DiscoverThe Latitude
The Latitude

The Latitude

Author: Latitude Media

Subscribed: 14,276Played: 63,600
Share

Description

Dispatches from the new frontiers of climate technology. The Latitude features coverage of the business and tech trends that are reshaping energy and decarbonization, straight from the Latitude Media newsroom.

49 Episodes
Reverse
In Australia, one in three homes hosts a rooftop solar system. And 20% of those systems are attached to batteries. In February, a major grid outage put those systems to the test.  Extreme weather caused a series of grid failures in the state of Victoria. And with coal plants tripping offline, solar capacity helped keep the blackouts from cascading further. So what does the incident tell us about how solar PV can help grid operators during times of stress? And will policies finally catch up to reality that distributed resources are critical for grids facing more extreme events? In this installment, Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins presents a feature from the pages of Latitude Media on learnings from a massive blackout in Australia. Like what you hear? For more of Latitude Media’s coverage of the frontiers of clean energy, sign up for our newsletter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
There are two critical ingredients fueling the AI boom: energy and chips.  And NVIDIA, one of the most important companies in AI, is looking to be a power player in both. NVIDIA was founded in the early 1990s as a chip maker for gaming. It has since evolved into a $2 trillion behemoth building the most sought-after graphics processing units for training AI. Now, the company is making moves to deploy its technology in equipment at the edge of the grid – and looking to build a framework for deploying AI inside utility operations. Could the power sector get an upgrade from a critical AI power broker? In this edition: Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins presents her own story from the pages of Latitude Media on how NVIDIA is looking to spread AI across the grid. Like what you hear? For more of Latitude Media’s coverage of the frontiers of clean energy, sign up for our newsletter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The US green hydrogen industry is at a critical juncture.  After months of input and debate, the government put out draft rules for tax credits at the end of last year – setting firm requirements for matching new, local renewables to hydrogen production. It was seen by many as a big step for ensuring that green hydrogen is actually green. But across the industry, the reaction was more mixed – even among those who want to make the industry as clean as possible. Many projects have already been canceled. The tax credit guidelines will be finalized this summer. And in the meantime, there’s a looming question: will strict rules derail the market before it gets started, or will they make it better long-term? Or both? In this installment, we have a double-header: Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins presents two features from the pages of Latitude Media on how the US green hydrogen industry is responding to new rules and canceling some projects.  Like what you hear? For more of Latitude Media’s coverage of the frontiers of clean energy, sign up for our newsletter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Data center energy use is spiking around the world. The International Energy Agency says that demand could double in the next two years, as artificial intelligence workloads soar. This increase in demand is alarming environmentalists and clean power advocates, who say AI is making decarbonization harder.  But many experts in the data center industry see it differently. They say data centers are actually an energy efficiency success story – and that the benefits of AI in the power sector will far outweigh the increase in data center demand. In this edition: Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins presents a story from the pages of Latitude Media on the reactions from data center experts about the surge of energy demand from AI.  For more of Latitude Media’s coverage of the frontiers of clean energy, sign up for our newsletter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
As cities around the U.S. ramp up their renewable energy goals, they’re sometimes at odds with the utilities that serve them. Some have tried to break away and form their own utilities. Others are creating community choice aggregators to negotiate clean power supply for residents. The city of Ann Arbor is trying something different – building microgrid projects to serve local load without the help of the utility.  The effort could be costly, contentious, and complicated. But if it works, it could create a whole new model for local clean energy supply. In this edition: Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins presents a story from the pages of Latitude Media on a microgrid project in Michigan that aims to bypass the local utility. For more of Latitude Media’s coverage of the frontiers of clean energy, sign up for our newsletter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
We have 60 gigawatts of virtual power plant capacity in the US. But that needs to triple in the next decade to support a zero-carbon grid – while also meeting a surge in peak demand. There are lots of different models for building VPPs that link together solar, batteries, EV chargers, and smart thermostats. Sunrun and PG&E tested a model this summer that uses solar and batteries to create a “permanent load shift” to offset the evening peak in California. It provided tens of megawatts of capacity to the utility. But there were also some issues with batteries not delivering the expected output. What do the results tell us what it will take to make VPPs a core piece of utility operations? In this edition: Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins presents a story from the pages of Latitude Media on some surprising results from PG&E and Sunrun’s virtual power plant pilot.  For more of Latitude Media’s coverage of the frontiers of clean energy, sign up for our newsletter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Wind and solar projects are relatively simple to build compared with thermal power plants. But there’s a lot of technological innovation going into how those renewable plants are designed, constructed and optimized – driven by robots, artificial intelligence, and data science. Can these technologies help offset higher labor costs, rising financing costs, and supply chain constraints? In this edition: Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins presents a story from the pages of Latitude Media called on how the renewables industry is harnessing new technologies to drive efficiency and cost declines. For more of Latitude Media’s coverage of the frontiers of clean energy, sign up for our newsletter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The world needs a lot of critical minerals. By the middle of the century, we could be looking at a six-fold increase in demand for lithium, copper, cobalt, nickel, and magnesium to make enough batteries and renewables to decarbonize the global economy. That means a lot of mining. And it also means we need a lot of geologists to help find new resources. But will a looming shortage of geologists in the US put supply security at risk? In this edition: Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins presents a story from the pages of Latitude Media on the looming geologist shortage. For more of Latitude Media’s coverage of the frontiers of clean energy, sign up for our newsletter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Elon Musk has called lithium “the new oil.” Demand for critical minerals is booming alongside the surge in global battery production. And countries are racing to control as much mining and processing of lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, and graphite quickly as possible. There’s also a race among companies that are exploring artificial intelligence to discover new deposits of critical minerals. It’s yet another area where AI could speed up the energy transition. Can it help meet tight deadlines for scaling up needed production? Today: Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins presents a story from the pages of Latitude Media on how AI could alleviate the critical minerals supply crunch. For more of Latitude Media’s coverage of the frontiers of clean energy, sign up for our newsletter. Thanks to our partner, Intersolar North America and Energy Storage North America. Latitude listeners are invited to attend the event for free on January 17-19 at the San Diego Convention Center. Visit Intersolar.us and use code LAT to get free expo access and save 20% on a conference pass. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
It’s been another tumultuous year for the clean energy sector in the stock market.  Even with strong tailwinds from the Inflation Reduction Act, many public companies took a hit this year – thanks to investor concerns over high interest rates, supply chain constraints, uncertainty over policy implementation, and a rush back into oil & gas stocks. So what does it mean for cleantech investors in 2024? Today: Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins presents a story from the pages of Latitude Media called “Cleantech’s very weird year.” For more of Latitude Media’s coverage of the frontiers of clean energy, sign up for our newsletter. Thanks to our partner, Intersolar North America and Energy Storage North America. Latitude listeners are invited to attend the event for free on January 17-19 at the San Diego Convention Center. Visit Intersolar.us and use code LAT to get free expo access and save 20% on a conference pass. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
America’s first commercial plant for capturing CO2 directly from the air is online.  It marks the start of an industrial race in direct-air capture – or DAC – an industry that needs to succeed in tandem with a tripling of clean generation to slash global emissions. The US has emerged as a leader in the promotion of DAC in the hopes of radically dropping costs. And the success of this new plant will be an important indicator of the economic and technical path ahead. So, how will it work? Today: Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins presents a story from staff writer Maeve Allsup, who went to Tracy, California to witness the opening of Heirloom’s carbon removal plant. For more of Latitude Media’s coverage of the frontiers of clean energy, sign up for our newsletter. Thanks to our partner, Intersolar North America and Energy Storage North America. Latitude listeners are invited to attend the event for free on January 17-19 at the San Diego Convention Center. Visit Intersolar.us and use code LAT to get free expo access and save 20% on a conference pass. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The concentrating solar power industry – also known as solar thermal – has been defined by bankruptcies, failed projects, and high costs. But is it finding new life? Crystalline silicon photovoltaics won the race for solar power generation long ago. But there’s a vital market it can’t serve cheaply: industrial steam. And now out of bankruptcy, GlassPoint is hoping that solar thermal can find a competitive edge in the massive market for heat. Today: Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins presents a story from staff writer Maeve Allsup on the industrial niche that may pull concentrated solar out of obscurity. For more of Latitude Media’s coverage of the frontiers of clean energy, sign up for our newsletter. Thanks to our partner, Intersolar North America and Energy Storage North America. Latitude listeners are invited to attend the event for free on January 17-19 at the San Diego Convention Center. Visit Intersolar.us and use code LAT to get free expo access and save 20% on a conference pass. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Transmission backlogs. Land constraints. Local pushback. They’re all causing headaches for developers of wind, solar, and battery projects. And that’s making brownfields more attractive for renewables – and a range of novel, industrial-scale storage and carbon-removal projects. An Italian company is planning a compressed carbon dioxide storage project on the site of an old coal plant in the Midwest. It’s a first-of-a-kind. And it may offer a pathway for the hundreds of gigawatts of long-duration storage that are needed to hit net-zero emissions. Today: Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins presents a story from contributor Emma Foehringer Merchant on the surge of interest in old industrial sites to host frontier climatetech projects like long-duration storage. For more of Latitude Media’s coverage of the frontiers of clean energy, sign up for our newsletter. A big thanks to our launch sponsor, Scale Microgrids. Scale Microgrids is the distributed energy company dedicated to transforming the way modern energy infrastructure is designed, constructed, and financed. Check out scalemicrogrids.com/careers to learn more about the open roles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The market for engineered carbon removal is starting to resemble, well, a real market.  Tax credits. Billions in government support. Corporate buyers. A wide range of startups that are picking up investment and working toward commercial deployment. They’re all helping push forward the use of machines to remove carbon from the atmosphere. But the path to gigaton scale is not yet clear. And there’s a big gap between promises and reality. Today: Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins presents a story from staff writer Maeve Allsup about how the carbon removal industry is in its “figuring it out” phase. For more of Latitude Media’s coverage of the frontiers of clean energy, sign up for our newsletter. A big thanks to our launch sponsor, Scale Microgrids. Scale Microgrids is the distributed energy company dedicated to transforming the way modern energy infrastructure is designed, constructed, and financed. Check out scalemicrogrids.com/careers to learn more about the open roles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Green hydrogen is a critical resource for cleaning up industry and heavy trucking.  With tens of billions of government and corporate dollars plowing into the space – electrolyzer companies are preparing for a ramp up in sales and project developments to help turn renewable electrons into hydrogen molecules. But they’re also hitting a snag: without much demand for more expensive green hydrogen, electrolyzer makers are caught in a holding pattern. So when will the market break open? Today: Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins presents a story from writer Tammy Xu called, “The electrolyzer market is caught in limbo.” For more of Latitude Media’s coverage of the frontiers of clean energy, sign up for our newsletter. A big thanks to our launch sponsor, Scale Microgrids. Scale Microgrids is the distributed energy company dedicated to transforming the way modern energy infrastructure is designed, constructed, and financed. Check out scalemicrogrids.com/careers to learn more about the open roles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Top tech companies are on a quest to run their massive data centers around the clock with clean power. It’s not an easy task, but they’ve been making progress. The energy efficiency of large data centers has radically improved over the last two decades. And tech players have been buying renewables at breakneck speed. But a new source of computational demand is complicating those efforts: artificial intelligence. Today: Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins presents a story from writer Erin Wong called, “The AI ‘wild card’ promises to complicate clean clouds.” For more of Latitude Media’s coverage of the frontiers of clean energy, sign up for our newsletter. A big thanks to our launch sponsor, Scale Microgrids. Scale Microgrids is the distributed energy company dedicated to transforming the way modern energy infrastructure is designed, constructed, and financed. Check out scalemicrogrids.com/careers to learn more about the open roles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Electric grids are increasingly being saturated with weather-dependent renewables. At the same time, power systems are also getting challenged by intensifying and unpredictable extreme weather. So can weather prediction models rise to the challenge? The answer may be in machine learning. Today: how artificial intelligence could make weather modeling much more powerful – and limit the use of fossil fuels as a backup to renewables. Latitude Media Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins brings us a story titled, “Could AI-fueled weather forecasts boost renewable energy production?” from contributor Emma Woollacott. Read all of Latitude Media's news here. A big thanks to our launch sponsor, Scale Microgrids. Scale Microgrids is the distributed energy company dedicated to transforming the way modern energy infrastructure is designed, constructed, and financed. Check out scalemicrogrids.com/careers to learn more about the open roles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Renewables are now super cheap and abundant. We could install nearly a half terawatt of new wind and solar capacity this year – more than the entire capacity of China. But with that surge comes a set of very pointed questions: what do we do with all those clean electrons on grids that don’t always value them – and can’t always handle them? Today: how to make good use of all the new renewable electrons hitting the grid.  Latitude Media Editor Lisa Martine Jenkins brings us a story titled, “The excess renewables opportunity,” by contributor Emma Foehringer Merchant. Read all Latitude Media’s stories here. A big thanks to our launch sponsor, Scale Microgrids. Scale Microgrids is the distributed energy company dedicated to transforming the way modern energy infrastructure is designed, constructed, and financed. Check out scalemicrogrids.com/careers to learn more about the open roles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Hi Climavores listeners: we're announcing a change to this feed. Going forward, this show will be called The Latitude. Solar, wind, and batteries have all surged around the world. We’re set to install 400 gigawatts of renewables in the next five years — equivalent to the capacity of China. But emissions still have not peaked globally. This leaves us with an obvious question: what are the new frontiers of technology that will reverse this trend at the speed needed? Covering this frontier of climate tech will form the basis of The Latitude’s coverage. We aim to offer a clear picture of where these sectors stand today, and help you figure out where they’re headed. You'll hear stories from our journalists, analysts, and a range of experts on a wide range of trends: artificial intelligence, storage, carbon removal, virtual power plants, hydrogen, and more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In this last episode of the season, Tamar and Mike discuss what they’ve learned over the past six months and debate whether there’s hope for solving the food and climate problem (spoiler alert: they both say, “Yes, if….).  They discuss techno optimists who see the rise in food and ag tech innovations as an overall win for the climate, but admit that technology can only slow climate change if people embrace it. In this episode, Mike and Tamar weigh in on a recent Bloomberg article titled “Fake Meat Was Supposed to Save the World. It Became Just Another Fad.” They point out that naysayers also doubted the solar industry in the ‘60s and plant-based milks in the ‘90s. And look where they are now!  They also dig into the belief that the way we grow food and the food we eat should be rooted in a natural system. Tamar admits that until people can disassociate naturalness from their view of the food system, we're not going to make the progress needed to save the planet.  Have a question about food and climate change for Mike and Tamar? Leave a message on the Climavores hotline at (508) 377-3449. Or email us at climavores@postscriptaudio.com. We might feature your question on a future episode.  Climavores is a production of Post Script Media. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
loading
Comments