Pricing Carbon: It's a Great Idea! Here's Why.

  • Of the four editorials in the New York Times this Sunday, two of them were about how the media is too focused on Trump, another was about how a sex scandal is better than obstruction of justice and the fourth about abstinence in the era of a cheating President.

    So first of all, we need a way of pricing carbon so we can talk about something that we can do something about.


  • Second: Carbon output is great way to measure how efficiently a building is using energy.

    As an example, imagine heating an apartment building with wood stoves. Very very high carbon, very very inefficient. Conversely, imagine using a geothermal system that quietly maintains 55 degree water flowing through the building so that it only requites 15 degrees to heat it to 70 degrees in the winter, and cooling is virtually free. Very very low carbon, very very efficient. 


  • Third: Monetizing carbon means that the costs of reducing pollution will fall on those emitting more carbon, not on those breathing it in. 

    That is worrisome for some high emitting industries, and greatly relieving for those living near to high emitting industries.


  • Fourth: Monetizing carbon increases technology innovation.

    One example of the downside of technology rules as opposed to incentives are the Sulfur and Nitrogen Oxide regulations, which demanded that certain industries install scrubbers to remove SOx and NOx from their stacks. Some companies found that source reduction was more economical and more efficient, but had to install the scrubbers anyway in order to meet the regulations.

  • Fifth: Pricing carbon provides money for a “zero sum” tax that would be returned to the tax payers,

    ... or a fund for research and development of new clean technologies, or a green bank to provide loans for installing energy and energy efficiency measures.


  • Sixth: It would create a national debate about energy and energy policy.

    Such a debate would provide both the Republicans (who tend to like a carbon tax) and Democrats (who tend toward cap and trade) something to argue about that could have a positive national outcome that would benefit taxpayers, industry, innovation, national competitiveness and make the Green Economy very happy.


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6 Keys to Sustainability

  • American Coal Plants: How Long Can One Outlast The Other?

    The  demand for electricity in the US has basically been flat for the last 10 years. The market is not growing.  Hence, it is obvious that anybody who has a piece of the pie will do anything to maintain the status-quo.  Add to it  the fact that the economics of the existing conventional fleet just doesn’t work. Coal plants are not making money, more than half are in the red. Same with the nuclear plants.  So it is not about - Will they be taken out? It is all about  - how long  can one outlast the other? In the end, they all have to go.


  • China is HALF of Everything!

    Europe was the first to adopt mass renewables. Today, the market in this continent is well past beyond its infancy, dealing with the complexities of market development in keeping with fluctuating demand and prices. Germany generates 22% of its energy from solar and wind, Spain and Portugal - about 25% and Denmark is currently leading with 47%. Looking into the future, whom do we predict to lead the global market? Not Europe! As in 2017, China has 40% of the global investment in clean energy. In fact China is half of everything!


  • Machine Learning (ML) - The Big Breakthrough in Data Analytics

    Machine Learning is a technique to discover trends and patterns in large complicated data sets that are unstructured, to produce insights and analysis. How can the energy sector benefit from ML? It can promote productivity, can elevate energy efficiency in the grid and power plants, limits labor costs and promises to almost eradicate shut down maintenance payments. It can transform complicated consumer patterns and trends into analysis. However, the ecosystem that supports this innovation is absolutely necessary for it to make the big splash! 


  • Electric Vehicle (EV) Adoption Needs Policy 

    In more and more countries, EV sales are crossing the 1% threshold of total sales. 1% is pretty small, but makes it interesting is that after reaching this threshold, most EV markets climb higher very quickly. Example – Norway; it took just four years to get from 6% to 39%. Lot of it is driven by very generous incentives from policy makers, which in fact, are hard to maintain as sales percentages grow. Policy mechanisms supporting the industry need to suitably evolve as sales volume grow. Norway, with its continuously evolving ‘Zero Emission’ incentive program since early 1990s, is a good example of how its government has induced customers to choose an EV over a fuel-burning car.  


  • The Future of Natural Gas

    Burning natural gas produces nearly half as much carbon dioxide per unit of energy compared with coal. And with the discovery and boom of U.S. shale, natural gas is plentiful and cheap. Well, there is a challenge! Gas is tricky to transport from the often-remote fields where it’s found to where it’s needed. In many places, pipelines simply are not practical. The solution? Turn the gas into a liquid by super cooling it to -162o C (-260o F). Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), can be loaded on ships and transported around the world. This high-tech process has transformed natural gas into a more freely traded commodity with the potential to reshape the politics of global energy.  


  • 2025: Digitization and Renewable Energy

    Revenue for digital services for fossil fuel operation / maintenance are estimated to be $24 billion in 2017 – about 44% of the total market size for digitization. However, as natural gas and coal plants come offline, these revenues will decline and the digitization industry focus will shift to renewable energy. By 2025, digital technologies will be more intelligent and more capable to overcome some of the key challenges in the energy sector –  intermittency, aging grids, balancing distribution-connected generation, managing consumer self-generation, and coping with increasing system complexity. 


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