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Posts Tagged ‘Sustainable energy’

“To be thrown upon one’s own resources, is to be cast into the very lap of fortune; for our faculties then undergo a development and display an energy of which they were previously unsusceptible” ~ Benjamin Franklin


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A study from the US Department of Energy answered many questions discussed in the article cited below and highlight future needs for more investigation to help power generation owners insight on deciding to retrofit or rebuild power plants. Even though system-wide impacts of cycling are modest, an individual unit could suffer higher than average cycling. Plant owners in this situation will want to know whether they should retrofit their unit or change their operations to better manage cycling at a lower overall cost. Ongoing work includes research on potential retrofits or operational strategies to increase the flexibility of fossil-fueled generators. This includes analysis of the costs and benefits of retrofitting existing plants for options such as lower minimum generation levels or faster ramp rates.

Additional analysis work that would illuminate the impacts of cycling and further compare wind and solar includes the following:

  • Market impacts on fossil-fueled plants: How do increased O&M (operations and maintenance) costs and reduced capacity factors affect cost recovery for fossil-fueled plants? What market structures might need revision in a high wind and solar paradigm? How do the economics look for those plants that were most affected?
  • Fuel-price sensitivities: How are operations and results affected by different fuel prices for coal and gas?
  • Different retirement scenarios: How are operations and results affected if significant coal capacity is retired or if the balance of plants is flexible versus inflexible?
  • Storage: Does storage mitigate cycling and is it cost effective?
  • Impacts of dispersed versus centralized PV (photovoltaic): How does rooftop versus utility-scale PV affect the grid?
  • Reserves requirement testing to fine tune flexibility reserves: What confidence levels of flexibility reserves are most cost effective and still retain reliable grid operation?
  • Scenarios with constrained transmission build-outs: If transmission is constrained, what is grid performance and how is cycling affected?
  • Reserve-sharing options: How do different reserve-sharing options affect grid operations?
  • Increased hydro flexibility and modeling assumptions: How does flexibility in the hydro fleet affect grid operations and what is the impact on cycling?
  • Hurdle rates to represent market friction: With higher hurdle rates to mimic less BA (balancing authority) cooperation, how are grid operations and cycling affected?
  • Comparison of the detailed 5-minute production simulation modeling with cycling costs to hourly production simulation modeling without cycling costs: How much more accurate is the detailed modeling?
  • Gas supply: Is additional gas storage needed? How does increased wind/solar affect gas scheduling and supply issues?

Dr. Greg Unruh tells me that in years past the financial benefits of energy management might have “looked minor compared to investing in new product development or a new marketing campaign.” But now, he says, with the price of energy going up, the economics of energy management become “much more interesting.” As a unit of energy goes up in price, “it cuts the payback period” for an energy-management project[1].

For more information, read this article for more information: How to save $7 billion by greening up the grid

Footnote:
[1] Al Bredenberg; Energy and Carbon Management Are Increasingly on Manufacturers’ Radar; ThomasNet http://news.thomasnet.com/green_clean/2012/08/27/energy-and-carbon-management-are-increasingly-on-manufacturers-radar/; August 27th, 2012

When Science and Business Create Cleaner Energy:  How to save $7 billion by greening up the grid

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As the world faces recession, climate change, inequity and more, Tim Jackson delivers a piercing challenge to established economic principles, explaining how we might stop feeding the crises and start investing in our future.

Today, we have many sources of information and knowledge. That is true for topics surrounding Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Business Transformation, etc. I have discovered some very good videos that are supported by the Creative Commons (CC) license and comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). For more information, please go to originating sites for more information (TED, YouTube, and other  web sites). We hope you enjoy these videos and share with your friends and colleagues.

 

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Forty-seven percent prioritize energy production; 44%, environmental protection
by Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup, Americans Split on Energy vs. Environment Trade-Off, March 23, 2012, Retrieved: March 23, 2012

PRINCETON, NJ — Americans are about as likely to say production of energy supplies (47%) should be prioritized as to say environmental protection (44%) should be, a closer division than last year, when energy led by 50% to 41%. These views mark a shift compared with the early 2000s, when Americans consistently assigned a higher priority to environmental protection.

The greater preference for energy production over environmental protection in recent years likely results from the economic downturn, given that Americans have made economic matters their highest priority. There was a brief exception in the spring of 2010, however, after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill brought environmental issues back to the forefront.

Although Americans still view the economy as their No. 1 concern, they perceive the economy to be improving. In this context, the public is now about evenly divided on whether energy development or the environment should be given priority.

These results are based on Gallup’s annual Environment poll, conducted March 8-11. Rising gas prices, debate over government approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, and President Obama’s current energy policy tour highlight the importance of the energy issue. The Keystone issue in particular has reminded Americans about the trade-offs between increased energy production and risks to the environment.

Democrats and Republicans take opposing sides on the issue, with Republicans favoring energy development by 68% to 24% and Democrats preferring environmental protection by 56% to 34%. Independents’ views are closer to those of Democrats, with 49% prioritizing the environment and 41% energy production.

Compared with 10 years ago, when Americans overall favored environmental protection by 12 percentage points (52% to 40%), all groups have moved in the direction of energy prioritization, though Republicans have shifted much more so than either independents or Democrats.

Public Assigns Higher Priority to Alternative Energy, Conservation Than Production
Americans favor more environmentally friendly energy solutions when they are presented with various choices for addressing the nation’s energy problems.

First, Americans are nearly twice as likely to say the United States should put greater emphasis on the development of alternative energy supplies such as wind and solar power (59%) as to say the U.S. should emphasize production of more oil, gas, and coal supplies (34%). This is the case even though Republicans are more likely to favor production of traditional energy sources over alternative energy.

Gallup found a 66% to 26% margin in favor of alternative energy among all Americans last year, the first time the question was asked.

Also, Americans continue to say the U.S. should emphasize energy conservation by consumers over increased production of oil, gas, and coal to address the nation’s energy problems. However, the 11-point gap in favor of conservation this year (51% to 40%) is much smaller than it was from 2001-2008, when it averaged just under 30 points.

The reduced gap in favor of conservation is due mostly to Republicans’ changing preferences. Republicans currently prefer energy production by 63% to 29%. In 2002, Republicans said conservation should be emphasized over production, by 53% to 35%.

Independents have shifted slightly away from conservation, while Democrats’ preferences are essentially the same as they were 10 years ago.

Implications
Americans now split about evenly when asked to choose between an emphasis on increased energy production and environmental protection. These preferences have varied in the past 11 years in response to changes in the health of the economy and to dramatic events such as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Politics have also played a part in Americans’ shifting preferences over the past decade, with Republicans increasingly coming down on the side of increased production of oil, gas, and coal. This likely reflects party leaders’ preference for increased oil exploration in U.S. coastal areas and on U.S. land, which was a key focus at the 2008 Republican National Convention and more recently in calls by Republican presidential candidates and congressional leaders for the government to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

But Americans as a whole show a proclivity for more environmentally friendly approaches to dealing with the energy situation, including a greater focus on energy conservation or developing alternative energy supplies, even though Republicans take the opposing view.

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A median of 66% say water is getting harder to find
by Magali Rheault and Bob Tortora, Gallup, March 21, 2012; Retrieved: March 21, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C.Africans who have enough clean water to drink are more likely to also have enough food to eat, according to Gallup surveys conducted in 17 sub-Saharan African countries in 2010. A median of 67% of those who had enough clean drinking water say they never went without enough food to eat or went without it once or twice in the past year, compared with 46% of those who did not have enough potable water.

Media coverage of basic needs in sub-Saharan Africa usually focuses on the lack or scarcity of food. Further, water programs tend to emphasize Africans’ needs in terms of agriculture. But the Gallup findings underscore the important connections that exist between the two. As leaders and communities worldwide mark U.N. World Water Day this week, Gallup’s results can help them understand the strong relationship between water and food in a region where many experience droughts, floods, and famine.

Clean Drinking Water Is Relatively Abundant, Still Many Don’t Have Enough
Access to potable water is one of the key issues outlined in the U.N. Millennium Goals agenda for 2015.

Although a median of about two-thirds overall say they have enough clean drinking water, it still leaves significant proportions of individuals in many countries without enough potable water. Residents of Botswana are the most likely to report having enough clean drinking water, while those in Burkina Faso and Chad are the least likely.

This is particularly true in rural areas, where a median of 63% of residents report having enough clean water vs. 77% in urban areas. However, in Cameroon and Ghana, there is no difference between urban and rural residents. In Zimbabwe, rural residents are more likely than their urban counterparts to report having enough clean drinking water.

In general, the likelihood of having enough clean drinking water relates to household income. However, in Ghana, Mali, and Zimbabwe, there is no difference in reports of having enough potable water across income groups.

While geography plays an important role in the availability of water, the results show that similar proportions of residents in countries with different freshwater resources and climatic conditions report having enough potable water. For example, while Botswana experiences low levels of rainfall and rains in Ghana are more abundant, residents in both countries are equally likely to say they have enough clean drinking water.

In addition, the timing of the survey may shed some light on the results in some countries. The ongoing severe drought in eastern Africa may partly explain the relatively large proportions of Kenyans and Tanzanians who say they did not have enough potable water in 2010.

Africans View Water as an Increasingly Scarce Commodity
Majorities in all countries surveyed say water, in general, is getting harder to find. Nearly all residents (90%) say this in Burkina Faso, a Sahelian country whose northern region sits at the edge of the Sahara desert. Scientific evidence has shown desertification is increasing in many parts of the Sahel. This suggests that Burkinabes’ views may be indicative of potential water stress for countries farther south in the future. At the other end of the spectrum, slightly more than half residents of Senegal (52%) say water is getting harder to find.

Overall, Africans in a wide range of countries — not just those in arid and semi-arid areas — think water is getting more difficult to find. As such, the Gallup results underscore the multifaceted nature of the water issue in sub-Saharan Africa, encompassing not only climate change and deforestation, but also population growth, household income, and water resource management policies.

Implications
The Gallup findings underscore the close association between potable water and having enough food to eat for African families. It then becomes important to consider water issues when tackling the complex challenge of food security in the region. Circumstances are unique in each country, but water is a transnational issue in sub-Saharan Africa, and a potential source of conflict as it becomes scarcer. In addition, the findings suggest that climate alone does not explain whether residents’ potable water needs are met. However, as in Kenya and Tanzania, bouts of extreme weather will likely exacerbate the dearth of clean drinking water.

As agriculture represents a significant share of the subcontinent’s economies, it will become crucial to develop farming techniques that manage water resources efficiently. In addition, current views as to the scarcity of water call for deeper analysis to determine future water needs based on population growth in cities and rural areas.

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The global warming icon for the ubx.

The global warming icon for the ubx. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But remains much lower than the previous high of 72% in 2000

by Frank Newport, March 30, 2012

PRINCETON, NJ — Fifty-five percent of Americans worry a great deal or a fair amount about global warming, up from 51% in 2011, but still significantly lower than the previous high of 72% in 2000.

Trend: How much do you personally worry about global warming?

Gallup first asked Americans to rate their concern about “the ‘greenhouse effect‘ or global warming” in 1989, and has measured it as part of the annual Gallup Environment survey every March since 2001. An average of 60% of Americans since 1989 have worried a great deal or a fair amount about global warming, but concern has fluctuated significantly over this time period. After increasing in the late 1990s and rising to a high of 72% in 2000, worry declined to a low of 51% in 2004. It picked up again in 2005, reaching 66% in 2008, before falling again in recent years — including another 51% reading in 2011.

It is possible that this year’s uptick signals the start of a new period of increased worry, but the high level of variability in this trend makes such predictions difficult.

Personal worry about global warming is significantly related to politics and ideology. Democrats and liberals are most likely to say they are worried, while Republicans and conservatives are least likely.

I'm going to read you a list of environmental problems. As I read each one, please tell me if you personally worry about this problem a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or not at all. First, how much do you personally worry about global warming? March 2012 results by demographics, ideology, party ID

Americans under 50 are slightly more worried about global warming than those who are older. Worry is also slightly higher among Americans with high school educations or less than it is among those with more education.

Most Do Not Expect Global Warming to Threaten Their Way of Life

A different question included in Gallup’s March 8-11 Environment survey asked Americans if they thought global warming would pose a “serious threat” to them and their way of life in their lifetime. The 38% who said “yes” is up from last year’s 32%, and is about the same as the percentages measured in 2009 and 2010. Worry about the threat of global warming was slightly lower in 1997 and the early 2000s.

Trend: Do you think that global warming will pose a serious threat to you or your way of life in your lifetime?

There is a definite relationship between responses to this “lifetime threat” question and age — perhaps not surprisingly. An average of 46% of those under 50 say global warming will pose a threat in their lifetime; this drops to 33% among those 50 to 64 and 19% among those 65 and older. Those in the oldest age group, of course, on average have fewer years left in their lifetimes in which global warming could potentially be a threat.

Do you think that global warming will pose a serious threat to you or your way of life in your lifetime? March 2012 results, by demographics, ideology, and party ID

Predictably, these views reflect politics and ideology, with Democrats and liberals most likely to say global warming will be a threat in their lifetime, and Republicans and conservatives least likely. There is little difference in these views by education.

Implications

Americans’ worry about global warming inched up this year after declining in the recent past. Both worry and views of global warming as an impending threat have gone up this year. The percentage who worry about global warming is still, however, well below the levels reached in a number of other years, although views of global warming as a threat are now roughly as high as they have been.

The history of Americans’ views on global warming is one of significant ups and downs, making it difficult to predict whether this year’s uptick in Americans’ concerns about global warming will continue in the years to come. It will take much more significant change for Americans’ attitudes to reach the levels of just a few years ago, or back in 2000.

Previous Gallup research has documented the strong impact of partisan politics on Americans’ views of global warming. Indeed, Republicans and conservatives remain the least likely to say they worry about global warming. This at least partly reflects the global warming skepticism expressed by conservative media news outlets and among conservative commentators. It is difficult to document whether this emphasis waned this past year as the economy and election issues moved more to the forefront.

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Drought on the Hay Plain.

Image via Wikipedia

This list originated from KPMG and represents one of the most credible documents that asserts enormous economic, environmental and social trends that will have significant impacts to enterprises, industries and economies for the next twenty years. They explored sustainability “megaforces” that are anticipated to impact business of the next 20 years. The analysis exposed potential increase in external environmental costs and its related risks, and issued a call to action for business leadership.

New research from KPMG International has identified 10 “megaforces” that will significantly affect corporate growth globally over the next two decades. Sustainability “megaforces” impact on business will accelerate due to:
•    The costs of environmental impacts of business operations are doubling every 14 years.
•    Companies should expect increases in external environmental costs which today are often not shown on financial statements.
•    Businesses and policymakers must take joint strategic decisions and act now.

New research from KPMG International has identified 10 “megaforces” that will significantly affect corporate growth globally over the next two decades. … Michael Andrew, Chairman of KPMG International, said: “We are living in a resource-constrained world. The rapid growth of developing markets, climate change, and issues of energy and water security are among the forces that will exert tremendous pressure on both business and society.”

“We know that governments alone cannot address these challenges. Business must take a leadership role in the development of solutions that will help to create a more sustainable future. By leveraging its ability to enhance processes, create efficiencies, manage risk, and drive innovation, business will contribute to society and long-term economic growth.”[1]

1.    Climate Change
2.    Energy and Fuel
3.    Material Resources
4.    Water scarcity
5.    Population Growth
6.    Wealth
7.    Urbanization
8.    Food security
9.    Ecosystem decline
10.    Deforestation

John B. Veihmeyer, Chairman of KPMG’s Americas region and Chairman and CEO of KPMG LLP (U.S.), said; “KPMG’s clients and others are seeing the link between sustainability and financial results becoming increasingly clear. Companies that recognize the external influences on their organizations and leverage them as opportunities are realizing a competitive advantage. To that end, the exercise of measuring and reporting sustainability activities to stakeholders with clear, accurate data is increasingly relevant and quickly becoming a priority.”[2]

Note: KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 152 countries and have 145,000 people working in member firms around the world.

Services
Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC, © 2012,  www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com, For services:
Sustainability, Business Planning, Strategic Alignment, Lean Six Sigma, Balanced Scorecard, Dashboards, Business Transformation Strategies, Quality Improvement, Customer Satisfaction, Quality Standards, Service Quality, IT Consulting, Business Consulting, Transformation Consulting, Quality Circles, Lean, Six Sigma, Advisory Board, Intangible Assets, International Business Planning, Strategic Gaps, Key Performance Indicators, IT Remediation, Performance Metrics, Global Project Management


[1] Press Release, KPMG, Sustainability “Megaforces” Impact on Business Will Accelerate, Finds KPMG, 14 Feb 2012; Retrieved: 14 Feb 2012
[2] Ibid., Sustainability “Megaforces” Impact on Business Will Accelerate, Finds KPMG, Retrieved: 14 Feb 2012

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Take a moment and think about this: 70,000 years ago, erect humanoids were almost  eliminated by an Ice Age. Scientists estimate that roughly 5,000 female individuals existed during that time. They survived by adaptation to change, ability to understand consequences of doing nothing,  a willingness to prudently experiment, and discovered two truths of life: hope and perseverance.


Now, let’s fast forward to the 21st century. We’re living on a planet, a very special planet that we call Earth. It is estimated that we have a population of about 7 billion people. So why is this important? Well, for starters, mankind is truly in jeopardy of extinction within the next 100 to 200 years. It is projected that by the year 2050, our population will grow to 12 billion people. That’s roughly 5 billion people in 40 years.

Now, let’s throw a monkey wrench into this US scenario. What is Sustainability? It is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but in the indefinite future. The term was originated by the Brundtland Commission which has become the most often-quoted definition of sustainable development as development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

In 1987, the Brundtland Commission, was chartered to review and recommend long-term strategies that recognized population growth, limited resources, economic considerations and environmental impact to existing business practices. Why was this conducted? Here is an example: A recent survey shows world population growth has grown dramatically and will continue to do so:

  • 1800 less than 3 percent of the world population lived in large urban areas
  • 1900 about 150 million people lived in the largest urban areas
  • 2011 currently about half of the world’s population live in large urban areas, 3 billion
  • 2050 it is estimated that over 65 percent of the world population will live in urban mega cities

So, Sustainability addresses the importance of economic, environmental and social influences on all corporations. Sustainability also recognizes constraints that are probably not on your dashboards and will have strategic impacts [i.e.,  energy supplies, population growth, global competition, emerging markets, trade barriers, limits on resources, etc.]. Sustainability, in a general sense, is the capacity to maintain a certain process or state indefinitely. The concept of sustainability applies to all aspects of life on Earth and is commonly defined within ecological, social and economic contexts. To be sustainable, regardless of context, the Earth’s resources must be used at a rate at which they can be replenished.

So what? We live in the land of opportunity. We live in the United States. We have had the good fortune of being blessed with resources, diversified skills, an educated population, the largest world economy, and a democratic republic constrained by constitutional rights. Yes we have been given many blessings, but so what? (I’ll come back to this.)

In the today’s business world, executives make decisions regarding expenditures by the millions and billions of dollars. No think of this: how is that decision process determined?

Well, in terms of the environment, reusing resources without recognizing consequences. Why? Because that’s the only way it’s been done?! Well, this is 17th century mindset where resources were collected locally, hewn or molded into buildings or products, and then sold in an open market. Little has really changed in the 21st century.

We are still using 18th-century accounting practices that only recognizes sales, costs and assets. Before we get into an argument, it is true that please business accounting principles have been updated and standardized for the last 200 years. However, I would argue that most of those adjustments, amendments, and standardized approaches are based on government regulations, tax policy and international trade conformity. Nonetheless, profitability was inherently calculated on the cost of resources, cost of production, and fulfilling market needs without regard to the consequences of resource depletion.

Many companies are still reliant on Frederick Taylor’s principles that workers are incapable of understanding what to do and need to be enforced to ensure work completion. It is amazing that many businesses in today’s world still use these philosophies that were originated in the 19th century.

However, in today’s world where competing globally, due to a 60-year-old ‘free trade‘ policy  that reduced or eliminated trade barriers in order to promote international trade among nations. This shift in policy was suppose to open up trade opportunities  for the United States with other countries. But it was a two edge sword, for example, it produced outsourcing of millions of call center, financial and technical positions to improve corporate‘performance. In today’s marketplace, in the United States, we are tethered and constrained to a 20th-century policy of ‘free trade’ at any cost.

We can infer that this policy issue has been a critical element in our recent ‘great recession’. That is, millions of US jobs have been lost permanently, US businesses must compete in a noncompetitive world, and outsourcing in many instances has undermined corporate strengths.

Source: Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC, © 2011, For services: www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

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English: PS20 and PS10 in Andalusia, Spain

Image via Wikipedia

Why is Sustainability so important? Today’s Executives recognize that what has been a common practice is not a sustainable practice now. Since the Industrial Revolution, beginning in the 18th century, countries began their industrial growth rapidly, based on their resources, and at the expense their environment. Conservation practices were never considered, nor seldom applied. Today, many Third World countries do not have a sustainable existence for their current population let alone the next generation (i.e., Haiti). Lacking recognition of our ecosystem’s degradation, endangered species, contemporary potable water issues, air pollution, Sustainability holistically recognizes commercial transformation within the constraints of limited and finite resources. (more…)

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