How 3 Cities Are Navigating the Transition to Electric Buses

How 3 Cities Are Navigating the Transition to Electric Buses

As today’s urban areas house more than half the world’s population and produce more than 80 percent of global economic activity, cities are uniquely positioned to deliver sustainable solutions. However, poor local air quality and issues related to global climate change are negatively impacting the lives of millions. Promising solutions exist – cities are increasingly turning to low- and zero-emission buses to decrease environmental impacts while creating economic, environmental and health benefits, for example. Transitioning bus fleets to clean technologies can also improve quality of service and reduce costs in the long run. So why aren’t all cities closing the curtain on diesel-fueled fleets and transitioning to electric?
To better understand this question and evaluate the barriers that cities face when taking on electric buses, the Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative interviewed three experts in three different cities going through the process, each with the objective of improving quality of life for residents and their urban environment.

The People of Bogotá Want Cleaner Air. Will the City Listen?

The People of Bogotá Want Cleaner Air. Will the City Listen?

Bogotá is one of Latin America’s most polluted cities – but thanks to its citizens, its air may be getting cleaner.
A decision from the mayor’s office to keep using diesel fuels in the next generation of buses in the city’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system, TransMilenio, set loose a series of events, led by citizens, demanding cleaner air and challenging the local paradigm that less-polluting fuels are too expensive to consider. Today, Bogotá is closer than ever to a cleaner BRT fleet.
What can we learn from Bogotá? Citizens have the power to promote sustainable development, even when there is an apparent lack of political leadership through sustained political organizing and pressure.

Limitless: The Race to Create the Sun on Earth

Limitless: The Race to Create the Sun on Earth

A research group at MIT says nuclear fusion is within years of being commercially viable. And a European project, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), is also aggressively moving toward development of nuclear fusion power. Is this the dawn of a new nuclear age—safe, sustainable energy from nuclear fusion?

The joke about energy from nuclear fusion is that it is always just 20 years away. In the 1950s, researchers hoped that they could solve our energy crisis by building a sun on earth. They predicted that it would be possible to harness the sun’s energy-making processes, known as nuclear fusion. If successful, this process would allow humans to use the abundant hydrogen on earth to provide limitless energy, while avoiding the potential catastrophic risks of nuclear fission reactions and generation of toxic nuclear waste.

Sprynt – A Sustainable Urban Mobility Solution from the U.S.

Sprynt – A Sustainable Urban Mobility Solution from the U.S.

Sprynt is in an innovative startup that provides 100% free transportation to the passengers. It started its operation in June 2017 in the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor in Arlington, Virginia (United States), covering five different neighborhoods. This original business model includes highly targeted and customized advertising solutions to local businesses and national brands, while keeping the rides 100% free of charge for passengers. Sprynt is an on-demand transportation mode, similar to Uber and Lyft, where passengers request the service through an app on their phone. Different than the others on-demand ride services, Sprynt is 100% free of charge and is 100% electric.

The company not only contributes to sustainable urban mobility, but also to the economic development of the area in which it operates, by creating local jobs, and fostering the sales of local businesses, including restaurants and shops. The company currently employs ten people and is planning to hire more in the future. With 13,000 mobile app downloads, Sprynt connects residents to local businesses with an average of 5,000 rides per month, with both recurrent passengers and new ones.

Mini Grids: Providing electricity to Myanmar’s communities away from the grid

Mini Grids: Providing electricity to Myanmar’s communities away from the grid

In Myanmar, approximately 70 percent of the population and 84 percent of the rural households do not have access to electricity. The Myanmar National Electrification Plan (NEP), funded by the World Bank and other partners, aims to achieve 100 percent electrification by 2030. However, the challenge to reach this goal is huge. Electricity shortages and supply disruptions are widespread in Myanmar due to under-investment in the sector.

Mini grids using locally engineered and financed technology have played a crucial role in the provision of electricity for thousands of villages in the country. These mini-grids largely emerged due to the entrepreneurial drive from the local private sector and community organizations with little or no public sector support. They also simultaneously reflect the determination and ingenuity of many local communities in finding alternatives to candles and kerosene.

Energy in Cambodia: Challenges and Opportunities

Energy in Cambodia: Challenges and Opportunities

The United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000 produced 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), designed as a blueprint to improve the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. The MDG target date came and passed at the end of 2015. After analyzing the successes and shortcomings of the MDGs, the UN followed with a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—agreed to by 193 countries, including Cambodia—to replace and expand the MDGs, as well as highlight additional areas of global concern. One of these SDGs is the new goal of bringing “affordable and clean energy” to all nations.
In line with this objective, Cambodia’s government has embarked on an ambitious plan to provide reliable and inexpensive energy to its entire population. Cambodia has made great strides in meeting the energy demands of its population. But what remains uncertain are the environmental and social costs of the dams and fossil fuel plants being built. But it is hard to turn down the funding and support in Cambodia’s drive to develop its lagging infrastructure. This is a dilemma faced by the poorest nations—not just Cambodia—as they look for paths to improve the lives of their people. If Cambodia is to move up the economic ladder and attract more international business investment, it needs to continue improving energy access and stability. In rural areas this may mean looking at a combination of on-grid and off-grid solutions. It also needs to protect its valuable resources and look for more sustainable approaches to energy access.

Why Domestic REC’s Should Take Precedence in Maryland

Why Domestic REC’s Should Take Precedence in Maryland

Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) serves two purposes: to promote the growth of a renewable energy industry, and to increase the production of renewable energy resources in the state.
The Renewable Portfolio Standards are often touted as a policy that has generated both economic benefits and jobs in the state. But the data presented here shows that these claims may not hold up.

GREEN LEADERS RETREAT is JUNE 8th! Accelerating Local Community Solutions Using the UN Sustainable Development Goals

GREEN LEADERS RETREAT is JUNE 8th! Accelerating Local Community Solutions Using the UN Sustainable Development Goals

By Janine Finnell, Executive Director, Leaders in Energy On Friday, June 8th, 2018, green leaders from across the Washington Metro region will explore how to...

Fossil Fuel Swap: New Study Shows ‘Overlooked’ Benefits of Switching from Coal to Gas

Fossil Fuel Swap: New Study Shows ‘Overlooked’ Benefits of Switching from Coal to Gas

A recent report published in Nature Energy by researchers at two UK institutions, the University of Sheffield and Imperial College London, considers the “enabling conditions in Great Britain and the potential for rapid fuel switching in other coal-reliant countries.” The report found that the United Kingdom’s overall carbon emissions dropped by 6% in 2016, thanks to “cleaner electricity production.” Importantly, the report found that the reduction was not due to an increase in lower-carbon nuclear or renewable energy sources, but rather, the underestimated benefits of switching from coal to natural gas energy generation. If a fuel switch can be encouraged to make better use of existing gas infrastructure, the fuel switch may be able to scale up quickly and produce significant near-term emission reductions.

MethaneSAT: Monitoring Methane Emissions From Space

MethaneSAT: Monitoring Methane Emissions From Space

On April 11, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) President Fred Krupp announced the organization’s plans to create and launch a new satellite to monitor and measure global methane emissions—from space.

The ‘groundbreaking’ MethaneSAT plans were unveiled in a TED talk in Vancouver, BC.. The satellite will measure only emissions of methane, the powerful greenhouse gas responsible for roughly one quarter of the manmade global warming we currently experience. Methane is a particularly important cause of climate change because of its potency;while it is not as long-lasting in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, it is “far more devastating” because it traps over 80 times more heat than carbon dioxide in the first twenty years after its release.