"That hill is my gym."
Quote of the Week
EcoMotion Retreat and Mission
Year-end is a great time to reflect. The EcoMotion team was excited to take a day and slip away for a company retreat. Up early, we all met at the ferry in Newport Harbor bound for Catalina Island. One hour and fifteen minutes; $55 a head. A gorgeous morning, then some of each swells and sickness.
We arrive in Avalon, a quaint port that could be Mediterranean, even Greek. We’d booked a conference room through the Chamber for the day. It’s tucked upstairs in the Union Bank building.
The past year’s successes; a long list, from teamwork to bricks and mortar projects; from growth and diversity to EcoMotion’s uniquely proficient and caring culture. We evaluate our spheres of activity. Felt celestial.
We focus on mission. What is the common theme? Our common passion? We’re dedicated, we are communicators, we have tremendous experience, we are seasoned, and we are practical. Yes, everyone is going green. We concur:
EcoMotion’s mission is the cost-effective greening of cities, corporations, and campuses.
We share a meal overlooking the harbor and take a moment to pause and reflect as a team. The year may be over, but projects continue at break-neck pace. No one can take time off. The accountability among the team is impressive.
We rent golf carts and head up the hills out of town. The fresh air, narrow roads, vacation feel invigorates us all. Lots of laughs, changing drivers. Classic team building, corny and effective. We’re quiet and content on the ferry home.
The Copenhagen Accord
The reports were not good. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Conference of Parties 15 was in jeopardy just days before its conclusion. Some thought that its only hope would be the arrival of the heads of state. A reporter called the process, “dogged by procedural games.”
What a roll-up! A week before COP-15, 20,000 rallied in London, England, urging their leaders to promote 40% reductions (from 1990 baselines) by 2020, upping the ante. They also called on industrialized nations to put up $150 billion to finance measures in the developing countries.
Fifty thousand marchers in Australia called on world leaders for a binding agreement. The Bali Roadmap had called for a framework for climate change protection beyond 2012 to be agreed upon in Copenhagen. It would take the place of the expiring Kyoto Protocol.
During the conference in Copenhagen, tens of thousands of protestors insisted on a global agreement on climate change. Reminiscent of anti-nuclear demonstrations, 968 were detained by heavy-handed Danish police.
The conference concluded on December 19th. At the end of the day, 119 heads of state arrived; 192 countries were represented. It was the largest gathering of heads of state and government in United Nations’ history.
A non-binding accord was signed by a majority of the parties including the United States, China, India, South Africa, and Brazil, the world’s largest GHG emitters. A most positive report would be that COP-15 ended in a political agreement to cap temperature rise, reduce emissions, and raise finance to assist those countries that cannot afford to adapt.
The Copenhagen Accord Synopsis
The signatory parties agree that:
1. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time.
2. Deep cuts in emissions are required.
3. Global cooperation for adaptation is necessary, climate change is global.
Furthermore, they agree to stem emissions so that global temperature rises no more than 2 degree Celsius since pre-industrial times.
Annex 1 Countries (industrialized nations)
• Must specify targets by end of 2010
• Must implement programs by 2020
• Must contribute $30 billion immediately through 2012 to the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund and $100 billion annually thereafter by 2020
Non-Annex 1 Countries (developing nations)
• Must develop plans to reduce growth of emissions
• Utilize funds from Annex 1 countries to plan
Many considered the conference result an “abject failure.” It may have been historic, but no one believes that the Accord has the teeth necessary to stave off the danger of climate change. One commented that the Accord was a “death warrant.” A Greenpeace perspective: “The job of the world leaders is not done. Today they shamefully failed to save us all from the effectives of catastrophic climate change.”
More positive spins included “an essential beginning.” Conference Chairman Yvo de Boer, UNFCC Executive Secretary, said an accord has been reached that has significant elements, but that is not legally binding. President Obama says that a binding agreement is still our goal. UNFCC negotiators will head to Bonn in late May, then to the next conference of parties in Mexico City at the end of the year where another attempt will be made to secure a binding agreement.
Cape Wind is a proposed 130 turbine, off-shore wind farm that will generate as much as 420 MW of power. Its 440-foot high turbines, spaced six to nine football fields apart, are highly controversial, having been first proposed in 2001. The wind farm on the Horseshoe Shoals off Cape Cod in the Nantucket Sound has been through what its developer, Energy management Inc, a 30-year Massachusetts-based firm, kindly calls a “comprehensive” environmental review process involving 17 state and federal agencies. Now U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will make the ultimate decision “no later than April,” attempting to balance the nation’s need for renewable energy developments on public lands, with local concerns.
In this case, preservationists, fishermen, and Native Americans have banded together --- led by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound – to defeat the project between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island, or at least move it out of sight. Late Senator Ted Kennedy had been the opposition’s most vociferous dignitary, his family compound’s views off Hyannis Port affected by the billion dollar energy project. Joe Kennedy has now taken up the cause, opposing Cape Wind and finding himself at odds with much of the environmental community.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and a coalition of New England environmental groups favor the project, showing the country and world that the “twin objectives” of clean energy and historic and cultural preservation can be achieved. Cape Wind has the capacity to provide 75% of Cape Cod and the Islands’ power requirements.
On January 4th, the National Park Service responded to a claim by the Wampanoag tribe that the wind farm would interfere with their morning rituals of greeting the rising sun over the Sound. The sight is now eligible for historic site status. The wind farm will also be built on ancestral burial grounds, now submerged. This distinction will only make the wind farm precedent that much more charged.
Many have been surprised by President Obama’s silence on Cape Wind; some speculate that this has been out of respect for Kennedy. His pledge to make the U.S. the world’s leading exporter of clean energy, and having wind provide 20% of the nation’s power generation by 2030, rely on such projects. Approval of Cape Wind will result in the nation’s first offshore wind farm; several more offshore projects are planned off the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware, and Rhode Island.
Heard of EcoFont? It’s the green font with holes. While marketed as having “no effect on legibility”, the harder I stare at the eco-font, the less I like it! But I know that’s my stodgy fixation on crisp graphics speaking.
Seriously, if a font can reduce ink and toner use by 25%, the savings are significant. In Europe, homeowners pay 15 Euro to use EcoFont for three years. For more information, check out: www.ecofont.eu
EcoMotion’s Solar Works
Solar advisory works are a new order of the day at EcoMotion. We now have a four-person technical solar team, reinforced with EcoMotion's marketing and outreach capabilities. Our solar team has been seasoned by Solar Santa Monica, a program we have facilitated for three years.
In Santa Monica, the progress continues. Major projects in the pipeline will showcase the City's commitment to energy independence. In 2009, EcoMotion revived successful negotiations of an eight-school power purchase agreement for the school district; the solar team also advised Santa Monica College which is now building a major PV system, and dozens of businesses, and hundreds of homeowners on solar and efficiency opportunities.
More homes than ever went solar this year in Santa Monica despite the poor economy. All told, Santa Monica's PV capacity topped 1 MW in 2009, with nearly 3 MW “in the pipeline.”
EcoMotion offers a suite of solar services for cities, utilities, and corporations. Typically, we are called upon to provide one-time consulting assistance when the company doesn’t have the solar horse-power in house. Everything starts with understanding exactly what the company wants to achieve, then, it’s on to identifying the “solar sweet spot.” EcoMotion’s Solar Services include:
EcoMotion Solar Services
Conceptual planning (aesthetics and functionality)
Education on solar mechanics, incentives, etc.
Rooftop analysis (roof condition, tilt, orientation, etc.)
Comprehensive 365- day shading analysis
Field verification of system/equipment installation
Drafting and distribution of solar RFP
Bid comparison (Analysis of/comparison of equipment: modules, inverters, racking, conduit/trenching, etc.)
Utility rate structure analysis
Special conditions (local ordinances, CC&Rs, etc.)
Solar production estimates
Net cost analysis (CSI incentives, tax credits, net energy metering)
Verification of returns
PPA Review: cost, term, buy-out, escalators
Comprehensive service throughout design, engineering, and installation
Articles in trade journals
Communications with employees
Photographic documentation throughout
Third party system monitoring
Alarms and field recommendations
Solar Agent Examples
EcoMotion currently serves as solar agent for two major corporations who are making significant investments and installing major solar systems: The first project, now at the completion of the engineering phase, is a 420 kW “solar port.” The project will provide hundreds of shaded parking spaces and demonstrate civic responsibility while earning a very solid return on investment. The second project is a planned 1 MW system on multiple parking structures geared to hedge future energy prices, build associate morale, and earn a solid return.
Solar Flag (TM) Demonstration Project
In 2009, EcoMotion began a unique partnership with Anaheim Public Utilities, the installation of ten “solar flags” at select elementary schools. The DSA-approved flags are pole-mounted 1 kW AC photovoltaic systems each made up of six, Sharp 216 watt panels. The project however, is not a typical solar project. The capacity – worth about $250 a year per school – is irrelevant. The systems' educational value is profound.
EcoMotion's job is to develop the solar flags as learning tools and symbols of the energy future. Five are complete; each school has taken ownership of the flags and solar curriculum delivered with Tor Allen and the Rahus Institute.
The ultimate project goal is for each student at these schools to go home and have “a solar conversation” with parents. Each family will take a look at their rooftop for solar. “Is there adequate roof real estate? Shading? Can we become energy independent?” These Anaheim students will grow up with solar as a “regular part” of their lives. It’s how changes get made!