- Bees, Butterflies, & Solar Panels Learn To Share The Land In Minnesota
- Net zero: Alta. town grasps electrical holy grail
- EU Aims to Tackle Climate Change With Newly Adopted ‘Green Finance’ Guidelines
- This new marketplace pays farmers to fight climate change
- Colgate redesigned the toothpaste tube so it’s actually recyclable
1) Bees, Butterflies, & Solar Panels Learn To Share The Land In Minnesota
Connexus Energy of Minnesota and the National Renewable Energy Lab are working together in an experimental program that may boost the output of solar power plants. Borrowing an idea that is popular in the UK, Connexus is planting prairie grasses and flowers under and around the solar panels at one of its solar and storage facilities. Credit: Connexus Energy Pollinator-friendly plantings at large solar energy sites have become common in Minnesota in recent years, according to Minnesota Public Radio . Not only do they provide a habitat where bees and butterflies can thrive, they also promote soil health and may increase the solar panels’ electricity output on warm days. The National Renewable Energy Lab is using the Ramsey Renewable Station and a couple dozen other sites around the country to test pollinator plantings. “Their hypothesis is that thicker vegetation under and around solar panels creates a cooler microclimate, which actually generates more electricity from the panels,” said Rob Davis, who directs the Center for Pollinators in Energy at the Minnesota advocacy group Fresh Energy.
2) Net zero: Alta. town grasps electrical holy grail
Solar panels on almost all town-owned buildings allow Raymond to produce enough electricity to run its operations RAYMOND, Alta. — A small Alberta town is the first in Canada and likely the first in North America to produce as much of its own electricity as required to run town operations. It’s called “net zero” as far as electricity is concerned and it has been achieved in Raymond, population about 4,000, by installing solar panels on nearly all town-owned buildings. It is an approach other towns and municipalities could also embrace, said Jason Atkinson of Enmax, the Calgary-based utility that partnered with Raymond on its solar generation project. “Raymond is being powered by the sun,” said Atkinson, director of operations for Enmax. “It’s like the field of dreams. If you build it, they will come.”
3) EU Aims to Tackle Climate Change With Newly Adopted ‘Green Finance’ Guidelines
Newly adopted guidelines set forth by the European Commission Tuesday aim to tackle climate change by way of the financial sector. The move comes to bolster the success of the Sustainable Action Plan published last year to reorient capital flows toward sustainable investment and manage financial risks from climate change, environmental degradation and social issues. In short, the guidelines help define an environmentally friendly investment by providing companies with recommendations on how to report the impact of their activities on the climate, as well as how climate change impacts their business. “The climate emergency leaves us with no choice but transit to a climate-neutral economy model,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, vice-president responsible for financial stability, financial services and capital markets union. “Today’s new guidelines will help companies to disclose the impact of the climate change on their business as well as the impact of their activities on climate and therefore enable investors make more informed investment decisions.”
4) This new marketplace pays farmers to fight climate change
One of the biggest solutions for the climate isn’t as obvious as wind power or electric cars. But if farmers make changes to the way they manage soil on farms—and that happened on farmland globally—it could theoretically suck a trillion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, or as much as humans have emitted since the Industrial Revolution. The changes aren’t particularly complicated, and involve things like rotating crops, planting cover crops, and avoiding tilling the soil. These “regenerative agriculture” techniques also aren’t new, though they became less common with the advent of modern agriculture, as techniques like plowing released carbon that had been stored in the ground. To go back, a new marketplace called Indigo is trying to incentivize farmers by connecting them with companies and others who want to pay for carbon offsets.
5) Colgate redesigned the toothpaste tube so it’s actually recyclable
Of the hundreds of thousands of tubes of toothpaste sold in the U.S. each year, most end up in landfills. The tubes, which are usually made of a mix of materials including aluminum, aren’t accepted at typical recycling facilities. Colgate spent the last five years designing a new type of tube that can change that. The company, like many other consumer packaged goods giants, has committed to moving to packaging that’s fully recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025. It recognized the scale of its own challenge. “We feel like with our level of penetration, in over half the households in the world, we have a responsibility to participate in reducing plastic issues around the world,” says Ann Tracy, vice president of safety, global sustainability, and supply chain strategy at Colgate-Palmolive. Colgate is also part of Loop, a group of major brands experimenting with new reusable packaging ; toothpaste, for example, could potentially be replaced with alternatives like chewable tablets that can be sold in a reusable tin rather than plastic.