How technology is shaping solutions to climate change

THE ANGELS New York Climate Week is back after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the nation transitions to a future with lower greenhouse gas emissions, it will get there with the help of climate technology and historic climate investments, thanks to the Reduce Inflation Act that has $369 billion in climate provisions ushering in a new era of tax credits. .

While Climate Week was having its moment in the Big Apple, there was excitement here in Southern California.

Let’s start with the solar industry, as RE+ took place all week at the Anaheim Convention Center. RE+ is North America’s largest event for solar energy, as well as the growing clean energy industry.

Solar power supplies more than 20% of California’s electricity today, but it must play a larger role if the state is to reach net zero.

While solar power has been at the beginning of the renewable energy frontier, Enphase solar company spokesman Andy Newbold says products like the IQ8 microinverter are game-changers, allowing solar panels to power a home during a network outage without having a backup. battery storage supply.

“When the grid goes down, they can still use that solar energy to power their homes,” Newbold said.

Solar power may be further along in the renewable energy space, but growing alternative energy sources like wave power could become part of Los Angeles’ energy portfolio.

This fall, ocean wave energy technology company Eco Wave Power will arrive on site at AltaSea in the Port of Los Angeles.

Wave energy technology will be on display to demonstrate that it is a viable renewable energy solution that could be installed in the port and could power surrounding communities.

Rep. Nanette Barragán, who represents California’s 44th District, says the importance of having new emerging technologies like Eco Wave at AltaSea will be key to understanding how wave energy can be scaled up and connected to the grid as a power source. .

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“When we see projects like Eco Wave that have been tested and have worked in places like Israel and Gibraltar, we are excited to bring them to San Pedro at AltaSea,” said Barragán.

The transportation sector is one of the largest contributors to man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are driving the global warming trend observed since the mid-20th century.

However, this sector is already well underway in the transition to clean vehicles, especially with the push from the Biden administration earlier this year, which announced new standards for a national electric vehicle charging network.

The idea is to have access to electric vehicle charging as easily as we do now with service stations.

The first part of the national goal is for electric vehicles to charge at highway exits, which will allow drivers to shake off their anxiety about charging as they travel the country from coast to coast via 53,000 miles of highways.

Earlier this month, the federal government approved the first 35 state plans to build its electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Private companies like Blink Charging plan to be used on the new national network. Mike Battaglia, Blink’s senior vice president of sales and business development, says they’ll use renewable energy sources like solar power and battery storage to help ease stress on the grid during spikes in demand.

“Obviously in California, we have things like blackouts and blackouts and things like that,” Battaglia said. “So there’s going to have to be some innovation, and that innovation will come from utilities putting in additional power plants and making sure the grid can expand from there.”

Another big contributor to global emissions is our built environment. the places where we live, work, eat, play and learn.

Buildings are estimated to contribute around 40% of global emissions, which is why the US Green Building Council promotes energy efficiency and environmental responsibility through various certifications such as Energy Leadership and Environmental Design.

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Ben Stapleton, the executive director of the USGBG-Los Angeles chapter, says that as Los Angeles’s power grid becomes more renewable, electrifying our homes and switching old appliances to gas will remove emissions from the atmosphere and have a cleaner environment in our homes. .

“We’re in a place where, if we can make our homes run more efficiently, if we can lower our operating costs and our utility bills, that increases affordability for us in homes in the long run,” Stapleton said. “And there is also this great opportunity to create more localized jobs, an opportunity to improve our housing. We have a big problem right now with the housing shortage.”

While technology is an integral piece to climate solutions, agtech and plant-based innovation and products saw a renewed wave of interest during Climate Week.

Elysabeth Alfano, CEO of VegTech Invest and a plant-based business consultant, says companies are focused on innovating to replace animals with clean, delicious and efficient protein for sustainable consumption. and products on store shelves are now catching on.

“Plant-based products have a 62% penetration in homes,” Alfano said. “So they’re already in more than half of American homes, according to the Plant-Based Foods Association. But Bloomberg thinks plant-based products will be a $162 billion industry by 2030, and the Boston Consulting Group says it will be $290 billion by 2035.”

With the United Nations projecting that the world population will reach 8 billion by the end of this year, the increase in population creates an immense demand for food and resources such as energy and water, which food production requires.

Climate change is expected to contribute to extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, that threaten crops. Given this, along with the meat and dairy industries being high sources of carbon dioxide and methane, we may need to be open to a future of adding alternative proteins to our plates.

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