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.

Linking renewable energy with high speed Internet using fiber to the home combined with 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. For more details please see:

Using eVehicles for Renewable Energy Transportation and Distribution: http://goo.gl/bXO6x and http://goo.gl/UDz37

Free High Speed Internet to the Home or School Integrated with solar roof top: http://goo.gl/wGjVG

High level architecture of Internet Networks to survive Climate Change: http://goo.gl/juWdH

Architecture and routing protocols for Energy Internet http://goo.gl/niWy1g


Monday, May 31, 2010

Communications enabled applications business opportunities for SMEs in low carbon economy

[I recently gave a talk at the Carleton University Lead to Win program – a very exciting initiative to help boot start small businesses, mostly in the IT sector. One of the biggest challenges for any small business is signing up the first few customers. It is very difficult for customers to convince others within their organization to purchase unproven products from small unknown companies who may not be around in a year’s time. A more successful selling strategy might be doing an end run around the direct sales approach and instead offering a product or service for free in exchange for a share of the reduced cost in energy or CO2 emissions. This is not a new concept. Companies called ESCOs (Energy Service Companies) have been doing this for years where they make deals with organizations to reduce their energy consumption and they take a percentage of the resultant savings. The ESCOs invest in new lighting systems, new insulation, roof top solar systems, campus windmills, etc. Most Communications Enabled Applications (CEA) products or services have the same or greater potential to reduce energy consumption or reduce CO2 emissions (although surprisingly many ICT companies have not thought of their products in that regard). Everything from Smart boards to cloud applications can be structured in this way. Even if the product or service cannot demonstrably be proven to reduce energy or CO2 in emissions in its own right it can still might be deployed as part of a “cap and reward” strategy where the product is offered as a reward for an organization reducing its energy consumption in other ways.

One of the big challenges with such a strategy is most energy savings and CO2 reductions from computer enabled applications are small and a umbrella organization is needed to aggregate such savings from many companies and institutions. Research and education networks and/or organizations like the recently announced Coral CEA may be ideally positioned to represent SMEs in negotiating the necessary protocols in order to aggregate and claim the energy offsets of carbon credits. Again this is not a new idea – farm collectives are doing this in order to collect carbon offsets from individual farms who undertake no-till crop systems. –BSA

My presentation on “SME business opportunities in low carbon economy through Communications Enabled Applications”
http://www.slideshare.net/bstarn/lead-to-win-may-18

Coral CEA announcement
http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/news/SOP100209.asp

Bill

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email: Bill.St.Arnaud@gmail.com
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Monday, May 24, 2010

MUST READ: Why network and computing R&D should be funded from carbon offsets

[The Conference Board of Canada has recently come out with an excellent report looking at how various provincial governments in Canada fund research into technologies that reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. Most governments around the world fund such research through various university and business innovation programs which are funded from general revenues. The challenge of course is that these programs are subject to cutbacks given the extent of government finances around the world today. Alberta is unique in that their Alberta Energy Innovation strategy allows large CO2 emitters to invest in the fund rather than purchasing carbon offsets. This has 2 major advantages: Purchasing high quality offsets is difficult, and more importantly rather than spending money on questionable offsets it can be better invested in creating new technologies and jobs. Although Alberta has the right funding model, right now most of their investments are focused on traditional solutions like carbon sequestration. Information Communication Technologies (ICT) as noted by the SMART 2020 has significantly greater potential in reducing GHG and therefore should be also eligible under such a program. As well a lot of research in Green IT may not only create economic opportunities but also be eligible for carbon offsets in their own right – a double win. The Conference Board of Canada concludes that “The Alberta model appears to be working, based on the revenues generated to date and the fact that emitters are making use of all compliance options. They are reducing emissions, purchasing offsets, and trading in credits, as well as contributing to the technology fund.” They expect such programs will result in $11.8 billion in economic benefits in Canada. For a country like the US this could be over $118 billion in economic benefits. Some excerpts from the report – BSA]


The Economic and Employment Impacts of Climate-Related Technology Investments
http://www.conferenceboard.ca/documents.aspx?did=3586


This report examines the economic and employment impacts of climate-related technology investments in Canada.

All provinces have developed climate action plans that make use of a range of tax measures, regulatory approaches, performance standards, and technology investments. The fund structure and governance models vary widely. Alberta is the only province with regulatory limits on GHG emissions intensity, with payment into a technology fund as one compliance option. The fund is reinvested in climate technologies. The revenues are therefore not dependent on general taxation or subject to the budgeting process. A board of directors with the requisite expertise makes the investment decisions.

The Alberta model appears to be working, based on the revenues generated to date and the fact that emitters are making use of all compliance options. They are reducing emissions, purchasing offsets, and trading in credits, as well as contributing to the technology fund. The flexibility inherent in this system allows emitters to select the mix of options that best suits their circumstances.

Alberta Innovates, Energy and Environment Solutions is tasked with developing and implementing its innovation strategy, becoming an inter-mediator, serving the energy innovation community as the energy and environmental technological arm of the government, and investing in research and technology.

Under an emissions cap system, emitters that cannot meet the regulated target must either purchase emissions rights from others or pay a penalty. This additional cost impairs their competitiveness, but the cap on emissions protects the environment. If the cap regulation includes the opportunity to purchase an offset, the cost can potentially be reduced. Including a technology payment in the emissions cap approach, as is the case in Alberta, potentially addresses the competitiveness issue more directly through technology development. If the funds are set aside for technology investments rather than being returned to energy consumers or taxpayers, those investments can contribute to cost reductions for existing technologies, or support the development, commercialization, and implementation
of new, lower emissions technologies. This path has the potential to restore competitiveness more rapidly and may even make companies more competitive. It can also produce innovations that are marketable worldwide, thereby creating new business opportunities for Canadian companies.

Linking the base revenues for technology funds to emissions provides a direct and useful link between the sources of emissions and potential solutions. This link can be used to supplement the other measures described above and to reduce the economic dislocations that might otherwise accompany long-term emissions reductions.

The economic impacts are expected to be significant. Identified spending over the five-year period will total $11.8 billion, the bulk of which will be in Alberta ($6.1billion) and Ontario($1.97billion), the two provinces with the largest GHG emissions.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Industry and universities must prepare for next Y2K - "CO2K"

[Mike Manos findings are consistent with a report that Larry Smarr and I wrote for Educause
(http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERM0960.pdf) where we estimated a university that uses 100% coal fired electricity could pay up to an additional $7m per year (at $24/ton CO2) due to the energy consumption of its data center. Real world data from British Columbia where universities have been mandated to be carbon neutral as of January this year indicate that they will have to pay $2.7m this year in carbon fees and increasing substantially over the next several years and this is in a jurisdiction that is 80-90% hydro --BSA]

See also http://green-broadband.blogspot.com/

http://www.greenm3.com/2010/05/mike-manos-presents-data-centers-are-co2-yahoo-and-koomey-supporting-the-issue.html

Mike Manos presents Data Centers are CO2, Yahoo and Koomey supporting the issue

Mike Manos of Nokia speaks Tuesday at the Uptime Institute Symposium 2010 in New York.

In calling the data center industry to prepare for carbon regulation, Mike Manos invoked the Y2K crisis of the late 1990s, warning that CO2K threatens to be similarly disruptive.

It's great to see Mike Manos use his speaking spot to discuss carbon impact.

Jonathan Koomey supports the same issues.

The impact of a carbon tax was also highlighted by data center energy expert Jonathan Koomey, who said the issue is not on the radar screen of corporations.

A Price for Carbon

There will be a price for carbon, Koomey said in his Monday keynote at Uptime. We have to start thinking about how that price affects the economics of data centers. Carbon taxes will have an impact on where you locate your data centers.

Koomey used the framework of the UKs recently enacted Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) to illustrate the potential impact. At the CRC rate of $19 per ton of carbon emissions, a 130,000 square foot data center with coal-sourced utility power might pay an additional $5 million a year.

Thats real money, said Koomey. If you have a data center in a place thats all coal, thats the business risk youre taking on.

And Yahoo's Christina Paige chime in too.

Manos assessment of the role of data centers was echoed by other speakers at the Uptime event. Yahoo initially bought offsets to address its carbon output, according to Christina Page, the companys director of Climate and Energy Strategy. But the company soon shifted its focus to improving the energy efficiency of its data centers.

75 Percent of Carbon Footprint

We quickly realized that 75 percent of our carbon footprint was from data centers, said Page. The best opportunities for leadership were in that area as well.

Facebook is currently catching flack for its coal powered data center in Prineville, OR. Currently the count is up to 442,000 members on English, Spanish, and French facebook pages asking for 100% renewable energy for Facebook.

Start measuring your carbon impact and think about how you can lower your carbon impact.

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email: Bill.St.Arnaud@gmail.com

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Google's Energy Foray: What's Up?

[There has been a lot of speculation on Google’s energy plans. While I believe Google’s plans at this point in time are quite modest, they may be laying the groundwork for a much larger push into the renewable energy market. Like other companies Google is always seeking new revenue opportunities. The energy market is orders of magnitude larger than the advertising market – capturing a small percentage of this market would represent billions of dollars in revenue. Although Google is now registered to buy and sell electricity in the wholesale market, it has not yet ventured into the retail electricity market. Unfortunately in the US the retail electricity market is extremely fragmented as the retail market is regulated by state PUCs. The market is also characterized with many small companies with shady business practices, so it is ripe for domination by a large company with global recognized brand name recognition. Google has all the tools to market and easily capture customers in this market including its home energy management system. Many energy resellers offer various incentives for customers to purchase energy from their company such as free furnace cleaning, free long distance, etc. Google has the opportunity to offer a host of possible products and services including the possibility of free broadband or free fiber to the home. Given their FTTH pilot program it might be a nice fits with their energy plans. For more thoughts on this subject please see http://free-fiber-to-the-home.blogspot.com/--BSA]

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/05/googles-energy-foray-whats-up/

Google’s Energy Foray: What’s Up?
Google is explicit about its mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Now it is laying out plans to become a leader in capturing, owning, tracking and trading energy. Recently the company announced a $38.8 million investment in two wind farm projects in North Dakota, …
Google also won federal approval in February to buy and sell electricity on American electricity markets. And the company offers tools for measuring the electricity consumption of home appliances through partnerships with companies like General Electric.
Connect the dots, and Google is up to something, said Tim Stephure, an analyst at IHS Emerging Energy Research, a market research firm in Cambridge, Mass. “They are increasingly trying to be a bigger player in this space,” he said.
But how these energy investments will fit into the company’s broader mission to use data is hard to say. “It is difficult to see what their intentions are,” Mr. Stephure said.
It’s possible that greater access to data on consumer energy usage could prove as valuable as the keywords in Gmail or in Google search are in matching advertisers.


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email: Bill.St.Arnaud@gmail.com
twitter: BillStArnaud
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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Obama's National Science Advisor on National Challenges for Engineering

Science and Technology Advisor to President Obama
and Director,
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Lecture
Remarks at the
NAE Grand Challenges Summit
Chicago • 21 April 2010

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/jph-chicago-04212010.pdf


Another excellent and related presentation is from Larry Smarr
The Growing Interdependence of the Internet and Climate Change
http://lsmarr.calit2.net/presentations?slideshow=3906123

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