News

Submitted on April 29, 2014 - 10pm

As West Coast Political Director for the Environmental Defense Fund, Lauren Faber is closely involved in California’s ongoing implementation of its cap-and-trade program. Faber spoke at the VerdeXchange 2014 Conference in Los Angeles on panels titled “Cap-and-Trade: Following the Money in California’s Carbon Market” and “Cleantech Grid Integration of Renewables.” Faber brings experience at the California Environmental Protection Agency to her work at EDF. In the following interview with VX News, she elaborates on her role at EDF and offers insight into cap-and-trade’s effectiveness—noting what Californians can expect as transportation fuels come under the cap and considering how the state may allocate funds from the program.

Submitted on April 29, 2014 - 10pm

Communities and utilities across the nation face the challenges of aging infrastructure, climate change, increased costs, and limited funding. With such challenges come opportunities to be innovative and for our utilities and communities to become more efficient, sustainable, and resilient. Solutions such as green infrastructure and renewable energy projects are addressing these issues while enhancing the quality of life in our communities. Funding them, however, is a major challenge. With creative financing ideas being tried across the nation to help utilities and communities meet these challenges, what are some of the best ideas and examples in the water and energy sectors?

Submitted on April 29, 2014 - 10pm

Mark Gold, Associate Director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, recently opined on Former President Bill Clinton’s visit to Los Angeles, during which he co-hosted a workshop with Mayor Eric Garcetti to discuss infrastructure and resiliency in the city. Gold questioned Clinton and Garcetti’s optimism that infrastructure issues can be readily remedied, pointing out financing roadblocks that could stand in the way. VX News has reprinted the piece, originally published by the LA Observed online journal, with permission of the author.

Submitted on April 29, 2014 - 10pm

In February the Los Angeles City Council approved Marcie Edwards as the new General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest municipal utility in the US. Edwards began working at LADWP in 1976 at age 19 as a clerk typist, rising to the position of assistant general manager for the marketing and the customer service business units. She left LADWP in December 2000 to serve as general manager of Anaheim’s municipal water and electric utility. In her new position, Edwards faces the challenge of maintaining relations with the department’s strong labor coalition as well as balancing capital investments in infrastructure with state mandates on sustainability.

Submitted on April 29, 2014 - 10pm

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti addressed the VerdeXchange VX2014 Conference in Downtown Los Angeles on January 28. He delivered the following transcribed remarks during a luncheon plenary entitled, “Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities—Greener by Design.” Garcetti discussed Los Angeles’ commitment to sustainability—from the first residents of the pueblo to the current administration—touching on the role of Chief Sustainability Officer Matt Petersen, the use of metrics to reach goals in the city, and his position on President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

Submitted on April 29, 2014 - 12am

With extensive expertise in Arizona energy, transportation, and politics, Martin Shultz now holds the position of Senior Policy Director at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. He sat down with VX News to cover a range of topics that will be addressed at VX Arizona 2014—charting the progress of solar energy in the state, evaluating the viability of traditional utilities’ business model moving forward, and considering whether nuclear energy will grow in the US. Schultz also comments on Arizona’s needed investments in infrastructure and the status of water in the Southwest.

Submitted on April 29, 2014 - 12am

Jonathan Weisgall serves as Vice President for Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. Since 2012, the company has invested extensively in unregulated solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal projects, under the primary subsidiary MidAmerican Renewables. Weisgall spoke with VerdeXchange News to update readers on MidAmerican Renewables’ progress since its founding, as well as the promise of energy imbalance markets and MidAmerican’s role in bringing an EIM to the western United States.

Submitted on April 28, 2014 - 9pm

The Los Angeles Business Council held its annual Sustainability Summit on April 25 at the Getty Center, to discuss the city and region’s progress on producing renewable energy, protecting water resources, and building the city resiliently. Speakers included business leaders, elected officials, regulators, and utility representatives. VX News presents a transcript of California Governor Jerry Brown’s keynote address, in which he discusses the importance of prioritizing sustainability, the challenges it presents, and California’s continued leadership around environmental stewardship.

Submitted on March 18, 2014 - 5pm

Pat Proano, Assistant Deputy Director of the Environmental Programs Division at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, spoke with VerdeXchange News about strategies for meeting AB 341’s mandate to recycle 75 percent of trash in LA County. He focuses on the promise of conversion technology, which transforms organic waste into fuels, and the efforts at a state-wide, legislative level to clarify this practice. Proano also outlines benchmarks he expects the county to meet in the next year in terms of organics management, waste steam diversion from landfills, and citizen education. With landfills already full, a paradigm shift is underway to handle the 22 million tons of trash generated each year.

Submitted on March 18, 2014 - 12pm

In a June speech at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama outlined his strategy for both mitigating climate change and responding to its repercussions. The plan’s three pillars involve reducing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere, increasing readiness for the impacts of climate change, and serving as a global leader to address the issue. In the following article, VerdeXchange News has reprinted the beginning of the plan’s introduction. To provide an overview, VerdeXchange News has also reprinted a summary of the text that first appeared in The Washington Post.

Submitted on March 17, 2014 - 11pm

VX2013 featured the panel “California’s Water Supply: Demand & Quality”, moderated by the State Water Resources Control Board’s Felicia Marcus. In the discussion, Paul Helliker (Deputy Director of the California Department of Water Resources), Phil Isenberg (Chair, Delta Stewardship Council), and Jeff Kightlinger (General Manager, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California) focus on the challenges of bringing water from Northern California to Southern California as that supply becomes less dependable with climate change. Coupled with vulnerable Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta infrastructure, Californians are due for serious capital investments to ensure the continued existence of a reliable water supply.

Submitted on March 17, 2014 - 11pm

Nate Lewis is the George L. Argyros Professor of Chemistry and Scientific Director of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) at Caltech. JCAP is one of several federally funded Energy Innovation Hubs, with a specific focus on deriving fuel from sunlight. In a recent talk given at the LAEDC Mid Year Economic Forecast, republished here in VerdeXchange News and TPR, Professor Lewis puts the earth’s current greenhouse gas levels in historic perspective, noting that no energy source has the power to both clean our atmosphere and meet civilization’s growing energy demands except the sun. Yet harnessing the sun’s energy with current solar panel technology presents problems of space and storage. Lewis outlines how artificial photosynthesis might solve these problems, as well as the steps Caltech is taking to make this hypothetical technology a game-changing reality.

Submitted on March 17, 2014 - 6pm

The City of Lancaster aims to become the first net-zero city in the world, and took strides toward that goal by mandating solar energy for every new single-family home constructed in the municipality at the start of this year. R. Rex Parris, the Mayor of Lancaster, described his vision to VerdeXchange News: that the city will serve as an example others follow, so that the nation can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help prevent the worst potential outcomes of climate change. With a clear goal, Mayor Parris has united his constituents around the frank reality of climate change.

Submitted on March 17, 2014 - 4pm

As renewable energy becomes the base upon which society operates, how will utilities manage unbalanced production and overproduction? Advances in communications technology, or the Industrial Internet, promise to channel energy to where it is most demanded via sensors and automatic communication between machines. Efficiently connecting supply and demand will grow with the increased ubiquity of our M2M devices and their potential for sensing energy needs across a myriad of platforms. VerdeXchange News reprints the following with the permission of ThomasNet News.

Submitted on March 17, 2014 - 4pm

Bruce Katz, Vice President at the Brookings Institution, co-authored The Metropolitan Revolution. VerdeXchange News has printed a piece adapted from this book below, which originally appeared online as part of LinkedIn’s Influencer’s series. Mr. Katz discusses how innovation districts—clusters of anchor institutions and innovative firms, along with related companies, mixed use housing, office, and retail—are taking the place of traditional corporate campuses, and what impact this will have on cities moving forward.

Submitted on October 3, 2013 - 3pm

In this VerdeXchange News interview, James Kelly, formerly of Southern California Edison and now a strategic advisor to GRIDiant Corporation, among other startups, discusses the role of Embedded Network Sensing (ENS) in generating data, how improved data analytics will affect the management of the electrical grid, and what the evolution of data portends for the physical worlds of industry and utility. As alternative energies and power sources gain support in state and local government, stronger tools for monitoring the electric grid will be necessary for balancing supply and demand.

Submitted on October 3, 2013 - 3pm

On September 23, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti welcomed visitors and participants to the One Water Leadership Summit, hosted by the US Water Alliance in Downtown Los Angeles. The One Water approach to water management aims to eliminate the departmental silos that discourage recycling of properly treated waste, storm, and potable water worldwide. It is a holistic approach to managing the resource. Mayor Garcetti highlights the progress LA and other California jurisdictions have made through investment in waste and stormwater infrastructure and green streets as his emphasis on the need for further action. VerdeXchange News presents the following edited transcript of the mayor’s summit remarks.

Submitted on October 3, 2013 - 3pm

VerdeXchange News presents the following remarks by Amy Myers Jaffe, Executive Director for Energy and Sustainability at UC Davis, delivered this summer at the biannual Asilomar Conference on Transportation and Energy. Her thesis: Many incorrectly imagined that the globe and the Industrial West were running dry of oil and thus alternative energy and fuels could depend on high oil prices shifting us to lower carbon emissions. Jaffe suggests that environmental policy advocates shift away from arguing scarcity and instead prepare for possible fossil fuel surpluses, and what that might mean for the economy and for climate change initiatives.

Submitted on October 3, 2013 - 3pm

In August, VerdeXchange News sat down with Stephen Cheung, the Mayor of Los Angeles’ first Director of International Trade, to discuss the purview and mission of his new position, which liaisons between the Port of Los Angeles, LAX, and City Hall. With trade being a critical component of the LA regional economy, and with the infrastructure of trade constantly evolving, Cheung works for goods movement, logistics, storage, and transportation to operate as smoothly as possible to retain customers doing business in and through LA. The potential growth of ethanol trade with Brazil serves as an example of how LA is making strides to adapt.

Submitted on October 3, 2013 - 3pm

Over the past three decades, North America has seen a fivefold increase in weather-related natural disasters, with relief spending mirroring this exponential trend. As the population grows, the number of Americans residing in “at risk” areas along the coast, rivers, and in the “fire zone” also continues to rise. In the following VerdeXchange News interview, Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer explains why our current federal policy on natural disaster recovery is both fiscally unsustainable and life threatening. He suggests the changes in zoning, infrastructure investment, insurance, and taxation that must occur on a national scale to prepare for climate change.