4 sustainable investing myths, debunked

4 sustainable investing myths, debunked

(GreenBiz) Enthusiasm for sustainable investing is surging. Already, more than $8.7 trillion (PDF) of investment capital is managed using environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in U.S. markets alone, according to the U.S. SIF Foundation. That’s a 184 percent increase since 2010. This pot of money increasingly includes investments in green infrastructure, renewable energy, affordable housing and more, as well as investments that more holistically integrate broad ESG factors.

However, amid this hype, a certain amount of confusion , doubt and outright skepticism endures. WRI’s new paper, “Navigating the Sustainable Investment Landscape,” is based on interviews with 115 investment professionals — including asset owners with $1.26 trillion under management — and found that the prospects for sustainable investing are strong and overcoming key roadblocks will help the market reach a tipping point.

Getting the Measure of Sustainable Economic Growth

Getting the Measure of Sustainable Economic Growth

(The Ecologist) The new Index of Sustainable Economic Growth shows there is a shift to strike a healthier balance between support for the economy, and care for essential social and environmental systems. But can it ever replace GDP as a measure of progress? JAMES CURRAN explores the idea.

It looks like there is a shift to strike a healthier balance between support for the economy, and care for essential social and environmental systems “It’s time to go beyond GDP” claimed Manuel Baroso, President of the European Commission in 2007, but for over 60 years GDP has remained the obsession, and some have said fetish, of most Governments and most commentators.

Getting real with renewable energy

(Vermont Digger) Many people believe that 100 percent of our electricity can come from renewable energy. Such a goal is not only unachievable, it also diverts action from realistic strategies that will benefit the environment and our energy future.

Electric utilities in Vermont try hard to present an image of being green and providing clean energy. But since the electricity that we use is part of a large interconnected system, it is better to think regionally instead of locally. Vermont is connected to the New England electric grid operated by ISO New England. It is this regional electricity grid that really matters when examining the environmental impact of the electricity that we use.

Report Ranks Top States for Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement

Report Ranks Top States for Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement

(Green Tech Media) Not all states are equal when it comes to renewable energy policy — particularly when it comes to how well states accommodate corporate clean energy procurements, according to a new report by the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Information Technology Industry Council.

The commercial and industrial renewable energy market currently totals around 5 gigawatts of contracted wind and solar power, with these large-scale customers planning to procure an additional 60 gigawatts by 2025, according to the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA). Whether or not companies will be able to meet their procurement goals relies heavily on state-level policies, which some leading corporations are actively trying to make more favorable .

Majority of Americans Want Renewable Energy, Not Fossils

Majority of Americans Want Renewable Energy, Not Fossils

(Sustainable Business) As Trump prepares to unleash a new era of fossil fuels and take a hard turn away from renewable energy, a Pew Research Center poll shows that’s not what Americans want. A strong majority of 65% want the US to focus on renewable energy. Only 27% say fossil fuels should be the priority.

The divide remains stark between parties, however, with 81% of Democrats and 45% of Republicans preferring renewables. There’s also a generational difference: 73% of people under 49 years-old want renewables over fossils, compared with 50% for people over 50. Two other polls conducted after the election, show that Americans’ concern about climate change is at the highest levels since 2008. 64% are either “very worried” or “somewhat worried”, up from 57% in 2015.

Smaller Businesses Want Renewable Energy Developers To Spread The Green

Smaller Businesses Want Renewable Energy Developers To Spread The Green

(Forbes) Wind energy, the fastest-growing source of electricity in the U.S., is transforming low-income rural areas in ways not seen since the federal government gave land to homesteaders 150 years ago. Smaller enterprises want energy developers to spread the green, allowing them to get in on the renewable wave rolling through America. The dynamic has made it easier for larger corporations with more demand to buy wind and solar electricity but it has nudged out the less brawnier brands.

Renewable Energy Will Power The Super Bowl

(Solar Industry) As the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons battle it out on the field this Sunday, renewable energy will power Super Bowl LI. NRG Energy Inc. and subsidiary Reliant, a retail electricity provider in Texas, have teamed up with the National Football League (NFL) to provide 100% Green-e certified renewable energy to NRG Stadium, site of Super Bowl LI, and the George R. Brown Convention Center, location of the NFL Experience and other NFL celebrations in Houston.

The World’s Sustainable Energy Capacity is Absolutely Surging Right Now.

The World’s Sustainable Energy Capacity is Absolutely Surging Right Now.

(UN Dispatch) A recent report by the International Energy Agency revised upward the potential for growth in renewables, and found that sustainable energy capacity now equalled that of coal. In other words, the IEA found that its previous estimates for how fast renewable energy would grow we’re too slow. Countries are bringing sustainable sources of electricity like wind turbines and solar panels online faster than the international agency expected.

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Will California Reach Its 50% Clean Energy Goal? No Problem

Will California Reach Its 50% Clean Energy Goal? No Problem

But managing so much clean energy may be difficult. California will easily meet its goal of having half of its electricity come from clean energy by 2030, a group of energy entrepreneurs and the head of one of the state’s largest utilities agreed at Fortune’s Brainstorm E conference on Monday.

PG&E’s CEO Tony Earley said that the company had already reached a milestone earlier this year of getting 30% of its electricity from clean energy sources. Building on that landmark, PG&E already has clean energy projects lined up that will help it deliver half of its electricity from clean energy, like solar and wind, within less than 15 years, said Earley.

“We can get there,” he confidently predicted.

EIA projects 48% increase in world energy consumption by 2040

EIA projects 48% increase in world energy consumption by 2040

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s recently released International Energy Outlook 2016 (IEO 2016) projects that world energy consumption will grow by 48% between 2012 and 2040. Most of this growth will come from countries that are not in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), including countries where demand is driven by strong economic growth, particularly in Asia. Non-OECD Asia, including China and India, accounts for more than half of the world’s total increase in energy consumption over the projection period.

Energy + Economy DC 2016

An in-depth, interactive discussion with leading experts from diverse perspectives about the state-of-knowledge regarding how shifting energy trends will affect the broader economy.

Atlas shrugged — and the U.S. economy is feeling the weight

Atlas shrugged — and the U.S. economy is feeling the weight

(Market Watch) The U.S. economy is being weighed down by slow growth around the world. In normal times a steady pace of hiring and consumer spending would mean the economy is doing great. But these are not normal times.

American companies continue to hire workers at a rapid clip — more than 200,000 new jobs a month. All the people now working and earning paychecks helped to boost consumer spending in 2015 to the fastest rate in a decade.

That hasn’t translated into stronger U.S. growth, though. The economy expanded at a measly 1.4% rate in the 2015 fourth quarter and it could do even worse in the first three months of 2016.

As the Debt Hits $19 Trillion, Has the US Reached a Tipping Point?

As the Debt Hits $19 Trillion, Has the US Reached a Tipping Point?

(The Fiscal Times) For several years, the growing federal debt was ignored as the economic recovery chipped away at once massive spending shortfalls of $1 trillion or more. Now, there’s an uneasy feeling among many policy makers and experts that we are beginning to slip back into risky fiscal terrain.

The last time the budget was in balance was in 2001, at the tail end of Democratic President Bill Clinton’s second term. While the government has been awash in red ink ever since, President Obama and congressional GOP leaders have rightfully crowed about a series of bipartisan deals that helped bring down the annual deficit from an astounding $1.4 trillion in 2009 – at the very worst point in the recession – to $438.4 billion just last year.

But times are changing again, and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has issued several distress calls in recent months that the deficit is headed north again. We will return to another era of big deficits, CBO warns, unless Congress and the White House step in with some meaningful spending reforms. And that, of course, means figuring out how to provide Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to a growing army of retiring baby boomers without breaking the bank.

IEA: India could drive oil demand growth

This country could drive oil demand growth: IEA

(CNBC) Global oil demand growth is forecast to ease further in 2016, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday, predicting a slowdown in demand from some of the world’s top consumers and a rise in demand from one particular economy.

Growth in global oil demand will ease to around 1.2 million barrels a day in 2016, the IEA said in its latest monthly report published on Thursday, below 2015’s 1.8 million barrels a day (mb/d) expansion. This would take place, the IEA said, as “notable decelerations take hold across China, the U.S. and much of Europe.”

Meet Us in DC – June 25-29, 2016

Join us in Washington DC in late June for a combination of events that promise to be engaging, educational, and downright enjoyable. International Society for BioPhysical Economics 2016 Conference June 26-29, University of the District of Columbia The International Society for Biophysical Economics is the foremost organization for research and scholarship on the interconnections among energy, resources, and the economy. The Energy Xchange is a supporting partner of ISBPE and this conference. The ISBPE conference is jointly held with the 2016 International Society for Ecological Economics conference. Registration for the ISEE conference includes registration for the ISBPE conference. Energy & the Economy: A Roundtable Discussion Sunday, […]

World’s second biggest coal miner at risk of bankruptcy

The world's second biggest coal miner could be about to go bankrupt

(Business Insider) Peabody Energy, one of the world’s biggest producers of coal, has warned that it is at risk of going bankrupt in the very near future, thanks to a lack of “sufficient liquidity to sustain operations and to continue as a going concern” caused largely by the continuing downturn in the coal mining industry.

In a regulatory filing on Wednesday, the US-based producer said: “There can be no assurance that our plan to improve our operating performance and financial position will be successful.” Peabody has undertaken a huge programme of cost-cutting in recent years to stave off a massive crash in the price of the commodity.

Investors Increasingly Bullish on Oil and Gas

Investors Increasingly Bullish on Energy Sector

(NY Times) It was one of the darkest periods of the oil market slump. The global economy was showing fresh signs of slowing, and crude prices were collapsing so steeply that virtually every well in America was unprofitable.

But when Diamondback Energy went out to raise $226 million worth of new stock that week in the middle of January, the oil and gas company found more buyers than it could accommodate. It had to nearly double the amount of shares it sold, to four million.

Since Diamondback issued equity that day, the company’s share price has increased more than 29 percent.

Solar Debate Heads to Cold, Foggy Maine, Where Panels are Scarce

Solar Debate Heads to Cold, Foggy Maine, Where Panels are Scarce

(Bloomberg) Despite long winters, a famously foggy coastline and relatively few solar panels in operation, Maine is emerging as a pivotal U.S. state for determining how consumers will pay for power generated by the sun.

U.S. solar installations have boomed more than 10-fold in the past five years, driven in part by a policy known as net metering that requires utilities to pay their customers for extra solar energy from rooftop panels. That’s lowered consumers’ monthly bills, and also cuts into revenue for utilities that still must contend with their own fixed costs — spurring conflict between traditional power companies and solar providers.

Renewable energy’s global growing pains

Renewable energy’s global growing pains

(ArsTechnica) The story of the US’ energy economy has become simple: natural gas has gotten incredibly cheap, wind is catching up, and solar will be competitive before the decade is out. All of this is driving a boom in renewable energy and pushing coal out of its dominant spot on the market.

But the US isn’t the world—it’s not even the largest carbon emitter anymore—and its experience doesn’t always reflect what’s happening in other countries. At the recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (or AAAS), speakers had the chance to review what’s happening with renewable energy in a number of other critical countries: Germany, India, and China.

The Myth Of Expensive Nuclear Power

The Myth Of Expensive Nuclear Power

(oilprice.com) Lovering, Yip and Nordhaus (Science Direct April 2016) reviewed construction cost data for 349 reactors in the U.S., France, Canada, West Germany, Japan, India, and South Korea, encompassing 58 percent of all reactors built globally, and concluded that there is no inherent cost escalation trend associated with nuclear technology. There is however a vast variation in construction costs from one country to another. Some countries like the U.S., Canada, Japan and W Germany responded to the Three Mile Island accident by imposing regulations that pushed construction costs through the roof, while France, S Korea and India did not. S Korea and India are still able to deliver nuclear power stations for $2 billion / GW ($2010) installed capacity which remains a small fraction of the capital cost of solar PV.

How to Fix Solar Power’s Inequality Problem

How to Fix Solar Power's Inequality Problem

(CityLab) Clean energy has an inequality problem.

It’s not unique to this sector—cutting-edge technologies tend to be expensive and time-consuming to adopt, keeping themout of reach for disadvantaged communities initially. That’s especially true for rooftop solar panels, which require users to owna roof that receives adequate sunlight. For low-income families, especially those who rent or live in multi-family buildings, the chance to cut their electricity bill by producing their own energy just isn’t feasible.

Consistent Policy Required For Renewables

Clean Energy: Consistent Policy Required For Renewables

(Forbes) Nevada was once known as the darling of the solar industry, and over the years the state fostered pro-growth approaches for clean energy efforts. All of that has changed along with the ongoing struggle between the State’s regulator, and both the utility and solar industries. The case in Nevada clearly illustrates the need for regulatory certainty in the field of public policy.

More on this issue in a moment, but first it’s important to note that last year the global solar industry prospered. According to data released by Greentech Media (GTM) Research the industry experienced a 34 percent increase in Photovoltaic (PV) systems installation and 59 gigawatts of new capacity coming online within just one year. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), 40 percent of all new electric generating capacity in 2015 in America was supplied by the solar industry, while another 20,000 megawatts of additional solar capacity is expected to infiltrate the grid within the next two years.

New Grid Storage Technology Helps Integrate Renewables

New Grid Storage Technology Helps Integrate Renewables

(MIT Technology Review) Duke Energy installs batteries, ultracapacitors to cover power shortages and store energy for peak demand.

Developing cheap energy storage is a critical step in moving to renewables and away from fossil fuels as the primary source of electricity: it’s the only way such intermittent sources can supply power to the grid when the wind’s not blowing and the sun’s not shining.

Duke Energy, the nation’s largest utility, is trying a novel strategy to tackle this challenge. At its Rankin substation, in North Carolina , it has installed a system of hybrid energy storage that combines a battery from Aquion Energy and ultracapacitors from Maxwell Technologies .