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Monday, August 12, 2019

The Sargassum Opportunity

The tons of sargassum drifting ashore in the Caribbean in recent years have created big headaches for the tourism and fishing industries, but some entrepreneurs in the region see opportunity. That was the case with Johanan Dujon, who first noticed—and smelled—the piles of seaweed as he was driving along Saint Lucia’s east coast five years ago, when he was 21. “Why isn’t anybody doing anything?” he kept asking himself. The question eventually drove him to start a business.
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Monday, August 12, 2019

The Sargassum Scourge

Say you’re settling in for a day at the beach: Sunblock? Check. Towels? Check. A good book? Check. Maybe some cold drinks, your favorite tunes, a lounge chair and umbrella? Perfect. Giant mounds of stinking seaweed? Not so much. But that’s the nasty surprise many beachgoers have encountered in recent years, as massive clusters of a brown macroalgae called sargassum have washed up on shore. Scientists point to a range of environmental factors as the possible culprit, and some think the seaweed invasion could mark a “new normal.”
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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Going Green at the OAS

Buildings are energy hogs. And when they date back more than a century, they have an especially voracious appetite for electricity, water, air conditioning, and heat. Mindful of the need both to be green and to save greenbacks, the Organization of American States (OAS) is working to cut energy use at its headquarters in Washington, D.C.—including in its famed House of the Americas.
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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Solar Power at the OAS Guyana Country Office

At the OAS country office in Georgetown, Guyana, air conditioning is a year-round necessity that accounts for a large part of an electric bill of close to $300 per month.
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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Bright Ideas for More Efficient Lighting

Street lighting can increase the safety and enhance the appeal of a neighborhood or city center—but it can also drive up energy use and carbon emissions. Governments around the world are adopting strict lighting standards to promote maximum efficiency and incorporate the latest technologies. The eight countries in the Central American Integration System (SICA) are now in the process of developing such standards, with support from the Organization of American States (OAS). (Photo: Puerto Morelos)
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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Powering Critical Infrastructure through Microgrids

Massive hurricanes in 2017 turned out the lights in Puerto Rico and several other Caribbean islands—in some cases, for months—and sparked a conversation about energy security and resilience that continues today, in the hurricane belt and beyond. Increasingly, decision-makers are looking at developing microgrids to power the most critical infrastructure and services in the event the electrical grid goes down. But what makes something critical? Most people would probably put a hospital first in line for backup electricity, but what about after that? (Photo: Tesla)
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Friday, May 3, 2019

New Mexico Goes All In on Clean Energy

With a new law mandating a full transition to a zero-carbon power grid by 2045, New Mexico has become one of a handful of U.S. states driving the national conversation on clean energy. Ending coal-fired power generation in New Mexico will bring clear benefits—cutting carbon emissions, improving air quality, lowering electricity rates—but it will also come with some economic pain. The Energy Transition Act aims to ease the effects of the shift from coal, both for electric utilities and for workers, while positioning the state to develop good jobs in the renewable energy sector.
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Friday, May 3, 2019

Rethinking Urban Transportation

With ever-larger numbers of people concentrated in dense urban areas, many citizens and policy makers in the Americas and beyond are realizing that traditional transportation models based on the internal combustion engine are “totally unsustainable ,” as one expert put it.
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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Bringing Feminine Energy to the Energy Sector

There’s no getting around it: energy is a male-dominated industry. And that gender gap comes at the cost of innovation, according to Kelly Tomblin, CEO of an energy infrastructure company called INTREN and a former President and CEO of Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd. In an interview with the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA), Tomblin argued that the energy sector needs more women—and more diversity in general—to bring a more balanced perspective to today’s challenges.
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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Costa Rica: Doing Renewable Energy for 70 Years

Throughout its seven decades of existence, Costa Rica’s state-owned electric utility—the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE)—has had a mandate to use renewable energy. That gives the country a deep well of experience from which to draw as it tries to reduce its carbon footprint even further. In an interview with the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA), the public utility’s top executive talked about the role the company will play in the country’s ambitious Decarbonization Plan. Hint: It’s not just about going green, but about going digital too.
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