Apr
13
2018

Apple Turns Green, Claiming ‘100 Per Cent Clean Energy’

The California tech giant said its retail stores, offices, data centres and co-located facilities in 43 countries were operating with nonpolluting or renewable energy. (GABRIELLE LURIE / AFP)

Apple said Monday it had achieved a goal of “100 per cent clean energy” for its facilities around the world.

The California tech giant said its retail stores, offices, data centres and co-located facilities in 43 countries were operating with nonpolluting or renewable energy.

Nine additional manufacturing partners have committed to power all of their Apple production with clean energy, bringing the total number of supplier commitments to 23.

“We’re committed to leaving the world better than we found it,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in a statement.

“After years of hard work, we’re proud to have reached this significant milestone.

“We’re going to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible with the materials in our products, the way we recycle them, our facilities and our work with suppliers to establish new creative and forward-looking sources of renewable energy because we know the future depends on it.”

The news follows a similar announcement from Google, which claimed in December it had attained a goal of 100 percent renewable energy.

Apple said the company and its partners are building renewable energy projects around the world, including solar arrays and wind farms, as well as emerging technologies like biogas fuel cells, micro-hydro generation systems and energy storage technologies.

The company said it has 25 operational renewable energy projects around the world, totalling 626 megawatts of generation capacity.

It also has 15 more projects in construction. Once built, over 1.4 gigawatts of renewable energy generation will be spread across 11 countries.

Courtesy: https://www.ctvnews.ca/

Apr
11
2018

Solar to Power Cannington Mine

South32 has announced a remote, off-grid renewable energy project at its Cannington mine, which will involve a 3MW solar farm.

By: MARIJA DJORDJEVIC

The 3MW solar farm at the Cannington mine will be independently funded by South32. Image: South32

The Cannington silver and lead mine in north-west Queensland is in line for clean electricity, as South32 announced its plans to deploy a 3MW solar farm at the site.

The Perth-headquartered mining and metals company, which was spun out of mining giant BHP Billiton in 2015, said that the solar installation would be integrated into the current gas power station. 

It is scheduled to be built this year by Energy Developments Pty Limited (EDL) and SunSHIFT.

The 3MW solar farm will supply the mine’s accommodation village and airport, with the surplus electricity supporting the mining and processing operations at Cannington, thus offsetting gas consumption and reducing greenhouse gas emissions between 4,000 and 6,000 tonnes a year.

For Solar32, it is the first solar PV installation at a remote mining site, which it plans to use as a guide for similar projects at its other operations.

“Renewable costs have reduced significantly, so this is in line with our commitment to the environment and it also makes great economic sense,” said South32 Chief Sustainability Officer, Rowena Smith. “It’s an exciting time in the industry when renewable energy technology and innovation is applied to deliver power to our world-class remote mining operations.”

The company assesses that the cost to install and operate the solar farm will be offset by lower fuel costs, which makes it an economically viable solution for the operation.

Overall, this will be Australia’s second largest solar installation in a remote, off-grid mining operation and the first to hybridize a gas-fired power station.

The largest one to date is the DeGrussa project – a hybrid system at Sunfire’s copper and gold mine site in Western Australia, which comprises a 10.6 MW solar facility coupled with a 6 MWh battery facility – integrated with an existing diesel generator.

However, unlike DeGrussa, for the realization of which a $20.9 million recoupable grant came from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and $15 million in debt financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), the 3MW Cannington mine solar farm is independently funded by South32.

Courtesy: https://www.pv-magazine-australia.com

Apr
9
2018

Renewable Energy Generated 104% of Portugal’s Electricity Consumption in March

Most of the energy came from wind and hydroelectric power

By: Lydia Smith

A floating wind turbine is pictured off the coast of Agucadoura, near Porto, in Portugal AFP/Getty Images

Portugal generated more renewable energy than it needed in March, for the first time in at least 40 years.

Energy from renewable sources made up 103.6 per cent of mainland electricity consumption last month, according to data from the country’s power grid operator REN, although fossil fuels were used to occasionally top up the electricity supply.

The second-highest level of 99.2 per cent was set in 2014.

A report by the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association and the sustainability group ZERO, said the achievement was an “example” of what the future holds for renewable energy.

“It is expected that by 2040 the production of renewable electricity will be able to guarantee, in a cost-effective way, the total annual electricity consumption of mainland Portugal,” it said.

“These data, besides indicating a historical milestone in the Portuguese electricity sector, demonstrate that renewable energy can be relied upon as a secure and viable source with which to completely meet the country’s electricity demands.”

Weather conditions in Portugal also helped production from renewable sources, as wet and windy weather meant output from hydroelectric dams and wind turbines was high.

Hydroelectric dams accounted for 55 per cent of monthly energy consumption and wind power made up 42 per cent.

Renewable energy production in Scotland reached record levels last year, with the country sourcing more than two-thirds of its electricity from green schemes.

The country got 68.1 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources, a rise of 14.1 percentage points from the 54 per cent reached in 2016.

It is estimated that the equivalent of 68.1 per cent of gross electricity consumption in Scotland came from renewable sources, up year-on-year by 14.1 percentage points.

Scottish government officials said it was 45 percentage points higher than the equivalent figure for the rest of the UK.

Wind generation increased by 34 per cent and hydro by 9 per cent last year.

Courtesy: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/

Apr
7
2018

China Becomes a ‘Driving Power’ for Solar Energy with $86.5 Billion Invested Last Year

By: Anmar Frangoul

Guo Chen | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

The world has invested $2.9 trillion in green energy sources since 2004, according to new research, with China leading the way in recent years with its push towards solar power.

The “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018” report was published Thursday by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Center, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. It also found that 98 gigawatts (GW) of new solar capacity was installed in 2017.

What’s more, solar power attracted $160.8 billion of investment, more than any other technology. China, where a staggering 53 GW was added and $86.5 billion invested, was described as a “driving power” behind the increase in solar.

“The extraordinary surge in solar investment shows how the global energy map is changing and, more importantly, what the economic benefits are of such a shift,” Erik Solheim, the head of UN Environment, said in a statement.

“Investments in renewables bring more people into the economy, they deliver more jobs, better quality jobs and better paid jobs,” he added. “Clean energy also means less pollution, which means healthier, happier development.”

The report found that China invested the largest amount of money in renewables last year, at $126.6 billion. This represents a 31 percent increase compared to 2016. Around the world, 157 GW of renewable power was commissioned last year.

“The world added more solar capacity than coal, gas, and nuclear plants combined,” Nils Stieglitz, president of the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, said. “This shows where we are heading, although the fact that renewables altogether are still far from providing the majority of electricity means that we still have a long way to go.”

While China led the way, other countries saw a drop in renewables investment. In the U.S., investment fell by 6 percent to $40.5 billion, while Europe saw its investments come in at $40.9 billion, a 36 percent reduction.

Courtesy: https://www.cnbc.com/

Apr
5
2018

Renewable Energy is Making San Francisco Cannabis Grows Super-Green

By: Carolyne Zinko

 

Sense, a cannabis manufacturer in San Francisco, uses renewable energy in its greenhouses for environmental reasons. | Courtesy Sense

As cannabis enters mainstream commerce, shoppers expect higher standards for eco-friendliness.

Rising to the occasion, Sense, an indoor cannabis grower located in SoMa, has announced that it has switched to 100 percent renewable energy. Sense is using the city’s Public Utilities Commission program CleanPowerSF.

Sustainability is important to company founder Steve Griffith, who said 100 percent renewable power is slightly more expensive, but not prohibitively costly. Sense’s cultivator, Rob King, was also looking for community support.

“I wanted to counter any argument against indoor grows — the argument is they use a ton of energy for flower production, which is true,” King said of the company’s 2,000 square-foot-operation. “With the PUC program allowing us to purchase 100 percent renewable energy, we’re able to support those goals of the city.”

Over in Denver, Colorado, indoor cannabis farms now use four percent of all energy the city consumes. Similar programs in Denver incentivize efficiency. By contrast, black market growers are known for stealing power from the grid.

Some 80,000 residential and commercial customers — including LinkedIn and Salesforce (excluding the new Salesforce tower) — participate in the CleanPowerSF program, said Tyler Gamble, deputy communications director for the SFPUC.

Under the partnership between the SFPUC and Pacific Gas & Electric, customers are getting solar, wind or other renewable energy that is purchased by the PUC and put on the grid in place of other energy already there. The renewable energy is still distributed and transmitted by PG&E.

In addition to building philanthropy and volunteerism into their operations, sustainable practices are important for cannabis enterprises — from using solar panels and LED lighting to buying renewable energy, and deploying biologically sensitive pesticides. The practices help them put on a good face to the community, and but can be strategically important as well.

Others in the same game include San Francisco dispensary SPARC, which purchases renewable energy from PG&E and plans to switch its greenhouses to lower-power LED lighting, according to Erich Pearson, the chief executive of SPARC.

Switching lighting is not an easy proposition, said Aaron Flynn, co-founder of GoldSealSF, another cannabis company with San Francisco greenhouses. It has plans to switch to the CleanPowerSF renewable energy program.  Although GoldSealSF currently uses the industry standard lighting — high pressure sodium lighting — it’s researching and testing cultivation with LED lights.

LED lights can be four to seven times more expensive upfront, Flynn said. And crops can suffer as farmers adapt to using the new, lower-power, low-heat light source.

Growers are looking at LED lighting, because PG&E will finance up to $100,000 of LEDs, interest-free, for five years. LED lights can use up 30 percent less energy than sodium lights. They also generate less heat, which means less air-conditioning costs.

On the downside, plants grow differently under LEDs, which are not as warm. LED crops can  produce lower yields and require a different feeding system.

“It’s not until the third or fourth week of the flower (phase) that you see the issue — there’s no bud swell,” Flynn said. “That’s when the plants take the infrared light and take heat. That’s when they swell and get big and hard and chunky. It’s hard to accomplish that with LEDs.”

Different lights also affect the terpenes (floral aromas) and cannabinoids in the plants, and affect the potency and smell as well, Flynn said.

“With LEDs, it’s like starting fresh,” Flynn said. “There’s still a big learning curve and the quality hasn’t come to represent what you can get from high pressure sodium lights.

Dispensaries, too, are working to be environmentally friendly.

At the Magnolia dispensary near the port of Oakland, the retail building is on solar power, according to Magnolia director Debby Goldsberry. The dispensary packages its cannabis in glass jars, rather than plastic, and has a cannabis compost program for cannabis waste, along with a goal of ensuring its waste stream is 100 percent green trash.

At Sense, in SoMA, green operations extend beyond energy consumption, to the use of pesticide-free starter plants, as well non-synthetic pesticides, and beneficial insects that eat pests.

“A lot of our products are sold in the Bay Area,” said King, the cultivator, “and the Bay Area has been a leader in the sustainability space. It’s just natural for us to do that within our industry here at Sense.”

Courtesy: http://www.greenstate.com