Energy Internet and eVehicles Overview

Governments around the world are wrestling with the challenge of how to prepare society for inevitable climate change. To date most people have been focused on how to reduce Green House Gas emissions, but now there is growing recognition that regardless of what we do to mitigate against climate change the planet is going to be significantly warmer in the coming years with all the attendant problems of more frequent droughts, flooding, sever storms, etc. As such we need to invest in solutions that provide a more robust and resilient infrastructure to withstand this environmental onslaught especially for our electrical and telecommunications systems and at the same time reduce our carbon footprint.

Linking renewable energy with high speed Internet using fiber to the home combined with autonomous eVehicles and dynamic charging where vehicle's batteries are charged as it travels along the road, may provide for a whole new "energy Internet" infrastructure for linking small distributed renewable energy sources to users that is far more robust and resilient to survive climate change than today's centralized command and control infrastructure. These new energy architectures will also significantly reduce our carbon footprint. For more details please see:

Using autonomous eVehicles for Renewable Energy Transportation and Distribution: and

Free High Speed Internet to the Home or School Integrated with solar roof top:

High level architecture of Internet Networks to survive Climate Change:

Architecture and routing protocols for Energy Internet:

How to use Green Bond Funds to underwrite costs of new network and energy infrastructure:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Green Supercomputer uses cyclists for power

[An excellent demonstration of how we can use alternate sources of energy to power cyber-infrastructure. However we have to be careful if use human power for such activities because the calories we burn ultimately depend on our diet, which in the western world can have a large carbon footprint. An individual walking 2 km whose diet consists of steak and potatoes can leave a larger carbon footprint than driving an automobile the same distance. Thanks to John Krienke for this pointer. Some excerpts—BSA];=&Page=1

Green Supercomputing

Energy-efficient system drives climate modeling for U Maine computer science professor
In the process of building a grid that will allow users--including members of the public--to manipulate scientific models through a Web portal, Phillip Dickens, a computer science professor from the University of Maine, discovered he could go green with the choice of supercomputer he needed for the job. In fact, to demonstrate how low the energy requirements of a supercomputer could be, he enlisted members of the university's bicycle team to power it with their pedaling.

The demonstration, captured in the video below, shows a group of stationary bicyclists on one side of the room and a monitor displaying a glacial model on the other side. "This system--with a ridiculously small amount of power--was still doing world-class calculations," said James Bailey, marketing director for SiCortex, the company that makes the brand of supercomputer Dickens purchased.

The Search for the Right Supercomputer

Dickens's search for a computer wasn't quick. It began when he received a $200,000 grant in 2007 from the National Science Foundation to purchase a supercomputer upon which to run the Scientific Grid Portal for accessing his university's computing resources.

Dickens spent a year researching what system to buy. He wanted to get a supercomputer that wouldn't require dedicated resources to maintain and that would fit within his relatively modest hardware budget. "It takes a lot to put another supercomputer into the current facility. I didn't want to do that," he said. "I didn't want to worry about how to pay for maintenance." Plus, the institution was pushing to make the campuses as green as possible, and a traditional supercomputer purchase wouldn't necessarily satisfy that goal

UK government to link funding to universities based on CO2 reduction

[This is a very bold initiative by UK government and reinforces the message that universities should be on the front line of moving to a zero carbon society. Research universities are among the worst culprits in terms of CO2 emissions. As I mentioned in previous posts although there is no precise data, back of the envelope calculations suggest that Higher ed produces anywhere up to 10% of all CO2 in the USA. This is greater than the combined emissions of steel smelting and cement manufacture. Universities on average produce between 200,000 to 500,000 metric tons annually of CO2 of which one or third or half is from the campus IT and data centers. But there is good news. IT and cyber-infrastructure not only has the potential to become zero carbon in its own right, but also help the university achieve lower reductions through various “smart” applications, and more importantly through the development of “gCommerce” it can provide a reward system to students and faculty to reduce their personal CO2 footprint. Thanks to Tom Baumann for this pointer. Some excerpts from the web page – BSA]

Government funding to reward greenest universities

The government is planning to link the funding available to universities and colleges with their performance in reducing carbon emissions.

Universities secretary John Denham said yesterday that energy efficiency and emission reduction would be key priorities in a forthcoming government plan to build a framework for the future of higher education over the next 10 to 15 years. He confirmed that it planned to link success in cutting emissions to funding agreements from 2011.

In his annual grant letter to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Denham asked the Council to set out a strategy for curbing emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

“Last year, I set out our ambition that capital funding for institutions should be linked to performance in reducing emissions,” he wrote. “Following your advice to me, I am now confirming that such links should be in place for 2011-12.”
He added that while the higher education sector had originally been asked to deliver a strategy to cut emissions by 60 per cent by 2050 and 26 per cent by 2020, the 60 per cent target had now been raised to 80 per cent in line with the government’s wider climate change bill.

Denham also urged universities and colleges to begin emission reduction investments as soon as possible, writing that he hoped “that some of the capital expenditure I have asked you to bring forward into 2009-10 will support strategic, long-term action to tackle climate change”.

In addition to calling on universities to take direct action to curb emissions, Denham also urged the HEFCE to step up efforts to remove barriers to research partnerships between universities and businesses, particularly in clean tech-related fields such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Digital Infrastructure in a Carbon Constrained World

[Excellent presentation and paper by Larry Smarr given at a recent Australia-USA leadership event. Some excerpts from the paper below – BSA]

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) presents a uniquely double-edge sword regarding climate change—simultaneously requiring substantial efforts to slow down the growth of its own climate impact, while increasing the use of ICT in other sectors to greatly lower their impact. This white paper provides an overview of these challenges and opportunities, provides some examples of on-going research, and lays out an agenda for American, Australian, and Canadian collaboration.

Proposed Australian, American, Canadian Green ICT Testbed
UCSD and UCI are among the Greenest U.S. campuses. UCSD has undertaken a large number of initiatives to move it rapidly toward a carbon neutral campus[i]. UCI recently won the Best Overall category award in the annual Flex Your Power program[ii], California’s statewide energy efficiency campaign. Among the several hundred applicants, UCI was among just five winners of this level of recognition. This means that Calit2 has a strong foundation on its two home campuses to undertake a wide range of Green initiatives.

Since a key thematic element of Calit2 projects is international engagements, we sought out both Canada and Australia to be partners in establishing an international Green IT testbed. As a first step, on October 27, 2008 a MoU was signed between UC San Diego, University of British Columbia, and Prompt Inc.[iii] during the third Summit of the Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership in Montreal, Canada. In one of the first efforts of its kind, these universities in Canada and California are pledging to work together to reduce GHG emissions on their campuses while developing a 'green cyberinfrastructure' – information technology that improves energy efficiency and reduces the impact of emissions on climate change.

In the near term, the institutions agreed to develop methods to share GHG emission data in connection with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards for information computer and telecommunications equipment (ISO 14062), as well as baseline emission data for cyberinfrastructure and networks (ISO 14064). These protocols will become much more widely used as those reducing ICT GHG emissions wish to obtain energy credits in “cap and trade” systems. The Calit2 GreenLight data center will be connected to Canadian end users over the CENIC[iv]/Pacific Wave[v]/CANARIE[vi] dedicated optical fiber networks. CANARIE in Canada is studying establishing several research data centers near hydro, wind, and solar powered energy sources, so that a variety of Green Cloud alternatives can be experimented with. Meanwhile, efforts are underway at Calit2 to use DC fuel cell technologies to experiment with feeding modular data centers locally with zero carbon emission energy sources.

With Australia, Calit2 will build on its now extensive relations[vii] with Australian universities, CSIRO, and AARNet to extend in 2009 the UCSD/Canadian Green IT testbed to sites in Australia. Approximately half of the energy consumed by the Internet goes into the core network routers in the core nodes. Therefore, large improvements in network energy efficiency can be obtained if each packet travelling through the Internet passes through as few routers as possible. The primary method to minimize router hops is to employ optical bypass, by which traffic is groomed into wavelengths and/or wavebands which can be diverted around certain routers, avoiding the need for full electronic processing and every router. CUBIN proposes to study this using the dedicated optical infrastructure made available by the AARNet/CENIC testbed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

MUST VIEW: John Holdren on global climatic disruption

[As many of you know John Holdren is Obama’s new national science advisor. This recent talk he gave at the Wild Center is very sober viewing, but I think it emphasizes the urgency of which we must address climate change. Many people still are under the delusion that climate change is a future problem and it can be solved in the same way we addressed acid rain, or CFCs, with little pain or discomfort to ourselves. As John Holdren emphasizes we are facing a future of massive climatic disruption TODAY. To even slow down the rate of climate, which at this point in time is accelerating, will require significant structural and societal changes. –BSA]

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Canadian Prime Minister creates carbon trading minister position

[This is important news for the ICT industry and academia. Although most people associate carbon trading with big power plants etc, the ICT technologies may be in the single most important tool to reduce carbon emissions, by as much as 15-20%. With proper baseline emissions measurements, accounting and auditing (ISO 14064) these abatement techniques can be sold as carbon offsets. More importantly ICT companies and network operators can trade these offsets with their customers for new “green” products and services (“gCommerce”) which creates a virtuous circle in carbon abatement. The market potential in the US for such gCommerce transactions could be $20 billion per year with carbon trading at $20 per ton and as much as $100 billion per year if carbon trades at $100 per ton (which is the number Stern report recommends if we are going to slow down climate change). For more details on the economic and business benefits of cap and trade to the ICT industry please see Extract from www.pointsource.comf—BSA]

Canadian PM creates carbon trading minister position
Published: 15 Jan 2009 21:51 CET Last updated: 15 Jan 2009 21:59 CET
Canada’s prime minister has appointed an official to oversee North American carbon trading.
Bob Hamilton, formerly associate secretary of the Treasury Board, will become associate deputy minister of the environment, a newly created position.

His responsibilities will be to develop a continental North American carbon emissions trading scheme with the new US administration, said a source familiar with the matter.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s appointment of a minister that deals specifically with carbon trading demonstrates how serious the government is about going forward with a continental scheme with the US, said the source.

Some observers think the Canadian federal government has abandoned its own plans for a domestic carbon trading scheme in favour of developing a joint emissions trading programme with the US.

President-elect Barack Obama is scheduled to meet Harper soon after his inauguration. The heads of state are expected to discuss a North American cap-and-trade scheme among several other issues.

Obama has said he is committed to creating an economy-wide, mandatory cap-and-trade programme to help reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Financial experience

The source added that the appointment of a finance specialist within the Environment Ministry is unprecendented.

He said this move could have been in response to criticism that environment ministers have previously been appointed without much financial experience.

Hamilton was associate secretary of the Treasury Board since August 2008. Before that he was a senior assistant deputy minister in the tax policy branch of the Department of Finance between 2003 and 2005.

New Educause Report on Green IT for the campus

[Educause has released an excellent report on Green IT for higher ed. Most people are surprised at the volume CO2 emitted by our higher ed institutions. Although there is no precise data, back of the envelope calculations suggest that Higher ed produces anywhere up to 10% of all CO2 in the USA. This is greater than the combined emissions of steel smelting and cement manufacture. Universities on average produce between 200,000 to 500,000 metric tons annually of CO2 of which one or third or half is from the campus IT and data centers. However, there is good news. Universities are well positioned to significantly reduce their GHG footprint and earn significant dollars through the sale of carbon offsets by adopting Green IT strategies through the use of high speed optical research networks. For more details please see the presentation I gave at the Educause Summit on “How Universities can play a Leadership Role in helping reduce carbon emissions and moving to a zero carbon economy” -- BSA]

EDUCAUSE Releases White Paper from IT Greening and Sustainability Summit

Last November, EDUCAUSE held a two-day IT Greening and Sustainability Summit in Adelphi, Maryland, at the University of Maryland, University College. Those participating included several thought leaders in the industry—a cross-section of relevant higher education professionals, as well as those outside the academy. EDUCAUSE has released a white paper, The Role of IT in Campus Sustainability Efforts, which captures key findings from the brainstorming, discussion, and resource sharing and outlines a higher education agenda for moving forward.

Car 2.0 -Ontario to roll out car charging infrastructure using renewable energy

[Although I applaud the Ontario Government and Hydro One on this initiative, the real significance of this announcement is that this is another example demonstrating how there will be huge demand for renewable power in the coming years from various sectors of society. The advent of cap and trade will further propel this demand and significantly drive up the cost of renewable power that is delivered over the traditional energy grid, which is already straining to meet the current demand. ICT is the only industry sector that can largely divorce itself from the current system of distributing energy (renewable or otherwise) by building optical networks and datacenters at small renewable energy sites that are not connected to the electrical grid. This will protect the ICT industry from huge price increases in energy because of cap and trade, and also will provide additional redundancy and reliability if the existing electrical grid is incapable of meeting the demand for renewable energy –BSA]

Better Place is a California-based, startup that aims to reduce global dependency on petroleum through the creation of a transportation infrastructure that supports electric vehicles. Typically the vehicles will be capable of having their batteries swapped out to facilitate rapid ‘refueling’ of the vehicle, analogous to swapping out rechargeable batteries for your kids (or your!) toys.

Better Place will build its first Electric Recharge Grids in Denmark, Israel and Australia where the electricity will be generated by renewable energy. In fact, Denmark and Israel have gone so far as to enact policies, which create a tax differential between zero-emission vehicles and traditional cars, to accelerate the transition to electric cars.

Ontario is the 2nd largest car manufacturing center in North America after Michigan, so seeing it embracing Car 2.0 is really heartening. Ontario is also rolling out a Smart Grid project under Hydro One Networks so this should make the job of rolling out the charging (and billing) infrastructure that much easier.

As part of the announcement, Better Place has announced that it will be sourcing electricity from Bullfrog Power, who will provide all of the renewable energy needed to power the Better Place network.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Free WIFI for students on Green Buses

[A great example of using ICT carbon rewards rather than penalties (such as taxes) to reduce personal carbon footprints. For more examples please see my blog Thanks to Dewayne Hendricks for this pointer . Some excerpts– BSA]

School kids enjoy Wi-Fi on The Green Bus
There’s a school bus service called The Green Bus in Birmingham, UK which operates double-decker, low-carbon emissions buses that carry over 1400 kids to school every day (saving over 2000 car journeys). The Green Bus is now providing free Wi-Fi to the children so that they can do their homework before they get to school (yeah, right) or more likely, play games on their Sony Playstation Portables and Nintendo DS machines. Indeed, there’s a link on the Green Bus website which pops up the Tetris game. In addition to encouraging kids to play peer-to-peer games, the access points allow the bus company to monitor where the buses are in the city in real time. Parents as well as staff can follow the progress of any bus via Google maps.

Icomera supplies the access points for the buses, which use 3G for their backhaul. Icomera’s Moovbox access points have been installed in many buses, trains and ferries around Europe, providing Wi-Fi to public transport passengers (do a search on Muniwireless for Icomera and you will see their deployments). According to Icomera, “the free Wi-Fi service has been popular with students since its launch late last year with over 50% of users spending more than 20 minutes online, and 25% using the service more than five times. Research has shown that students prefer to travel in the social atmosphere of bus rather than by car, while for parents The Green Bus is more convenient, cost-effective and reduces peak-time congestion outside schools.”

There’s an initiative in rural Arkansas for Wi-Fi on school buses.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Stimulus dollars in ICT infrastructure will have greater impact than traditional infrastructure

[I fully agree with this reports recommendations and would argue further that investment specifically in “green” ICT infrastructure will have an even bigger impact and achieve 3 important goals: create a stimulus for the economy, accelerate rollout of competitive broadband and reduce the nations carbon footprint – BSA]

Directing stimulus dollars toward IT infrastructure will have a greater impact on jobs and productivity than investment in traditional infrastructure, the report argues, because of the potential to indirectly create new jobs through the growth of new services and applications that depend on IT.

"With the U.S. economy now mired in a deep, and potentially prolonged, recession, increased investment is one of the best tools to stimulate aggregate demand and quickly get American workers back on payrolls,"
the report says. "Ignoring IT infrastructure investments will do nothing to save U.S. taxpayers' money; instead, it will simply shift the proportion of the economic stimulus money that goes to other areas, some of which, including personal consumption, do not offer many added benefits such as longer-term economic growth or innovation."
ITIF Releases New Report
The Digital Road to Recovery: A Stimulus Plan to Create Jobs, Boost Productivity and Revitalize America

As Congress considers a substantial stimulus package to get the economy moving, investing in new economy digital infrastructures will provide significant opportunities not just for short-term stimulus and job creation, but also longer term economic and social benefits. In the report, “The Digital Road to Recovery: A Stimulus Plan to Create Jobs, Boost Productivity and Revitalize America,” ITIF provides a detailed analysis and estimate of the short-term jobs impacts of spurring investment in three critical digital networks: broadband networks, the smart grid (making the electric distribution system intelligent) and health IT, and outlines policy steps to spur this investment.

ITIF finds that investments in America’s digital infrastructure will spur significant job creation in the short run. Specifically, ITIF estimates that spurring an additional investment of $30 billion in America’s IT network infrastructure in 2009 will create approximately 949,000 U.S. jobs.


Bold new inititiave in Green IT by European Comission

[It is exciting to see the EC take a strong leadership role with respect to recognizing the importance of how ICT can help reduce GHG emissions. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that we need to reduce our emissions by over 80% if we wish to stabilize the planet from run away global warming. Every sector of society will be affected. Countries and businesses that are first movers in this field will be the big winners in a future global zero-carbon economy which will be essential if we have any hope of addressing the challenges of climate change. Some excerpts from the EC web site – BSA]

We need a high growth, low carbon economy"
At the 2007 Spring European Council, the Heads of State and Government highlighted the development of a sustainable integrated European climate and energy policy as a top priority and adopted an energy and climate package to guide the EU towards a competitive and secure energy economy while promoting energy savings and climate-friendly energy sources1.
The resolve of the European Council to transform Europe into a low-carbon, high energy efficiency economy means that the continued growth of the European economy, essential to achieve full employment and inclusion, needs to be decoupled from energy consumption

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)2 have an important role to play in
reducing the energy intensity3 and increasing the energy efficiency of the economy4, in other words, in reducing emissions and contributing to sustainable growth. In order to achieve the ambitious targets set and meet the challenges ahead, Europe needs to ensure that ICT-enabled solutions are available and fully deployed.

But emerging changes offer the possibility of modernising the European economy, towards a future where technology and society will be attuned to new needs and where innovation will create new opportunities. ICTs will not only improve energy efficiency and combat climate change, they will also stimulate the development of a large leading-edge market for ICT enabled energy-efficiency technologies that will foster the competitiveness of European industry and create new business opportunities.

The Commission is supporting a range of activities to encourage the development and application of ICT tools in the energy-efficiency field… Under the ICT Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP), EU funding is being used to support a network of ICT suppliers and public agencies to share information and foster the emergence of new energy services made more efficient through ICT tools.

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