Cleantech & Sustainability News Roundup

Siemens partnered with Utilidata to distribute its energy efficient voltage optimization software through its Energy Automation unit. Providence, R.I.-based Utilidata captures real-time data from the electric grid, giving utilities information needed to save energy, mitigate issues caused by distributed energy resources and better detect grid anomalies. It raised a $20 million Series B round in 2013 led by Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures.

The combustion engine still king of the road? While electric cars may generate more chatter in cleantech circles, the key to reducing fossil fuel consumption still lies in good old-fashioned internal combustion engines, author Steve Levine writes in The Wall Street Journal. As Levine points out, traditional automobiles will dominate the marketplace until credible electrics are available in the mid-$20,000 range. Even by 2040, 95 percent of all cars will still have traditional combustion systems, Levine writes. But advances in combustion-engine technology, accelerated in part by government mandates around fuel efficiency, will mean less of a negative impact than cars have traditionally had on the environment.

Experts at research labs, like the federally funded Argonne National Laboratory, believe fuel-powered vehicles can be engineered to achieve 35 to 40 percent better mileage. The bottom line? Motorists can maintain their allegiance to the traditional combustion engine and still collectively burn 20 million fewer barrels of oil a day in coming years, Levine writes.

U.S. had scheduled auction of its largest offshore wind farm area off the Atlantic coast on Jan. 29, according to a report by Climate Central. All bids were for the development of wind farms beginning about 12 nautical miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. If such development occurs, it would mark the United States’ first generation of electricity via offshore wind turbines in American waters, says the report. The auction, which is part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, was expected to include 12 wind energy companies.

Other offshore wind rights auctions of U.S. waters have been held in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia but for smaller offshore areas than the one in New England.

REITs are ripe for energy efficiency improvements in commercial buildings, says Clean Fund’s Joshua Kagan, also senior fellow with the Carbon War Room, in a interview. REITs account for 20% of commercial buildings, and buildings account for one third of global carbon emissions, he says. Building owners understand the value of energy efficiency, and investments in sustainability lead to higher returns on equity for REITs, according to new research.




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