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CLIMATE WEEK NYC

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21/08/19

New York City is known for its shops and restaurants, and this year for Climate Week NYC, we are seeking out sustainable businesses. What do we mean by that? This means businesses who are taking steps to combat climate change; whether it’s preventing food waste to getting rid of all plastics, our 'Climate Action is our Business' campaign shines a light on the companies who are taking climate action.

Here are some of the coolest sustainable businesses advocating for a healthier planet in NYC:

Charley St is a leading fast-casual restaurant providing consumers with an elevated food and beverage experience. Charley St is focused on delivering colorful, nutritional food and beverages to the masses, with a focus on sustainable practices and produce sourced from local purveyors and farmers. Using only premium ingredients, Charley St.’s menu is designed to deliver amazing taste with added functional and health benefits.

The sustainability goals for Charley St with respect to the food system include sourcing, education, and zero waste. Some of Charley St’s key initiatives to action these goals include: allowing the soil to guide what is available and not be dictated by the consumer; creating plant-based proteins such as "Charley St Chorizo”; in-store tap that builds a well in a developing country for every 10,000 bottles saved; and educative content created in their studio kitchen.

The Wally Shop is an innovative, zero-waste grocery delivery service that offers same-day delivery with fresh ingredients from local farmers markets and bulk shops. Their all-reusable packaging can be returned upon the next delivery, so customers can partake in a sustainable, closed-loop system. By offering organic, local ingredients without any packaging waste, The Wally Shop makes responsible and sustainable shopping convenient for all.

As the first zero-waste grocery delivery service, The Wally Shop puts sustainability at the forefront of everything they do. From opting for all reusable packaging, to supporting local farms and organic practices, to using bikes for all their deliveries, they are proud to support small businesses and be an innovator of sustainable practices.

Brooklyn Grange is the leading rooftop farming and intensive green roofing business in the US. They operate the world’s largest rooftop soil farms, located on three roofs in New York City, and grow over 80,000 lbs of organic produce per year. Brooklyn Grange also hosts events and educational programming; designs, installs, and often maintains green spaces for clients all over the tri-state area, and provides urban farming and green roof consulting services to clients worldwide.

Sustainability is at the heart of Brooklyn Grange’s mission. They are constantly innovating ways to create future cities that are greener, cleaner, and more delicious. Brooklyn Grange is a triple bottom line business, which means that when making decisions, they consider not only their financial profit but also, the natural capital they gain or lose. They think of their business as part of an ecosystem and aim to benefit all other members of that ecosystem, from the ladybug laying larva on the lettuce to fellow human beings across the globe.

Repeat Roses is kind to the planet and their partners every step of the way by ending single-use floral design with a repurposing process that’s sustainable from start to finish. Clients' blooms get a second chance to make someone smile before being properly composted to help fight climate change. When clients choose Repeat Roses for their corporate or social event, everybody wins. Repurposed flowers bring joy to NYC's neighbors in hospitals, nursing homes, and shelters—and the flowers won’t wind up in landfills, because Repeat Roses always returns to compost the waste and recycle the containers. All smiles, zero waste.

Hundreds of pounds of flowers wind up in the trash after every wedding, corporate event, and awards gala. Repeat Roses is changing that; they transform corporate and social event floral arrangements into repurposed bouquets that brighten hospitals, nursing homes, and shelters—then composts the blooms to keep waste out of landfills. To date, they’ve diverted more than 90 tons of waste from landfills and delivered over 50,000 floral arrangements to people in need.

Le Botaniste is a Plant-based and Organic Restaurant and Wine Bar located in NYC and in Belgium. They provide accessible and quality food as well as a selection of Natural and organic wines. Sustainability is one of the main values of their business. They work exclusively with organic and plant-based products. Le Botaniste received the CO2 neutral certification and work day after day to be more sustainable and educate people on sustainability. They recycle their garbage and limit it to the bare minimum. Le Botaniste only use compostable silverware and plates and encourage guests to dine in instead.

Are you a sustainable business? Register for our ‘Climate Action is our Business’ campaign here.

21/08/19

By Rudy Wynter, President and COO of the Wholesale Networks and U.S. Capital Delivery group, National Grid

Disruption is the name of the game in the energy business these days, and the development and proliferation of utility-scale battery storage promise to accelerate that change. Batteries are poised to not only help enable the interconnection of more renewable resources; they’re also providing the reliability and flexibility needed as the energy system undergoes rapid changes.

Increasingly, players in the energy industry are looking at the possibility of energy storage to provide additional grid capacity and flexibility, while also reducing the possibility of overloading the grid. Energy storage is allowing for enhanced efficiencies for generators and allowing the connection of more renewable energy resources such as wind and solar power, which can be intermittent in nature – meaning they don’t generate energy when the wind isn’t blowing, or the sun isn’t shining.

As the cost of energy storage continues to decline, more and more utilities will turn to batteries. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the levelized cost of energy for lithium-ion batteries configured to supply four hours of grid power — a standard requirement for many grid services — has fallen by 74 per cent since 2012. Costs for those batteries is projected to drop even further – by as much as 67 per cent by 2030, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found in a recent study. Such a precipitous decline will only make storage a more valuable tool for utilities and others.

Already, energy storage is quickly becoming an essential tool in the toolbox of the energy industry - an elegant solution to handle multiple needs for both utilities and customers. Storage provides system reliability, allows for the integration of new renewable generation, and can even eliminate or slow the need for more costly electricity infrastructure, potentially saving customers money. At National Grid, we’re looking to own and deploy battery storage as an exciting new tool that allows us to ensure reliability, enhance capacity and deliver for our customers.

Working with partners, last year we’ve built two 5 MW batteries on Long Island that are helping that community with peak summer energy demand. We’ve installed smaller batteries in upstate New York and central Massachusetts as well, in this case, to help provide back-up by discharging during peak hours to ensure the reliability of the system and the generation plants.

And this fall, we’ll be cutting the ribbon on what is, to date, the largest battery storage facility in the Northeast, a 6 MW/48 MW hour project on the island of Nantucket that will provide that island energy backup for the busiest of peak summer days.

The new battery energy storage system (BESS) project on Nantucket Island is a classic example of finding an innovative solution that is also the simplest one. Thirty miles off the coast of Cape Cod, the island’s energy needs have grown rapidly in the past 10 years, particularly during the summer season, when its population increases five-fold. The energy demand is only projected to grow in the coming years.

The challenge for National Grid has been to keep ahead of this rapid island growth and energy demand. For the past few decades, Nantucket has relied upon two underwater cables from the mainland for its electricity, backed up by an ageing diesel generator. To meet the growing energy demands, an infrastructure upgrade was clearly needed. At the same time, we wanted to defer the need for a more costly third submarine cable.

Cost-effective and reliable, the BESS is the first large-scale battery installation in New England. When combined with a new upgraded onsite combustion turbine, the BESS should supply the island with all the electrical power it needs should one of the two existing submarine cables experience an outage, or on peak summer days when air conditioners put extra strain on the infrastructure. And, perhaps more importantly, the BESS could well delay the need for a third cable.

The Nantucket battery is providing needed reliability and deferring the need for a much more costly solution.

Batteries are going to be a big part of National Grid’s long-term strategy as we seek ways to ensure our customers can continue to receive energy safely and reliably, while we also help decarbonize our energy system and transform ourselves into a clean energy company.

In the meantime, there remains a need to invest in research and development of even cheaper, longer-lasting batteries that can be used in grid applications. As many states push to have 100 per cent of their generation be from clean energy sources as soon as 2040, the need to have a reliable and sustained backup will be paramount. We applaud the Department of Energy’s blue-sky research program, ARPA-E‘s $28 million in research grants to develop longer-lasting battery storage systems. More must be done to support the research and development of improved battery storage technologies, as well as to bring down their cost. Breakthroughs could lead to a major transformation in our energy system.

The future for batteries is exciting and bright. Today’s disruption will be tomorrow’s standard, with more clean energy and safe and reliable storage to keep the lights on.

08/08/19

By Charlene Lake, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility & Chief Sustainability Officer, AT&T

“Think Big” and “Make a Difference." These are not only two of AT&T’s corporate values. They are also key ideals that we in the private sector must follow to accelerate the low-carbon economy transition and address climate change.   

As the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes clear, the shift to renewable energy sources will need to accelerate to meet global climate goals. To be precise, renewables will need to make up 70 to 85 percent of electricity generation by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

And of course, that has to be a collective goal. At AT&T, we’re playing a role in speeding up and scaling the renewable energy sector. Since making our first large-scale investment in 2018, we’ve quickly become one of the largest corporate purchasers of renewable energy in the U.S. To date, we have invested in up to 820 MW of wind energy capacity for the U.S. power grid. Thinking big makes a difference. That investment is enough clean energy to power approximately 372,000 homes a year and to avoid the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as taking over 530,000 cars off the road. And, we’ll soon be announcing additional investments as part of our company’s action on climate change. 

But for AT&T, making a difference with renewables goes beyond the actual renewable investment. We want to make a difference for the people who bring clean power to the grid and their futures. Wind turbine technician is one of the fastest-growing occupations in America, and employment in the wind energy sector is expected to grow 108% by 2024. Building a pipeline of skilled talent to fill these jobs is critical to achieving and supporting a low-carbon economy—and to creating economic opportunity for communities around the country.

As part of AT&T Aspire, our $500 million commitment to education and skilling since 2008, we’ve created the AT&T Wind Energy Scholarship Fund. In collaboration with Texas State Technical College (TSTC) and Canadian Valley Technology Center (CV-Tech), we support students in Texas and Oklahoma who want to pursue careers as wind turbine technicians. These are well-paid, in-demand careers that empower people to take care of both their families and our planet. We’re also proud to support organizations like Homeboy Industries, which trains former gang members and previously incarcerated men and women for jobs as solar panel installers and for a better life.  

Addressing climate change requires big thinking and big action to help make a difference. At AT&T, we’ve followed these ideals as we’ve created our environmental programs, whether it’s our renewable energy investments, our work to help build climate resiliency or our goal to enable carbon savings 10 times the footprint of our operations by 2025. Other major companies are embracing actions as well, and we look forward to watching more and more of Corporate America align to deliver significant impact on this journey of environmental stewardship. As AT&T celebrates #AmericanWindWeek and prepares to convene with environmental leaders at Climate Week NYC 2019, we are reminded that collective action on these ideals is key to advancing global climate action and helping to ensure a better, more sustainable world for all.  

Click here to watch AT&T's video on company's investments in wind energy and the people who bring clean power to the grid. 

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