Technology News

Cisco’s Network Academy Keeps Up with The Digital Age

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Rapid technological advances and the digitization of the workplace are making it harder for workers to match their skill sets with the needs of employers. Worryingly, 90% of organisations currently have an IT skills shortage, while 75% of educators and students feel there is a gap in their ability to meet the skills needs of the IT workforce.

Sustainable Brands Detroit 2017 Sets Out to Redefine the Good Life

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — Sustainable Brands kicked off their 2017 event in downtown Detroit with a record crowd of over 2,000 attendees.  After a day filled with extended interactive workshops, the official welcome ceremony featured a who’s who of sustainability thought leaders. Koann Vikoren Skrzyniarz, Founder and CEO of Sustainable Brands, welcomed the crowd that packed the Cobo Center’s main hall. She set a somewhat sober tone for the event, citing that we live in an age of unintended consequences, and that we have clearly gotten off track in our pursuit of happiness. “Our push for productivity and efficiency has inclined us to forget how inextricably connected we are.”
But, she said, “Businesses are uniquely equipped…to help us shape our collective future.” Describing the decision to move from San Diego to Detroit, she called the actively rejuvenating Motor City, ‘a fantastic living lab.” Indeed Detroit could be the poster child for a place where the industrial age has run its course and is now ready for what comes next. Citing Harris poll data, she said that a clear shift is happening across the US in the definition of the good life.

Next, Kim Patel Ford’s VP of Sustainability spoke. Quoting her boss, Bill Ford, who she was standing in for, she said, “You can do good work for the planet and for the company.” Describing the company’s shifting commitment to mobility, she quoted Mayor Mike Dugan, who said, “Great if you have a good job, but if you can’t get there, what’s the point.” 

Cradle to Cradle originator Will McDonough made a number of terse, but punchy points.   
How do we make the world better because we are here?
Being less bad is not being good.
We need to think differently about carbon. There are three types: Fugitive carbon, Durable Carbon, and Living Carbon  We need less of the first one and more of the other two
By 2050, the weight of plastics in the ocean will be equal to the weight of all the fish.
As a roadmap for making things better he suggested five goods, to take the place of the numerous less bads.
Good Materials are safe, healthy, biological.
A Good Economy is circular, sharing, and shared
Good Energy is clean and renewable.
Good Water is clean and available.
A Good Life is creative and dignified.
What’s next is what’s now.
How much can we give for all that we get?  
Goodness is a living things.
It’s going to take forever, but that’s the point.

"Better Hydro" Shows That Hydropower Can Be Sustainable Too

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — Before they went belly up, the automotive brand Oldsmobile ran a series of TV ads saying, “this is not your father’s Oldsmobile,” trying to shake off the stodgy image that the brand had come to represent.

New Business and Investment Trends Promise Healthy Disruption

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – In recent years, there has been a sharp rise in the number of disruptive businesses that connect supply and demand on a digital platform. Going beyond digital, another strong trend is artificial intelligence, which promises to be a major disrupter of the future.

Mediocracies and Their Attention Economies

Guest blog by Hazel Henderson, Ethical Markets

NYS Energy Symposium Shows Determination and Direction

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — The 12th annual Energy in the 21st Century Symposium, a forum for energy and energy policy practitioners in NY State, took place recently. This year’s  focus was “How Can We Reach Our Renewable Energy Goals?” There was an unspoken understanding in the room that the question held a deeper significance than it had a year earlier.

Speakers included NY State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Janet Joseph, VP of Innovation and Strategy at NYSERDA, David Mooney, NREL’s Director of Strategic Energy Analysis and Anne Reynolds, Director of Alliance for Clean Energy, NY. A tremendous amount of information was shared. We will attempt to hit a few of the highlights here.

Janet Joseph opened the proceedings with an assessment of that state’s progress to the ambitious goal under the NY Clean Energy Standard, of 50% renewable electricity by 2030, a 40% reduction in GHG levels from 1990, and a 23% decrease in building energy usage from 2012 levels. While the current 26% renewable share is definitely a feel-good number, the fact the most of that currently comes from hydro (think Niagara Falls) means that NY will need considerable additional growth in solar, wind and other renewables in order to meet that target. To reach the goal of nearly 35,000 GWh of renewables by 2030, will require exponential growth to continue at an accelerating pace, with about 40% of that expected to come from wind.

She then announced that NYSERDA would soon be releasing a solicitation for renewable energy, its largest ever. Included for the first time, will be funding for offshore wind (OSW) projects. The state has committed to developing 2.4 GW of offshore wind by 2030.  The state’s first offshore wind energy area, consisting of some 80,000 acres off the Long Island coast has been established. The solicitation will also include funds for renewable heating and cooling, such as ground source heat pumps. Joseph also talked about the rollout of NY’s Clean Energy Fund (CEF) a key pillar in the state’s energy transformation that will provide necessary funds for critical projects.

Finally, Joesph mentioned that the governor has authorized a study to find out what it would take for the state to reach 100% renewable power.

Alfred Griffin, President NY Green Bank spoke of some of their work with CEF. They have distributed approximately $1B in funding so far, with another $600 million worth of renewable projects in the pipeline. Most of the projects are loans against future revenues through Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) and other similar arrangements.

The Whole US Energy Picture in a Single Chart (Almost)

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has released their annual US energy consumption chart (Click for larger image). Yes, it looks like spaghetti, but it contains a lot of useful information. It shows, on one page, how much energy we used in 2016, and specifically, what sources we got it from and what we used it for.

For starters, it says that we used 97.3 quads, which is short for quadrillion BTU’s. That’s a lot of energy. As Dave Roberts points out in Vox, that’s equivalent to 8 billion gallons of gasoline of 36 million metric tons of coal. It’s also the same amount that we used in 2011 and 2.2 quads more than we used in 2012.

However, in 2012 (Click for larger image), we used 17.4 quads of coal,26 quads of natural gas, 34.7 quads of petroleum, and 4.512 of renewables. Compare that with last year where we used 14.2 quads of coal, 28.5 quads of natural gas, 35.9 quads of petroleum, and 5.407 quads of renewables These four sources account for the bulk of the difference.

Perhaps the most startling information is found on the upper right hand side of the chart. That’s where it shows is the amounted of rejected, or wasted energy (an excellent measure of efficiency) and the amount of useful services received from all that energy.

Will Shifting Trends Rock the Solar Market?

(3Bl Media/Justmeans) — There appears to be upheaval in the US residential solar market.

What's Behind State Efforts to Kill EV Incentives?

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — Back in 2006, there was a popular documentary film, called “

Renewable Energy’s Growing Pains

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — A recent article in The Economist, called A World Turned Upside Down, portrayed a rather gloomy outlook for renewable energy. This was not because of shifting political winds, as some might expect, or the oft-repeated fact that the sun does not shine at night. Instead, the authors pointed to two discrete facts. First, building out the infrastructure required to reach critical mass for renewables will be enormously expensive. Second, the economics around the receipt and delivery of electricity are changing dramatically, largely due to the impact of renewables. While the two facts themselves are indisputable, the conclusions drawn from them are less so.

The story goes on to point out how utility revenues are falling. Renewables cost much less to operate, which brings prices down. Plus, when people put solar panels on their roofs, they no longer need to buy power from utilities, at least not during the peak sunshine hours. However, they still expect the utility to provide power to them when the sun goes down. That requires a lot of resources on the part of the utility that someone needs to pay for.

In many ways, the issue is analogous to—though slightly ahead of—what will soon be playing out on the highways. Money to maintain the roads is largely collected from state and federal taxes on gasoline. As more people shift to efficient hybrids or fully electric cars, less money is collected for road repairs, while the amount of driving remains roughly the same. This is an issue you can expect to hear more about in the future and it will likely cause some consternation, though I don’t expect to see getting rid of EV’s widely supported as the solution.

It’s also important to note where the analogy falls apart. Roads are maintained largely by the government as public infrastructure and paid for through taxes. Most of the electric grid is owned and maintained by private interests that are expected to show a profit each quarter. This difference is the current point of pain.


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