This yr’s Local weather Management Conference was held in San Diego, and for good motive. The Golden State leads the nation in clean power progress and innovation, thanks to its many forward-trying policies.
My colleagues returned from San Diego brimming with inspiring on-the-ground tales of clean improvements, from transportation biofuels which can be two-thirds less carbon intensive than petroleum, to “double zero houses” that use zero web vitality from the grid and one-third the water of traditional properties, to pioneering electric utility energy effectivity programs that Sempra Power CEO Mark Snell says have saved California more than 70 million megawatt-hours of electricity and averted the need for 20 to 30 new energy plants over the past 30 years.
These business initiatives are the exact improvements we need much more of to hit the Clear Trillion — and by Clean Trillion I imply the annual clear power investments that are wanted at this time to limit international warming to 2oC and keep away from the worst results of local weather change by mid-century.
I’d like to share a number of of those leading edge stories. First, solar is totally booming in California, accounting for over half of America’s new photovoltaic installations in 2013, at a market value of close to $7 billion. Ka-ching.
Photo voltaic also employed forty three,seven hundred staff in California final yr.
Clean vitality insurance policies have made California’s solar revolution possible — so much so that photo voltaic is reaching grid parity and not wants incentives to thrive in that state.
“We could not have dreamed of this 10 years in the past,” stated Addison Marks, a sales supervisor for SunPower, the nation’s largest producer of photo voltaic cells and panels. Marks stated his firm is installing panels on 1,000 houses a 12 months, a lot of them constructed by homebuilder giant KB Dwelling.
Marks spoke at KB Dwelling’s unveiling of the world’s first “Double ZeroHouse” in Lancaster, 60 miles north of Los Angeles. The Double ZeroHouse features state-of-the-artwork vitality monitoring systems, residence automation technology, smart appliances and photo voltaic panels which can be designed to provide as much power because the house consumes. It additionally has advanced water effectivity and recycling features that lead to water savings of as much as 70 % — a critically essential function in drought-plagued Southern California.
KB residence has built eighty,000 Vitality Star-certified properties since 2000, saving homeowners about $36 million on their energy payments last year, whereas preventing greenhouse fuel emissions equivalent to roughly 39,000 autos.
Speaking of autos, that takes me to my next innovation story — Sapphire Power, a biofuels company that has discovered how to provide the world’s first “Green Crude” oil from algae. Inexperienced Crude is on average 68 percent less carbon intensive than fossil fuels, and is totally appropriate with our present pipeline infrastructure.
It has been pilot examined to be used in business aircraft by Continental and Japan Airlines and found to serve just as nicely, if not higher, 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 hole like you might be with corn ethanol or biodiesel.”
Inexperienced crude packs as much punch power-smart (4 p.c more, in reality) as jet fuel because 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 in comparison produces only 450-500 gallons of ethanol per acre.
However wait, it gets better. The Inexperienced Crude production course of uses neither freshwater nor arable land — not like other biofuels equivalent 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 is situated on land that went fallow forty years in the past due to saltwater intrusion into the aquifer.
Water sources will not be a problem for Sapphire, says Zenk. “There are billions and billions of acre feet of brackish water in New Mexico.” A GIS evaluation of U.S. water sources discovered the commercial manufacturing potential of algae-primarily based fuels to be 25 billion gallons per 12 months — or one-twelfth of the country’s yearly wants 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 inexperienced crude. And with California’s Low Carbon Gasoline Normal offering market pull, Sapphire is well on its technique to assembly its objectives.
The only thing slowing their progress is a scarcity of money, says Zenk. “Our limitation on the commercialization is capital. It is no longer science.”
Are you listening, investors? That is the sound of a Clear Trillion opportunity knocking.
In actual fact, clean trillion alternatives are knocking throughout southern California. Clear tech firms like Sapphire Power have been estimated to have contributed greater than $1.Four billion in financial system activity and close to 5,000 jobs to San Diego in 2011, based on CleanTech San Diego.
That figure is proscribed to biofuels, vitality effectivity and clean energy firms. The actual determine ought to be a lot larger, in line with CleanTech San Diego Chair Jim Waring, who says, “what we have seen within the last three years is that clean tech is all the pieces. It isn’t simply companies branding themselves as clean tech with a novel product or service.”
In different words, clear vitality innovations are happening across every sector of the economy. They are are slicing enterprise prices and they are contributing to financial progress.