11 August 2010

Selling "negawatts", DB looks outside U.S., tipping points and other green news for business

Top Stories

California electricity operator creates demand-response option to integrate renewables into grid.reliability high.
"Taking effect today, the ISO [, which operates California's wholesale transmission grid,] will accept registrations for proxy demand resources, enabling demand-response electricity providers to bid electricity reduction capabilities and provide capacity in the energy reserves market. ... Proxy demand resources enable all load types such as those from small local renewable energy sources to participate in the electricity market, including residential and industrial loads. Demand response providers can now bid electricity reduction capabilities into the ISO day-ahead and real-time markets as well as provide capacity in the ISO ancillary services market." See NewNet. [The ISO's function is to match electricity supply with demand in California. Traditionally this has been done by buying more electricity when demand increases. This new policy allows it to pay electricity users to reduce demand, on the same basis ($/kW·h) as it would have paid for additional supply. This can make demand reduction more economically attractive. Since the power purchased at times of peak demand costs the most, demand reductions can earn the most at those times. See Wikipedia article about demand response. Also, since solar and wind energy production can be more variable than traditional fossil, nuclear and hydro sources, being able to manage demand more precisely makes it easier to incorporate more solar and wind into the overall energy supply portfolio.]

Supermarket giant rolls out greener alternatives to plastic milk bottles.reliability high.
"Supermarket giant Sainsbury's is to roll out 'eco-friendly' milk bags and jugs across its entire product range in a multi-million pound move to reduce the carbon footprint of milk consumption. In partnership with supplier Dairy Crest, Sainsbury's is putting its full marketing weight behind the product, confident that reluctant consumers now understand how to use it after a series of technical modifications and an education programme. The push comes despite the failure of a similar product by rival supermarket Waitrose, which launched in 2007 and was quietly shelved this April." Includes picture of product. "Tesco revealed today that it is to launch trials of Dairy Crest Country Life milk bags in 10 stores." From The Guardian. [Not really so revolutionary, as most Canadian consumers buy milk in bags (as this YouTube video demonstrates). But it is hard to change consumer behavior on a large scale. Maybe the lower price (6p less per quart) will help.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Indian energy giant targets 10GW of hydropower by 2013.reliability high.
"India's National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) will install over 4.5GW of new hydroelectric power in the country by 2013, the firm's chairman said in an interview yesterday with the Hindustan Times. ... Development has been rapid in India partially thanks to the ability of hydroelectric schemes to earn offset credits under the UN's Clean Development Mechanism. ... However, domestic expansion may be slowed after Indian ministers this week promised to look more closely at the ecological impacts of large hydro schemes." From BusinessGreen.

Deutsche Bank spurns U.S. for climate investment.reliability high.
"Alternative energy investment prospects have shriveled in the United States after the U.S. Senate was unable to break a deadlock over tackling global warming, a Deutsche Bank official said. 'You just throw your hands up and say ... we're going to take our money elsewhere,' said Kevin Parker in an interview with Reuters. ... Amid so much political uncertainty in the United States, Parker said Deutsche Bank will focus its "green" investment dollars more and more on opportunities in China and Western Europe, where it sees governments providing a more positive environment." Story at Reuters.

Government and Regulation

Norway has set Europe an eco example.reliability medium.
Commentary piece looks at Norway's carbon policies. "To achieve its goal of becoming CO2 neutral by 2030, Norway bets on sustainable development and environmental laws (the last one being that buildings over 500m2  must cover 60% of their using renewable sources). Revenues generated by the carbon tax ($50 per ton) can finance some innovative technologies". More on Norway's environmental policies. From The Guardian. [Just don't ask them about whaling.]

Science and Economics

Greenland ice sheet faces 'tipping point in 10 years'.reliability high.
"The entire ice mass of Greenland will disappear from the world map if temperatures rise by as little as 2C, with severe consequences for the rest of the world, a panel of scientists told Congress today. ... 'Sometime in the next decade we may pass that tipping point which would put us warmer than temperatures that Greenland can survive,' Alley told a briefing in Congress, adding that a rise in the range of 2C to 7C would mean the obliteration of Greenland's ice sheet. The fall-out would be felt thousands of miles away from the Arctic, unleashing a global sea level rise of 23ft (7 metres), Alley warned. Low-lying cities such as New Orleans would vanish. ... Robert Bindschadler, a research scientist at the University of Maryland, told the briefing: 'While we don't believe it is possible to lose an ice sheet within a decade, we do believe it is possible to reach a tipping point in a few decades in which we would lose the ice sheet in a century.'" Story at The Guardian.