Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) members have released a list of commitments to help increase clean energy projects and drive economic growth across the world. The seventh Clean Energy Ministerial took place in San Francisco at the start of this month. The event brought together energy ministers and high-profile attendees from 23 countries.
CEM members, representing 90 percent of global clean energy investment and 75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, agreed to launch an enhanced effort – called “CEM 2.0” – to increase its effectiveness by creating an international secretariat to support CEM initiatives.
In addition, CEM members, nearly 60 companies and non-governmental organizations, and 10 subnational governments announced more than $1.5 billion in commitments to accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies and increase energy access. CEM ministers launched three new, high-impact campaigns that will promote the procurement of electricity from renewable energy, commercial and industrial energy efficiency, and advanced cooling technologies.
Ernest Moniz, U.S. Energy Secretary, said: “As one of the first major gatherings of clean energy leaders since COP21, CEM7 is a key tool needed to implement the clean energy goals made in Paris. CEM and the commitments made today demonstrate how the United States and our global partners can speed the deployment of clean energy technologies to meet our climate goals, grow low-carbon economies, and strengthen our energy security.”
Hosted by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, the meeting included, among others, Maroš Šefčovič, the European Union’s Vice President for Energy Union; Carlos Moedas, the EU’s Commissioner for Research, Science, and Innovation; James Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources; Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, Mexico’s Secretary of Energy; Motoo Hayashi, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry; Harsh Vardhan, India’s Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Tord Lien, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, and Yin Hejun, China’s Vice Minister of Science and Technology. In a video address, President Obama welcomed participants to CEM7. A letter from China’s President Xi then invited participants to China for next year’s CEM meeting (CEM8).
The European Union today announced that, in cooperation with a member state, they will host CEM9 in 2018. European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas, said: “Clean energy is the future. We need innovation to bring down the cost of clean energy and to develop breakthrough technologies. International cooperation is needed to address the global challenge of the energy transition and CEM provides the platform for coordinated action. The European Commission is proud to support this initiative by bringing it back to Europe in 2018.”
James Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Home grown emission-reducing and clean energy technologies play an increasingly important role in Canada’s economic growth as we support the global transition to a low-carbon economy. Government and private sector investments in clean energy and technology research and development will help us meet our climate change objectives, increase Canada’s competitiveness and support employment opportunities across the country. The progress we are already making on global clean energy cooperation in making clean energy affordable bodes well for the future as we advance common energy, environment and economic goals.”
Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, Mexico’s Secretary, said: “Through the CEM, Mexico with its partners’ supports and commits to transition towards a clean and low carbon energy sector, and climate change mitigation. Through CEM initiatives on the power system transformation for renewables and energy efficiency for large users, Mexico’s new energy model promotes a conducive environment for public-private partnerships and investment.”
In addition to the campaigns launched this year, new commitments were announced for efforts initiated at CEM6 and COP21. These commitments will advance super-efficient lighting, help transform power systems for the 21st century, improve energy access, and enhance the deployment of clean energy policy expertise.
CEM7 also featured a Start-ups and Solutions Technology Showcase held in San Francisco’s Union Square. The Showcase featured around 100 innovative companies and organizations from six continents demonstrating the breakthrough technologies that will advance the clean energy sector and worldwide economy for years to come.
The week of CEM7 also included other clean energy-focused events such the Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Symposium on Women in Clean Energy, EnergyAccessX, and Power System Transformation.
Speakers and panellists over the two day Ministerial included California Governor Jerry Brown, Apple Vice President Lisa Jackson, EDF RE CEO Tristan Grimbert, PG&E President and CEO Tony Earley, Jr., XPRIZE Foundation Principal Paul Bunje, former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, University of California President Janet Napolitano, Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Michael Liebreich, Advisory Board Chairman of Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). The full roster of ministers and speakers attending is available online.
For all of the CEM Campaign Commitments visit the website.
Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?
Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?
Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.
Is Biofuel Green?
One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.
Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?
Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.
Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.
Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.
Benefits Of Biomass
The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.
Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.
7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees
As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.
After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:
One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.
While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.
Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies
Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.
The Ability To Work Remotely
It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.
Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.
Unlimited Time Off
This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.
A Full Pantry
Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.
Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!