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Racing for sustainability

Airbnb and SolarCity provide incentives for hosts to install solar systems

Airbnb partnered with SolarCity to offer financial incentives for hosts that install a solar system in their properties being rented. Hosts that install a solar energy system from SolarCity will receive a $1,000 cash back from the company. The offer is valid until the end of March next year, after which the incentive will drop to $750 for the rest of 2017. Homeowners with solar panels already installed and want to join Airbnb can also receive a $100 gift card from the company. The decision may appeal to travelers, particularly Millennials, interested in staying at an environment-friendly home. It could also help Airbnb establish itself as an environment-friendly company. The company published a study that says home sharing saves the environment billions of liters of water, tons of waste and large amounts of energy.

Key Takeaway: 

Airbnb and SolarCity have partnered together to offer incentives for hosts to purchase a solar system from SolarCity, which can help to position Airbnb as a sustainable company as well as attract Milennial renters that are interested in environment-friendly homes.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 24, 2016

Rise in EV adoption will drive new opportunities for utilities

A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance states that the electrification of transportation will present opportunities for utilities faced with stagnant load growth as well as increasing pressure to innovate with new business models that incorporate distributed and clean energy as a resource. It is estimated that electric vehicle adoption will have greater impact on utilities by 2030 as they will make up 3% of global energy demand. However, electric cars are not expected to be competitive to internal combustion engine vehicles until the mid-2020s. Utilities can provide specific rate plans designed for EV charging to cater to this new market, as well as new vehicle leases that take account negotiated electricity rates. They can also participate in the build-out of public and semi-public charging infrastructure. Autonomous cars and car sharing models can speed the integration of electric vehicles as demand response assets. Much opportunity is also in used batteries which is expected to hit the market in large quantities by mid-2020s. They will be used for grid storage, enabling more clean energy to be integrated to the grid, as well as introduce lower peak demand prices for public charging.

Key Takeaway: 

Rise in electric vehicle adoption driven by declining battery prices as well as autonomous and ride sharing models, will present opportunities for utilities to increase their bottomline as loads are expected to grow and enable them to venture into new business models such as new rate plans and vehicle lease structures.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 19, 2016

More than 170 countries reached an agreement to halt the use of HFCs

More than 170 countries have reached an agreement to cut the use of chemical coolants called hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs used in airconditioners and refrigerators in place of environment-friendly alternatives. The Kigali deal is expected to have an impact equal to, if not greater than, the Paris Agreement at slowing down global warming. Estimates suggest that the deal can reduce rise in atmospheric temperatures by nearly one degree Farenheit. It could eliminate the equivalent of 70 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is twice the carbon pollution emitted globally each year. Wealthy countries have committed to stop the production and consumption of HFCs by 2018, while much of the rest of the world such as China, Brazil and Africa have decided to do so by 2024. Some of the hottest countries have agreed on a later schedule of 2028.

Key Takeaway: 

A new landmark deal has been agreed upon by more than 170 countries to curb the use of hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs in place of planet-friendly alternatives; could have the impact of reducing global warming by almost one degree Farenheit.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 15, 2016

ICAO announces framework to offset emissions from international flights

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) announced a global framework to offset the carbon being emitted from international flights. The plan is agreed upon by 65 nations, representing 86.5% of international flight operations. Called the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), the framework is separate from the Paris Agreement and will take effect in 2021 for voluntary compliance and will be mandatory by 2027. Countries will be required to maintain a yearly quota of emission units based on their 2019 and 2020 pollution levels. Any excess will require the purchase of additional units from an openly traded carbon exchange. Airlines are expected to spend 1.4% of their international revenues on the scheme by 2035. Along with countries' participation in CORSIA, other measures such as improved engines, more efficient flightpaths and use of biofuels can also help to achieve carbon neutral growth by 2020.

Key Takeaway: 

By 2021, countries participating in the carbon offsetting and reduction scheme set by ICAO will be required to maintain a quota of emission units from international flights with the plan deemed mandatory for all countries by 2027.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 10, 2016

Two reports point to increased wildfires and flooding due to climate change

Two new published reports suggest the US will experience more wildfires and excessive flooding if climate change remains unchecked. A study by researchers from the University of Idaho and Columbia University have found that wildfires across the western part of the country have increased ninefold in the last 30 years. A second study by researchers from the US and Singapore says that New York City is three times likely to experience another flood such as brought about by superstorm Sandy in 2012 over the next century. Both studies point to human-induced climate change, among other factors, as the culprit for increasing incidents of wildfires and excessive flooding. According to Ken Kunkel of the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites in North Carolina, all natural disasters cannot be attributed to climate change, however. Wildfires and rising sea levels are directly related to temperature while other natural disasters are not. Nevertheless, Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University says impact of climate change will worsen if not acted on.

Key Takeaway: 

Two separate climate studies report that there will be increasing occurrences of wildfires and flooding in the United States if climate change is not acted upon. 

Publication Date: 
October 10, 2016

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