NRG Yield Buys Wind Farm; Buffett Doubles Down on Cleantech; Is the IoT Environmentally Friendly?; Tom Steyer Launches $2M Fund; Is Solar Activity Influencing Rising Temperatures?

NRG Yield Buys Largest North American Wind Farm

On June 4, NRG Yield Inc. announced that it will purchase the largest wind farm in North America for $870 million from Global Infrastructure Partners and Arclight Capital Partners. The 947 megawatt Alta Wind facility located outside of Bakersfield, Calif. will reduce the company’s exposure to fossil fuels ahead of upcoming regulations. NRG currently has 22 coal plants, 81 oil and gas plants, one nuclear plant and 46 other clean energy plants in its portfolio.

Buffett Doubles Down on Clean Energy

Speaking at the Edison Electric Institute Conference on June 9, Warren Buffett vowed to double the $15 billion spent by Berkshire Hathaway Energy on solar and wind energy, reports Bloomberg. The unit owns a variety of global energy assets that includes electrical grids and natural gas pipelines, in addition to solar and wind farms in the United States.

Is the Internet of Things Environmentally Friendly?

In this Wired article, journalist Klint Finley explores the irony of tracking our energy and resource sucking habits with the IoT. The vast network of online devices meant to keep users better informed about their usage patterns could end up harming the environment. The devices have to come from somewhere, right? Manufacturing will take raw materials and energy, on top of the fact that the majority of the older devices will end up in landfills.

A Greenpeace analyst in the Wired story says that the biggest opportunity for the IoT is not in consumer products, but in industrial automation, building automation, and smart city infrastructure, such as stop lights.

In this video, Bloomberg reporters discuss the implications of Apple’s entry into the home energy management space with its new smart home kit for Google’s Nest and energy providers.

Tom Steyer Launches $2M Fund for Climate Change Events

Tom Steyer is investing in a $2 million disaster relief fund for victims of wildfires and other extreme weather that he said is brought on by climate change, reported The Hill.
 The Climate Disaster Relief Fund will be managed by philanthropic investor, the San Francisco Foundation, which will provide grants to organizations serving the victims of U.S. “climate-related disasters,” NextGen Climate said. The fund will also provide grants to victims of droughts, floods and weather-related oil spills in the future.

Is Solar Activity Influencing Rising Temperatures?

A recent Chinese study published in the Chinese Science Bulletin found high correlations between solar activity and the Earth’s averaged surface temperature, concluding that the sun’s activities are impacting global warming.

The Chinese study contradicts the assumptions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which found that humans contributed to 90 percent or even higher of the observed increase in global average temperature over the past 50 years.

“Our sun is currently in the midst of a solar maximum, which means that the sun is at a peak in solar activity. It’s therefore not surprising that the “modern maximum” of solar activity corresponds with the recent global warming of Earth,” Science World Report noted in an article about the research.

Barclays Downgrades the Entire Utility Sector

Barclays recently downgraded the entire electric sector of the U.S. high-grade corporate bond market to underweight, saying it sees long-term challenges to electric utilities from solar energy, and that the electric sector of the bond market isn’t pricing in these challenges right now, reports Barrons. Barclays pointed out that declining costs of distributed solar photovoltaic and residential energy storage is likely to disrupt the existing utility business model.


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