Beyond the Meter addresses timely topics of interest to executives responsible for renewable energy procurement and distributed energy resources at Fortune 1000 companies, higher education and cities. Each episode delivers insights and information that listeners can use to make smarter energy decisions beyond the meter.
ESG Investing & Innovative Financing Models Including Green Bonds
ESG's are increasing in importance and many companies are looking to ESGs to guide sustainability decisions and to prove their sustainability commitment to customers and stakeholders. Join us for this episode as Cari Boyce, Katherine Neebe, and Doug Esamann join host John Failla to discuss the steps Duke Energy has taken and continues to take in the adoption and implementation of ESGs in moving toward its sustainability goals.
Electrification of Transportation with Catherine Kummer and Michael Luhrs
Fleet and public transportation conversion will be a key component in moving the energy transition forward. Today we are joined by Catherine Kummer, Climate Advisor for the American Cities Climate Challenge to the City of Charlotte, NC, and Michael Luhrs, Vice President of Market Strategy and Solutions for Duke Energy. We discuss the issues driving the move toward fleet and public transportation electrification, how it’s being accomplished on the ground and how the issue impacts corporations.
Evolving Energy Strategies In Higher Ed - What's Next?
Today, three guests from the realm of higher education join John for a frank conversation about the overall challenges faced by institutions of higher learning when it comes to renewable energy. Join John and his guests, Bill Guerrero of Ithaca College, Dennis Elliot of Cal Poly, and Wayne Johnson of Duke Energy for this enlightening conversation.
Teaming on Sustainability-Manufacturing & Retail with Lisa Zwack and Denis George
Zero Hunger, Zero Waste is what Kroger named their social impact plan to end hunger in their communities and to eliminate waste in their company by 2025. They are always looking to the future and have recently announced their new, and very ambitious, 2030 ESG Goals. Joining Smart Decisions Founder John Failla for this closer look are Kroger’s Lisa Zwack, Head of Sustainability, and Denis George, Category Manager – Energy.
Resiliency and Technology in Cities
Most of us live day to day in our city of choice without giving much thought to the infrastructure and services that living in the city provides. But when a natural disaster or outage happens, we immediately recognize that vitally important things were going on behind the scenes that we benefit from directly.
This episode highlights the steps the city of Greensboro, NC has taken to begin its “Smart City” initiative, which includes a number of renewable energy approaches. You’ll enjoy hearing from three officials from the city of Greensboro and how their varied roles provide unique looks at the challenges of becoming a Smart City.
You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in... The guests on this episode and their role in energy & renewables [0:58] How Greensboro started its “Smart City” journey [4:48] The overview of Greensboro’s energy management evolution [9:01] Greensboro’s actions compared to other municipalities [12:59] The consequences associated with power outages for cities [18:08] How does resiliency intersect with renewable energy sources? [26:25] Greensboro’s kiosk program: why it was created and what it’s accomplished [28:43] How Duke and other energy suppliers can partner toward renewables [33:46] Prioritizing investments in smart city and renewable energy projects [35:41] Are energy-as-a-service programs helpful for municipalities? [40:10] Emerging priorities for cities and the communities they serve [47:17] The Smart City journey the City of Greensboro is on The city of Greensboro, North Carolina started its journey to becoming a Smart City when neighboring cities began working on fiber installations. Greensboro’s leadership began investigating its own options for fiber installations since high-speed data connections are foundational to the technology needed to implement Smart City approaches. From there, many additional developments have come about.
In their current approach, the city’s leaders are continuing to ask, “How can we leverage the Smart Cities approach for growth and economic development?” Some of the initiatives they’ve implemented so far are the city’s smart connected corridor, which includes informational kiosks visitors can use to find out about the city, locate destinations, and connect with public transportation. Find out more by listening to this conversation!
Why resiliency is vital for municipalities like Greensboro The situation in Greensboro mirrors the reality of many municipalities around the nation. For Greensboro, 30 out of 80 facilities are emergency-related, so when the power for the city experiences a disruption, there’s not only a dollar impact, it can also create a logistics nightmare. A tornado a few years ago made it abundantly clear that resiliency for the city’s power grid was of the utmost importance.
Greensboro’s CIO, Jane Nickels says that if the data center goes down, everything in the city shuts down, and it would take days to get the data center back up. For that reason one of the resiliency measures they are adopting is a migration of everything possible to the cloud. As well, all projects — Smart City related or not — have resiliency in mind. From the creation of “battery buses” to the use of solar power to charge them, the city is well on the way to making its power needs resilient.
How Greensboro pursues financing through partnerships City budgets are not known for being lavish and the budget in Greensboro is no exception. The city had no budget at all set aside for Smart City initiatives when the idea came to the forefront, so those leading the charge had to look for partners. When they keep their ears open to what’s going on in the city and do the legwork of discovering what projects are slated by other companies, they can often find ways to attach a Smart City initiative to that project. The
Resiliency In Healthcare
Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy were each crisis situations in their own right and one of the sectors impacted that brought the issue of power resilience to the forefront was healthcare. It’s easy to see how life and death are on the line when power outages or disruptions impact a care facility. Join host, John Failla as he speaks with Eric Bennett of Duke Energy and Matt Stiene of Novant Healthcare as they discuss the current state of resiliency in healthcare systems, the challenges faced in becoming more resilient, and what the future may hold.
You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in... The role and responsibilities of today’s guests [1:12] Resiliency is an important consideration for the healthcare sector [3:05] How does compliance impact the application of resilient measures? [7:27] The unique challenges to adopting new technologies in light of regulations [10:16] Utilizing partnerships to move redundant systems and projects forward [19:11] Energy management budgets and the challenges organizations face [21:47] Guidelines Novant uses to consider financing renewable energy structures [28:35] The greatest challenges in resiliency management going forward [31:33] What’s next for Novant and the healthcare industry in terms of energy? [36:45] Healthcare resilience can easily be an issue of life and death Life support and medical systems of all kinds that are typical to health systems require power to operate. Those in charge of running healthcare facilities and those responsible for their construction have to think through how to provide that power in an uninterrupted fashion so that patient care is not compromised.
Matt Stiene shares how Novant Healthcare is committed to multiple sources of power for its facilities, with secondary systems many times taking the form of backup generators that can power entire facilities for long periods if needed. But even so, the desire to move toward sustainable sources of energy is becoming a greater consideration. Listen to hear how Novant is addressing these challenges and how the healthcare sector is doing at addressing the energy challenges it faces.
The application of microgrids promises great potential for healthcare The latest statistics reveal that the healthcare industry is the 5th largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world. With the amount of power required for the average healthcare facility, that shouldn’t be a surprising figure. But given that healthcare should be focused on overall health, including how health is impacted by the environment, those figures are dominant on the radar of many senior leaders in the healthcare sector.
Microgrid solutions, built on-sight as power backups are one option being pursued. Two of Novant’s facilities only have one primary service available either in terms of the source the power comes from or in the means of delivery the provider employs. An on-sight battery storage facility is one microgrid option the organization is pursuing in those situations. Matt admits that due to the limitations of how battery systems work, it’s not a long-term fix but could allow for uninterrupted operations for a significant time while getting the facility’s primary power systems back online.
How do renewables fit into the resiliency picture? Healthcare organizations are taking a closer look at renewable energy these days. That’s because leaders in the industry see it as their responsibility to contribute to the overall health of those in their communities, not just to the acute or responsive care that’s typically provided in a healthcare facility. For Novant, the mission of “Improving the health of our communities one person at a time” is taken very seriously and sustainability figures into that. He says that the internal pressure to move toward sustainable sources of energy is growing and also says that
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