Virginia, which now has a Democrat as governor and Democrats in control of the statehouse, has followed the lead of several other blue states and committed itself to transition away from fossil fuels to a clean, renewable, carbon-free energy, as Vox reported. It makes Virginia the first state in the South to commit to 100 percent clean energy.
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By Cullen Howe
When Governor Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) into law in July 2019, it cemented New York State as a national leader in ramping up clean energy and the broader fight against climate change. In addition to reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050, the law requires that the state obtain 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 (and that it be emissions-free by 2040). No state has a more aggressive emissions reduction target.
1. The PSC Should Act on NYSERDA’s Petition to Boost Local Solar<p>Even before the CLCPA's passage, New York was a leader in making <a href="http://www.ecowatch.com/tag/solar">solar</a> more accessible to homeowners and businesses. In 2014, Governor Cuomo established <a href="https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/NY-Sun" target="_blank">NY-Sun</a>, a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)-administered program that seeks to add 3,000 MW of installed solar capacity by 2023. The program works by establishing cash incentives for developers that decline over time as solar installations increase in different parts of the state.</p><p>The results have been impressive: Almost 1,000 MW of NY-Sun supported projects have been installed, with another 1,000 MW in the pipeline. Just this week, <a href="https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/About/Newsroom/2019-Announcements/2019-12-17-NYSERDA-Announces-Milestone-of-Two-Gigawatts-of-Solar-Capacity-Installed-in-New-York" target="_blank">NYSERDA announced</a> New York has surpassed 2,000 MW of installed solar generation (including non-NY Sun projects), enough to power almost 250,000 homes.</p><p>In addition to the 2,000 MW of solar that's been installed, another 1,262 MW of solar is under development, including 351 <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/samantha-wilt/community-solar-comes-new-york" target="_blank">community solar projects</a> (this week, the Public Service Commission (PSC) approved consolidated billing for these projects, which should spur <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/cullen-howe/new-york-state-greenlights-boost-community-solar" target="_blank">their deployment in the state</a>).</p><p>In November, NYSERDA filed a <a href="http://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/MatterManagement/CaseMaster.aspx?MatterCaseNo=14-M-0094" target="_blank">petition</a> with the PSC seeking $573 million in additional funds to extend the NY-Sun program through 2025. If approved, approximately half of the funds would be added to existing cash incentives to support an additional 1,800 MW of solar projects. About a quarter of the money would be used to replenish "community adder" incentives for community solar projects in certain utility territories, providing additional compensation for these projects. </p><p>Importantly, NYSERDA proposes using $135 million of the additional funds to expand NY-Sun programs focused on low-to-moderate income (LMI) customers, as part of a new Framework for Solar Energy Equity. Among other things, the Framework envisions an expansion of its <a href="https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/NY-Sun/Solar-for-Your-Home/Community-Solar/Solar-for-All" target="_blank">Solar for All</a> program, which provides no-cost community solar to low-income households. It also provides incentives for projects sited on affordable housing, LMI homeowners who install rooftop solar, and projects that pair solar with energy storage. Combining solar and energy storage provides resiliency benefits and can also reduce local air pollutants from fossil fuel peaking units, which are often located in environmental justice communities.</p><p>The PSC hasn't yet acted on NYSERDA's petition, which sets forth a roadmap for meeting the state's 6,000 MW goal by 2025.</p>
2. The PSC Needs to Move Quickly to Decarbonize the Power Sector<p>Achieving 70 percent renewable energy in the power sector by 2030 won't be easy. Currently, New York gets <a href="https://www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?sid=NY" target="_blank">28 percent of its total electricity</a> from renewable sources, and the vast majority of this (about 80 percent) comes from legacy large hydropower facilities <a href="https://www.nypa.gov/power/generation/generation-overview" target="_blank">owned and operated by the New York Power Authority</a>. Scaling up renewables to hit 70 percent in 10 years will require a massive amount of new clean generation to come online. </p><p>The first step to make this happen is commencing a proceeding to establish how this process will work, which the CLCPA requires by 2021. There is little time to waste. NRDC, along with a number of other environmental organizations and clean energy industry partners, last week <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6586462-E93F0201-61A9-4C53-A36D-EAE5C4AE6E04.html" target="_blank">filed a list of eight principles</a> we believe should guide the state through this process. The principles include establishing a full procurement schedule to get to 70 percent renewables by 2030, the creation of new tiers of renewable energy credits for existing renewable energy facilities, and a PSC final implementation order by the end of 2020. This deadline is especially important because it takes approximately four years between the approval of contracts for large-scale renewable projects and their completion and operation (thus, the state will need to approve contracts no later than 2026 for projects to be up and running by 2030).</p>
3. NY Needs to Improve the Siting Process and Ensure Adequate Transmission<p>Reaching the state's 70 by 30 goal will require that renewables projects are sited quickly and that there is enough transmission to transport this power to where it is needed. Unfortunately, the processes for both need fixing. </p><p>The siting process, known as <a href="http://www3.dps.ny.gov/W/PSCWeb.nsf/W/PSCWeb.nsf/All/D12E078BF7A746FF85257A70004EF402?OpenDocument" target="_blank">Article 10</a>, establishes a procedure for approving energy production facilities over 25 MW. However, it has not worked well for renewable energy sources like solar and wind. Major delays within the Article 10 process have resulted in a bottleneck <a href="https://buffalonews.com/2019/04/22/environmental-groups-demand-clean-energy-action-from-nys-we-cant-afford-to-wait/" target="_blank">jeopardizing over 8,000 gigawatt-hours per year of land-based wind and solar projects</a> pending before the state's Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment (known as the "Siting Board"), which considers these applications. For example, although the Article 10 process should take approximately 24 months, most of the pending renewable projects have taken much longer and most are still waiting for approval or have been withdrawn. </p><p>There are a number of steps the Department of Public Service (DPS) can take to improve Article 10, including enforcing application deadlines, completing compliance reviews on a fixed timeline, and reducing reliance on paper by expanding the use of digital technologies. To its credit, DPS has increased its staff to process these applications, and last week the Siting Board approved the <a href="http://www.calpine.com/operations/power-operations/our-fleet/new-york/bluestone" target="_blank">Bluestone Wind Farm</a>, a 124 MW project located in upstate New York, in the process overruling a local law that had placed a moratorium on wind turbines. This follows <a href="http://www3.dps.ny.gov/W/PSCWeb.nsf/All/763B187DD5A792DE8525847400667D6B?OpenDocument" target="_blank">approval of three other renewable projects in the last four months</a> after only one had been approved since 2011. While these approvals are encouraging, the pace of the approval process must be dramatically increased to meet our 2030 goal.</p>
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Kidney stones are hard deposits that form in the kidneys. They are produced when minerals and salts, most commonly calcium oxalate, crystallize in the kidneys, creating hard, crystal-like stones. If you've ever had a kidney stone, we're sure you won't want to repeat the experience!
Ideally, you never want to have to go through this painful process. Fortunately, several steps and natural treatments can be used to reduce the chances of suffering them. In this article we'll examine how these annoying solidifications originate and how to treat them effectively and quickly with natural remedies.
By Kayla Wiles
What if paint could cool off a building enough to not need air conditioning?
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="92a97881f7ba8bac8832bbf9fcaf172f"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/caFzYvYAUo4?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The paint would not only send heat away from a surface, but also away from Earth into deep space where heat travels indefinitely at the speed of light. This way, heat doesn't get trapped within the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. A video about this project is available on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caFzYvYAUo4&feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">YouTube</a>.</p><p>"We're not moving heat from the surface to the atmosphere. We're just dumping it all out into the universe, which is an infinite heat sink," said Xiangyu Li, a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who worked on this project as a Ph.D. student in Ruan's lab.</p><p>Earth's surface would actually get cooler with this technology if the paint were applied to a variety of surfaces including roads, rooftops and cars all over the world, the researchers said.</p>
An infrared camera image shows that white radiative cooling paint developed by Purdue University researchers (left, purple) can stay cooler in direct sunlight compared with commercial white paint. Purdue University image / Joseph Peoples<p>In a paper published Wednesday (Oct. 21) in the journal <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrp.2020.100221" target="_blank">Cell Reports Physical Science</a>, the researchers show that compared with commercial white paint, the paint that they developed can maintain a lower temperature under direct sunlight and reflect more ultraviolet rays.</p><p>Their proof is infrared camera images taken of the two paints in rooftop experiments.</p><p>"An infrared camera gives you a temperature reading just like a thermometer would to judge if someone has a fever. These readings confirmed that our paint has a lower temperature than both its surroundings and the commercial counterpart," Ruan said.</p><p>Commercial "heat rejecting paints" currently on the market reflect only 80%-90% of sunlight and cannot achieve temperatures below their surroundings. The white paint that Purdue researchers created reflects 95.5% sunlight and efficiently radiates infrared heat. </p>
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By Elliott Negin
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' recent decision to award the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to scientists who developed rechargeable lithium-ion batteries reminded the world just how transformative they have been. Without them, we wouldn't have smartphones or electric cars. But it's their potential to store electricity generated by the sun and the wind at their peak that promises to be even more revolutionary, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and protecting the planet from the worst consequences of climate change.
Updating an Antiquated System<p>Currently, <a href="http://www.ncsl.org/research/energy/renewable-portfolio-standards.aspx" target="_blank">29 states and the District of Columbia</a> require utilities to increase the amount of electricity they generate from renewable resources over time. California, Hawaii, Maine, Vermont and Washington, D.C., are leading the pack with a target of 100 percent by mid-century.</p> <p>These renewable electricity standards have proven to be one of the most effective ways to curb U.S. global warming emissions. According to a 2016 Energy Department <a href="https://www.energy.gov/eere/articles/new-study-renewable-energy-state-renewable-portfolio-standards-yield-sizable-benefits" target="_blank">report</a>, these standards cut carbon pollution nationally by 59 million metric tons in 2013 alone, akin to closing 15 average-sized coal-fired power plants. It would be even more effective to have a national standard, and Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) has <a href="https://blog.ucsusa.org/steve-clemmer/national-renewable-electricity-standard" target="_blank">proposed</a> one of 50 percent by 2035. But ratcheting up renewable electricity requirements can go only so far without modernizing the grid and increasing storage capacity.</p> <p>While today's smartphones boast more than <a href="https://www.realclearscience.com/articles/2019/07/02/your_mobile_phone_vs_apollo_11s_guidance_computer_111026.html" target="_blank">100,000 times</a> <a href="https://www.realclearscience.com/articles/2019/07/02/your_mobile_phone_vs_apollo_11s_guidance_computer_111026.html" target="_blank">the processing power</a> of the computer on board Apollo 11, most of the power plants, transmission lines, transformers and poles that comprise the grid are at least 40 to 50 years old, built during the expansion of the electric power sector in the decades following World War II. With its aging equipment, capacity bottlenecks and vulnerability to climate impacts, today's grid gets a <a href="https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/cat-item/energy/" target="_blank">barely passing grade</a> of D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers.</p> <p>The grid was designed to transmit electricity from large, centralized plants, but power today flows from other sources, including solar and wind facilities. Rooftop solar panels and other "distributed" generation systems reduce the distance electricity has to travel, potentially increasing efficiency, but they also increase the complexity of transmitting electricity, and the amount generated from hour to hour varies. Investing in grid infrastructure would enable utilities to incorporate modern technology, making the grid more resilient and flexible, better able to integrate variable energy sources, and capable of providing real-time information so consumers can manage their energy use and save money.</p>
100 Percent Clean Energy Is Possible — With Storage<p>A modernized electricity grid would have the capacity to store large amounts of excess electricity. Today, utilities have to produce the exact amount of electricity needed at a specific time to meet demand. With advanced storage technology, it doesn't have to be that way.</p> <p>"Our electricity grid is where our food distribution system was before refrigeration," says Mike Jacobs, a senior energy analyst at my organization, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). "Up until the 1920s, when the refrigerator became widely available, most people had to eat fresh food right away because they had no good way to keep it cold. A grid with storage capacity would allow consumers to light their homes at night with the extra energy from solar panels during the day."</p> <p>One storage technology — pumped hydroelectric — has been around since the 1890s, and there has been increased interest in it in recent years because it can be paired with variable renewable sources. Hydroelectric plants pump water to elevated reservoirs and release it through turbines to generate electricity when demand is high. With <a href="https://energystorage.org/why-energy-storage/technologies/pumped-hydropower/" target="_blank">23 gigawatts</a> of capacity, pumped hydro is currently the largest type of energy storage in the United States. That said, it represents less than 2 percent of U.S. generating capacity and is unlikely to grow much more due to the cost of building such facilities.</p> <p>The ideal solution would be rechargeable, factory-size batteries that can store massive amounts of energy for days or even weeks. Today's grid-scale batteries can store only a few hours' worth of energy before they need to be recharged. That's enough to accommodate solar or wind power variability but not nearly enough to completely switch from fossil fuels to renewables.</p> <p>Money is the main issue. Billions of private-sector dollars are now pouring into research and development for electric vehicle batteries, but they are only trickling in for grid batteries because the market is still in its infancy. That makes funding dependent on the U.S. government, which historically has <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dont-take-federal-science_b_4146736" target="_blank">supported</a> cutting-edge research before the private sector was ready to invest. But federal funding for grid battery R&D has been deficient, and the United States is <a href="https://americanenergyinnovation.org/2017/03/can-the-us-take-charge-in-the-global-battery-market/" target="_blank">falling behind</a> China, Japan and South Korea in the global battery market.</p>
Bipartisan Support in Congress<p>Deploying batteries to store electricity generated when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing would enable the grid to handle more renewable energy. Fortunately, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle recognize that potential.</p> <p>There are a handful of bipartisan <a href="https://www.powermag.com/doe-lawmakers-looking-at-energy-storage-rd-funding/?pagenum=1" target="_blank">energy storage bills</a> now pending in the Senate. One bill, introduced by Angus King (I-Maine) and Martha McSally (R-Arizona), would provide $500 million over five years for a joint Energy and Defense department energy storage demonstration program. In September, the King-McSally proposal was folded into a <a href="https://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/republican-news?ID=23EE00A2-2A58-40CE-B7CC-733D03DC5651" target="_blank">bill</a> proposed by King's fellow Mainer, Republican Susan Collins, which would dedicate $330 million over the next five years for storage R&D to help lower battery costs, which already have <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/giant-batteries-supercharge-wind-and-solar-plans-11565535601" target="_blank">dropped</a> nearly 40 percent since 2015. The Department of Energy <a href="https://www.powermag.com/doe-lawmakers-looking-at-energy-storage-rd-funding/?pagenum=1" target="_blank">supports</a> a number of the proposed research efforts, which is not surprising, given Energy Secretary Rick Perry has <a href="https://thinkprogress.org/rick-perry-hails-energy-storage-7cb6b0709a1a/" target="_blank">called</a> storage the "holy grail" of U.S. energy.</p> <p>The House is also jumping on the bandwagon. In June, it passed an <a href="https://appropriations.house.gov/sites/democrats.appropriations.house.gov/files/FY2020%20E%26W%20Sub%20Markup%20Draft.pdf" target="_blank">appropriations bill</a> that boosts the Energy Department's energy storage budget by nearly <a href="https://www.aip.org/fyi/2019/fy20-appropriations-bills-doe-applied-energy-rd" target="_blank">35 percent</a>, and the budget of its Advanced Research Projects Agency — which has invested as much as <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2018/07/federal-energy-storage-convening-summary.pdf" target="_blank">15 percent</a> of its funding in electricity storage projects — by <a href="https://www.aip.org/fyi/2019/fy20-appropriations-bills-doe-applied-energy-rd" target="_blank">17 percent</a>. More recently, Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee proposed <a href="https://mikethompson.house.gov/sites/mikethompson.house.gov/files/GREEN%20Act%20Discussion%20Draft.pdf" target="_blank">legislation</a> in November that would provide tax incentives for a range of clean energy technologies, including energy storage.</p> <p>"Energy storage technology was developed right here in the United States, but we are losing out to other countries," says Rob Cowin, director of government affairs for the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "Increasing federal funding for energy storage R&D will pay big dividends for the U.S. economy and national security. Taking the right steps now will make our electricity grid cleaner, more reliable, and more affordable."</p>
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Ahead of the UN climate summit and the global climate strike, the world's largest search engine announced that the tech behemoth will make its biggest corporate purchase of renewable energy yet, signing on to a series of agreements that will increase Google's wind and solar investments by 40 percent, as Quartz reported.
By Claire Turrell
Languishing in the soft, silty mud, the living fossil looked as if it didn't have a care in the world as it feasted on the fish left stranded in the tidal mangrove pools of the Sungei Buloh wetlands. However, the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) might have been a little less at ease if it knew nearly 90% of its mangrove habitat in Singapore has been lost over the past century.
Smooth-coated otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) have a midday snack at Jurong Eco Garden, Singapore. JJ Harrison / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
A marsh sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis) at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Lip Kee / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0
Singapore retains very little of its mangrove forests. In contrast, there are still large tracts of mangroves just across the strait in Malaysia.
A Malayan water monitor (Varanus salvator) ponders the future of its habitat. Yeowatzup / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0
One of the many denizens of Singapore's forests is the mangrove pitta (Pitta megarhyncha). JJ Harrison / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
A tree-climbing crab (Episesarma spp.) and a couple common nerite snails (Nerita lineata) sale a mangrove tree during high tide, with a giant mudskipper (Periophthalmodon schlosseri) close behind. Sundar / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0<p>When it comes to gauging the success of reforestation projects like One Million Trees, Jurgenne Primavera, former co-chair of the IUCN Mangrove Specialist Group, prefers to focus on science and ecology rather than targets or quotas. She said that problems with reforestation projects often arise when the wrong species are planted at the wrong sites. But she adds there are key signs when reforestation has been done effectively.</p><p>"High survival and growth rates and healthy forests of the correct trees species," Primavera told Mongabay. "For mangroves, for example, these would be <em>Avicennia marina </em>and<em> Sonneratia alba </em>along coastlines facing the open sea<em>. </em>For terrestrial species these would be native species and not exotics."</p><p>To safeguard the trees, NParks carries out regular inspections and offers best-practice workshops to organizations across the island. But Adrian Loo said that for the One Million Trees project to be considered effective, everyone needs to be involved: "The success of the project is also measured by our ability to instill a sense of stewardship among Singaporeans — towards our trees and environment."</p>
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By Josh Gabbatiss
Chart showing the historical levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) from solar power in China.
Source: Yan et al. (2019)
By Lynn Freehill-Maye
When Jackie Augustine opens a chicken coop door one brisk spring morning in upstate New York, the hens bolt out like windup toys. Still, as their faint barnyard scent testifies, they aren't battery-powered but very much alive.
These are "solar chickens." At this local community egg cooperative, Geneva Peeps, the birds live with solar power all around them. Their hen house is built under photovoltaic panels, and even outside, they'll spend time underneath them, protected from sun, rain, and hawks.
Finding the Right Pairing<p>Agrivoltaics doesn't just include chickens. Other livestock also can roam around solar panels, and some researchers are experimenting with planting crops, too. </p><p>Animals that graze around solar fields offer several benefits, proponents of agrivoltaics say. Not only does their manure enrich the soil, their munching keeps plants from growing too tall and shading the panels. Another win: They lower vegetation maintenance costs, reducing the need for lawn mowers or landscapers.</p><p>Pilot agrivoltaic programs have tried many grazers – with varying success. The chickens at Geneva Peeps, for example, aren't grazing powerhouses. Founder Jeff Henderson admits that he still has to fire up the lawn mower sometimes.</p><p>When solar panels are elevated for them to roam beneath, cows do better, as shown in a <a href="https://ag.umass.edu/clean-energy/current-initiatives/solar-pv-agriculture" target="_blank">University of Massachusetts pilot</a>. But the higher materials cost of raising panels has kept "solar cattle" from taking hold yet. Goats have been tried, too, but they sometimes jump on panels and chew wires.</p><p>The winner among livestock so far has been calm, eat-anything-and-everything sheep. In fact, most of the members of the American Solar Grazing Association, founded in 2017, are shepherds. (Honeybees can be part of the mix with sheep, too.)</p>
Seeking Common Ground<p>Still, tensions remain between solar and agriculture. Farmers who lease the land they grow crops on often worry about their landlords renting it out to someone else, including solar farms. And rural residents may want to see their area hold onto its farming heritage. A California developer, Cypress Creek Renewables, riled up rural New York in 2016 when it mass-mailed farmers seeking leases on 20-plus acre fields.</p><p>Lewis Fox, co-founder of the American Solar Grazing Association, has found that involving animals helps solar skeptics lower their defenses. He'll bring lambs to a project open house and find locals open up a bit more. Often, he says, they find it reassuring that local land can stay in agriculture, even if solar is added.</p><p>"Solar in general is unfamiliar to people, and if you hear there's a large development coming to your town, people naturally get defensive, a little suspicious," Mr. Fox says. "There's support, but also a lot of concern. Once people come out to a site and see it being grazed, it kind of clicks. A well-managed grazing program on a site is very productive. It's not just throwing a few sheep out and letting them go wherever for a season. We can raise a lot of meat on an acre of raised panels. It's a serious form of agriculture."</p>
First Came the Chickens<p>Mr. Henderson didn't know about agrivoltaics when he founded Geneva Peeps in 2015. His goal was simply to help local families raise chickens. Backyard coops aren't allowed in the Finger Lakes town of Geneva, New York, but he found industrial-zoned land where they'd be permitted. </p><p>Forty families now share weekly chicken-care shifts of 10 to 15 minutes. Ms. Augustine pedals over for her shift, and with her bike helmet still on, checks the hens' food and water. In return, she and fellow members get a dozen or more eggs at a time. </p><p>The year after launching, Mr. Henderson installed 44 kilowatts' worth of solar panels, both powering the operation and producing excess for the grid through net metering. There wasn't enough room on the chicken coops to install rooftop panels, but he did have more than an acre of land – more than 180 egg-layers really needed. Mr. Henderson wasn't aware of any similar farms combining solar and chickens, but he figured the project could be a local sustainability model. </p><p>"We knew they could all coexist together because there's no reason you can't have solar panels and chickens," Mr. Henderson says. "One of the hopes is this will give people an idea of a way you could do it."</p>
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Ten of the nation's sunniest states get a failing grade for policies that actively block, or don't encourage, rooftop-solar development, according to Throwing Shade, a new report from the Center for Biological Diversity.
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin account for more than 33 percent of the total rooftop-solar potential of small buildings in the contiguous U.S. but less than 8 percent of net generation in 2017. All of them get an "F" in today's report.
By Andrea Oyuela
The United Nations estimates that nearly 10 billion people will be living in cities by 2050. According to a recent publication by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, urban eaters consume most of the food produced globally and maintain more resource-intensive diets including increased animal-source and processed foods — rich in salt, sugar and fats. At the same time, many urban populations — particularly in low-income areas and informal communities — endure acute hunger and malnutrition as well as limited access to affordable, healthy food.
1. AeroFarms, Newark (United States)<p><a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2017/01/interview-marc-oshima/" target="_blank">AeroFarms</a> builds and operates vertical indoor farms to enable local production at scale and increase the availability of safe and nutritious food. The company uses aeroponics to grow leafy greens without sun or soil in a fully controlled environment. The technology enables year-round production while, they say, using 95 percent less water than field farming, resulting in yields 400 times higher per square foot annually. Since its foundation in 2004, AeroFarms aims to disrupt conventional food supply chains by building farms along major distribution routes and in urban areas. The company also won multiple awards, including the <a href="https://aerofarms.com/2019/03/29/glbal-sdg-awards/" target="_blank">2018 Global SDG Award</a>, for its environmentally responsible practices and leadership in agriculture.</p>
2. Agricool, Paris (France)<p>Agricool is a start-up that grows strawberries in containers spread throughout urban areas. The company retrofits old, unused containers to accommodate both an LED-lights and aeroponics system making it possible to grow strawberries year-round. The <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2016/02/french-start-up-grows-fresh-strawberries-in-recycled-shipping-containers/" target="_blank">Cooltainers</a> are powered by clean energy and use 90 percent less water than conventional farming. Agricool also works on building a network of urban farmers through the Cooltivators training program, aiming to open up job opportunities for city residents to work in the agricultural sector. The start-up now works on expanding operations to other cities, an effort made possible by the replicability of the container's design.</p>
3. BIGH Farms, Brussels (Belgium)<p>BIGH (Building Integrated Greenhouses) Farms, a start-up based in Brussels, works on building a network of urban farms in Europe to promote the role urban agriculture can play in the circular economy. BIGH's designs integrate aquaponics with existing buildings to reduce a site's environmental impact. <a href="https://agfundernews.com/bigh-raises-e4-3m-largest-urban-rooftop-farm-europe.html" target="_blank">The first pilot</a> — located above the historic <a href="https://www.abattoir.be/en/company" target="_blank">Abattoir</a> in Brussel's city center — includes a fish farm, a greenhouse and more than 2,000 square meters of outdoor vegetable gardens. They started in 2018 producing microgreens, herbs, tomatoes and striped bass. BIGH Farms also partners with local businesses and growers to make sure the farm's production is complementary to the existing food community.</p>
4. Bites, Phoenix (United States)<p>Bites is a mobile platform working to help connect urban farmers, chefs and eaters in Phoenix through farm-to-table dining experiences. Eaters and chefs sign up and meet through the app to organize an in-home dining event. Chefs gather the ingredients from urban growers registered on the platform in an effort to promote local, small businesses. Bites was launched in 2017 by Roza Derfowsmakan, founder of <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/company/warehouseapps/about/" target="_blank">Warehouse Apps</a>, to improve accessibility to farm-to-table experiences and support urban farmers. By using technology to build culinary communities, Bites aims to change consumer choices from shipped-in, trucked-in produce to locally sourced food — involving people in the solution itself.</p>
5. BitGrange, Multiple Locations (North America)<p>BitGrange is an urban farming tool and learning platform working to help educate children on food and agriculture. The BitGrange device, a hydroponics and Internet of Things-based system, produces edible plants with little water and energy. BitGrange's software evaluates environmental variables in real-time and notifies growers through a smartphone app to take necessary actions, such as adding more water or plant food. Founded in 2015 according to their philosophy, Plant-Connect-Sync-Play, BitGrange aims to inspire youth to engage in farming by gamifying agriculture. The nano-farm's design is available for download at BitGrange's website for potential growers to 3D print the device in their own location.</p>
6. Bowery Farming, New York Metro Area (United States)<p>Bowery Farming, an indoor farming start-up, uses software and robotics to grow produce inside warehouses located in and around cities. By controlling every aspect of the growing process, the start-up is able to produce leafy greens and herbs using a minimal amount of water and energy per square foot. The technology also makes it possible to grow customized products for chefs and restaurants, such as softer kale and more peppery arugula. Since its establishment in 2017, Bowery Farming is now expanding operations beyond its warehouse in New Jersey to build vertical farms in other cities and, ultimately, bring efficient food production closer to consumers.</p>
7. Farmizen, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Surat (India)<p>Farmizen is a mobile-based platform renting farmland to city residents to grow locally grown, organic produce. The app allocates its users a 600 square foot mini-farm in a community nearby. Users can visit the farm anytime to grow and harvest chemical-free produce. Farmworkers look after the plots when the users return to the city, making a fixed and stable income — up to three times more than that of conventional farming. The app is live in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Surat with 1,500 subscribers and 40 acres of land under cultivation. Farmizen was founded in 2017 by entrepreneur <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2019/10/14-women-changing-food-around-the-world/" target="_blank">Gitanjali Rajamani</a>, driven by the need to create stable livelihoods for farmers and reconnect city-dwellers to agriculture and nature.</p>
8. Fresh Direct, Abuja (Nigeria)<p>Fresh Direct is an impact-driven start-up using vertical farming and hydroponics to promote locally grown produce and the involvement of youth in agriculture. When young entrepreneur <a href="https://theculturetrip.com/africa/nigeria/articles/city-farming-in-abuja-is-growing-entrepreneurial-spirit/" target="_blank">Angel Adelaja</a> started engaging in eco-friendly farming, she faced multiple challenges with conventional farming practices, including access to land, water, and technology. As a response, Adelaja founded Fresh Direct in 2014 to make urban agriculture more accessible to everyone, especially youth. Fresh Direct installs stackable container farms in the city, growing organic produce closer to the market. In the future, Adelaja aims to eradicate the notion among young professionals that agriculture is a line of work for the older generations.</p>
9. Gotham Greens, Multiple Locations (United States)<p>Gotham Greens builds and operates data-driven, climate-controlled greenhouses in cities across the U.S. The greenhouses, powered by wind and solar energy, use hydroponics to grow salad greens and herbs year-round using fewer resources than conventional farming. In addition to its goal of sustainable food production, Gotham Greens also partners with local organizations, schools, community gardens and businesses to support urban renewal and community development projects. Gotham Greens is also the company behind the country's <a href="https://media.wholefoodsmarket.com/news/whole-foods-marketr-and-gotham-greens-to-build-nations-first-commercial-sca" target="_blank">first commercial rooftop greenhouse</a>, a partnership with <a href="https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/" target="_blank">Whole Foods Market</a> to operate the greenhouse located above their flagship store in Brooklyn, New York.</p>
10. GrowUp Urban Farms, London (United Kingdom)<p>GrowUp Urban Farms works on developing commercial scale, Controlled Environment Production (CEP) solutions to grow fresh food in communities across London. The CEP farms use aquaponics to farm fish and grow leafy greens in a soil-less system, turning previously unused brownfield sites into productive areas. The GrowUp Box — a community farm developed together with sister organization <a href="https://www.growup.community/" target="_blank">GrowUp Community Farms</a> — produces over 400kg of salads and 150kg of fish each year. Over the long run, the company aims to replicate the aquaponics system to build urban farms in other cities, opening employment opportunities for youth, and using agriculture as a means to make communities more self-sustaining.</p>
11. InFarm, Multiple Locations (Europe)<p>InFarm, a Berlin-based start-up, develops modular indoor farming systems to bring agriculture into cities. Designed to combat the long distances food travels, the InFarms produce leafy greens and herbs using 95 percent less water than traditional farms and no pesticides. The technology, the company <a href="https://infarm.com/impact/" target="_blank">claims</a>, can reduce food transportation up to 90 percent. In 2013, the company pioneered the modular system in restaurants, schools, hospitals and shopping centers. Operations have now expanded to distribute portable farms in neighborhoods and supermarkets across Germany, Denmark, France and Switzerland. The expansion, AgFunder <a href="https://agfundernews.com/infarm-joins-vertical-farming-pantheon-with-titanic-100m-series-b.html" target="_blank">reports</a>, can be attributed to InFarm's decentralized, data-driven model.</p>
12. Liv Up, São Paulo (Brazil)<p>Liv Up works to deliver healthy meals and snack kits prepared with locally grown food to residents of the Greater São Paulo region. The start-up sources organic ingredients from family farmers in peri-urban areas, in an effort to shorten value chains and better connect small producers to the urban market. A team of chefs and nutritionists prepares the meals, which are later deep frozen to maintain the food's integrity and extend its shelf life. Liv Up was founded in 2016 by a <a href="https://forbes.com.br/fotos/2016/05/13-dicas-para-tirar-seu-negocio-do-papel-antes-dos-30/#foto2" target="_blank">trio of young entrepreneurs</a> driven by the lack of access to healthy foods in São Paulo. The start-up now operates in seven municipalities of the metropolitan area, rotating its menu every two weeks.</p>
13. Pasona Urban Ranch, Tokyo (Japan)<p>Pasona Urban Ranch, an initiative of the Pasona Group, is a mix of office space and animal farm located in the heart of Tokyo's busy Ōtemachi district. The initiative aims to raise interest in agriculture and dairy farming among city residents by bringing them in close contact with farm animals. The ranch houses eight animal species, including cattle, goats and an alpaca, which are cared for by specialized staff. Visitors and employees of the building can attend seminars on dietary education and dairy farming. Previously, the Pasona Group gained worldwide acknowledgment for <a href="https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/pasona-02" target="_blank">Pasona O2</a> — an underground office farm built by <a href="http://konodesigns.com/pasona-o2/" target="_blank">Kono Designs</a> in 2010 growing 100 regional crops in downtown Tokyo.</p>
14. RotterZwam, Rotterdam (The Netherlands)<p>RotterZwam, an urban mushroom farm, raises awareness on the potential of the circular economy for addressing environmental issues. The farm's closed-loop system works with used coffee grounds — collected from local businesses — to turn residual flows into food. The <a href="https://en.rotterdampartners.nl/two-years-after-the-fire-rotterzwam-opens-a-new-mushroom-farm/" target="_blank">mushroom nursery</a>, built out of old containers, uses solar paneling to power the farm's operations and the e-vehicles used for product delivery. The farm's team offers tours to educate citizens on circular systems and trains entrepreneurs wishing to start a mushroom farm. RotterZwam's second location in the Schiehaven area opened in mid-2019 thanks to a crowdfunding campaign to bring back the farm after a devastating fire in 2017.</p>
15. Sustenir Agriculture (Singapore)<p>Sustenir Agriculture is a vertical farm working to promote high quality, locally grown, and safe food with the lowest possible footprint. The farm — located in the heart of Singapore — uses the latest technology in hydroponics and smart indoor farming to produce leafy greens, tomatoes, strawberries and fresh herbs. Starting as a basement project in 2012, Sustenir now produces 1 ton of kale and 3.2 tons of lettuce per month in an area of 54 square meters.</p>
16. Urban Bees, London (United Kingdom)<p>Urban Bees is a social enterprise working with communities and businesses in London to help bees thrive in the city. Through education and training, the initiative raises awareness on how to create bee-friendly communities and on how to become responsible beekeepers. The first training apiary was established together with the Co-op Plan Bee in Battersea, South London. The enterprise also advises urban gardening initiatives, including <a href="https://vimeo.com/lushtvonline/review/335849893/d0f2a00af1?fbclid=IwAR1v3vWdUgaY_rEj4oyOuKWFa_xyfZMkyLrZja-1-Z1FbVsr35N4W2jSbtI" target="_blank">Lush's rooftop garden</a>, to ensure that green areas install the right forage and create healthy bee habitats. Co-founder Alison Benjamin <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-38227113" target="_blank">said</a> that city residents often suffer from nature-deficit disorder and urban beekeeping is one path to reconnect with nature in the city.</p><a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=From+high-tech+vertical+farms+in+Singapore+to+mobile+apps+connecting+urban+growers+and+eaters+in+India%2C+these+16+initiatives+are+changing+how+cities+source+and+eat+their+food+%23UrbanAgriculture+%23AgTech&url=https%3A%2F%2Ffoodtank.com%2Fnews%2F2019%2F12%2F16-initiatives-changing-urban-agriculture-through-tech-and-innovation%2F&via=foodtank"><span></span></a>
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