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Microsoft joins RE100

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PARIS: US multinational giant Microsoft is the first in a wave of ICT companies to join RE100 this week, partnering with like-minded businesses from around the world to take action against climate change.

Microsoft has been 100% powered by renewable electricity since 2014, by purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) and investing in renewable electricity generation projects such as wind turbines and onsite solar panels at its data centers.

From here on, the company plans to increase direct purchasing of the renewable electricity it uses.

Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist at Microsoft, said: “Investments in renewable energy are a foundation of Microsoft’s overall sustainability strategy, and we are proud to join RE100 to demonstrate our support of this effort. We are committed to increasing our purchase of green power and making long-term purchase agreements to power our facilities with local renewable energy. Microsoft has been 100% powered by renewable energy since 2014, and this year alone, we have purchased more than 3.2 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy.”

Highlighting the importance of the collective business voice on climate action, he adds: “We look forward to working alongside other companies through RE100’s campaign to jointly move toward a more sustainable future.”

Setting an example to other companies and international policy makers alike, Microsoft made a commitment in 2012 to become carbon-neutral by establishing an internal carbon fee model to hold its business groups financially responsible for their carbon emissions. Switching to renewables made business sense.

As well as incorporating sustainability into its own business model, the company is pushing it out through the products and services it offers – using the cloud to change the way IT is managed and delivered.

There are now 44 companies in RE100, including Alstria, Autodesk, Aviva, Biogen, BROAD Group, BT Group, Commerzbank, DSM, Elion Resources Group, Elopak, Formula E, Givaudan, Goldman Sachs, H&M, IKEA Group, Infosys, J. Safra Sarasin, Johnson & Johnson, Kingspan, KPN, La Poste, Land Securities, Marks & Spencer, Mars Incorporated, Microsoft, Nestlé, Nike, Inc., Novo Nordisk, Philips, Procter & Gamble, Proximus, RELX Group, Salesforce, SAP, SGS, Starbucks, Steelcase, Swiss Re, UBS, Unilever, Vaisala, Voya Financial, Walmart and YOOX Group.

Emission reductions – going out of fashion?

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Emission reductions are a major fixture in the lexicon of the climate change industry. Many of today’s climate change specialists cut their teeth on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and early forays into climate markets on the back of Certified Emission Reductions or Voluntary / Verified Emission Reductions. In fact, emission reductions are so ingrained in our consciousness that it has escaped our attention that the very concept should cease to exist under a post 2020 climate regime.

Emission reductions are determined by subtracting project emissions from a baseline. The baseline is built from a series of arguments to identify the technology that would provide the service in the absence of the emission reduction markets. Central to this assumption is the fact that Non-Annex 1 Governments, who hosted CDM projects, had no obligations to reduce emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. This situation was further emphasized by the CDM Executive Board who ruled that in situations where Governments implemented policies which lead to reductions in emissions (so-called E- policies) after the year 2000, project developers could ignore these policies in the construction of the baseline (CDM EB 22). This allowed project developers to argue that the baseline was a continuation of current practice, which for example, was often fossil-fueled electricity generation.

The fundamental difference between the Kyoto Protocol and the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action which is the driving force behind the CoP 21 negotiations, is that ALL PARTIES will take on some form of binding commitment to reduce emissions. Developing countries, like developed countries, must start to develop and implement low carbon policies and measures. In Kyoto parlance, Non-Annex 1 countries are now Annex 1 and therefore it is no longer credible to assume that the baseline can be determined by current practice.

Productive Use of Waste Gases to provide on-site Power and Steam

Reducing costs, improving profits and establishing a new environmental standard for ethanol production

The ethanol industry is pushing to reduce its environmental footprint. The industry is being driven to minimize both air and carbon emissions through regulations and fuel standards.

The ethanol production process is energy intensive, using large amounts of electricity and steam. This is reflected in the facility’s carbon emissions with the CO2 emissions from the local utilities being included in the ethanol facility product’s carbon score.

The ethanol production process also generates a waste gas composed of volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”) that requires destruction. Most ethanol plants elect to use thermal oxidizers to destroy these VOCs. However, these gas waste streams are extremely low in energy density, making it necessary to purchase pipeline-quality natural gas, to mix with the VOCs, in order to destroy these gases.

The costs of this extra natural gas, along with maintenance and compliance costs to operate the thermal oxidizers within the environmental standards can be as much as $500,000 or more each year. This adds to the facility’s carbon emissions, since any gas burnt in the thermal oxidizer produces additional CO2 emissions.

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Pacific Ethanol Stockton Plant to Install Innovative Cogeneration Technology

Cogeneration System Utilizes Waste Gas from Ethanol Production as Energy Source, Reducing Electricity Costs and Plant Emissions

January 12, 2015 08:30 ET | Source: Pacific Ethanol, Inc.

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SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 12, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Pacific Ethanol, Inc. (Nasdaq:PEIX), the leading producer and marketer of low-carbon renewable fuels in the Western United States, announced its agreement with Dresser-Rand (NYSE:DRC) to install a 3.5 megawatt cogeneration system with gradual oxidizer at its Stockton, CA plant for approximately $12 million. The cogeneration system will displace purchased electricity by using Ener-Core, Inc.’s (OTCBB:ENCR) innovative gradual oxidizer technology to convert waste gas from ethanol production and natural gas into electricity and steam. With this technology, the plant will have among the lowest air emissions in the ethanol industry.

Neil Koehler, the company’s president and CEO, said: “The Stockton cogeneration system will replace most of the electricity we currently purchase from the grid and will reduce our energy costs by an estimated three to four million dollars per year. This system is one of the most advanced cogeneration systems on the market and will more efficiently deliver steam and electricity to the plant while lowering emissions. Rather than destroying waste gases, we will reuse them as a source of process energy, reducing costs and improving profitability.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Dresser-Rand will supply two 1.75 megawatt gas turbine generators with heat recovery steam generators and two gradual oxidizers that are manufactured by Ener-Core. The combined system will replace the current use of thermal oxidizers. Pacific Ethanol expects the cogeneration system to be operational by the second-quarter of 2016.

World’s biggest floating wind farm to be built in Scotland

LONDON: The world’s largest floating offshore wind farm is to be built in the North Sea, positioning Scotland as a “world leader in floating wind technology” according to Climate Minister Aileen McLeod.

Hywind Pilot Park, which will be constructed by energy company Statoil off the coast of Scotland, is proposed to have five floating 6 MW turbines, with an annual generating capacity of 135 GWh of electricity.

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The North Sea has high potential for deep offshore wind energy, with the European Wind Energy Association stating that in 2050, the energy produced in this area “could meet the EU’s electricity consumption by even more than four times over”. This large impact highlights the opportunities available to other large companies under pressure to use cheaper, cleaner energy, as well as the clean economic growth potential for Scotland, a member of The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance.

Aileen McLeod, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Scottish Government, told The Climate Group: “Scotland has been an active member of The Climate Group’s States and Regions Alliance for a decade. The Scottish experience demonstrates how devolved, state and regional governments can drive a progressive low carbon agenda delivering jobs, investment and growth.