Clear Trillion California Dreamin’
This yr’s Local weather Management Convention was held in San Diego, and for good purpose. The Golden State leads the nation in clean energy progress and innovation, due to its many ahead-wanting policies.
My colleagues returned from San Diego brimming with inspiring on-the-floor stories of clean improvements, from transportation biofuels which are two-thirds much less carbon intensive than petroleum, to “double zero properties” that use zero web energy from the grid and one-third the water of traditional properties, to pioneering electric utility energy efficiency applications that Sempra Power CEO Mark Snell says have saved California greater than 70 million megawatt-hours of electricity and averted the need for 20 to 30 new energy plants over the previous 30 years.
These business initiatives are the precise innovations we’d like much more of to hit the Clean Trillion — and by Clear Trillion I imply the annual clear energy investments which can be needed as we speak to restrict global warming to 2oC and keep away from the worst effects of climate change by mid-century.
I’d prefer to share just a few of these leading edge tales. First, solar ray petroleum equipment inc email is completely booming in California, accounting for over half of America’s new photovoltaic installations in 2013, at a market worth of close to $7 billion. Ka-ching.
Solar also employed forty three,seven hundred workers in California last year.
Clean power insurance policies have made California’s photo voltaic revolution doable — a lot so that solar is reaching grid parity and no longer needs incentives to thrive in that state.
“We couldn’t have dreamed of this 10 years ago,” said Addison Marks, a sales manager for SunPower, the nation’s largest manufacturer of solar cells and Petroleum Machinery manufacture panels. Marks said his company is installing panels on 1,000 homes a yr, a lot of them built by homebuilder large KB Home.
Marks spoke at KB House’s unveiling of the world’s first “Double ZeroHouse” in Lancaster, 60 miles north of Los Angeles. The Double ZeroHouse options state-of-the-artwork energy monitoring methods, house automation expertise, good appliances and photo voltaic panels which can be designed to provide as a lot power as the house consumes. It additionally has superior water efficiency and recycling options that result in water savings of up to 70 percent — a critically vital characteristic in drought-plagued Southern California.
KB home has built 80,000 Vitality Star-certified properties since 2000, saving homeowners about $36 million on their energy payments last 12 months, while preventing greenhouse gasoline emissions equivalent to roughly 39,000 automobiles.
Talking of autos, that takes me to my subsequent innovation story — Sapphire Energy, a biofuels firm that has found out how to produce the world’s first “Inexperienced Crude” oil from algae. Inexperienced Crude is on common 68 % much less carbon intensive than fossil fuels, and is totally suitable with our current pipeline infrastructure.
It’s been pilot tested to be used in business aircraft by Continental and Japan Airlines and found to serve simply as nicely, if not better, than fossil fuels.
“The fuels are molecularly the identical,” says Tim Zenk, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Sapphire. “You are not placing a square peg in a round gap like you’re with corn ethanol or biodiesel.”
Green crude packs as much punch energy-smart (four % extra, in fact) as jet gasoline as a result of algae is extremely efficient at photosynthesis. It doesn’t waste power flowering or extending roots and may produce 5,000 gallons of inexperienced crude per acre. Corn compared produces solely 450-500 gallons of ethanol per acre.
But wait, it will get higher. The Green Crude production course of uses neither freshwater nor arable land — in contrast to different biofuels corresponding to corn-based ethanol or biodiesel, which compete with food crops for land and water.
Sapphire grows algae in brackish water in the desert. It operates a pilot facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and a commercial demonstration facility in Columbus, New Mexico that’s situated on land that went fallow 40 years in the past due to saltwater intrusion into the aquifer.
Water assets are usually not a problem for Sapphire, says Zenk. “There are billions and billions of acre ft of brackish water in New Mexico.” A GIS analysis of U.S. water resources discovered the commercial manufacturing potential of algae-primarily based fuels to be 25 billion gallons per year — or one-twelfth of the country’s yearly needs for transportation fuels.
Sapphire plans to be commercially viable in 2018 and is partnering with Phillips 66, the nation’s largest refinery to certify its green crude. And with California’s Low Carbon Fuel Commonplace offering market pull, Sapphire is nicely on its approach to assembly its targets.
The one factor slowing their progress is a scarcity ray petroleum equipment inc email of money, says Zenk. “Our limitation on the commercialization is capital. It is not science.”
Are you listening, traders That’s the sound of a Clean Trillion alternative knocking.
Actually, clear trillion alternatives are knocking throughout southern California. Clean tech firms like Sapphire Energy have been estimated to have contributed greater than $1.Four billion in financial system exercise and close to 5,000 jobs to San Diego in 2011, based on CleanTech San Diego.
That determine is proscribed to biofuels, vitality effectivity and clear energy firms. The precise figure should be much greater, in accordance with CleanTech San Diego Chair Jim Waring, who says, “what we have seen in the final three years is that clear tech is all the pieces. It is not simply companies branding themselves as clean tech with a novel product or service.”
In different phrases, clean energy innovations are happening across each sector of the economy. They are are cutting business prices and they are contributing to financial progress.