Archive for the 'Sustainability' Category

Fossil fuel asset exposure poses clear risk to investment portfolios

September 25th, 2015 by European Climate Foundation

German coal fired power station with steam coming from the cooling towers (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

German coal fired power station with steam coming from the cooling towers (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

According to the Arabella Advisors report published on 22 September 2015, the movement to divest from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy and climate solutions has grown 50-fold in the last year to reach $2.6 trillion.

More than 400 institutions and 2,000 individuals have pledged to divest from fossil fuel investments.

Recent pledges have come from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the Norway Pension Fund, the Canadian Medical Association, the World Council of Churches, and the University of California system.

These commitments include governments and investors from 43 countries and multiple sectors, including pension funds, health, education, philanthropy, faith, entertainment, climate justice and municipalities. Continue reading

Tidal energy realisation takes a big step with installation of tidal turbine array in the Netherlands

September 25th, 2015 by Tocardo International BV

The realisation of electricity generation from tidal energy has taken another big step forward with the installation of five Tocardo tidal turbines to generate renewable energy in the Eastern Scheldt (Oosterschelde) storm surge barrier, in Zeeland in the Netherlands.

Five Tocardo tidal turbines suspended from (image courtesy of Tocardo Tidal Turbine (click image to expand)

Five Tocardo tidal turbines successfully installed in the Oosterschelde barrier in Zeeland in the Netherlands (click image to expand – image courtesy of Tocardo International BV)

This installation is the largest tidal energy project in the Netherlands as well as the world’s largest commercial tidal installation of five turbines in an array.

The five Tocardo Tidal Turbines are suspended from a steel structure designed and built by Huisman.

The Tidal Power Plant was engineered and produced in only nine months, and the 50 metre long and 20 metre wide tidal power plant structure was successfully installed in under two hours between the pillars under the Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier. Continue reading

Bicycle generator to charge mobile phones at Sark Folk Festival

June 28th, 2015 by Richard Lord

The Eleanor Foundation will erect a tent at the Sark Folk Festival where people will be able to charge their mobile phones in return for a voluntary donation towards the charity’s water and solar lamp projects in the Kagera region of Tanzania.

Allister Cary of The Eleanor Foundation charging up mobile phones with his bicycle (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Allister Cary of The Eleanor Foundation charging up mobile phones with his bicycle (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

Allister Carey, who founded The Eleanor Foundation in memory of his daughter who was a keen cyclist and a passionate supporter of Water Aid, has bought an Electric Pedals generator, which is powered by the back wheel of a bicycle to provide charging for up to eight mobile phones at a time. Continue reading

GBG electric bike demo on Smith Street, St Peter Port on 19 June

June 17th, 2015 by Guernsey Bicycle Group

(click on image to expand)

(click on image to expand)

The Guernsey Bicycle Group has organised an electric bike demonstration at the foot of Smith Street, St Peter Port from midday to 2 p.m. on Friday 19 June 2015.

Adventure Cycles from St Martin and Ian Brown’s Cycle Shop on Les Banques will have electric bicycles for members of the public to try out up and down Smith Street, St Peter Port.

The path for electric bike travel on Smith Street will be marked by cones.

Electric bikes give cyclists the ability to easily climb Guernsey hills and to carry the extra weight of shopping and office papers effortlessly.

They assist with pedaling when the cyclist needs assistance so they do provide the bicycle rider with some exercise.

They have ample battery power to take a rider anywhere in Guernsey on a daily basis with inexpensive overnight charging.

An electric bike is an inexpensive way to commute to and from work and it avoids the hassle of wasting time and money looking for parking.

OpenHydro transitioning from R&D to grid-connected tidal arrays

May 6th, 2015 by DCNS

Open Hydro has been in business ten years (please click image to expand - image courtesy of OpenHydro)

OpenHydro has been in business ten years. Company employees stand in front of a test turbine that was deployed at EMEC in Orkney, Scotland (please click image to expand – image courtesy of OpenHydro)

OpenHydro, a tidal energy company owned by DCNS, celebrates a decade in business this week.

The Irish headquartered business is planning delivery of two of the world’s first grid connected tidal arrays in France and Canada in 2015.

OpenHydro is working with Emera in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia to deploy and grid connect two 16 metre turbines (2 MW each), tapping into one of the most powerful tidal environments on Earth.

OpenHydro will also install two grid-connected, 16 metre turbines at EDF’s Paimpol–Bréhat site off the Brittany coast.

The company has almost one gigawatt of projects under development – equivalent to 25% of Ireland’s electricity demand.

OpenHydro’s commercial portfolio comprises projects in Scotland, the Channel Islands, Canada, Northern Ireland and France, with utility partners including SSE Renewables, Alderney Renewable Energy (ARE), Emera, Brookfield Renewable Energy Group and EDF. Continue reading

Wind energy’s growing importance for UK electricity generation

September 4th, 2014 by RenewableUK

RenewableUK said that August 2014 was an exceptional month for wind energy, with new records set and electricity generation levels exceeding both nuclear and coal generation, according to official National Grid statistics.

On five separate occasions, wind energy overtook coal-fired plants for electricity generation over a single day, which is the first time this has ever happened in the UK.

Electricity produced by UK wind energy exceeded the electricity generated from coal on the 3, 9, 11, 12 and 17 August 2014.

This strong performance continued towards the end of the month when onshore and offshore wind generated more than Continue reading

Replacing insulating petrochemical spray foams with wood foams

March 14th, 2014 by Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research

This wood foamed board is an entirely natural product made from sustainable raw materials. © Fraunhofer WKI

This wood foamed board is a natural product made from sustainable raw materials. (click image to expand © Fraunhofer WKI)

Fraunhofer scientists are developing environmentally benign insulation foam made from sustainably sourced wood that could replace insulation foam made from petrochemical plastics.

Climate protection is now a mandatory consideration for building contractors in Germany. In October 2013 the German federal government tightened up its Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) by decreeing that in future properties will have to consume even less energy than before.

The key to meeting these stringent requirements lies in the way walls and roofs are insulated to prevent heat loss.

Buildings are insulated by lining their facades with materials that reduce the transfer of heat to the outside environment.

Traditionally the construction industry uses hardboards or expandable foams based on petrochemical plastics because they are good insulators that are affordable and easy to produce. Continue reading

Improving home energy efficiency a remedy for rising energy bills

March 12th, 2014 by UK Green Building Council

The UK Green Building Council is urging the UK Chancellor George Osborne to make energy efficiency of homes a top infrastructure priority in his 19 March 2014 budget.

The Council states that the UK needs to retrofit one million homes each year for the next 25 years to curb rising energy bills, reduce the occurrence of  fuel poverty, and lower carbon emissions.

Home energy consumption accounts for about 25% of the UK’s total carbon emissions.

Improving these properties offers an opportunity to stimulate investment and growth in construction, help create thousands of jobs, and export opportunities for a world-leading energy Continue reading

Appleby law firm achieves Keep Guernsey Green award

February 25th, 2014 by Richard Lord

To gain the award companies have to meet a set of standards to demonstrate their commitment to energy conservation and waste management.

Nicky Sangan, Office Manager for Appleby in Guernsey, which has 24 employees, said “Appleby is an offshore global law firm. When we started the Guernsey office in 2010 we were quite conscious that we wanted to implement environmental initiatives.”

“In 2012 we started the process of obtaining the Keep Guernsey Green award.”

“We already had a few initiatives in place including the recycling bins, but to achieve the award we went through the assessment process with Steve Park, our assessor, which was really useful. Continue reading

Improving human well-being while relying on fossil fuels drives up carbon emissions worldwide

February 23rd, 2014 by Nature Climate Change

Growing economies across the world have seen the average life expectancy at birth rise since 1970, but at a significant cost to the environment, reports a paper, The Carbon Intensity of Human well-being, published on 24 February 2014 in Nature Climate Change.

Past research has confirmed that economic development improves the quality of life.

However, as economies rely mainly on fossil fuels, improved life conditions lead to rising carbon emissions.

Many studies have looked at the association between development and emissions but very few have analysed the dynamic relationship between development, human well-being and emissions, over time and across different world regions.

Andrew Jorgenson calculates the carbon intensity of human well-being — the ratio between per capita anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions (in his study, derived from fossil fuel combustion and cement manufacturing) and average life expectancy at birth — for 106 countries over the period 1970–2009.

He groups the countries in regional samples and estimates how the effect of economic development (measured by gross domestic product (GDP) per capita) on the carbon intensity of human well-being has changed over the period in each group.

He found that, early in the period of study, increased development led to a reduction in carbon intensity of human well-being for nations in Africa, but in recent decades the relationship has become less sustainable.

For nations in Asia and South and Central America, development raises the carbon intensity of human well-being, and increasingly so over the period of study.

The effect of development on the carbon intensity of human well-being for nations in the combined regions of North America, Europe and Oceania has been positive, larger than in other regions, and stable over time.

The author concludes that as long as societies rely on fossil fuels, achieving better life conditions will drive up carbon emissions worldwide.