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Verge – Day 2 Highlights

October 28, 2015
Enlighted Inc.

GreenBiz Co-founder and President Pete May

Pete kicked off day 2 with an overview of GreenBiz activities – including events, research, membership, and media. He informed the crowd that GreenBiz plans to be at COP21 in Paris and will present  a range of coverage leading up to the climate talks in France. Pete also annoucned a new Verge conference in Hawaii in June – the Verge Clean Energy Summit.

Micro Grid Demo

Oliver Pacific, CTO of Spirae gave a micro grid demo and shared details of projects like Richard Branson’s Necker Island and work in Hawaii.

“A microgrid is a small energy system capable of balancing captive supply and demand resources to maintain stable service within a defined boundary. Microgrids combine various distributed energy resources (DER) to form a whole system that’s greater than its parts.”

CTO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Martin Fink

Requirements for storage are massively increasing. As workloads have moved to the cloud, utilization levels of servers has not improved. 10% of world’s energy is related to moving data and this will increase by 10x in the next decade due to big data.

Martin explained how we need to do better. HP is developing new technologies that they hope will meet a 10x increase in data transfer with the same energy requirements as today. Essentially a 10x increase in energy efficiency.

Panel Discussion: Grid 2.0

This panel discussion covered a wide range of topics including startup support, cross-company collaborations, and what skills young people needed to be successful in Grid 2.0 jobs.

Grid 2.0 is the “grid of things” – EV cars, solar, and all the energy-related devices we have available today. This is the essential platform that connects all of the different uses and transactions of energy that we have. It’s the big machines – the new infrastructure that represents the future of energy.

Dennis Hayes – The Beef With Modern Food Systems

The influence of cows on American culture and politics is more profound than most people realize. Yet we treat them inhumanely and are poisoning ourselves by feeding antibiotics to livestock. Antibiotics are 4x more common in cows than in humans now. Innovations in dairy tech are helping to reduce these impacts for both cows and humans, but we Hayes advises that we eat less beef and if we must eat beef, that we be selective and eat only certified organic, grass finished beef.

Bright Lights, Big City
David Graham – Deputy COO of Neighbourhood Services San Diego

San Diego was looking to replace its very inefficient streetlights during Great Recession. The city started with replacing select street lights with LEDs. Then continued by putting individual meters/sensors on every one of those new lights. This allowed adaptive controls and lighting, dimming and saved 60% on energy costs which improved delivery of public service during a difficult economic period.

The city is now moving to install more advanced intelligent lighting, which will enable them to layer new technologies on top of lighting using the power of the Internet of Things.

Smart Cities

Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland engaged in a rigorous discussion about the future of cities in the face of risk with Michael Berkowitz from the Rockfeller Foundation. The conversation touched on how cities like Oakland are responding to both acute and chronic issues of safety, security, and social cohesion using an innovative mix of proactive and reactive resilience strategies.

Luis Salaveria. Why Hawaii Is Leading Us to 100% Renewable Energy

Hawaii was the first state to make the commitment to eliminate all fossil fuels for electricity generation. By 2045 the island state will eliminate the use of all fossil fuels for electricity generation, including a step goal of 30% by 2020. Hawaii is the most oil-dependant state in America. About $11,000 is spent per household per year on fossil fuels. It takes a huge toll on economy and the state’s way of life.

Hawaii’s energy policy is rooted in one simple belief. That the people of Hawaii would be better served using their indigenous resources like solar, tidal, and geothermal energy.  Luis touched on the Hawaiin concept of pono – meaning being righteous, doing what is right.

A little known fact: 12% of Hawaiian households have some kind of solar photovoltaic system installed. The national average is less than 1%.

Scaling Cleantech in China

Chivas Lam and Matthew Nordan explained why China is the best place in the world to implement clean technologies.

There are, they said, three reasons: 1) urgency, 2) massive scale 3) favourable economics.

China is facing major air quality problems and 2/3 of groundwater is contaminated. At the same time, energy demand is rising exponentially due to rapid economic development. Accordingly, China needs to build a new powerplant every 5 days.

China needs American technology. And American companies need a market the size of China to scale growth. Yet many deals fail due to cultural reasons, they explained.

Steve Jurvetson VC – Deep Learning

Deep learning is about mimicking the functions of the brain in machines. This allows them to learn over time and improve life for humans while also helping us to solve some of the most intractable problems that we face today – like the climate and energy crises, food security issues, and income inequality.

This talk will be the subject of a longer, dedicated post on the Enlighted blog.

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