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Energy & Sustainability

5 Top Energy Insights for Earth Day

Earth Day this year is focused on environmental and climate literacy, and with new emerging technologies, the energy industry has a big environmental opportunity. From waste tech to aquaponics, 1776 has explored some of the innovative solutions.

Check out the four most-read posts below!

Energy Needs More Panels, Blades & Software — Not a Miracle

A wise advisor once told Arcadia Power CEO Kiran Bhatraju: “There are two businesses: Building a new widget or creating an innovative way to market, distribute, and finance that widget.” When it comes to solving our climate crisis, Bill Gates thinks we need the former, but a carbon-free world actually needs entrepreneurs to focus on the latter.

Energy revolutions don’t happen quickly or often. In fact, they take centuries. We had fire, steam, fossil fuels, and today, we finally have clean, renewable energy. The renewables technology stack (solar, wind and efficient products to name a few) is strong, with decades of iterations producing reliable and cost-competitive products.

5 Actions Cities & Entrepreneurs Can Take in 2016 to Bring COP21 Home

The United Nation’s COP21 climate negotiations ended with unanimous approval of a landmark agreement to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius. While diplomats were negotiating the terms of the agreement, city leaders signed their own declarations signaling that they too are ready to act.

COP21’s Paris Agreement is a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs working in cutting-edge fields like electric vehicles or building-emission management. Public and philanthropic sources have pledged billions of dollars to support climate innovation, but no one knows — yet — how that money will be spent.

Will a new city-subsidized venture capital program mandate a minimum company size to apply? Will a city limit its clean energy program to local startups, or will it invite those from elsewhere to compete on a level playing field? A savvy entrepreneur will want to weigh in early and strategically to help local governments develop their answers.

Garbage Tech: New Approaches to an Age-Old Civic Problem

Trash is a fact of life, but due to growing global populations, the amount of waste that humans produce is set to triple by 2100, increasing both environmental pressures and government costs, according to the World Bank.

The issues of collecting, sorting, storing, and safely destroying trash have fallen to cities since the beginning of civilization — the first landfill was established in Crete in 3000 B.C. Today, the pace of waste production is outstripping landfill capacity, and increases in new kinds of waste mean an increased need for new strategies to manage it. Innovators and cities are combining efforts to re-use, recycle and reduce trash in new ways.

The Fishy Business of Urban Aquaponics

There’s a new shark tank in town. It’s filled with tilapia instead of nervous contestants, but it’s far more friendly to entrepreneurs.

These tanks are part of new urban aquaponics systems that are taking the food tech scene by storm. Like fish out of water, urban aquaponics startups have been leaping to life in the most unexpected places, including warehouses in Brooklyn, New York and downtown Washington, D.C., where startups are combining aquaponics and vertical farming technologies to produce large amounts of fresh produce (think basil, lettuce, kale and other greens) in small, enclosed urban spaces.

Too Many EVs, Too Few Chargers

With the Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt gearing up for release, electric vehicles now have their sights squarely set on mainstream consumers, many of whom seem to really like the idea of driving electric. Tesla just introduced its Model 3, and reservations have already surpassed 325,000. While the demand is great news — for Tesla, EV enthusiasts and the planet as a whole — EVs are heading for major trouble.  

Right now in the United States, EVs outnumber charging stations 15-to-1, which poses a serious problem as another 300,000-plus EVs get on the road.  

We simply don’t have the public chargers needed to handle the demand, and we’re walking right into a 1970s-style fuel crisis. Except this time, it’s not the fuel that’s in short supply – it’s the actual stations themselves. Building out the right infrastructure is no small or easy task, nor does it come at a cheap cost.


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