In Episode 51 of The Wendel Forum (originally aired on February 25, 2012, on 960 KNEW AM radio), show host Dick Lyons welcomes Ted Ko, Associate Executive Director of the Clean Coalition, a Palo Alto-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to implement policies and programs that “transition the world to cost-effective clean energy now while delivering unparalleled economic benefits.” Ted is a co-founder of the group and currently oversees policy development and strategy for both regulatory and legislative efforts. 

Photo of Ted Ko

Ted Ko, Associate Executive Director of the Clean Coalition

Ted explains how the group goes about fixing problems and issues facing those looking to build small to medium scale clean local energy projects such as wind farms, biofuels, solar, fuel cells, etc.  Their mission is to help make it faster and easier for these projects to come to fruition.

Dick and Ted discuss energy distribution issues and the Coalition’s position on how to best get the most cost-effective energy to market.  They touch on the challenges of the current energy distribution system, with its long, inefficient transmission lines and the environmental, permitting and construction issues associated with large scale power plant production.  In contrast, Coalition projects focus on small, local projects that benefit local economies. While many projects employ solar PV technology, the program is designed to be source agnostic.

Small projects are generally done on a custom basis, so transaction costs are often an impediment to a project’s success.  By trying to standardize and simplify the contracts across utilities, cities and jurisdictions, the Coalition is focused on simplifying the communication about these types of projects, as well as the process to get them up and running.  Clearly, as smart grid and energy storage technologies come into play, the landscape for energy distribution will change.  The Coalition believes that it’s important for policymakers and lawmakers to get serious about these issues.
In the meantime, the Coalition will continue to push for clean local energy.

For those local and municipal entities interested in launching their own projects, the Clean Coalition has a Local Clean Program Guide that is a free how-to manual available for download on their website (link).  

Post Links:

Listen to the interview with Ted Ko:  Episode 51 of The Wendel Forum (27:53 mins; mp3)

Clean Coalition website:  http://www.clean-coalition.org

Free Guide download: http://www.clean-coalition.org/local_clean_program_guide/

960 KNEW AM Radio website: http://www.960KNEW.com

Dick Lyons’ online profile: http://www.wendel.com/rlyons

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In Episode 44 of The Wendel Forum (originally aired on Green 960 AM radio on December 10, 2011), show host Dick Lyons talks with Michael Murray, CEO and cofounder of Lucid Design Group in Oakland, California.

Michael shares how his company’s software products influence behavior by providing building utility performance transparency to individuals who occupy commercial buildings.  Lucid’s Building Dashboard® makes energy and water use in commercial buildings visible in real time on the web.   The company has found that by making this information visible, building occupants will adjust their behavior, thereby reducing their usage of these resources by an average of 10-20 percent.

Lucid Design Group logoFrom their Kiosk application, building occupants and visitors can view the building’s performance information in the lobby.  It shows how an individual building ranks against other similar buildings and creates a competitive environment for occupants to contribute to improved performance.  The program measures, tracks, analyzes and displays everything from plug loads to carbon offsets, providing the users with a lot of actionable information about energy usage in a building.

Peer pressure works! 
By creating an environment where conservation becomes the norm, the incremental actions of individuals become a collective force leading to overall savings.  The company taps into social media to build a culture of conservation and has plans to develop mobile apps to make information even more accessible.   These programs move the power (so to speak) for energy conservation out of the exclusive domain of facility managers, building operators and architects and into those of the individual occupants. 

So who owns the data?
Already with a client roster of about 180 customers representing 1300 facilities, their hosted server model allows the company to aggregate a growing repository of valuable information on individual buildings and general behavior related to water and energy use.  Michael and Dick touch on issues related to privacy and data ownership, as well as current and potential uses for the information being collected. 

If you are using this or a similar product, we’d love to hear about your experience.  Did your personal behavior changed after installation?  Any surprises or lessons learned?

Post Links:

Interview with Michael Murray of Lucid Design: Episode 44 of The Wendel Forum (27:35 mins; mp3)

Lucid Design website: www.luciddesigngroup.com

Green 960 AM radio website: http://www.green960.com/main.html

Dick Lyons website profile: http://www.wendel.com/rlyons

In Episode 33 of The Wendel Forum(originally aired on Green 960 AM radio on September 24, 2011), show host Dick Lyons welcomes Peter Walters, COO of Zinc Air Inc. and an expert on the topic of how to deliver utility-scale energy (particularly from renewable sources) more efficiently.  Peter provides explanations regarding the concepts of power firming and peak shifting, along with a number of other aspects related to safe and predictable energy delivery. 

His company, which is based in Kalispell, Montana, is the developer of the Zinc Redox flow battery.  According to the company’s website:

Zinc chemistry reduces cost through the use of abundant and locally available materials. Zinc Redox batteries have high energy density, low cost, safe operation, and are designed to be the greenest battery technology on the market. Using a flow battery technology, Zinc Redox focuses on grid storage applications including energy peak shifting and renewables (solar/wind) integration, designed to address the issues of matching demand with supply and variability.

Peter identifies several of the problems we face in the U.S. related to our delivery of energy to consumers.  According to him, we waste about 60% of the energy we produce, we have an aging energy infrastructure, and demand continues to increase.  Not only that, but new applications (such as electric vehicles) are placing new stresses on our energy delivery systems.

Current generation and transmission of energy throughout the grid fail to adequately address the issues of real time supply and demand. Historically, we have struggled to effectively store energy so that it can be harnessed and released to the grid when needed.  The development of better battery storage technologies opens the possibility of load shifting and other tactics to deliver energy when supply is required, not just when we are able to produce it.

During his interview, Peter explains some of the limits of our current infrastructure and how battery storage may solve many of the problems. He and Dick also discuss some of the specific challenges as they relate to the production of energy from renewable sources, such as solar and wind. 

Need more proof that this technology is heading in the right direction?  The flow battery solutions being developed by Zinc Air start with safety.  The chemicals used are non-toxic and not corrosive, a step forward from what we typically think of in batteries.  The company spends a lot of time on the issue of safety in the product development and the installation of these systems, addressing concerns related to both man-made and natural disasters. And they know they have to do this all at the right price point.  
Show Note:
This Saturday (October 1, 2011) tune in to The Wendel Forum at 11:30 a.m. on Green 960 AM radio for a conversation with Flory Wilson of B Labs, who will reveal the new Global Impact Investing Ratings System (GIIRS), which is a comprehensive and transparent system for assessing the social and environmental impact of companies and funds with a ratings and analytics approach analogous to Morningstar investment rankings and Capital IQ financial analytics.
Post links:

Listen to the interview with Peter Walters:  Episode 33 of The Wendel Forum(27.48 min, mp3)

Zinc Air Inc. company website: www.zincairinc.com

Wikipedia entry for “flow battery”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_battery

Green 960 AM radio website: www.green960.com

Dick Lyons website bio: www.wendel.com/rlyons

In the second part of our two part series, show host Dick Lyons chats with three more finalist companies from this year’s San Francisco Business Times Cleantech & Sustainability Awards, held on June 16, 2011.  In Episode 22 of The Wendel Forum (originally aired on Green 960 AM radio on July 2, 2011), Dick learns more about the following companies:
 

Winner: Cleaire (interview with Brad Edgar, President and CTO, and Gale Plummer, CEO)
Category: Transportation

Description: Based in San Leandro, Cleaire designs and manufactures diesel engine filtration systems that could be used to remove particulate matter from exhaust in one million diesel engines in California –- and an estimated potential universe of 40-50 million vehicles already in service world wide.  They distribute and service the technology through a qualified dealer network whose customers include fleets of buses, construction equipment and trucks.

Winner: Solazyme (interview with Harrison Dillon, Co-Founder, President and Chief Technology Officer)
Category: Sustainable Fuels/Chemicals

Description: Solazyme makes oil – all kinds.  Their renewable oils are used in applications ranging from jet fuel to food products.  Dillon and his partner, CEO Jonathan Wolfson, started the company eight years ago in a garage in Palo Alto (where have we heard a story like that before?), originally setting  out  to make a diesel oil substitute from algae.  Since then, they’ve expanded to be able to custom design oils that can be used in a multitude of products.  Their oil can even be found in natural products carried by retailers such as Whole Foods and GNC.  By putting these healthy oils into food products, they are able to take out the saturated fat and keep the products both low fat and satisfying.

Winner: Driptech (interview with Peter Frykman, CEO)
Category: Water

Description:  Driptech makes affordable drip irrigation systems that allow small-plot famers in developing countries to have access to the same water-efficient irrigation that large plot farmers have used for decades.   The key to the technology (which includes some nifty precision laser manufacturing technology) is distributed local manufacturing.  Amazing what a class project at Stanford might turn into!

Coming up this week:

Tune in Saturday morning (July 9) to hear from a company that gives collective buying power to individual employees in organizations for home energy improvements (such as solar panels, insulation and water heaters).   If you’re out of radio signal range, remember you can always click the “Listen Live” button on the station’s website at www.green960.com

Post Links:

Listen to the Interviews: Episode 22 of The Wendel Forum(22.17 mins)

Cleaire website: http://www.cleaire.com

Solazyme website: http://www.solazyme.com/

Driptech website: http://driptech.com/

Green 960 AM radio website: www.green960.com

About show host Dick Lyons: www.wendel.com/rlyons

In the first part of a two part series, show host Dick Lyons chats with several of the top executives from finalist companies at this year’s San Francisco Business Times Cleantech & Sustainability Awards, held on June 16, 2011.  In Episode 21 of The Wendel Forum (originally aired on Green 960 AM radio on June 25, 2011), Dick learns more about the following companies:

Winner:   InterContinental San Francisco (interview with Peter Koehler, General Manager)
Category: Best Practices, Large Company
Description: This 33-story, 550- room, luxury hotel recently earned LEED Gold certification.

Finalist: Propel Fuels (interview with Matt Horton, CEO)
Category: Transportation
Description: This company brings consumers flexible fueling stations (ethanol and biodiesel), largely by installing green pump stations in existing gas stations across California. They hope to become the leading provider of clean fuel in the country.

Winner: Primus Power Corp. (interview with Tom Stepien, CEO)
Category: Energy Storage
Description: This development-stage company builds large-scale batteries that will enable us to warehouse electricity from variable renewable energy sources, leveling transmission peaks and valleys and making the delivery of renewable energy more reliable.

Winner: Numi Organic Tea (interview with Tisha Winters, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator)
Category: Best Practices, Small Company
Description: In addition to selling an organic product, this Oakland-based company has instituted a number of environmentally-friendly measures, from green packaging to product weight reduction that results in lower transportation costs. 

We’ll share more interviews with award finalists on the July 2 episode of The Wendel Forum.  Tune in Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m. on Green 960 AM radio to hear the broadcast.  And if you’re out of signal range, you can click the “Listen Live” button on the station’s website at www.green960.com.  We’ll talk to folks from winning companies Solazyme, Cleaire and Driptech.

So which green companies would you choose to honor, if you were in charge of giving an award?  Tell us about the unsung heroes in green business! 

Post Links:

 Listen to the Interviews: Episode 21 of The Wendel Forum(27.28 mins)

Green 960 AM radio website: www.green960.com

About show host Dick Lyons: www.wendel.com/rlyons

We want to remind all of our Bay Area green business friends that this Thursday is the San Francisco Business Times’ annual Cleantech & Sustainability Awards (previously called the Green Awards).  There are a lot of great green leaders being recognized on this year’s finalist list (below).
 
Check out our previous post, which includes the interview with Lindsay Riddell, the cleantech and green business reporter for the San Francisco Business Times.  

 
San Francisco Business Times Cleantech & Sustainability Awards 2011

  • Date: Thursday, June 16, 2011
  • Time: Registration at 5:30, Awards from 6:00 – 7:00 followed by gala reception
  • Place: InterContinental Hotel San Francisco, 888 Howard St., San Francisco

Follow this Link to RSVP:    Cleantech & Sustainability Awards

2011 Finalists:

Cleantech & Sustainability Awards Info & Registration Form:  http://www2.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/event/37371

In Episode 18 of The Wendel Forum (originally aired on Green 960 AM radio on June 4, 2011), San Francisco Business Times cleantech and green business reporter Lindsay Riddell talks with show host Bill Acevedo about what’s happening on the local cleantech scene. 
 
Photo of Lindsay Riddell

Lindsay Riddell, Cleantech & Green Business Reporter, San Francisco Business Times

She’s covered the beat since 2006 and during that time she’s witnessed some remarkable trends and growth.  So for this episode, we turned the tables on this seasoned journalist and asked her to answer some questions about what she’s observed. 

The conversation covers a lot of ground, from local companies in growth mode to technologies that have the potential for big impact on the state’s energy demands.  In addition, she’s been following the money and shares some observations regarding the flow of capital – from venture capital to government programs.  She also highlights the current cleantech IPO scene, discussing local favorites like Solazyme and BrightSource.

She offers a sneak-peek at some of the companies to be recognized at this year’s San Francisco Business Times Cleantech & Sustainability Awards (Thursday, June 16, 2011 at the InterContinental Hotel San Francisco).  Thanks to Lindsay for taking the time to share her insights and perspective on the industry.
 
San Francisco Business Times Cleantech & Sustainability Awards 2011

Wendel Rosen is a proud sponsor of this event and congratulates all of the finalists.  We’re looking forward to seeing the following trend-setting companies and other Bay Area green business leaders on the 16th.  Hope you’ll be there too.  Registration info follows in the post links section below.

Finalists:

  • Autodesk Inc.
  • Bridgelux Inc.
  • BrightSource Energy Inc.
  • CalStar Products
  • Choicelunch
  • Cleaire Advanced Emission Controls
  • Clean Filtration Technologies Inc.
  • Driptech Inc.
  • Ecologic Brands Inc.
  • ENXSUITE
  • Genencor
  • Grid Net
  • Hara
  • Intematix Corp.
  • InterContinental San Francisco
  • Numi Organic Tea
  • Pattern Energy Group
  • Primus Power Corp.
  • Project Frog Inc.
  • Propel Fuels
  • Recurrent Energy
  • Simbol Materials
  • Solar Millennium
  • Solazyme Inc.
  • The Gladstone Institutes
  • Tioga Energy
  • Trilliant Inc.

Post Links:

Interview with Lindsay Riddell: Episode 18 of The Wendel Forum(27.32 minutes)

San Francisco Business Times website: www.sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com

Cleantech & Sustainability Awards Info & Registration Form:  http://www2.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/event/37371

Green 960 AM radio website: www.green960.com

About show host William Acevedo: www.wendel.com/wacevedo