Skip directly to content

Sustainability - renewable and alternative energy

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

SpaceX to send humans to Mars in 2024

SpaceX has plans to send humans to Mars in the next few years. The plan entails building a spacecraft, refueling it mid-orbit through a reusable rocket, activating its built-in solar array, and finally another refueling on Mars with methane gas. A trip to Mars could take three to four months after which the spacecraft will be sent back to Earth. SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk foresees a million people sent to Mars via a fleet of more than a thousand such spacecrafts carrying 100-200 passengers each within a century after the first Mars mission. Musk also said the cost of a trip could be reduced to $200,000 a person from the current estimate of $10 billion per individual. The executive believes a Martian city will serve as an insurance for any potential doomsday event.

Key Takeaway: 

SpaceX announced its plans for a manned mission to Mars by 2024, which will make use of an interplanetary transport system to be built by the company, decreasing a trip's cost to the red planet to $200,000 a person.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
September 27, 2016

Global connected grid could supply clean electricity by 2050

Japan, South Korea, China and Russia as well as power and utility companies, universities and equipment manufacturers from 14 countries formed a non-profit organization called the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) that aims to connect electric grids of different countries to create a global grid powered by renewables. The backbone infrastructure will send electricity across grids from various regions, countries and continents with a capacity of more than 10 gigawatts at more than 1,000 kilovolts AC and 800 kilovolts DC. Challenges for the organization include connecting the supply of renewable energy, which are in North Africa, central Asia, east Russia and north Asia, to areas that have great demand for power like Europe, southern Africa, and East and Southeast Asia, as well as political constraints. According to GEIDCO lead Liu Zhenya, the global grid network may be achieved by 2050 and will aid in the world's transition to sustainable and low carbon energy.

Key Takeaway: 

The Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) plans to connect the world's electric grids to clean energy sources by 2050, which can help transition the global economy from fossil fuels to renewables.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
September 13, 2016

Experts: Cost of wind to drop through 2030

Wind experts predict the cost of wind power will continue to drop through 2030, based on a study by the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory. The cost of both onshore and offshore wind will decline by around 25% during the period, though the reduction could be higher for offshore in terms of absolute cost as it has a higher price point. Wind electricity is already affordable in various parts of the world. In some regions of the US, onshore wind is competitive with natural gas. However, lead researcher Ryan Wiser also indicated some uncertainty over the next 15-year period. Wind investment can be furthered by government support and influenced by the cost of other sources of electricity, reports Greentech Media.

Key Takeaway: 

According to a report by the Berkeley Lab, most experts expect the cost of wind to be even cheaper in the next 15 years, which can make them more competitive to other energy sources such as natural gas.

Transforming Business Models: 
Sector: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
September 12, 2016

Pages