developing a repeatable model of establishing a grid of recharging stations powered by local operating companies. The company is currently talking with several governments in hopes of creating more pilot projects.

One electric car at at time.

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Rainforest Alliance SmartWood Certification

| Tuesday April 8th, 2008 | 0 Comments

GIBSON.JPGRainforest Alliance’s SmartWood certification guarantees that the hardwoods provided were harvested responsibly. Accordingly, the certified producers of these hardwoods are also making moves to maximize the habitat and watershed preservation. Synthetic pesticides are also slated to be reduced, however, not eliminated altogether.
For example, one fine and legendary use for this SmartWood has been implemented by Les Paul. He has designed a mahogany and muirapiranga electric guitar using only certified SmartWood. And by the way Les Paul can still rip it at the ripe old age of 92. Not half bad…
The Alliance has a mission, and that is, simply put, to encourage a stronger on-the-ground forestry practice that rewards businesses, governments and communities for meeting the required standards for sustainability. Local community support and biodiversity practices are a critical aspect to the program. Since the founding in 1989, the SmartWood council has certified some 2,300 operations and 43,000,000 million hectares in over 60 countries up to the code of FSC standards.

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SB20: The World’s Most Sustainable Stocks

Shannon Arvizu | Tuesday April 8th, 2008 | 1 Comment

penguinresized.jpg Do you walk the talk when it comes to investing? Maybe you’ve been waiting to see which stocks make the most green while promoting green. recently released their Sixth Annual Sustainable Business 20 List to help you in your conscious investing decisions. The list details which stocks perform the best on the social/environmental performance scale and includes large, medium, and small companies representing a variety of sectors. So, which firms deserve our money?
The SB20 list includes:
Best Water Technology (Vienna: BWT.VI) (Austria);
Canon (NYSE: CAJ) (Japan);
Comverge (Nasdaq: COMV) (USA);
Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) (USA);
First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) (USA);
Fuel Tech (Nasdaq: FTEK) (USA);
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR) (USA);
and more…

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AskPablo: Can we get enough power from the sun to power America?

| Monday April 7th, 2008 | 0 Comments

I’ve read in more than one place that 100 square miles of solar panels in the U.S. would meet all our energy needs. Wondering if you thought this was accurate and, if so, achievable?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could completely switch from being a carbon-based economy to being a solar-based economy? The answer shouldn’t be too hard to find but the conclusions might surprise you.
Solar photovoltaic modules or panels convert beams of energy from the sun — photons — into electrons, which we can then use as electricity. According to Dan Berger, senior project designer at SPG Solar, we receive about 6.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per square meter of solar energy per day, or 2,373 kWh per square meter per year. At 12 percent efficiency, the solar panels generate 285 kWh per year. The average American used 12,000 kWh in 2003, so each person would need around 42 square meters of solar panels (about 450 square feet).
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Water Crisis: An Investment Opportunity

Sarah Lozanova | Monday April 7th, 2008 | 5 Comments

water-tap.jpgWater shortages are on the rise, from Mexico to the Andes, northern China to southern India, and Spain to Pakistan. Drought, soaring populations and population densities, changing diets, and increasing living standards are all factors. Is this an issue that technology can fix?
Judging by investors’ responses, technology can at least mitigate the problem. FourWinds will invest up to $4.7 billion in water treatment and desalinization and companies that make meters, pumps, and pipes.

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EU ETS Phase I & Emissions Abatement

| Monday April 7th, 2008 | 4 Comments

With the launch and ongoing development of its Emissions Trading Scheme, the European Union stepped forward and has been the prime mover when it comes to trying to cap carbon dioxide emissions, both within its growing borders and internationally – by establishing market-driven mechanisms that put a price on them, thereby enabling industry, private investors and government agencies to factor them into resource allocation and investment decisions. But have carbon dioxide emissions declined or leveled off as a result? Yes, according to “The European Carbon Market in Action: Lessons from the First Trading Period,” an interim report from an international team of contributors prepared by the Mission Climat of Caisse des Depots.
In addition to establishing the world’s first, and by far the largest, market for emissions allowances, the ETS’s three-year Phase I trial period has been successful in a number of significant ways, the authors maintain. The Phase I trial period has established a basis of price, market mechanics and emissions data that is benefiting market participants, industry and commerce, researchers and policy makers, paving the way for its expansion and more widespread and substantial progress in ETS Phase II, which began this year and runs through 2012. Moreover, it has been a boon and catalyst for the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Initiative.
In addition, problems relating to supply-demand conditions, free vs. auctioned allowances and windfall profits, and regarding emissions data collection and forecasting methods and models were identified and factored into European Commission and individual national government policies, national allocation and market development plans.

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Eco TV is greener than Philips wants you to believe

| Monday April 7th, 2008 | 0 Comments

eco-tv.jpgFor that strange little cross section of environmentalist and videophile, there is a high definition TV out there for you. I’m talking about the recently launched, CES award-winning Philips 42PFL5603D Flat TV 42″, better known as the Eco TV. The problem is that you may never hear about it.
The set is RoHS compliant, meaning it is virtually free of the six major heavy metals including lead, mercury and cadmium that are a danger to your health and the environment. It also uses less energy by dimming in response to ambient light and using a mere 0.15W on standby. The packaging and manuals use recycled material for a nice touch. The set runs in full 1080p and uses Philips Pixel Plus HD technology to remove artifacts so you’ll always get a nice image. And at $1399.99, the set is comparably priced.
Sounds great, right?

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Announcing ClimatePULSE with ClimateCHECK

| Monday April 7th, 2008 | 4 Comments

Welcome to “ClimatePULSE with ClimateCHECK”, a weekly blog on Triple Pundit covering the world of GHG management and GHG markets in North America. ClimateCHECK is a top tier provider of credible, practical and innovative greenhouse gas (GHG) management for carbon commodities and clean technology solutions. We guide our clients through risk management and compliance issues and into innovative GHG management solutions that create value by improving environmental and economic returns; something we like to call the “double dividend” approach.

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Indoor Air Quality: Facts and Solutions Part I

| Friday April 4th, 2008 | 3 Comments

Despite the amount of time we spend in homes and offices, most of us are not aware of the indoor air pollution in our personal and work environments. In fact, most Americans spend a minimum of 90 percent of their lives indoors. Considering this staggering statistic, it’s a wonder why more people are not at least as concerned about the quality of air inside, as they are about the air outside.
The every day products we purchase and use as consumers in our homes or indoor environments release harmful chemicals into the air we breathe and re-breathe day in and day out. From TVs to shampoos, draperies and air fresheners: all can contribute to toxic environments.

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Dell Headquarters Powered With Green Energy

Thomas Schueneman | Friday April 4th, 2008 | 1 Comment

Texas wind farm helps power Dell headquartersIt was announced yesterday that Dell Computer’s 2.1 million-square-foot headquarters in Round Rock, Texas is now powered entirely with renewable energy. 60% of the energy is supplied by wind power generated by Energy Future Holdings Corp.’s TXU Energy and the remaining 40% from Waste Management’s landfill gas-to-energy plant.

Dell, a participant in Austin Energy’s GreenChoice® power program, also announced it is increasing it’s renewable energy at its Austin Parmer Campus from 8 to 17%.

In Twin Falls, Idaho, Dell powers a call center with all renewable energy, 97% from wind and 3% from solar.

All this is in step with Dell’s goal, announced last fall, of going carbon neutral in 2008.

President Paul Bell challenged other technology firms to follow suit and take the lead in helping create a new energy future,
“It’s time for our industry to take a lead role in creating a clean energy future. Today, we are challenging every technology company to work with their suppliers and partners in integrating green power and energy-efficient strategies into their operations.” 

Oh, and it’s saving the company money as well: Says Bell, “We’re using green technology to drive operating expense down.”




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SF Works: Building a Brand and Reaching the Conscious Consumer

Thomas Schueneman | Friday April 4th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Creating a sustainable brand by aligning values with businessSustainability is the Opportunity”
-Jeff Mendelsohn, Founder and President of New Leaf Paper

Last evening Triple Pundit founder Nick Aster and I attended one of the series of “Business Conversations”  presented by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and SF Works in partnership with Net Impact, Sustainable Industries, the Social Venture Network, and Pacific Community Ventures.

The program focused on “building a socially responsible brand for the conscious consumer”.

The panel included Matthew and Terces Engelhart of Cafe Gratitude, Lori Ann Thrupp, manager of sustainability and organic development for Fetzer Vineyards, and Jeff Mendelsohn, founder of New Leaf Paper. Kim Davis, currently a managing partner with BBMG and whose resume as a marketer and consultant in socially conscious branding is too long to list here, moderated the discussion.

50% of American consumers purchase from socially conscious businesses. According to CO-OP America’s Green Business Network and Conscious Media and Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS), “green” consumers put $230 billion dollars into the economy, and the number is on the rise.

The panel discussed issues and challenges of creating and maintaining a socially conscious business, from Fetzer’s sourcing of grapes to Cafe Gratitude’s lawsuit with a vendor who refused to provide bleach-free napkins, but throughout the discussion the message to me was one of aligning business with values.

As Cafe Gratitude’s Matthew Engelhart said, there is a growing feeling in America that business as usual “just isn’t working”. Greenwashing is inevitable as the “green” marketplace grows into the mainstream and the buzz words surrounding it are bandied about with increasing frequency, creating a challenge not only for consumers but for socially and environmentally minded businesses as well. 

Through the clutter, those entrepreneurs, managers, and owners that align their own values with their business practices will ultimately reach their market and thrive. Not from a nifty sounding tagline or a highly-produced ad campaign, but from their own expression of value and values brought to the marketplace. The market is, after all, about people and what they value. 

This isn’t to say there aren’t challenges in creating a socially responsible and sustainable brand. But as Jeff Mendelsohn simply and eloquently said, therein lies the opportunity.  


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Green Collar Jobs: Van Jones on the Colbert Report

| Friday April 4th, 2008 | 1 Comment

Friday is a good day to watch a little Steven Colbert. The other day, Van Jones guest starred and rolled with Steven’s punches to give a pretty good depiction of the idea of a green economy and the potential for millions of associated jobs. Enjoy:

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Gridpoint, Duke Energy Conduct First Commercial PHEV Test

| Friday April 4th, 2008 | 1 Comment

Duke Energy and Gridpoint Inc. on March 27 announced what they believe to be the first successful commercial test of utility-controlled charging a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) using smart grid technology.
Using the latter’s SmartGrid systems platform, Duke engineers tested the “smart charging” features of Gridpoint’s SmartGrid by plugging a PHEV into a garage wall outlet. Charging started at 10 p.m. and the car was fully charged before peak demand the following morning and ready for the driver’s commute. The system successfully controlled, measured and verified the charging process, according to the media release.

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Georgia, Minnesota, NY to take part in US-Sweden Renewable Energy Institute

| Thursday April 3rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

The University of Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) has been chosen to participate on behalf of New York State in the International Renewable Energy Technology Institute, a global consortium recently established to “accelerate the adaptation and implementation of renewable energy technologies around the world.”
Academic institutions in 16 U.S states have been invited by IRTI’s organization committee – made up of U.S. and Swedish leaders in business, government and academia – to take part in the new organization. Two other states received membership offers: Georgia, through the Univ. of Georgia and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Minnesota, through the Minnesota state university system.
“Working through IRTI, researchers from across the globe will work jointly to advance renewable energy technologies that will provide opportunities for U.S.-based companies to supply clean energy products and services to the European market while also testing and qualifying technologies developed in Sweden for introduction into the U.S. market,” according to an April 3 media release.
CNSE’s Energy and Environmental Technology Applications Center (E2TAC) will lead participation in IRETI in partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation, and Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architecture and Engineering. CNSE also intends to leverage its relationships with 50 industrial, university and government partners through its leadership role in New Energy New York.

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Cambridge Energy Alliance: A Model for the Future?

Thomas Schueneman | Wednesday April 2nd, 2008 | 2 Comments

Cambridge Energy Alliance - A Model for the Nation?Cambridge, Massachusetts has earned a reputation as a community promoting forward-thinking energy and environmental policies. From sustainable building to transportation and green collar jobs, Cambridge’s stated goal is to become the “greenest city in America” (they’re currently at number 6 according to Popular Science). 

The Cambridge Energy Alliance is a major step toward that goal. 

Featured last week on the PBS program NOW, the Cambridge Energy Alliance is a city-sponsored non-profit group aimed at lowering the city’s carbon footprint, increasing energy efficiency and water conservation (thus cutting participants energy bills), and helping promote green collar jobs and business opportunity in an otherwise downturned building market.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the building sector comprises 48% of the increase in carbon emissions in the United States since 1990. Up to 80% of carbon emissions in urban areas come from buildings.

The CEA aims to reduce Cambridge’s carbon footprint by 10% in five years through an innovative program that provides energy auditing, renovation, and financing – all in a relatively simple “one-stop-shop” process. Loans for proposed renovations made through the program are designed to pay for themselves through savings from lowered energy costs.

If the CEA program meets its ambitious target of enlisting 50% of the city’s building stock into the program within the next five to six years, there will be plenty of work for green collar workers trained in the new methods and materials to implement the efficiency upgrades for all those buildings.

The program’s success will serve as a model to roll out to communities and municipalities across the nation.

Note: If you like what the Cambridge Energy Alliance is doing, and you’ve got the chops, there’s an opportunity to become it’s next CEO. Check their website for more info.

The March 2007 launch of Cambridge Energy Alliance




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