Which company’s HQ is “the world’s most sustainable building”? Which government has banned fracking? And, how might blockchain disrupt the energy sector?
This, and more, in the week’s ten biggest climate innovation stories.
Corporate PPAs: A game changer for clean energy
Companies like Google, Norsk Hydro, and Facebook are increasingly turning to corporate renewable Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) as a secure, reliable, and competitive source of power from clean energy sources. Last year alone in Europe, 1.5 GW of renewable energy capacity was supplied to corporates under PPAs—up from 74 MW just four years ago—a majority of which is in wind energy.
This living hammock is an incredible seat made of soil-less plants
Spanish artist Ainhoa Garmendia’s Naturalise installation features a hammock made out of soil-less living plants woven into a sturdy fabric. The piece is a statement that calls to fight our contemporary throw-away culture in favor of something lasting and living.
Bloomberg’s new London HQ rated world’s most sustainable office
Bloomberg’s new European headquarters in London scored a 98.5 per cent against the latest BREEAM sustainability rating scheme—making it the world’s most sustainable office building, as designed. Certified BREEAM Outstanding with its design-stage score, the Foster + Partners-designed project uses 73 per cent less water and 35 per cent less energy than a typical office building.
Germany backs European battery champion to take on Tesla
German industrial and automotive giants including BASF SE and BMW AG have been invited to a meeting in Brussels on 11 October being led by the European Union’s top energy official, Maros Sefcovic, who has pledged as much as €2.2 billion euros for battery development. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government welcomed the talks aimed at creating a European battery consortium.
Scottish government bans fracking after public opposition
The Scottish government has banned fracking after a consultation found overwhelming public opposition and little economic justification for the industry. Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish energy minister, told MSPs that allowing fracking would undermine the government’s ambitions to deeply cut Scotland’s climate emissions, and would lead to unjustifiable environmental damage.
Blockchains will allow rooftop solar energy trading for fun and profit
Multiple projects are now under way to use technology that was originally intended to account for transactions in digital currency to track electricity production and put it up for sale. “The future is moving toward distributed energy, distributed generation for local businesses and for consumers,” says Susan Furnell, an energy industry consultant based in London. “It needs a new set of technologies and a new set of business processes and a way of interacting to make all of that work.”
London mayor announces another bike superhighway
London’s cycle superhighways have already shown they can deliver 70 per cent increases in cycling, and now Mayor Sadiq Kahn has announced an entirely new, fourth superhighway bringing segregated lanes to Southeast London for the first time.
Bicycle highway in the Netherlands built using recycled toilet paper
People in the Netherlands use an estimated 180,000 tons of toilet paper every year. Because this amounts to a lot of trees, last Fall the Dutch province of Friesland repurposed the product to make a bicycle highway. The stretch of roadway, about 0.6-miles-long, connects the Frisian capital of Leeuwarden to the town of Stiens. It is the first bicycle lane in the world to be paved with toilet paper.
Transformable solar building changes shape to teach people how to live sustainably
A team of Swiss architecture students have designed and built the eco-friendly NeighborHub to persuade people to adopt sustainable lifestyles. Conceived as a collaborative community space, the NeighborHub is a transformable, shared space that demonstrates innovative solutions, from renewable energy, and water management to biodiversity, and sustainable mobility.
World’s first technology to measure electricity grid stability announced
UK-based environmental engineering company Reactive Technology partnered with the national grid operator for the UK, National Grid, to build Project SIM, an innovative project which set out to continuously measure grid stability, also known as system inertia, across an entire electricity network.