This Week in Sustainability: Renewable Energy Storage and South Africa’s Carbon Tax

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This Week in Sustainability: Renewable Energy Storage and South Africa’s Carbon Tax

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clip_image002One of the great clean energy challenges of the next decade will be how to store energy generated from intermittent sources like solar and wind. Forbes reported this week on Greensmith, a four-year old start-up based in Maryland that’s trying to solve this problem. Greensmith is developing a software-based system that will work with the smart grid to store energy in a decentralized manner. While this system uses batteries, it envisions renewable energy storage as going beyond the battery to managing a whole system. The benefit is that because battery technologies grow and evolve, the technology can take advantage of battery upgrades. To date, Greensmith serves fourteen customers, including eight electric utilities and has been utilized to help address large scale solar energy implementation in Southern California.

clip_image004Carbon pricing was also in the news this week as South Africa announced its plan to begin taxing carbon emissions, reported Reuters. This comes after similar news last week that China is planning to implement a carbon tax. The tax would be set at 120 rand ($13.52) per ton of carbon dioxide and will be phased in over time as one of several green initiatives the country is implementing with the goal of reducing their carbon footprint. To help the country ease into the transition, the Treasury has also proposed a 60 percent tax-free threshold until 2020 on annual emissions for sectors including electricity, petroleum, iron, steel and aluminum. According to the Climate Commission’s report, International Action on Climate Change, there are currently over 30 countries worldwide with some sort of carbon pricing system in place.

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