Foreign Policy Blogs

Green Building, Smart Grids and Renewables

Green Building , I've written about the fascinating subject of Green Building a number of times here, including this special article I did for the FPA website.  The "Financial Times" had a useful update the other day, Greener bricks on the old block, focused on the retrofitting of existing buildings.  JPMorgan Chase, for instance, one of the largest financial services firms in the world, is renovating its 1.3 million square foot headquarters on Park Ave., an arduous task.  (They are also building a new building in the World Trade Center that will seek Platinum LEED certification.)  I also wrote about the Clinton Climate Initiative's $5 billion program to retrofit buildings worldwide at More Climate Summit in May.

Smart Grids , Here's an informative article from Forbes – Juicing the System which maintains, among other things, that "As the industry shifts from large central plants to a diverse collection of windmills and biogas generators, managing the complex balance of supply and demand will require fat communications pipes and complex calculations."  If distributed generation is to be, as many of us devoutly hope, the wave of the future, then in order for it to be effective, there are many policy and technology changes that will be necessary.  Title XIII of the new energy bill is devoted to a considerable upgrading of smart grid research and development.  (This title begins at page 777.)  There's a newsletter devoted to the smart grid concept, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability which, among other things, was created " to lead national efforts to modernize the electric grid," and an industry-government association called GridWise that's devoted to " an entirely new way to think about how we generate, distribute and use energy."  See also this from the BBC on microgrids.

Renewables , What's going to feed the smart grid?  A lot more Renewable Energy, "the Good Lord willin' and the crik don't rise," as my old mother used to say.  Even in the absence of a Renewable Electricity Standard (or Renewable Portfolio Standard if you prefer) in the new federal energy bill, we are going to continue to see an expansion of these technologies in this brave new world.

By the way, if you want to look back at where we’ve been, try my Year in Review.  Not incidentally, Happy New Year to one and all.



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change