Friday, July 24, 2015

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

For those of you who know who Joseph Oldham is you likely are on his email distribution list and receive this update each week.  We are grateful that Joseph has agreed to allow our little blog to re-post his weekly update.  If you have an interest in the happenings of energy efficiency and local government throughout California this is the update for you! 

1.   Revised Notice for the July 27, 2015, Staff Workshop on Existing Building EE Standards, WebEx number changed

Revised Notice for the July 27, 2015, Staff Workshop on Existing Building EE Standards. The WebEx number has changed.

For more information: https://efiling.energy.ca.gov/Lists/DocketLog.aspx?docketnumber=15-IEPR-05
(If link above doesn't work, please copy entire link into your web browser's URL)

2.  To-Code Pilot Public Webinar

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E), and Southern California Edison Company (SCE) (IOUs), in coordination with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), will host a webinar on Monday, August 3, 2015 from 2 to 3:30 PM to discuss the IOUs’ proposed To-Code Pilot.
Purpose: The webinar will be held to receive feedback from stakeholders on the initial design of the 2015 To-Code Pilot in advance of the IOUs’ advice letter filing with the CPUC. The IOUs welcome informal feedback either during the webinar or in writing to TOCODE@pge.com by COB Tuesday, August 4, 2015.
Background: CPUC Decision (D.) 14-10-046 directed the IOUs to conduct “To-Code Pilots” to:
• “Understand the extent to which there is below-code equipment that is not getting replaced quick enough through natural turnover of existing programs”; and
• “Assess whether cost-effective ratepayer-funded programs can be developed to target this equipment when Program Administrators receive savings credit and customer incentives are made available based on to-code,  in addition to through-code, savings”. (p. 74-75). In addition, the CPUC has contracted with researchers from the E2e Project at the Energy Institute at Haas, University of California Berkeley, who are working in close coordination with the IOUs to establish an Evaluation, Measurement, and Verification (EM&V) plan to assess the impact on both program uptake, energy savings, and cost-effectiveness.

Meeting Date/Time: Monday, August 3, 2015 from 2 to 3:30 PM 
RSVP Please register for the webinar by Wednesday, July 29, 2015 by visiting the following link and clicking “Register”. Meeting details will be automatically sent to you via email within 48 hours. https://pge.webex.com/pge/j.php?RGID=r25529a18d7aaf67439fa464c83cd9c5f
Should you have further questions regarding this webinar, please send an email to TOCODE@pge.com or call 415-973-8010.

3.   Free In-person ENERGY STAR Benchmarking Training Courses Sponsored by PG&E

Benchmarking Your Commercial Building 
Instructor: Mark Jewell
DATE: Monday August 3rd, 2015
TIME: 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM 
Venue: The Pacific Energy Center; 851 Howard Street; San Francisco, CA 94103 
Register here: http://pgebenchmarkinghelp.com/collections/in-person-training/products/bm Learn how to benchmark your building’s energy performance with the help of EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager® online tool. California law (AB 1103) requires the disclosure of an energy performance benchmarking score prior to selling or leasing certain whole buildings. Learn how to benchmark your building's energy performance with the help of PG&E's Web Services—a free, easy-to-use service that automatically sends your commercial building's energy use information to the EPA's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager every month. This class will include a hands-on benchmarking exercise using portable Wi-Fi hotspots so that attendees can evaluate an actual building from start to finish and see the ENERGY STAR score. Please bring a laptop computer if convenient. There will be a limited number of laptops available for attendees to borrow as needed.   
CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS: 
CEUs available: AIA 4 LUs and 4 HSW LUs
               
You’ve Benchmarked Your Building: What's Next?
Instructor: Mark Jewell
DATE: Monday August 3rd, 2015
TIME: 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM 
Venue: The Pacific Energy Center; 851 Howard
Street; San Francisco, CA 94103 
Register Here: http://pgebenchmarkinghelp.com/collections/in-person-training/products/wn Getting your building's benchmarking score is just the beginning. This course explores how to set targets for improvement: estimating the actual amount of energy savings needed to reach a higher score, which low-/no-cost or capital upgrades might produce various magnitudes of savings, which utility incentive programs could help identify or finance those improvements, etc. It's not about what your building's score is today—it's about what you want that score to be and how to get it there!
CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS: 
CEUs available: AIA 3.5 LUs and 3.5 HSW LUs

4.   EV Charging Stations with Energy Storage Save City $7,000 per Year in Demand Charges

Good article showcasing how EV charging with energy storage can work to reduce demand charges.  To read the full story, go here:  http://www.energymanagertoday.com/ev-charging-stations-energy-storage-save-city-7000-per-year-demand-charges-0114006/



And that is all for this week!  


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Guest Blog Post: Sustainability vs. Sustainability

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

While Dickens published those words more than 150 years ago, they seem eerily descriptive of today’s world. The words popped into my head as I contemplated the many facets of the popularity of the sustainability movement. Sustainability is the “spring of hope,” but the question of how to pay for it is the “winter of despair.” This short column will explore that dilemma with the motive of getting us thinking rather than trying to resolve the issue.

Webster’s defines sustainable as: “Capable of being sustained; of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged; of correlating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods.”

Wikipedia, drawing on many academic papers, offers a more complex, but comprehensive definition: “Sustainability has been used more in the sense of human sustainability on planet Earth and this has resulted in the most widely quoted definition of sustainability as a part of the concept sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

The wonderful simplicity of sustainability gives birth to many supporting themes such as sustainable agriculture, sustainable transportation, sustainable families and renewable (sustainable) energy.

Sustainable energy is closest to my heart as it promises sources of energy that will minimize resource use and environmental impact, but will still provide the watts to power our modern economy. Governments across the globe also support sustainable energy, offering generous incentives and subsidies to spur sustainable energy development. The
Result has been rapid growth in solar and wind resources with eager proponents congratulating each other. Unfortunately, there is one troubling “gotcha:” how to pay for these sustainable projects and how to make them financially sustainable (see winter of despair)?

The money to provide the incentives for sustainable energy projects comes from either taxes collected by governments or from surcharges levied on utility customers. When times were booming, this money was a minor cost, but as growth slowed, it became more significant and resulted in a reduction of incentives for sustainable energy development, most notably in Spain. And, as history has shown us, any project dependent on tax subsidies or utility surcharges is not sustainable (e.g. Synthetic Fuels Corporation circa 70-80s)

A contrasting positive is that, over the longer term, any short term financial “losses” in sustainable energy development are more than offset by the value of “externalities” that are not included in standard financial calculations. These externalities include estimated values of improvement in air quality and related health benefits, reduction of carbon based energy sources, and climate change impacts, among many others.

The only problem with this concept is that externalities do not generate cash. And, if sustainable projects do not generate positive cash returns, they are not sustainable, regardless of the value of externalities. It takes cash to make payrolls, buy supplies, make capital investments and pay lobbyists to ensure continued political support.

Politicians and policy makers address this concern by allocating limited tax and subsidy dollars to favored technologies or promoters. This is a messy process and generates a few winners and a lot of losers, as would be expected. More importantly, can the process be improved, and limited funds invested better, or are we doomed to business as usual?

President Obama may provide part of the answer by his stated “all of the above” energy policy. I assume he means oil, gas, nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal and host of emerging technologies. Perhaps it would be possible to rank all of the above, including sustainable and fossil energy sources, and develop a better policy framework.  Suggested criteria for ranking might include:

1) Profit and loss both basis current and projected with a focus on cash; simply put, is the technology a money maker now and, if not, when?
2) What is the energy produced per unit of incentive/subsidy; this is another way of estimating the value of the tax/ subsidy investment.
3) Is there a distinct probability of technological success?  How is it measured?
4) Obviously, each of these criteria deserves more explanation and the weighting of each in any ranking will pre-determine any outcome. However, the objective of this column is to stimulate your thinking on the question of what is sustainable versus what is really sustainable. I hope I succeeded.

Written by Rick Phelps, Executive Director of the High Sierra Energy Foundation. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of his employer or of SJVCEO.


*If you may have any questions or comments regarding this piece please contact Rick Phelps at (760) 934-4650 or phelps@highsierraenergy.org.




Tuesday, July 21, 2015

San Joaquin Valley Renewables Summit

Renewables will be the focus of this year's Valley Summit. Check out some of the topics that will be covered. 

Panel Topics
Clean energy potential in the San Joaquin Valley
Bioenergy
Transmission

Workshops
Workforce development and education opportunities
Clean Energy 101

CLICK HERE to Register 





Energy Audit Training Opportunity


Interested in learning more about energy auditing? Attend this course brought to you by the Silicon Valley Energy Watch.

CLICK HERE to learn more


Friday, July 17, 2015

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

For those of you who know who Joseph Oldham is you likely are on his email distribution list and receive this update each week.  We are grateful that Joseph has agreed to allow our little blog to re-post his weekly update.  If you have an interest in the happenings of energy efficiency and local government throughout California this is the update for you! 

1.  Notice of Staff Workshop on Existing Building Energy Efficiency Standards

The California Energy Commission staff will conduct a workshop to explore the ways in which the Building Energy Efficiency Standards can support California's goals and efforts for improving the efficiency of existing buildings. Commissioner Andrew McAllister is the Lead Commissioner for the 2015 Integrated Energy Policy Report (2015 IEPR). Commissioner McAllister and other Commissioners at the Energy Commission may attend and participate in the workshop. The workshop will be held:

MONDAY, JULY 27, 2015 1:00 P.M.

CALIFORNIA ENERGY COMMISSION
1516 Ninth Street
First Floor, Art Rosenfeld Hearing Room Sacramento, California
(Wheelchair Accessible)

Agenda
This workshop will consider the ways in which implementation and development of the Standards can support California's existing buildings programs, including, but not limited to:
- Standards Implementation
-- How can compliance be assessed and improved?
-- Why are compliance documents required and how can they be improved?
-- What can be done to reduce the transactional cost of compliance?
- Standards Development
-- What needs to change for the Standards to better address the existing building market and the constraints of working within an existing building?
-- Is the current cost-effectiveness model satisfactory for changes to existing buildings as well as newly constructed buildings?
-- What is the appropriate baseline for existing building upgrades?

Remote Access Available by Computer or Phone via WebEx
Presentations and audio from the meeting will be broadcast via our
WebEx web meeting service. For additional details on how to participate via WebEx, please see the notice at: https://efiling.energy.ca.gov/Lists/DocketLog.aspx?docketnumber=15-IEPR-05
Computer Log on with a Direct Phone Number:
Please go to https://energy.webex.com and enter the unique meeting number 926 951 663.
When prompted, enter your information and the following meeting password meeting@1 . (Please note that password is case sensitive.)

- Cap-and-Trade Auction Proceeds Public Workshops on Investment Plan Concepts and Draft Funding Guidelines

The State of California invites you to participate in a series of public workshops to provide input on the Draft Concept Paper for the Cap-and-Trade Auction Proceeds Second Investment Plan and Draft Funding Guidelines for Agencies Administering California Climate Investments (Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds). The series of public workshops will be held August 3-14, 2015, at seven locations across the State (shown below).  In each location, representatives from the Administration will provide an overview of our early thoughts for investment priorities and will hear public suggestions.

SACRAMENTO*
Monday, August 3, 2015 (Afternoon)
*also webcast

FRESNO
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 (Evening)

OROVILLE
Thursday, August 6, 2015 (Evening)

OAKLAND
Monday, August 10, 2015 (Evening)

FONTANA
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 (Morning)

LOS ANGELES
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 (Evening)

SAN DIEGO
Thursday, August 13, 2015 (Evening)

Specific times and locations will be posted on the Air Resources
Board’s Auction Proceeds website on July 20th at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/auctionproceeds.
The Draft Concept Paper for the Second Investment Plan will be posted at:  http://www.arb.ca.gov/investmentplan by July 24th. At the series of public workshops, Air Resources Board staff will introduce the Draft Concept Paper to aid stakeholders in developing written comments.  Written comments will be due September 1, 2015.  Public feedback received at the workshops and in writing will inform the preparation of a Draft Second Investment Plan, which will be presented at a second series of workshops and a public hearing later this year.  The Final Second Investment Plan is due from the Department of Finance to the Legislature in January 2016.

The Draft Funding Guidelines and a short supplement are available
at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/capandtrade/auctionproceeds/fundingguidelines.htm.
At the series of public workshops, Air Resources Board staff will discuss the Draft Funding Guidelines.  Public feedback received will inform the preparation of the proposed Funding Guidelines, which will be presented at an Air Resources Board public hearing on September 24-25, 2015.

3.  Portable EV Charging Technology Used by California Government

Good news for local governments interested in deploying EV charging at remote locations or places where developing permanent charging would be very time consuming.  To read the full article, go here:  http://www.energymanagertoday.com/portable-ev-charging-technology-used-california-government-0113789/



And that is all for this week! 





Monday, July 13, 2015

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

For those of you who know who Joseph Oldham is you likely are on his email distribution list and receive this update each week.  We are grateful that Joseph has agreed to allow our little blog to re-post his weekly update.  If you have an interest in the happenings of energy efficiency and local government throughout California this is the update for you! 

1.  Register Now: Webinar on the Economic Risks of Climate Change in California - Tuesday, 7/14 11am-12:30pm  at  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2491831265658306306

Join the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Change (ARCCA) and Risky Business Project for a webinar diving into Risky Business' economic risk assessment of climate change in California with the lead author of the California report, Jamesine Rogers, and Risky Business' Communications Director, Tan Copsey. Learn about the advantages of taking a risk-based approach to climate change, how to best engage the business community in pursuit of shared goals, and how ARCCA member regional collaboratives are working to advance climate resilience and adaptation.

2.  Renewables to Account for 26% of Total Microgrid Capacity by 2020, Says GTM

This is an interesting report from GTM about the contributions of various technologies that will be incorporated into micro-grids by 2020.  To read the full report, go to this link:  http://www.energymanagertoday.com/renewables-account-26-total-microgrid-capacity-2020-says-gtm-0113525/

3.  Tiny, Solar-Powered Circuit Is 80% Efficient

Normally I don’t include reports about new technology breakthroughs, but this one could have significant impacts on energy efficiency projects in the future.  Read the full article to see why.  You can find the article here:  http://www.energymanagertoday.com/tiny-solar-powered-circuit-80-efficient-0113443/

4.  Net Zero Building Tour, July 21

What does a net zero energy retrofit look like? When the team at Sharp Development is involved, repurposing an old tilt-up for a new life both pencils out and looks beautiful. If you have heard Kevin Bates from Sharp talk about their successful retrofit of 435 Indio in Sunnyvale, you'll want to get a first-hand look at their latest project, 415 Mathilda (right next door).

Join us on Tuesday July 21 at 5:30 PM to tour the facility and learn about it from Kevin, then enjoy a reception onsite.


Brought to you by the City of Sunnyvale, Joint Venture, San Mateo County Energy Watch, Silicon Valley Energy Watch, and ULI-Silicon Valley Committee.



And that is all for this week!  



Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Be a Green Shopper

I admit it. I love to shop. I shop less than a lot of people, but still more than I should, especially because I have everything that I need and more. I am pledging to not only shop less, but to shop green. If you want to make this pledge with me, read on!

How can you shop green?

First, you must ask yourself a series of questions before even considering a purchase. The EPA outlines four very important ones:
Photo Source: Above All Things...
  • Do I absolutely need it?
  • Will I use it (more than once or twice)?
  • Do I already have it or something similar?
  • Can I borrow it from a friend or family member?
Make sure you answer yes to the first two and no to the last two before buying. The entire process from manufacturing and producing foods and goods to transporting and discarding them makes up about 42% of the greenhouse gas emissions in this country. So be extra sure that item you’re buying is worth it!

Don’t invest in something you only use once or twice a year. If you live in apartments, borrow a carpet washer from a friend, or a grocery store or hardware store in your area. If you find a hole in your sweater or a button on your shirt broke, mend it yourself or, if you’re not so good with a needle and thread, have someone who is mend it for you.

Photo Source:
Energy Star
Do some research about the products you want to buy and the companies that make them. All of us can identify the Energy Star label on a refrigerator or computer, but what about all the other products that don’t have environmental labels? Check out the EPA’s Greener Products page and Green America’s Responsible Shopper page. You can search by company name, industry or product. Looking for safe cosmetics or other personal care items? The Environmental Working Group created Skin Deep, a site that identifies toxicity in personal care products and provides healthier, safer choices and manufacturers.


Once you figure out how durable, recyclable, reusable, and sustainable a product is, you can make a more informed and green decision. If you’re looking at products like lotion, bathroom cleaner, sponges, etc., find out if it’s both more cost effective and more eco-friendly to buy in bulk. If you need to buy disposable items – silverware and plates for your food truck, for example – look for compostable products.

When you can, support local businesses. Not only will this strengthen the local economy, but you'll save transportation- and packaging-related emissions and waste when you buy local. Plus, you may meet some really great people and entrepreneurs in your town!


Finally, if you’re looking to save a bunch of money and be green, head to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. There are certainly items I would avoid or cannot be found in these stores, but if you're looking for fun mismatched china, clothes or even furniture, second-hand stores are always worth a peak around.

 And, of course, don’t forget your reusable shopping bag!




Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

For those of you who know who Joseph Oldham is you likely are on his email distribution list and receive this update each week.  We are grateful that Joseph has agreed to allow our little blog to re-post his weekly update.  If you have an interest in the happenings of energy efficiency and local government throughout California this is the update for you! 

1.  Ruling Noticing Joint Agency Symposium on the Governor’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals - July 9, 2015

On July 9, 2015, from 9: 00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California Energy Commission (CEC), the California Air Resources Board (ARB), and the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) will conduct a symposium to discuss the development of strategies to achieve Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction goals. 

The Symposium will be held at Byron Sher Auditorium, Cal/EPA Headquarters, 10001 I St., Sacramento, CA 95814.  Further information on the Symposium, including the Agenda, may be found in the CPUC Daily Calendar.

The Symposium will discuss electricity sector policies to achieve greenhouse gas reductions of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Topics will include integrated long-term planning to achieve greenhouse gas reduction goals, procurement to achieve greenhouse gas reduction goals, and western regional cooperation.  It is reasonably foreseeable that this Symposium will include discussion of issues before the Commission in this proceeding.  Further, one or more Commissioners or advisors (but not a quorum of Commissioners) may attend the Symposium.

For your general information, Rule 8.1(c) states that an ex parte communication means a written or oral communication that “does not occur in a public hearing, workshop, or other public forum noticed by ruling or order in the proceeding, or in the record of the proceeding.”  The July 9 Symposium is a public forum that has been noticed by the CEC, ARB, and CAISO.  This Ruling now provides notice in this proceeding as well.  As a result of this Ruling, any discussions regarding this proceeding at the July 9, 2015 Symposium are not subject to ex parte reporting requirements. Per Decision (D.) 14-11-041, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is subject to certain special restrictions and requirements regarding ex parte communications and contacts with certain Commission staff until November 20, 2015.  By providing notice of this workshop through a Ruling in this proceeding, PG&E is not subject to the ex parte restrictions and requirements of D.14-11-041 for the Symposium with regard to issues in this proceeding.

Other related proceedings will receive this notice.

IT IS RULED that the July 9, 2015 Joint Agency Symposium on the Governor’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals is noticed in this proceeding.

Thank you.

Regina M. DeAngelis
Administrative Law Judge
California Public Utilities Commission


2.  SunShot Systems Integration team hiring now

The SunShot Initiative is hiring! Our office seeks a program manager and several technology managers in the area of systems integration of solar energy technologies into the electric power grid. SunShot’s Systems Integration team develops technologies and solutions for cost-effective, reliable, and safe integration of hundreds of gigawatts of solar energy into the U.S. electricity grid.

The program manager will serve as part of the leadership team within SunShot and provide visionary leadership of the Systems Integration program, establish strategic direction and goals, provide technical, budgetary and market stewardship, and supervise a team of technical, financial, and support professionals within the program. Apply for the program manager position.

Technology managers help guide the Systems Integration vision and provide direct input into solar energy research and development efforts. Apply for a technology manager position.

3.  HVAC1 Upstream Draft Research Plan

Commission staff is seeking comments on the plan listed  below by Wednesday, July 15 at 5pm

HVAC1 Upstream Draft Research Plan

To help inform comments Commission staff and its consultant DNV-GL will be hosting a webinar to present the draft plans and address questions on Thursday July 9th between 11:00am and 1:00pm. 

HVAC1 Upstream Draft Research Plan:  The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has engaged DNV GL under the CPUC 2013-14 HVAC Research Roadmap to evaluate California investor-owned utility (IOU) heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) program activity. As part of this work, this study will investigate the energy impact of 2013-2014 IOU Upstream HVAC programs in California. DNV GL’s research will include onsite surveys and engineering analysis of chillers and packaged HVAC/ heat pump systems. The evaluation team will also characterize the commercial use of ductless mini-split systems. In addition, the study will look at the efficacy of remotely-monitored metering equipment with an eye on increasing data collection efficiency and reducing costs for future evaluations.  DNV will also investigate market shares to compare the quantity of high efficiency units that were sold without program influence versus the quantity of those attributed to the upstream program. The primary goal of this research is to determine the best estimate of actual energy and demand savings achieved by rebated upstream HVAC measures during the 2013–14 program cycle. 

How to file comments
The draft plan can be downloaded from  http://www.energydataweb.com/cpuc/ . Select the search tab and then select Portfolio Cycle 2013-2014 and search text ‘HVAC1’ (no quotes). Click the search button and you will see the files for downloading.

Comments should be uploaded to the website by clicking “comment” on the plan by 5pm on July 15, 2015.  In order to post comments, you will need to register on the site with an ID and password.

Details of the webinar: July 9th, 11:00am -1:00pm.

You are invited to a meeting using Unified Meeting 5. This webinar will be recorded.

To join the meeting, click herehttps://my.intercall.com/6254786853

Call in on your phone: United States Toll Free: (877) 715-1531

Standard International Dial-In: (706) 679-1947

Conference Code: 6254786853#

In the event of any problems or questions, contact Lola Odunlami at lod@cpuc.ca.gov telephone (415) 703-1893 and/or Jason Meyer at jason.meyer@dnvgl.com

4.  Register Now for the 2015/2016 CoolCalifornia Challenge!

Energy Upgrade California’s CoolCalifornia Challenge is a statewide competition engaging thousands of households in cities across California to save energy, conserve water, reduce their carbon footprints, and help build more vibrant and sustainable communities.  For more information about how your city can register and participate, go here:  http://www.energyupgradeca.org/en/see-whats-new-and-fun/campaigns/coolcalifornia-challenge



And that is all for this week!  


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

EV's Racing to the Finish Line

Imagine standing next to a race track waiting for the loud roar of an engine to fly past you…but when the cars come by all you get is silence. Well that means you’re a spectator at the new Formula E racing circuit.

Formula E racing was first introduced to the world back in 2014 and it took the racing world by storm! The racing circuit consists of about 20 to 25 pro drivers racing Electric vehicles. The vehicles used in Formula E look the same as those used in Formula One, but use many different materials. The bodies of the cars are composed of carbon fiber and aluminum while under the hood the cars house large batteries. With the cars being powered by battery they are limited on speed and range, which make this sport that much more entertaining for those watching.
                                                                                                 
In Formula E racing cars weigh more than traditional ones due to the weight of the batteries. The weight difference can be up to 350 pounds. With a heavier weight cars top out at speeds of 140 miles per hour and also have to race on treaded tires instead of the traditional racing slicks. Having race cars equipped with batteries seems to add a whole new dimension to racing as well. Drivers now have to keep in mind battery limits when trying to make the next pass to take the lead from their opponent. A normal race will last around one hour, while batteries only last around 25 to 30 minutes. So the race has created a halfway point to where drivers will all switch out the old cars for new fully charged ones. Oh and another fun fact about Formula E cars is that the batteries are charged using generators that run on emission-free glycerin. 

Besides shedding light on how EV’s can be cool and exciting Formula E also brings sustainability teachings to kids within the areas they race in. The racing series puts on a Formula E school series in which 10 teams of students are provided a kit to make a mini EV. Once the cars are built the teams of students race the mini EV’s around the same track as the Formula E cars. The overall goal of the EV school is teach students about sustainable engineering as well as energy efficiency. The racing series is able to put on these types of fun EV activities in part to Greenpower a UK based charity who promotes sustainable engineering to young people.

Take a peek at the action of Formula E in the video provided. Who knows you might just be the next to get hooked.