January 6, 2016 - Sustainable Pittsburgh
Energy Innovation (EI) is a biweekly newsletter of the
Energy for the Power of 32 initiative
EI Energy Innovation
news and events accelerating sustainable development for the power of 32
Upcoming Events

January 14th, 2016 (12:00 pm - 2:35 pm)
TBD: Capitol Hill
Washington, DC 20003
Presented by: Alliance to Save Energy

Please join us for a Congressional Briefing on Cutting Edge Technologies and Businesses: Opening the Door for Energy Efficiency Deployment at Scale. This event will focus on technologies, systems efficiency, and the keys to bringing energy efficiency to scale in the built environment. The purpose of the briefing is to educate and engage congressional staff and energy efficiency professionals on the work and progress being done in this area, while also discussing solutions and best practices that can help further advance energy efficiency in the built environment.


January 20th, 2016 (10:00 am - 12:00 pm)
PADEP Southwest Regional Office
500 Waterfront Drive Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Presented by: Penn State University

The PA Department of Environmental Protection and Penn State are offering this free workshop for anyone from PA state government, PA local governments or public school districts. Learn about the Department of Energy's new Energy Asset Score Tool. This workshop is for you if you own, manage, or operate one or more public buildings and would like to understand the energy efficiency of the physical structure and systems of each building as compared to other similar buildings. Penn State will provide technical assistance to all attendees following the Workshop to score your building(s).


January 28th, 2016 (3:00 pm)
Rm 1211 (Prince George's Rm) in the Stamp Student Union
1021A Union Ln, College Park, MD 20742
Presented by: University of Maryland

Jigar Shah is the President and Co-Founder of Generate Capital. Jigar was the founder and CEO of SunEdison (NASDAQ: SUNE), where he pioneered “no money down solar” and unlocked a multi-billion-dollar solar market, creating the largest solar services company worldwide. He is the author of Creating Climate Wealth: Unlocking the Impact Economy. After SunEdison, Jigar served as the founding CEO of the Carbon War Room, a global non-profit founded by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Unite to help entrepreneurs address climate change.


March 14th -18th, 2016 (*time varies; see agenda*)
Carnegie Mellon University Campus
5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Presented by: Carnegie Mellon University

The Scott Institute is hosting the University’s inaugural Energy Week March 14-18, 2016. Each day of Energy Week will have a theme: energy research, policy, innovation, education, and energy facilities in Southwest Pennsylvania.

The five-day celebration is designed to inform government, non-govermental organizations, business and industry leaders; faculty and students; and the general public about energy research, policy, innovation, education, and activities both at Carnegie Mellon and elsewhere in the region. To see the full agenda,
click here.


No one would argue that air capture is a panacea, including Carbon Engineering’s founder and executive chairman, Harvard University engineer David Keith. The technology realistically can't suck up the roughly 36 billion tons of CO2 we emit each year, nor does it address other greenhouse gases such as methane. Even scaling up to a target of 1 billion tons of captured CO2 each year would be a massive task, as would finding places to put all that carbon.

Although no one envisions a landscape dotted with massive negative-emissions factories anytime soon, many see a niche market today for plants that can suck CO2 out of the sky and put it to good use. Until burying it becomes a more economically feasible proposition, the options are sticking the carbon into fizzy drinks, greenhouses, plastics, concrete or synthetic fuels.


“These standards are a game-changer for the commercial sector,” said Steve Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. “Industry and advocates worked closely together to help produce the biggest energy savings standards in US history. These new standards will bring down the cost of doing business and improve bottom lines by letting companies invest money they used to spend on heating and cooling. This will in turn stimulate the economy, create jobs, and bring us closer to the finish line of the president’s climate goals for appliance standards.”

The capital from the unit of Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group Inc. will enable FuelCellEnergy to accelerate deployment of projects, the first of which is expected to be a power plant providing electricity and heat to the University of California Irvine Medical Center.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers calls it an “aquatic staircase.” Every dozen miles or so, the water in the Allegheny, Ohio and Monongahela rivers trips over a dam and falls several feet into a lower channel.

The man-made cascades break the rivers into pools and keep them deep enough for navigation, but the flow and fall of water over the dams has drawn the attention of hydropower developers who see it as an unharnessed source of reliable, renewable energy.

Among the first pieces of legislation city council President Bruce Kraus will put forward in 2016 will be a bill aimed at extricating the city pension funds’ investments from fossil fuels.

At a council meeting last week, Mr. Kraus told a group of activists from the Divest Pittsburgh campaign that his office is working from a draft measure the group submitted to council members in December and hopes to have a bill ready soon for introduction. . .

. . .The draft bill directs the city to “identify the public fund’s direct or indirect holdings in the top 100 public oil and gas companies and the top 100 public coal companies measured by size of fossil-fuel reserves,” within 90 days of its effective date and compile them into a list.


The past year included many successes, including quite a few that we can build on in the New Year.

Turning now to the year ahead, there are multiple opportunities; from State to National level, or from the utility sector to the oval office.

On the other hand, there are also likely to be challenges in the coming year-- but overall, substantial progress was made on energy efficiency in 2015, and it is poised to continue this progress in 2016.

Our mailing address is:
Sustainable Pittsburgh • 307 Fourth Avenue • Suite 1500 • Pittsburgh, PA, 15222 • USA