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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Building Better Power Grids

Earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, ice storms, solar storms, brush fires, cyberattacks—these are just some of the events that can disrupt or incapacitate an electric grid. But for many countries in the region, it is the threat of hurricanes that looms the largest, especially with the start of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1 and last year’s brutal storms still fresh in people’s memories. The challenge is how to make the region’s power grids more resilient, so that they can withstand or recover from increasingly severe storms.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

For a Resilient Power Grid, Think “Micro”

In most places, on most days, the ability to turn on a light relies on a large centralized power plant, a network of high-voltage transmission lines, and a local distribution system. Most people don’t even think about the electric grid that powers their everyday lives until suddenly it’s not there. Of course, that’s what happened in Puerto Rico and several other Caribbean islands after a series of devastating hurricanes last year. The system failures are shining a light on new solutions for the energy grid. Part of the answer may lie in microgrids.
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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

An Eye on Energy Efficiency in Mexico

When Mexico first started to focus on improving energy efficiency in public buildings, the most pressing concern was not how to mitigate the effects of climate change but how to cut costs. The government needed to save money, and one way to do that was to reduce its energy use. Now, with energy efficiency at the top of the world’s climate agenda, Mexico has two decades of experience to share with other countries in the region.
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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Thinking Sustainably through Green Engineering

A new course of studies in “green engineering” offers students in the Caribbean the chance to explore how to design and use products, processes, and systems more sustainably. With support from the Organization of American States (OAS), teachers from around the region recently met in Jamaica for a three-day Green Engineering Boot Camp to look at effective ways to teach this interdisciplinary subject in the classroom and help students develop strong problem-solving skills.
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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Finding New Synergies between Water and Energy

Consider these two seemingly unrelated problems: Solar and wind energy are intermittent, and fresh water is often in short supply. An integrated system that combines existing technologies—and that runs entirely on renewable energy—could solve both those problems at the same time, an engineer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology maintains. And, he says, several sites in the Americas have the perfect topography for putting such a system to the test. The key is to have mountains next to the sea.
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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Harnessing the Trade Winds

Think of Jamaica, and it’s likely you think of sun. But the country has another source of renewable energy too, in the form of steady trade winds. Wigton Windfarm Ltd. operates the largest wind energy facility in the English-speaking Caribbean, and its training center is working to spread the news about all types of renewable energy.
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Thursday, March 29, 2018

National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE)

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is implementing a project to enhance the energy sector’s asset management capabilities for operational technology. This project will include the development of a reference design and use commercially available technologies to develop an example solution that will help energy organizations address the security challenges of operational technology asset management.
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Friday, March 9, 2018

UTech, Jamaica Hosts OAS 70th Anniversary Lecture and Roundtable Discussion on Sustainable Energy

The University of Technology, Jamaica on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 hosted the Organization of American States (OAS) 70th Anniversary Lecture and Roundtable Discussion on “The Caribbean Sustainable Energy Challenge,” at the university’s Shared Facilities Building, Papine Campus.
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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Ports Going Green

Just as many cities in Latin America and the Caribbean are striving to become more sustainable, so are many ports. That seems only appropriate, since ports are often big enough and busy enough that they could almost be considered cities unto themselves. The Inter-American Committee on Ports encourages sustainable practices in the industry, and every year it recognizes some of the region’s standout environmental performers. The recently announced winners of the 2017 Maritime Award of the Americas have all taken steps to become greener—and, by extension, more competitive.
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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Putting Air Quality to the Test

Air pollution can have deadly consequences; in fact, it accounts for an estimated 93,000 deaths each year in low- and middle-income countries in the Americas and another 44,000 deaths in high-income countries in the region, according to the Pan American Health Organization. As serious as the problem is, many cities and countries are still not measuring air quality or are measuring it inadequately. Yet as one Costa Rican scientist explained, without a clear picture of the air pollution problem, it’s harder to develop effective policies to combat it.
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