08 April 2010

How to do smart grid right, Yamaha bets on greener products, and other company, industry and government news

Top Stories

Building a Green Economy.reliability medium.
Feature by Paul Krugman. "But is it possible to make drastic cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions without destroying our economy? ... In what follows, I will offer a brief survey of the economics of climate change or, more precisely, the economics of lessening climate change. I’ll try to lay out the areas of broad agreement as well as those that remain in major dispute. ... We know how to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. We have a good sense of the costs — and they’re manageable. All we need now is the political will." In The New York Times Magazine. [Nobelist gives a primer on the economics of climate change and the costs of doing something about it. Recommended reading.]

The Smart Grid Needs . . . Good Ol’ Fashioned Call Centers?reliability medium.
"On a panel I moderated last night for the Churchill Club on the smart grid, Elisabeth Brinton, Chief Business & Public Affairs Officer for Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) said that SMUD has been investing significantly in phone customer service so that customers don’t wait more than 10 seconds before they reach a representative. As a result Brinton said that SMUD had seen no customer complaints for the smart meters it has so far installed. SMUD has installed its first 50,000 meters and plans to start rolling out smart meters to all homes and businesses in the middle of this year. The utility, which is one of the most progressive in the nation, won a $127.5 million stimulus grant to install 600,000 smart meters, and 50,000 demand response controls, as well as dynamic pricing, and electric vehicle charging." See earth2tech.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

GE makes LED replacement for 40-watt bulb.reliability high.
"General Electric, the granddaddy of light bulbs, has developed an LED replacement for 40-watt bulbs that can last for 17 years. GE on Thursday unveiled the Energy Smart LED bulb that puts out 450 lumens--about the same output as a 40-watt incandescent--while consuming 9 watts. The company plans to show off the LED bulb at upcoming lighting conferences and to start selling it by this fall or early next year. It is expected to cost $40 to $50." See CNET News.

Marriott HQ Retrofit Saves $700K Annually.reliability high.
"By renovating its 30-year-old headquarters in Bethesda, Md., Marriott expects to save $700,000 a year. The hotel chain also expects to reap $1.3 million in tax credits related to the renovation over three years, said Dasha Ross, spokeswoman for Marriott." Story at Environmental Leader.

Yamaha Motor to raise up to $812 million in share sale.reliability high.
"Yamaha said it will develop more fuel-efficient engines for motorcycles and boats to improve the competitiveness of its products, as well as electric motorcycles and motor-assisted bicycles, for which demand is seen rising. ... The firm said it would spend a total of 202 billion yen on research and development in the three years to 2012 to help achieve growth in emerging and ASEAN countries and to accelerate the development of environmentally-friendly engines." See Reuters story.

Sacramento Developers Use 'Green' Awards to Attract Tenants.reliability high.
"With vacancy rates in the double digits, developers in Sacramento, and elsewhere, are using sustainability and environmental certifications such as the Energy Star Label and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards as a key marketing tool to attract tenants, reports The Sacramento Bee. ... In addition to attracting green-minded tenants, a 2009 study shows that commercial building owners can reap higher rental premiums for green buildings. Based on a sample of transaction prices for 292 Energy Star and 30 LEED-certified buildings, price premiums were 10 percent and 31 percent, respectively." Story from Environmental Leader.

Government and Regulation

S.F. to Hold the Meat on Mondays.reliability high.
"The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a resolution this week declaring each Monday "Veg Day." The resolution will "encourage restaurants, grocery stores and schools to offer a greater variety of plant-based options to improve the health of San Francisco residents and visitors, and to increase the awareness of the impact a Green Diet would be on our planet." The Meat-Free Mondays resolution doesn't offer much bite, however, since it is nonbinding and doesn't allow for enforcement." See GreenBiz story. PDF of resolution here.

Scottish sustainability standards anger building industry.reliability high.
"From October this year, new homes in Scotland must be more energy efficient, have greater sound insulation and better levels of home security. The Scottish Executive says the revised building standards will reduce emissions, create new jobs in small scale renewables and could save many householders money. But industry group Homes for Scotland has attacked the plans, saying will add a 'carbon premium' of up to £8,000 to the cost of building a house, harming an industry that faces 'the worst crisis since World War 2'." See edie.net.

Minnesota Passes PACE Legislation.reliability high.
"Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty last week signed a jobs bill that includes provisions for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). PACE enables local governments to create voluntary programs that will allow property owners to finance solar, other renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle plug-in improvements to their homes or businesses through voluntary property assessments." Item in Sustainable Business.

[Crossposted from HaraBara.com courtesy of HaraBara, Inc. Copyright © 2010 HaraBara, Inc.]