Theodore "Ted" Venners 温立斯

Peace and Prosperity of China and US

Tag: Renewable Energy

Why is Apple Getting into Renewable Energy reported by China-US Club

Apple has always been a technology company. However, things looks like to be changing lately with Apple’s recent federal license application to sell the excess energy. Apple’s latest move to trade extra electricity it generates from its campuses and facilities across Nevada, California and other states, directly to consumers has garnered quite a lot of attention in the energy industry.

Ever since businesses have managed to begin generating their own electricity through renewable and other resources, the entire electricity industry dynamics seem to be making a shift. Today, prosumers – companies that both produce and consume electricity – are growing rapidly and you may also join the ranks. In fact, the whole electric power industry model is moving away from a system where individual companies or government authorities held monopoly over electricity production and distribution, to a model where large corporations could do the same. These so called prosumers will not only offer cheap, renewable and environment-friendly energy but will also perhaps create and sell their equipments.

California, Texas, east of US and even north Chicago already boast of being the biggest power markets that deal with these eco-friendly products and services. The companies in these markets are licensed and monitored by Federal regulators, however, the key is to localize smaller versions of the industries with much simpler licensing mechanism that would encourage small businesses and even residents to get involved in this possible green revolution.

But only large corporations with massive energy consumption are more likely become prosumers – thanks to their huge facilities, and their resources to be able to trade electricity products.

A lot of these prosumers utilize their building rooftops, empty land spaces, even other structures like parking, R&D facilities, etc. to create their own energy. This is a huge opportunity for these businesses. A recent NREL study suggested that business rooftops has over 3 billion square feet empty space that can generate enough energy to create / meet up to 14% of US energy requirement.

With these many positives, it has become very common for large corporations to buy renewable energy from big vendors and also create their own power. In fact 50 plus top global companies have pledged to go 100% renewable in the coming years. The top 24 users of renewable energy include Google, Apple, Amazon Ikea, Wal-Mart, Facebook and few other giants – and they have together bought approximately 3.6 GW of renewable power in the past 1-2 years, sufficient enough to power 50% of Connecticut.

While many of these big players are trying to create and sell excess energy, Apple has silently built an energy subsidiary, ‘Apple Energy’ LLC, to able to trade power it generates.

[Apple Energy LLC] is a Delaware limited liability company and is a 100% wholly owned subsidiary of Apple Inc. [Contact is] Apple Energy LLC, One Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA 95014.

Considering its enormous operations, energy requirement and also the ability to generate massive renewable solar electricity enables it to be a respected player in the industry. It currently purchases a significant amount of its required energy from large solar energy suppliers.

If a company as huge as Apple gets into the renewable business with a dedicated subsidiary, it could be huge. It could align Apple’s focus and allow it to explore the business with more seriousness. With Apple’s rumored electric car and other products that run on renewable solar power in the pipeline, the dawn of prosumers era is already here.

The Future of Renewable Energy with Bill Gates reported by the CHINA-US Club

Renewable Energy has been in a constant state of development as Climate Change has become the forefront of international policies.

It is predicted that in the next two decades the worldwide energy consumption will increase by 50% compared to 2010. In 2015 alone, the global CO2 emission reached 36 billion tonnes, a steep 42% increase from the year 1990. The goal is to reduce it by 80% from what was emitted in the year 1990. Unfortunately, there has been an increase of energy demand challenging the growing desire to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

With 1.3 billion people – which equals 18% of the world population – living without electricity, the demand of energy is justified. 70% of Sub Saharan Africa and 300 million people in India are deprived of electricity which can meet their basic demands of storing food, providing light and heat, and facilitate work and education.

The only viable balance to this increasing rift is the propagation of Renewable Energy, which is clean energy. But, Renewable Energy without sustainable models is expensive, and it needs to be cheap, easily accessible and reliable to attract investment.

In 2014, China was the highest emitter of CO2 at 27%, followed by the United States at 15.5%, with the European Union and India amounting to 9.5% and 7.2%. The Paris Summit set goals in the right direction, with the United States proposing to reduce carbon emissions to 28% by 2025, with the yardstick being the year 2005. Two hundred countries signed to reduce emissions, with developed industrialised nations ready to invest in renewable technology, with a total of 100 billion euros per year to low income economies to build them up as robust economies, furthering an effort to propagate renewable energy unilaterally.
Throughout his career, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been more than just a software visionary. From bettering lives to creating jobs, from his philanthropic endeavours to environmental conservation, the Tech Guru has made substantial contributions to the world.

In a podcast interview with Stuff You Should Know, Bill Gates discussed the future of Renewable Energy, its obstacles and its pathways:

“When we think about energy, one of the key things is reliability. If you just have energy when the wind blows or in sunshine that’s not very helpful. When someone is freezing in their apartment on a winter night, they need energy. If you’re going to build a factory to say, build a car, because that’ll be a huge capital cost, it needs to run 24 hours a day, so it’s got to have reliable energy. And so, the market isn’t just for energy, the market is for totally reliable energy. Unfortunately, a lot of breakthroughs we have, like the wind and sun, we don’t have those directly generate electricity.

And storing electricity is very, very hard. All the batteries in the world today would not store, uh, every laptop, every car, everything, would not store hours worth of global energy. And batteries haven’t improved much in the last 100 years. They’re less than 3 times better than the battery that Edison, if he were revived, would recognise, which was a lead chemistry battery. Really, the lithium-ion has given us an improvement, but in order to truly work from the grid, you need a factor of 10. Anyway, it is very tough to make that work. We need to pursue breakthrough paths that don’t assume storage miracle, like if you take the sun directly and make liquid fuel, just say gasoline, or any hydro carbon, or any liquid, that’s easy to store. You put it in a tank, you put it in a pipe and the whole infrastructure is geared toward liquid transport. If you could possibly do that, it would be an advantage.

High wind sounds like a crazy idea, the solar fuel, what you’re calling synthetic photosynthesis, if it doesn’t work, people will say it is silly, well of course, but that’s brilliant. When nuclear energy came along, there was a quote from the head of the atomic energy commission, that the electricity would be too cheap to meter, now unfortunately he underestimated the complexities of radiation containment, and all other safety things, which in my view means that we need a whole new generation of reactors, whose safety characteristics are dramatically better and different than what we make today is called third generation. We need this fourth generation. We need to go down a dozen different paths, and even one that is still worth exploring is carbon capture and sequestration, with a little bit of extra chemistry, you take that fuel gas, which is about 12% co2, and you convert it to liquids and then you of course have to find a long-term storage.

If we can do the invention, if we can fund the R&D and maybe even pursue pilot plans to get the economies upscale with learning curve benefits and then if we could offer to them a form of electrification that is non-polluting, then you get the best of both worlds, if you can’t, then they have a dilemma.”

Bill Gates urges for the same goals as the World Energy Council, as in the collective economic development of the world in order to invest, innovate, sustain and propagate Renewable Energy throughout the planet.

Can China Be The Global Green Giant Environmental Safeguards Reported by the CHINA-US Club

In an unprecedented chain of events, China has swiftly emerged as the leading voice for environmental protection.

The industrial behemoth, responsible for four decades of air and water degradation through rampant urbanization and over-dependence on fossil fuels, has opened dialogues with the United States to make substantial efforts toward safeguarding the environment, with the November Miracle of PEOTUS Trump’s unforeseen presidential election victory acting as a catalyst.

President-Elect Trump has vehemently campaigned against climate-change warnings, labelling voices of concern as a propaganda of the Chinese Government. President Xi Jinping pledged his nation’s support in curbing environmental degradation and alleviating climate change concerns proactively to a now undecided President-Elect Trump who has been in constant denial. Furthermore, the PEOTUS was reminded that climate negotiations were a product of former POTUS Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

But, even though the Chinese Government has undertaken the initiative, the concerns emanated by its carbon emissions have been alarming, with the aforementioned emissions seeing a threatening rise of 8.5 gigatonnes in 2012 from 5.46 million tonnes in 1950.

A Change Necessitated By Crisis

China, a nation with the largest population, largest production and consumption of energy, is also the largest defector of the environment with its unequalled carbon emission. The industrial pollution has not only affected the country – with 366,000 coal pollution linked deaths in 2013 – but has also resulted in affecting the western front of the United States, and the islands of Japan and South Korea with acid rain a direct consequence.
Under pressure from climate change activists within and outside the country, China has cast itself in a responsible role, undertaking initiatives and devising national plans to fight environmental decay by rebalancing its energy production and consumption, and aiming to reduce carbon intensity to 40-45 per cent by 2020.

Several strategies have been drawn to bring about a step by step change, chiefly by proactively enabling renewable energy and curbing sectors that are prone to dangerous levels of pollution. Licensing requirements have seen a strict regulation from environmental protection bureaus, as Beijing lays out plans to shut down 1,000 coal-run power plants.

A Glimmer Amidst The Dust

While it tackles the menace of industrial pollution and fossil fuel based environmental poisoning, China has also emerged as the world’s leading investor in renewable energy, surpassing both France and Germany and spending 36 percent of the world’s total investment in wind, water and solar energy in 2015.
Beijing has been wise to tackle any deterrents on the political front in its crusade against environmental degradation, by punishing the top brass of companies responsible for chemical-related accidents, and jailing the likes of former deputy environment minister Zhang Lijun for accepting bribes of 2.4 million yuan (HK $2.6 million).

Despite Beijing’s efforts to repair the damages, there is much more to be done on the environmental protection front, as threats of local unrest loom even with an increasing number of the population voicing against the country’s maltreatment of regulations.

The stalling of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and China’s leadership in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership have opened doors to a more conscious change. Taking Beijing as a yardstick, both the Chinese Government and its citizens need to collectively work toward establishing China as the definite global voice for environmental reparation.

Google will run entirely on Renewable Energy reported by China-US Club

Renewable energy is the future – take it or leave it. Tech giants like Google, Apple and even Microsoft are leading the race to reach that future. With that goal, Google announced that in the year 2017, it will completely move to renewable energy. Now that could be huge for the industry, for a couple of reasons:

  1. Google consumes as much energy as the entire city of San Francisco. So going 100% renewable simply means a massive amount of energy saving.
  2. Google is a role model for hundreds and thousands of startups, tech companies across the world, who try to emulate many things that it does. So this could possibly inspire a large percent of small and medium scale startups to move towards renewable energy methodologies. In other words, it could lead to a tectonic shift in people’s perception about renewable energy sources.

The online giant announced that all of its data centers across the world will be resourced by renewable energy from mid 2017. Google has been partnering with several renewable electricity producers across the world for the past few years by promising them that they would purchase energy produced via turbines and solar cells from them – allowing these energy companies to obtain loans, bank financing, etc.

The way it works is – Google plans to plug the power generated by renewables right into the utility grid, which ensures that Google’s usage does not present net consumption of fossil fuels yet the electricity receives a huge chunk of renewable resources.

Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure, Joe Kava was quoted as saying

“We are the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world, it’s good for the economy, good for business and good for our shareholders.”
The reason why Google is said to be relying on wind supplies is because unlike Carbon-based power, their prices are relatively stable, enabling Google to forecast, prepare better.

In fact, in some places like Chile, renewables are less expensive than the fossil fuels, said Mr. Kava.

A company as enormous as Google getting into renewables is good for the entire industry. With its huge data centers and gigantic computer complexes, Google is definitely among the world’s biggest and fastest-growing new consumers of renewable electricity. To give a quick insight on how big this could be – currently 25% of US electricity goes to business, out of which tech players like Google make up to 2% of it. A recent report suggested that Dominion Virginia Power had an increase in demand by almost 9% from such tech companies.

Google currently owns 13 large data-centers and few smaller ones as well and each data center consists of hundreds and thousands of computers running 24/7.

Jonathan Koomey, a professor in the school of earth, energy, environmental sciences at Stanford said,
“the 5.7 terawatt-hours of electricity Google consumed in 2015 is equal to the output of two 500 megawatt coal plants, and for one company to be doing this is a very big deal. It means other companies of a similar scale will feel pressure to move.”
What this also means for the industry is – when you have corporates with such massive consumption, the production will obviously increase, resulting in lower prices. In fact, Mr. Koomey added,

every time the production is doubled, the cost of solar is reduced by almost 20 percent. Wind goes down 10 to 12 percent.”
This announcement hasn’t come without any criticism. Critics suggested that even though Google might be preparing to move completely towards renewables, it will still have to be dependent on fossil fuels – thanks to the intermittence of wind and sun and the constant demand for stuff like YouTube cat videos.

“In my mind it’s a P.R. gimmick,” said Chris Warren, vice president of communications at the Institute for Energy Research, a think tank in Washington. “If they think they can actually support themselves with wind and solar panels, they should connect them directly to their data centers.”


Whether Google will actually be able to move 100% on renewables in 2017 is an only time can tell. What we could say is – if Google does manage to accomplish 80% of what it plans, than other big companies will feel pressured to move.

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