How Salesforce, Google, others use tech as a ‘force multiplier’ in sustainability innovation

There is no shortage of technology companies in Silicon Valley and beyond claiming to be "making the world a better place," but too few are doing enough to address the world’s pressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) challenges. Yet, it’s encouraging to see a growing number of firms recognizing the business opportunity for developing and delivering tools that could help realize a more sustainable economy. From clean energy to the cloud, technology alone won’t stop climate change or most other sustainability ills — although it can serve as a "force multiplier" for advancing sustainability innovation. "Technological know-how is driving sustainable innovation," said Bruce Klafter, vice president of corporate social and environmental sustainability at Flex during the recent thinkPARALLAX Perspectives panel event at PCH International in San Francisco, which I moderated.

Spotlight

Plains Midstream Canada

Plains Midstream Canada is a subsidiary of Plains All American Pipeline L.P., a publicly traded master limited partnership with headquarters in Houston, Texas. Plains All American Pipeline L.P. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “PAA.” In 2001, Plains All American Pipeline acquired the Canadian crude oil pipeline, gathering, storage and terminalling assets of Murphy Oil Company Ltd., as well as the assets of CANPET Energy Group, Inc., a privately held Calgary-based Canadian crude oil and LPG marketing company. These assets, that began operating as Plains Marketing Canada, L.P., now operate under the Plains Midstream Canada banner.

OTHER ARTICLES
Energy, Industry Updates

Installation of a Solar System in 2021

Article | July 29, 2022

We’ve talked a bit about the functioning of solar panels, the mechanisms behind them, and the best panels suited for the average Indian household. Check them out for the starters. For this article, we’re detailing a complete guide to the components and installation of a solar system. Solar panels are all but a part of the complete setup of a functioning solar system. It is the basic building block of the system, but there’s more to it than just a silicon wafer panel. The other necessary components include Solar Inverters, Batteries (in a select type of system) and Panel Structure/Stands, and other accessories.

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Solar+Storage

The Role of AI Technology in the Renewable Energy Sector

Article | June 8, 2022

Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are two of the most commonly used commercial phrases these days. As a result, companies across sectors are searching for methods to include them in order to optimize and automate their key operations. The energy sector is no exception! Indeed, throughout the years, renewable energy industries (wind, solar, hydro, nuclear) have substantially gained from the potential of machine learning. They were able to reduce their expenses, make better projections, and raise the rate of return on their portfolio. And this tendency is just going to gain momentum. If your company is in the energy industry or utilizes a lot of power, machine learning and AI can help you improve your business performance. But how precisely? Let's get started. Ways in Which AI and Machine Learning are Changing Energy Sector There are a few methods that machine learning and AI can be applied to positively improve the energy industry. Here are a few popular applications currently under development. Predictive Maintenance AI helps match energy output with demand and ensure power grid stability and resilience.In 2003, a low-hanging high-voltage electricity line hit an overgrown tree in Ohio, causing a widespread blackout. There was no power system alarm and no sign of the incident. The electric company didn't notice until three additional power lines failed. This carelessness ultimately brought down the whole grid. The 50 million-person blackout lasted two days. Eleven individuals died, and $6 billion was lost. Predictive maintenance can be implemented using machine learning and IoT Sensors gather operational time series data from electricity lines, equipment, and stations (data accompanied by a timestamp). Machine learning algorithms can then forecast when a component will fail (or n-steps). It can also anticipate machinery's remaining usable life or future breakdown. These algorithms detect machine failure, eliminate blackouts or downtimes, improve maintenance procedures, and reduce maintenance expenses. Grid Management Grid management is a promising AI application in energy. Complex networks distribute electricity to users (also known as the power grid). Generation and demand must always match in the electrical system. Other issues, like blackouts and system breakdowns, can occur. Despite being ancient, pumped hydroelectric storage is the most common way to store energy. It operates by moving water upwards and letting it fall into turbines. Renewable energy makes predicting the grid's power generation challenging. After all, it is affected by a variety of things, like sunlight and wind. Demand Response Large demand shifts can be expensive for nations that depend on renewable energy. As nations migrate to green energy, it's harder to adapt to demand fluctuations. Germany plans to use 80% renewable energy by 2050. Countries such as Germany will encounter two major challenges Demand fluctuations: On some days or times of the year, power consumption soars (on Christmas, for example) Weather volatility: Without wind or clear skies, it might be hard to meet electrical demand. In both circumstances, more stations or fossil fuel-powered facilities must meet demand Solving demand response issues Many nations are partnering with businesses to examine weather forecasts, power demand, etc. Germany's EWeLiNE project forecasts wind and solar energy at a specific moment. This enables the government to use non-renewable energy to meet additional power demand. They utilize enormous historical data sets to train machine learning algorithms, as well as data from wind turbines or solar panels, to properly balance supply and demand. Closing Lines AI increases the potential of humans. Several renewable energy producers are investing in artificial intelligence to boost their businesses.There are numerous uses of artificial intelligence in renewable energy. The fundamental purpose of AI integrated systems is to reduce forecasting issues and incorporate renewable energy into the central energy grid as effectively as possible. AI can also assist renewable energy providers in developing successful plans and policies based on present energy consumption and demand.

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Strategy and Best Practices, Industry Updates

Energy Management: An Energy Strategy for the C-Suite

Article | August 16, 2022

Every year, large corporations spend millions, if not billions, of dollars on energy—and millions more on supply chain, outsourcing, and logistical expenditures. Outside of the most energy-intensive sectors, however, the majority of businesses regard energy as just a cost to be managed. This is a strategic error that misses out on the significant potential to decrease risk, boost resilience, and generate new value. Today, energy is moving up the corporate agenda as a result of broad environmental, social, and economic developments, such as climate change and global carbon regulation, growing demands on natural resources, increased standards for corporate environmental performance, advances in energy technology and business models, and dropping costs for renewable energy sources. These major trends alter the environment in which businesses operate, exposing them to new risks and value-generating opportunities. PWC surveyed major commercial and industrial enterprises based in the United States and discovered that 72% are actively exploring new renewable energy acquisitions in order to decrease emissions (85%), produce an attractive ROI (76%), and mitigate the risks related to energy price volatility (59%). Corporate energy is a focus. Organizations in all sectors—and particularly those with large energy footprints—are encouraged to implement a C-suite strategy for energy management developed around the key points mentioned below. Make Energy Management a C-Suite Priority. If energy is to get the attention it requires in order to have an effect, its significance must be conveyed from the top down. This will require the CEO to designate energy management as one of the company's top objectives and delegate strategy development and implementation to the COO, CFO, or other executives. Embrace Renewable Energy Technologies Technology advancements, coupled with government incentives, have driven down the cost of sustainable energy. LED lighting, solar energy, wind energy, and the batteries that enable intermittent renewables, for example, have all come down in price in recent years, making these technologies more economical than before. This is significant since alternative energy solutions can provide enormous advantages to businesses, such as preparing them for future requirements, enabling them to continue operations in the case of a power loss, and strengthening their image as an environmentally conscientious brand (for CRE, this. As a result, every business energy management plan should contain a directive to adopt renewable and alternative energies at every opportunity. Strategize Using Risk and Opportunity The risk and opportunity factors connected to its sourcing and consumption should serve as the foundation for the company's energy management strategy. This calls for a comprehensive grasp of the company's present energy costs and the potential benefits of change. Therefore, while creating an energy management plan, businesses should think about how they can: Calculate and cut down on variable energy bills. Energy costs should be adjusted to improve the value and reduce expenses. Increase the amount of renewable energy they utilize. Reduce their carbon footprint. Select suppliers that exhibit a dedication to eco-friendly operations. Integrate energy strategy into the organization's goals and daily activities. Make a public strategy to achieve strict emission and energy use goals. Closing Lines Competitive edge drivers are constantly evolving. Not a long time ago, "quality" was a fringe philosophy, and IT was just a cost center. Quality is no longer optional, and understanding big data is essential. Energy is taking a similar path. What was previously buried deep inside procurement is now emerging to take its position among the fundamental drivers of corporate success.

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Energy

Indigenous lands can be ground zero for a wind energy boom

Article | May 19, 2021

It all started about four years ago, when SUVs and pickup trucks drove uninvited onto their lands, remembers Olimpia Palmar, a member of the Indigenous Wayúu peoples, who historically have occupied the La Guajira desert in northern Colombia and Venezuela. "We started seeing these arijunas [Wayuúunaiki for non-native peoples] wearing construction helmets and boots and vests, getting out of the cars, checking the desert, and then leaving," she recalls. Word soon began circulating across the Guajira Peninsula, from the rancherías — the community’s rural settlements — to the few urban centers: The arijunas were offering money to those who would let them plant tall, slim towers on their lands to measure the wind. On La Guajira’s dusty earth, where few things grow, towers began to sprout. By 2019, at least 30 wind-measuring towers had risen on Wayúu land, according to a report by Indepaz, a nonprofit research center.

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Spotlight

Plains Midstream Canada

Plains Midstream Canada is a subsidiary of Plains All American Pipeline L.P., a publicly traded master limited partnership with headquarters in Houston, Texas. Plains All American Pipeline L.P. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “PAA.” In 2001, Plains All American Pipeline acquired the Canadian crude oil pipeline, gathering, storage and terminalling assets of Murphy Oil Company Ltd., as well as the assets of CANPET Energy Group, Inc., a privately held Calgary-based Canadian crude oil and LPG marketing company. These assets, that began operating as Plains Marketing Canada, L.P., now operate under the Plains Midstream Canada banner.

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Sustainability

Pattern Energy Signs Power Purchase Agreements for Largest Wind Project in U.S. History

PRnewswire | May 16, 2023

Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern Energy), a leader in renewable energy and transmission infrastructure, announced it has signed long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with Shell Energy North America (US), L.P. (Shell Energy) and the Regents of the University of California, for a portion of the power from its 3,500+ MW SunZia Wind project. Construction of SunZia Wind is expected to start later this year and be completed in 2026, when it will start delivering power to western energy markets. "This wind contract represents another milestone achievement for the University of California," said David Phillips, Associate Vice President of Capital Programs, Energy and Sustainability. "Eight years ago, we signed our first utility-scale contracts for solar and today we are adding another important renewable resource to our portfolio – wind. The University is excited to be part of such a significant renewable project that will reduce carbon emissions and provide more resilience to the California grid." "We welcome these exciting new relationships with Shell Energy and UC Regents on the delivery of New Mexico wind power," said Hunter Armistead, CEO of Pattern Energy. "SunZia is providing access to some of the best wind in the world, which has a powerful generation profile with an evening peak that is a perfect complement to daytime solar. We are committed to harnessing New Mexico's wind to generate clean power for 3 million Americans and continuing to have conversations with interested customers throughout the western region." SunZia Transmission will open access to the western energy markets to SunZia Wind, the largest wind project in the Western Hemisphere, which is comprised of more than 3,500 MW of new wind generation located in Torrance, Lincoln, and San Miguel Counties in New Mexico. SunZia Transmission is a 550-mile ± 525 kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line between central New Mexico and south-central Arizona with the capacity to transport 3,000 MW of clean, renewable energy. SunZia Transmission will enable SunZia Wind to supply customers in Arizona and California during the crucial early evening hours when demand is high but the otherwise available renewable energy supply is low. The SunZia Wind and SunZia Transmission projects have been developed with a deep commitment to local community engagement and environmental stewardship. A key initiative for SunZia has been following through on an extended engagement with local, regional, and national conservation stakeholders. As a result of this commitment and consultation, SunZia Transmission is setting a precedent with a gold standard in environmental mitigation efforts developed hand-in-hand with the environmental community. These range from restoring thousands of acres of wildlife habitat to investing in emerging technology and long-term conservation research. SunZia Wind has established robust environmental best practices to reduce project impacts and study effective habitat restoration strategies in partnership with local and state experts. Pattern Energy recently announced that the SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind projects are expected to generate $20.5 billion dollars in total economic benefit, which includes over $8 billion of direct capital investment, at no added cost to ratepayers, according to the results of an independent study conducted by research firm Energy, Economic & Environment Consultants LLC. Together, the projects will generate an expected $1.3 billion in fiscal impacts that will go to governments, communities, and schools. These benefits are generated through sales and use taxes, property taxes, community benefit payments, and land payments to federal and state agencies. The projects continue to work with federal agencies including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as well as local jurisdictions and stakeholders, to finalize remaining approvals to allow construction to begin on schedule this year. About Pattern Energy Pattern Energy is one of the world's largest privately-owned developers and operators of wind, solar, transmission, and energy storage projects. Its operational portfolio includes 35 renewable energy facilities that use proven, best-in-class technology with an operating capacity of nearly 6,000 MW in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Mexico. Pattern Energy is guided by a long-term commitment to serve customers, protect the environment, and strengthen communities.

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Sustainability,Energy

SMUD Announce Entering into a Partnership with Swell Energy

Swell Energy | January 03, 2023

Swell Energy and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) publicly announced their agreement for Swell to serve as the aggregator for SMUD's new 'My Energy Optimizer Partner+' program, a virtual power plant effort powered by home customers. The virtual power plant program is one of California's most advanced and inventive undertakings. It combines household solar and battery storage systems to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and make the electric grid more sustainable, resilient, and reliable. Individual solar and battery storage systems only help customers manage their own energy needs. While the program allows customers to use their own systems with others to collect and transmit renewable energy sources to help their communities, customers who sign up for My Energy Optimizer Partner+ will get compensation, called GridRevenueTM, both upfront and over time based on the size of their solar and energy storage systems. As more and more customers add solar panel systems and battery storage solutions, they will be able to manage their energy needs better while reducing their community's carbon footprint. The success of programs like My Energy Optimizer Partner+ will bring additional opportunities for the local population while enabling the large-scale deployment of renewable energy and reducing the need for traditional energy sources in the area. About Swell Energy Swell Energy is an energy management and smart grid solutions provider, working towards the mass adoption and distribution of clean energy technologies. It empowers customers to take control of their energy use and costs, achieve energy security, and participate in the transactive grid. In addition, it offers financing and virtual power plant programs to residential owners and businesses while collaborating with reputable local solar and solar storage organization to ensure smooth and high-quality installations.

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Sustainability,Strategy and Best Practices

Advent Technologies and Vantage Towers Greece Collaborate for a Greener Purpose!

Advent Technologies | December 23, 2022

Contents 1. Eco-friendly POC 2. An Innovative Move 3. Merits of Using Methanol-powered Fuel Cells 4. What Next? Advent Technologies Holdings, a US corporation that develops, manufactures, and assembles complete fuel cell systems, recently announced a proof-of-concept (POC) project in collaboration with one of Europe’s leading tower companies, Vantage Towers Greece. “The total carbon footprint of EU-27 was equal to 6.8 tonnes of CO2 per person in 2019. Services, that accounted for 25% of the total carbon footprint, only accounted for 7% of the direct CO2 emissions” -Eurostat The duo has developed an environment-friendly idea for replacing diesel generators with fuel cells. Vantage Towers Greece, the only independent tower infrastructure company in Greece, believes that non-permanent sites, which are not connected to the power grid, can get electricity by replacing diesel generators with fuel cells. 1. Eco-friendly POC Vantage Towers Greece, a subsidiary of Vantage Towers Group, is planning to incorporate Advent Technologies’ serene biomethanol-powered fuel systems as backup and primary power sources for its telecom towers. The POC aligns with Vantage’s overall strategy of driving sustainable digitalization in Europe. In addition, the company aims to reduce carbon emissions across its network by using clean energy solutions. 2. An Innovative Move From a greener alignsperspective, liquid biomethanol is a better option! It’s much easier to transport and store liquid biomethanol as a hydrogen carrier than hydrogen gas. Moreover, it also enhances the safety of operations by reducing over 80% of carbon emissions compared to diesel generators. 3. Merits of Using Methanol-powered Fuel Cells Advent Technologies’ methanol-powered fuel cells may prove to be a game-changer. Apart from being environment-friendly, it also possesses certain vital advantages, such as a small carbon footprint, no NOx or SOx emissions, less noise compared to conventional generator units, a long operating lifetime, and low service or maintenance fees. Besides, Advent fuel cells can operate in any weather i.e., from extreme cold to hot and humid climates. 4. What Next? If this move turns out to be a success, the two companies may join hands for other wider deployments. Nevertheless, Advent Technologies has already installed around 500 methanol-powered serene fuel cell systems in the Asian market to be used as a backup and primary power source for the telecommunications sector. About Advent Technologies Headquartered in Boston (Massachusetts), Advent Technologies Holdings is a US corporation that supplies customers with critical components for fuel cells in the renewable energy sector. With offices in California, Greece, Denmark, Germany, and the Philippines, the company has over 150 patents issued, pending, and/or licensed for fuel cell technology.

Read More

Sustainability

Pattern Energy Signs Power Purchase Agreements for Largest Wind Project in U.S. History

PRnewswire | May 16, 2023

Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern Energy), a leader in renewable energy and transmission infrastructure, announced it has signed long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with Shell Energy North America (US), L.P. (Shell Energy) and the Regents of the University of California, for a portion of the power from its 3,500+ MW SunZia Wind project. Construction of SunZia Wind is expected to start later this year and be completed in 2026, when it will start delivering power to western energy markets. "This wind contract represents another milestone achievement for the University of California," said David Phillips, Associate Vice President of Capital Programs, Energy and Sustainability. "Eight years ago, we signed our first utility-scale contracts for solar and today we are adding another important renewable resource to our portfolio – wind. The University is excited to be part of such a significant renewable project that will reduce carbon emissions and provide more resilience to the California grid." "We welcome these exciting new relationships with Shell Energy and UC Regents on the delivery of New Mexico wind power," said Hunter Armistead, CEO of Pattern Energy. "SunZia is providing access to some of the best wind in the world, which has a powerful generation profile with an evening peak that is a perfect complement to daytime solar. We are committed to harnessing New Mexico's wind to generate clean power for 3 million Americans and continuing to have conversations with interested customers throughout the western region." SunZia Transmission will open access to the western energy markets to SunZia Wind, the largest wind project in the Western Hemisphere, which is comprised of more than 3,500 MW of new wind generation located in Torrance, Lincoln, and San Miguel Counties in New Mexico. SunZia Transmission is a 550-mile ± 525 kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line between central New Mexico and south-central Arizona with the capacity to transport 3,000 MW of clean, renewable energy. SunZia Transmission will enable SunZia Wind to supply customers in Arizona and California during the crucial early evening hours when demand is high but the otherwise available renewable energy supply is low. The SunZia Wind and SunZia Transmission projects have been developed with a deep commitment to local community engagement and environmental stewardship. A key initiative for SunZia has been following through on an extended engagement with local, regional, and national conservation stakeholders. As a result of this commitment and consultation, SunZia Transmission is setting a precedent with a gold standard in environmental mitigation efforts developed hand-in-hand with the environmental community. These range from restoring thousands of acres of wildlife habitat to investing in emerging technology and long-term conservation research. SunZia Wind has established robust environmental best practices to reduce project impacts and study effective habitat restoration strategies in partnership with local and state experts. Pattern Energy recently announced that the SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind projects are expected to generate $20.5 billion dollars in total economic benefit, which includes over $8 billion of direct capital investment, at no added cost to ratepayers, according to the results of an independent study conducted by research firm Energy, Economic & Environment Consultants LLC. Together, the projects will generate an expected $1.3 billion in fiscal impacts that will go to governments, communities, and schools. These benefits are generated through sales and use taxes, property taxes, community benefit payments, and land payments to federal and state agencies. The projects continue to work with federal agencies including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as well as local jurisdictions and stakeholders, to finalize remaining approvals to allow construction to begin on schedule this year. About Pattern Energy Pattern Energy is one of the world's largest privately-owned developers and operators of wind, solar, transmission, and energy storage projects. Its operational portfolio includes 35 renewable energy facilities that use proven, best-in-class technology with an operating capacity of nearly 6,000 MW in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Mexico. Pattern Energy is guided by a long-term commitment to serve customers, protect the environment, and strengthen communities.

Read More

Sustainability,Energy

SMUD Announce Entering into a Partnership with Swell Energy

Swell Energy | January 03, 2023

Swell Energy and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) publicly announced their agreement for Swell to serve as the aggregator for SMUD's new 'My Energy Optimizer Partner+' program, a virtual power plant effort powered by home customers. The virtual power plant program is one of California's most advanced and inventive undertakings. It combines household solar and battery storage systems to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and make the electric grid more sustainable, resilient, and reliable. Individual solar and battery storage systems only help customers manage their own energy needs. While the program allows customers to use their own systems with others to collect and transmit renewable energy sources to help their communities, customers who sign up for My Energy Optimizer Partner+ will get compensation, called GridRevenueTM, both upfront and over time based on the size of their solar and energy storage systems. As more and more customers add solar panel systems and battery storage solutions, they will be able to manage their energy needs better while reducing their community's carbon footprint. The success of programs like My Energy Optimizer Partner+ will bring additional opportunities for the local population while enabling the large-scale deployment of renewable energy and reducing the need for traditional energy sources in the area. About Swell Energy Swell Energy is an energy management and smart grid solutions provider, working towards the mass adoption and distribution of clean energy technologies. It empowers customers to take control of their energy use and costs, achieve energy security, and participate in the transactive grid. In addition, it offers financing and virtual power plant programs to residential owners and businesses while collaborating with reputable local solar and solar storage organization to ensure smooth and high-quality installations.

Read More

Sustainability,Strategy and Best Practices

Advent Technologies and Vantage Towers Greece Collaborate for a Greener Purpose!

Advent Technologies | December 23, 2022

Contents 1. Eco-friendly POC 2. An Innovative Move 3. Merits of Using Methanol-powered Fuel Cells 4. What Next? Advent Technologies Holdings, a US corporation that develops, manufactures, and assembles complete fuel cell systems, recently announced a proof-of-concept (POC) project in collaboration with one of Europe’s leading tower companies, Vantage Towers Greece. “The total carbon footprint of EU-27 was equal to 6.8 tonnes of CO2 per person in 2019. Services, that accounted for 25% of the total carbon footprint, only accounted for 7% of the direct CO2 emissions” -Eurostat The duo has developed an environment-friendly idea for replacing diesel generators with fuel cells. Vantage Towers Greece, the only independent tower infrastructure company in Greece, believes that non-permanent sites, which are not connected to the power grid, can get electricity by replacing diesel generators with fuel cells. 1. Eco-friendly POC Vantage Towers Greece, a subsidiary of Vantage Towers Group, is planning to incorporate Advent Technologies’ serene biomethanol-powered fuel systems as backup and primary power sources for its telecom towers. The POC aligns with Vantage’s overall strategy of driving sustainable digitalization in Europe. In addition, the company aims to reduce carbon emissions across its network by using clean energy solutions. 2. An Innovative Move From a greener alignsperspective, liquid biomethanol is a better option! It’s much easier to transport and store liquid biomethanol as a hydrogen carrier than hydrogen gas. Moreover, it also enhances the safety of operations by reducing over 80% of carbon emissions compared to diesel generators. 3. Merits of Using Methanol-powered Fuel Cells Advent Technologies’ methanol-powered fuel cells may prove to be a game-changer. Apart from being environment-friendly, it also possesses certain vital advantages, such as a small carbon footprint, no NOx or SOx emissions, less noise compared to conventional generator units, a long operating lifetime, and low service or maintenance fees. Besides, Advent fuel cells can operate in any weather i.e., from extreme cold to hot and humid climates. 4. What Next? If this move turns out to be a success, the two companies may join hands for other wider deployments. Nevertheless, Advent Technologies has already installed around 500 methanol-powered serene fuel cell systems in the Asian market to be used as a backup and primary power source for the telecommunications sector. About Advent Technologies Headquartered in Boston (Massachusetts), Advent Technologies Holdings is a US corporation that supplies customers with critical components for fuel cells in the renewable energy sector. With offices in California, Greece, Denmark, Germany, and the Philippines, the company has over 150 patents issued, pending, and/or licensed for fuel cell technology.

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Events