[TOP 10]: Stories for Your Weekend, 8/22
It’s Friday here in the states, and I’m looking forward to a sunny, beautiful weekend in San Diego. While you sit out by the pool or in your backyard with a cold drink in hand, give these stories a read. The first are some of our important news stories from this week. The second part consists of articles worth reading from those offering a perhaps different perspective on the industry. So kick back, relax, and enjoy the weekend.
You Might Not be Able to See the Next Generation of Solar Panels
“Here at Energy Digital, we talk a lot about the future of the solar industry.
As of late, though, there’s been quite a bit of talk about the future solar panels themselves. What will they look like? How efficient will they be? What will they cost?
What if you couldn’t see them?”
Citigroup Report Spells Trouble for Oil, Further Growth for Renewables
“World energy markets will soon enter a period of “extreme flux,” according to a new report out from Citigroup.
The report, titled ‘Global Energy 2020: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised as Disruptors Multiply,’ paints a bleak picture for the future of the oil industry, while predicting massive growth in the renewable sector. The report claims oil is being undermined by cheaper natural gas and more fuel-efficient vehicles.”
In U.S., Waste-to-Energy Could Supply 12% of Electricity
“In a new report out from the Earth Engineering Center (EEC) at Columbia University, it’s estimated that 12% of all U.S. electricity could potentially be supplied through waste-to-energy (WtE) programs. In order for this to occur, all municipal solid waste (MSW) the U.S. is currently putting into landfills would need to be converted via WtE plants.”
Why You Should Pay Attention to Renewable Energy Crowdfunding
“While the concept of voting with one’s dollars is often debated, there’s no denying a grain of truth runs through it. Products that sell well continue to hit the market and those that don’t are often times scrapped. It’s pretty simple—you like it, you buy it, and they keep producing it.
The argument against this is generally one involving control. While the consumer is telling the company what they want by purchasing it repeatedly, the company is still the one who controls what the products are in the first place.”
For Your Consideration
“The Problem with Green Corporate Welfare”—Julie Novak for The Canberra Times
“Efforts by opponents of the first Abbott budget to protect green corporate welfare measures undercuts their portrayal of government policies as inherently unfair.
Over months critics of the Abbott government have waged a highly charged publicity campaign opposing moves to consolidate a federal budget in structural deficit, and to deregulate an economy whose potential is constricted by red tape.”
Australia Needs the Renewable Energy Target (And Should Increase It)—Alex White for The Guardian
“The renewable energy industry woke to a shock this morning with a front-page Australian Financial Review headline that the conservative Abbott government was planning to abolish the renewable energy target.
AFR journalist Phil Coorey reported that prime minister Abbott had asked the climate skeptic and business leader heading the review of the target, Dick Warburton ‘to do more work on the option of terminating the target altogether.’”
“Unintended Consequences: Bird Deaths at California Solar Power Plants”—KPBS
“The goal of the huge Ivanpah solar electricity plant in the Mojave desert is to provide clean, affordable energy to thousands of households.
But what it's also doing, according to wildlife officials, is killing birds. The predictions, disputed by plant owners, are as high as 28,000 birds a year.”
“Another View: Expanding Geothermal Power Will Help Diversity”—Karl Gawell for the Sacramento Bee
“It was a rare pleasure to read about representatives of the wind and biomass industry showing concern for some existing geothermal industry jobs. We appreciate their concern.
While we support legislation before the California Legislature requiring more geothermal power to be acquired, we have made it clear that the Geothermal Energy Association supports existing geothermal power facilities in California and efforts to expand geothermal power production in the state.”
“Opinion: We All Want to Breathe Clean, Healthy Air”—Malcolm Brodie for the Vancouver Sun
“On July 13, Metro Vancouver issued an air quality advisory after ground-level ozone readings exceeded targets in the eastern parts of the region. The advisory was lifted two days later, but this short-term smog event underscores the importance of Metro Vancouver’s efforts to reduce air pollution.”
Can These New Small Wind Companies Finally Duplicate the Success of the Solar Industry?—Stephen Lacey for Greentech Media
“One of the biggest changes for solar came nearly a decade ago, when Congress created the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit for the technology in a sweeping 2005 energy bill. That was the moment when Wall Street investors started taking solar seriously, eventually bringing billions in tax equity into the industry.”
Top 10 ways to prepare for COVID-19
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management.
As the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, many businesses are left uncertain as to whether their risk mitigation plan is sufficient.
In a recent webinar conducted by the research and advisory firm just 12% of 1,500 people believe that their business is highly prepared for the impact of COVID-19, while 56% believed themselves to be somewhat prepared, and 11% believed themselves to be very unprepared.
“Most organizations have done some pandemic planning but still have many unanswered questions about whether they have done everything they can to manage risks,” says Jim Mello, Senior Director, Advisory, Gartner.
Establish a preparedness framework
Establish a team that represents all critical business functions. These people will report directly to executive management and are responsible for prioritising the importance of business activities and organise them in tiers for response and recovery.
Monitor the situation
It is important to ensure that organisations monitor the rate in which the infection is spreading and its severity. Many rely on the World Health Organisation for information.
Be sure to revise revenue forecasts and communicate with investors, as well as suppliers in regards to any potential finance issues. It is important to ensure that the business has the working capital to ride it out.
Ways to ensure this include: working capital checks, seeking loans or government-sponsored financial relief.
Extend personal hygiene and cleaning protocols
It is important to comply with any changes to workplace regulations. In addition, it is important to establish protocols for staff returning from infected areas, as well as extending existing hygiene activities.
Ensure close monitoring of absenteeism rates for signs of problems. It is important to identify critical staff in order to make sure the company can continue to function in their absence and be prepared for up to 40% absentee rates.
In addition to reviewing HR policies and procedures, it is important to maintain a level of sensitivity when it comes to engaging with employees and workplace preferences.
Establish a communication programme
People can feel out of the loop quickly. Establish a spokesperson appropriate for the situation who can maintain lines of communication. In addition, organisations should establish pre-approved messages and scripts for various stakeholders.
Review the impact on the operation
Although this may seem overwhelming, the team established to represent all critical business functions should identify key areas to consider. It is important to maintain a connection with the reality on the ground in countries affected.
Key questions to consider: is transport functioning? Have holidays been extended? Where can operation continue and where do they need to stop?
IT business functions tend to be relatively well-prepared for business continuity. However, it is important to assess the supply chain for critical equipment and keep extra inventory if required.
In addition, organisations should keep in mind remote data centre management and cloud options for critical systems as well as enabling remote working programs and rescheduling any non-essential IT work prioritising key applications.
Review pandemic plans to identify any gaps in response
Conduct a preparedness exercise by validating roles and responsibilities as well as recovery requirements and procedures, in order to identify any gaps in the recover capabilities and resource needs.
Following the establishment of a pandemic plan, identify three lessons learned, key observations or improvements for the exercise. After establishing these organisations should priorities the short and long term follow up actions.