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Governments Plan to Improve Clean Energy Effort

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Mission Innovation partners came together at the first Mission Innovation (MI) Ministerial last week. At the event, ministers from all over the world revealed their governments’ five-year plans to double clean energy research and development funding. This year the European Commission, on behalf of the European Union, was also welcomed as the 21st partner.

Collectively, these 21 partners represent well over 80 percent of global public investment in clean energy research and development, currently totalling approximately $15 billion per year. The 21 partners have each pledged to seek a doubling in their governmental and/or state-directed clean energy research and development investment over five years, reaching around a combined $30 billion per year by 2021. These efforts under Mission Innovation represent an unprecedented acceleration of research and development efforts for innovative clean energy technologies.

Ministers also met with leaders of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition and other leading energy investors, underscoring the critical link between government innovation and entrepreneurship to bring affordable clean energy technologies to market.

In recent years, thanks to advances in research in many places worldwide, there has been remarkable progress in driving down the cost of key technologies by 40 to 90 percent, notably in land-based wind power, rooftop and utility solar, electric car batteries, and LED lighting.

As costs have dropped, demand has surged. These successes show the power of innovation – driven by sustained public investment in research and development coupled with business leadership – to bring once fledgling ideas into the mainstream.

These impressive gains, however, are still insufficient to meet our long-term climate goals, while providing affordable, reliable, and secure energy supplies. Reducing the cost of clean energy technologies still further – driven by innovation and public-private investment in research and development – will underpin global strategies to enhance global energy security, drive economic growth, bring life-changing energy services to the poor and increase ambition in combatting climate change.

Under Mission Innovation, each MI partner independently determines a strategy for clean energy innovation funding based on individual national resources, needs, and circumstances. MI partners also encourage mutually beneficial engagement with other partner countries in international collaborations.

At the first ministerial, MI Ministers formed a Steering Committee, adopted an Enabling Framework, and agreed to a mission statement to help provide a foundation for accelerated progress. MI partners also issued the preliminary results from an analysis of existing technology roadmaps where a number of countries have already identified initial tangible opportunities for additional collaboration.

During the ministerial, each government also provided information on national clean energy needs, plans, priorities, and supporting policies and programs for clean energy innovation. A series of webinars over the coming months will provide an in-depth look on a country-by-country basis. Schedule and registration information for the webinars are available on the MI website.

Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of Energy, said: “Our support for Mission Innovation is crucial to funding the basic scientific research and development that will underpin the advanced clean energy solutions needed to combat climate change in the 21st century. These technologies will help drive down adoption costs to grow low-carbon economies and create an entirely new markets for the solutions that will reduce heat trapping emissions.”

Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice President for Energy Union, said: “The European Commission is honoured to be part of Mission Innovation. Scaling up clean energy innovation is key to the success of the European Energy Union and to the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. It also represents a major global economic and industrial opportunity. Mission Innovation therefore coheres perfectly with our upcoming research, innovation and competitiveness strategy.”

Pedro Joaquin Coldwell, Mexican Secretary of Energy, said: “The clean energy R&D investment by MI members represent a transformative public investment to support clean energy development and provides a clear direction of the areas in which each country has decided to move forward, including areas of high technological risk and uncertainty. Patient and long term investment from private sector will be key to complement public investment to accelerate these technologies to the market.”

Sudirman Said, Indonesian Minster of Energy, said: “Indonesia is committed to accelerate the innovation and investment in clean energy. We pledged to increase our state research and development budget on clean energy nine times over the next 5 years with the intention to boost our nation capabilities, to attract investment and to work with our neighbours to promote clean energy revolution in the region.”

Harsh Vardhan, Indian Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, said: “I am pleased to note that Ministers have endorsed the recommendations made by MI countries and subgroups will now work together to lead the objective of Mission Innovation. I would like to reaffirm India’s commitment to pursue green path to growth through Research Innovation and Joint Collaboration.”

The Honourable Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Innovative technologies will play a key role in Canada’s transformation into a low-carbon economy. By doubling our investment in clean and emissions-reducing energy technology, we will help meet our climate change objectives, increase the productivity and competitiveness of Canadian firms and create clean jobs.  We look forward to working with our domestic and international partners to help advance our Mission Innovation goals.”

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “Clean energy is the future, so research and innovation must be at the forefront of our efforts to create sustainable, low-carbon economies. In contributing to Mission Innovation, the European Commission aims to use the European Union’s leadership and political commitment to the development of low-carbon technologies, while sharing its extensive experience in coordinating international research and innovation collaboration, to accelerate the clean energy revolution.”

Matar Hamed Al Neyadi, Undersecretary of Energy at UAE, said: “Over the last decade, the UAE has led the growth of clean energy in the region and established solid foundations upon which to build a green economy for future generations. The nation has adapted its energy sector to clean energy and has endorsed policies and initiatives to improve energy efficiency.”

Maarten Camps, Netherlands Vice-Minister of Economic Affairs, said: “As EU Presidency we fully support the European Mission Innovation membership. In accordance with the EU’s ambitions I am pleased to announce The Netherlands’ candidacy for Mission Innovation, with the aim of becoming a full member during COP22 in November in Marrakech. Mission Innovation membership supports our ambitions relating to clean energy innovation.”

Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

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Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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