Sep 26, 2013

Utilities and Facebook fan pages

3 min
By Tina Samuels Social media just for the use of personal communication is out, and using it more for business and networking opportunitie...

By Tina Samuels

Social media just for the use of personal communication is out, and using it more for business and networking opportunities is in.

Many large and small businesses are finding benefits to using social media, particularly with their Facebook fan pages.

One industry in particular that is doing very well with social media is utility companies. There have been many utilities that have showed how to effectively utilize Facebook fan pages to their full advantage.

Popularity of Social Media

Millions of users check Facebook on a daily basis.

More than 100 utility companies are using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and YouTube. They have discovered the importance of going where their customers are going, which has led many utilities to start Facebook fan pages.

And it isn't just to gain new customers, but provide excellent customer service and resources to their current customers. Companies like Dominion, Duke Energy, Ameren, Avista, SWEPCO and Con Edison are all showing the potential of Facebook fan page usage.

Utility Companies Getting it Right

Southwestern Electric Power Co., or SWEPCO, is really using their Facebook fan page to their full advantage.

They are using it as a way to educate followers on new natural energy and coal-fired power resources. The utility has joined with other organizations to provide tips, resources, valuable information and new projects on the awareness of utilizing multiple forms of energy and fuel.

Meantime, Dominion Virginia Power has also been gaining quite a bit of popularity through their Facebook fan page.

They have more than 30,000 fans on their page through Facebook, as well as about the same amount of followers through Twitter.

Dominion believes in a balance of customer service, having open communications between administrators and customers through their page, and announcing important updates in regards to power outages or upcoming events. They use social media, like Facebook fan pages, as an emergency broadcast system.

Other utilities, such as Con Edison, are using their fan pages to provide more value and information about power and energy for their customers.

Con Edison shares valuable tips to their customers, such as how to join energy efficiency programs they offer and helping families to reduce their monthly energy bills through being more environmentally friendly.

Marketing Through Social Media

These utilities are of course using Facebook fan pages as a marketing method as well, but not relying solely on trying to sell something.

What is setting these utility companies apart from other businesses that use Facebook, is by not using it as a large billboard. They are reaching out to customers, announcing power outages, providing tips and even helping families pay less for their services by introducing new ways of cutting back on their power bills.

This, along with customer service and technical support, is allowing their Facebook fan pages to be a big success.

Other businesses can follow their lead by using Facebook to reach out to customers, engage with them and improve their business potential as a result.

About the Author: Tina Samuels writes on social media, small business, and how to be first on Google.


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Jul 29, 2021

Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030

Dominic Ellis
4 min
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades says the UK's National Infrastructure Commission

Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission

Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.

The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.

The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture. 

It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.  

The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020. 

Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.

The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.

While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.

Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.

Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse. 

"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.

“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.” 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets. 

Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.  

Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."

McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:

  • Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
  • Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
  • Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
  • Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
  • The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere

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