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September 2020 Sustainability + Renewable Energy News

Google pledges to be carbon free
Google is promising to run all of its data centers and campuses on carbon-free energy within a decade, as the search engine group makes plans to ditch fossil fuels and acquiesce to a key demand from employees concerned about climate change. The company says it may relocate some data centers to reach the new goal of operating entirely on clean energy such as wind, solar, batteries and hydropower by 2030. The commitment is the latest in a series of high-profile moves by Big Tech companies as they vie to outdo each other with their green credentials, partly in response to employee demands. Read more >>


NAU awarded $1.5 million grant for climate-change research
The National Science Foundation has awarded Northern Arizona University a four-year, $1.5 million grant to examine survival strategies that natural systems might use to respond to the combined effects of environmental change and invasive species. The research effort is a collaboration among investigators at NAU, the Desert Botanical Garden and Arizona State University. This project will use a combination of experimental gardens composed of thousands of Fremont cottonwood trees and the National Ecological Observatory Network’s (NEON) airborne remote sensing technology. The research team will examine the capacity these trees have to tolerate heat stress, drought and habitat disturbance caused by salt cedar, also known as tamarisk. Salt cedar is an invasive species that is a serious threat to riparian ecosystems in the Southwest. Read more >>


Zero Mass Water is now SOURCE Global, PBC to supply renewable drinking water around the world
The pioneering company making drinking water a renewable resource through its SOURCE® Hydropanels, today announced that it has rebranded and reincorporated as SOURCE Global, PBC – a Public Benefit Corporation. Adding to its BCorp certification, the PBC designation underscores the company’s mission to make a long term, positive impact on society and the environment by providing clean, safe drinking water solutions for communities and businesses onsite, any site, anywhere in the world. As part of its PBC charter, SOURCE formalizes its commitment to technology specifically built for social equity, with a focus on solving one of humanity’s greatest challenges: ensuring people in all geographies and economic status have access to the same high quality drinking water. Read more >>


Electric-vehicle maker Tesla outlines ambition to halve cost of batteries
Elon Musk laid out ambitious technical plans on Tuesday that he claimed would cut the cost of Tesla’s batteries by more than half and put the company on course to make an electric car priced at $25,000, on par with traditional internal combustion engine vehicles, in about three years. The closely watched battery plans included a deeper level of vertical integration that will take the electric car maker into all stages of manufacturing its batteries, including processing the raw materials and even buying lithium deposits still in the ground. The unveiling of the plans followed months of anticipation among Tesla’s growing army of stock market bulls, fed by Musk’s promises of groundbreaking advances. Read more >>


Off-grid construction site taps into hydrogen fuel cell tech to power operations
A building site for a major infrastructure project in the U.K. has started to use a zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell for heat and power, removing the need for diesel generators. The news comes as low- or zero-emission kit on construction sites around the world starts to become more commonplace as technologies develop and attitudes shift. Installed in August 2020 by Siemens Energy, the system’s kit is contained in a shipping container. Reusable pipes have been installed to carry hot water from the module to areas of the site where it’s needed, while a battery storage system is also in place to help boost efficiency and “smooth the peaks in power demand.” Read more >>


Powerful Arizona Corporation Commission needs change
The five-member ACC is inordinately powerful, regulating electric and gas utilities, telephone and cable, water and wastewater companies, and railroads and pipelines, among other duties. We need an ACC that thinks long-term and that recognizes the billions and trillions of dollars in health and environmental costs that we are facing, not just the cost of our current electric bill. This November, we have a chance to elect commissioners who will work towards a sustainable future for Arizona. There are three positions open. Shea Stanfield, Anna Tovar and Bill Mundell are running as “Arizona’s Solar Team.” Read more >>

Invest in solar: It could give Arizona’s economy the boost it needs
Arizona must think big if it wants to do more than just replace jobs lost to the pandemic. Investing in large-scale solar power may be the ticket. As Arizona begins to recover from COVID-19, all of us, from elected officials to business leaders, need to be thinking creatively about how to rebuild our economy. That’s going to be especially important in Arizona, where more than 470,000 workers — 13% of Arizona’s workforce — have filed for unemployment since the beginning of March. To really bounce back, we need to recreate not only the jobs lost, but create new ones as well. For leaders in government and the private sector, this means one thing: we have to think big. Read more >>

Why Lucid’s CEO thinks the Air will be a success
Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson has had a hand in the design of high-end automobiles for more than 30 years, including as chief engineer of Tesla, Lotus and Jaguar. Now, though, Rawlinson is clearly in the spotlight. He has a chance to prove that he can duplicate as CEO the remarkable success of his previous boss, Elon Musk, whose Fremont, California Tesla factory is minutes away from Lucid’s headquarters. Read why he thinks the new Lucid Air will be a success, why he doesn’t think it should be compared to the Tesla Model S (which he engineered), and how he’s different from Tesla CEO Musk >>


Most people in Arizona want government to act on climate change, poll finds
A new poll shows a large majority of people in Arizona are concerned about climate change and believe the government needs to do more to address it. The survey found that 71% either “agree” or “strongly agree” with the statement that the federal government “needs to do more to combat climate change.” Similarly, 70% of those questioned said the state government needs to do more to fight climate change. The poll also revealed that most voters don’t believe Arizona has sufficient water to meet all of its needs for the next 50 years. Read more >>

ACC election will help shape rate structures for state’s utility customers
The 2020 election is dominated by the names of Trump and Biden and McSally and Kelly, but another race is nearly as important locally and hasn’t been discussed much. That’s the race for three open spots on the Arizona Corporation Commission. Learn how the Arizona Corporation Commission election will help shape rate structures for Arizona’s utility customers. According to its website, the ACC’s mission is to, among other things, “ensure safe, reliable and affordable utility services.” But in some Arizona cities, the ACC has been most referred to in the context of rising utility rates. Read more on those on the commission who termed out, who’s up for reelection, and the slate of candidates vying for the vacant positions. Learn more >>


California bans the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035, prioritizing electric vehicles
California is taking a huge step to curb vehicular pollution.On Sept. 24, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order with new regulations for vehicles across the state. Most notably, by 2035, all cars and trucks sold in California must produce zero emissions. This does not mean that come 2035, all cars on the state’s roads will be zero-emissions, however; exceptions will come from drivers passing through from other states, drivers who purchase gas-powered vehicles before 2035, drivers who purchase used cars, and drivers who purchase vehicles outside of the state. It’s safe to say EV-charging stations will be easier to find than gas stations come 2035. Read more >>


How Climate Change Could Affect National Security
The effects of climate change are being blamed for the catastrophic wildfires burning on the West Coast right now in California and Oregon. Climate change is also mentioned as a future problem as it relates to U.S. water and energy supplies. But national security — and how we work with and protect allies — could be affected, too as this nation and the rest of the world become hotter and drier. To learn more about just how much of a threat climate change is to national security, KJZZ spoke with retired Marine Brig. Gen. Stephen Cheney. He is president of the American Security Project. Listen here >>


Gilbert, Ariz.-based Footprint Named to FORTUNE’s 2020 Change the World List
Footprint, a sustainable technology firm specializing in materials science engineering, today announced it has been named to the 2020 Fortune Change the World list, a global ranking of the top 50 companies making a positive social impact through business practices that are integral to their core company mission. Focused on creating a healthier planet by eliminating single-use plastic food ware, Footprint provides sustainable, compostable materials to leading global brands including Conagra, Tyson Foods, Molson Coors, Sweetgreen and Wegmans. Footprint has been recognized for these leading plant-based solutions and its work in preventing over 61 million pounds of plastics from entering our environment to date, and decreasing the carbon footprint of disposables by more than 44,730 metric tons, equivalent to driving around the planet 4,494 times. Learn more >>






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