Given that we’ll need 50% more energy by 2050–and that, because of climate change, most of that energy will need to be “clean”–it was heartening to see so much energy innovation in 2015. Promising technologies, like small hydro and wave power, got off the ground. There were lots of efforts to expand access to renewables in developing countries. And plenty of new services emerged to change the way we store, buy and sell power advertisement advertisement The big story was solar, which continued its inexorable advance towards “grid parity.” Prices fell so much that, in some places, solar already doesn’t need subsidies to be competitive. Tesla unveiled its PowerWall battery, which promises to mainstream home power storage, particularly power generated from rooftop panels. And there were nascent services to share power, opening up the possibility of a more decentralized, less hierarchical grid. Meanwhile, solar started to appear in … [Read more...] about Renewable Power Is As Mainstream As Possible: 2015 In Energy
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The sharing economy continued to gain steam in 2015: More people hailed Uber cabs, rented Airbnb apartments, and parlayed micro-jobs on TaskRabbit. Cities tried to enable sharing companies as a way of expanding access to services. The categories of things we could share expanded, from solar panels to coffee cups. And the term “sharing economy” even entered the Oxford English Dictionary, showing it’s really a thing and not some passing fad. advertisement advertisement At the same time, companies in the collaborative economy also faced something of a backlash. There were calls to separate out those businesses that genuinely shared ownership and governance from those that simply rent out other people’s stuff for a profit (like Uber). More seriously, people worried about an economy where we’re working “on demand” but don’t have any benefits or health insurance for when we’re not working. Potential solutions include … [Read more...] about More Customers, More Controversy: 2015 In Collaborative Consumption
At a UPS operating center in midtown Manhattan, two cargo delivery bikes will soon begin rolling out of a driveway in the morning a few hours before the usual delivery trucks begin their routes. The company is part of a new six-month pilot program in New York City that will test how well cargo bikes, with electric “pedal assist” for couriers, can potentially help relieve traffic by replacing some delivery trucks. A similar system is already in use in several other cities around the world: New York can learn from what’s working elsewhere to consider how the pilot could scale up. advertisement advertisement In European cities, UPS typically brings a shipping container from a depot to a spot in the city center early in the morning, and couriers on bikes take loads of deliveries to nearby neighborhoods. Since the cargo bikes can’t carry as much as a truck, the cyclists have to make multiple trips; the system only makes economic sense in congested areas … [Read more...] about What will make cargo bike package delivery succeed in New York?
Finding an affordable place to live is a problem around the world, whether you’re a non-millionaire living in San Francisco or someone living on less than $2 a day in India. It’s usually even harder to find something that’s both cheap and sustainable. But these new designs show how quickly that’s changing. advertisement advertisement To make use of temporarily vacant land in cities, Dutch developers are testing tiny solar-powered apartments that can be built in a day and later moved. In a U.S., another startup is testing ultra-efficient apartments that fit on otherwise unbuildable lots and then come with you if you need to move to another city. Beautiful prefab houses are also getting cheaper, and when they don’t use any energy from the grid, homeowners can save on years of utility bills. For those who already have a home, a simple, cheap retrofit kit can turn it into a zero-energy house. Construction can also be cheaper if you don’t start … [Read more...] about You Might Actually Be Able To Afford A Sustainable House: 2015 In Buildings
Industry chamber CII on Friday suggested that the government should reduce personal income tax rate and slash corporate tax further to 15 per cent for all companies over three years to boost demand and propel growth. In a pre-Budget consultation meeting with Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) recommended focusing on providing impetus to consumption and investment.CII suggested that in order to bring about uniformity, all corporate tax rates should be converged to 15 per cent with no exemptions and incentives over a period of three years till 2023.The government in September reduced the corporate tax from 30 per cent earlier to 22 per cent for all companies and 15 per cent for new manufacturing units to boost economic growth which fell to over six-year low of 4.5 per cent in the second quarter of the current fiscal. Companies opting for new lower tax rates will not be entitled for any exemptions or deductions.Close "A signaling to this … [Read more...] about Cut corporate tax rate to 15%; provide more disposable income: CII to govt on Budget