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Tech Savvy
Tech Savvy writer Stephen Lacey is senior editor at Greentech Media. Previously, he worked as a reporter/editor for Climate Progress, and was an editor/producer with RenewableEnergyWorld.com.

Tech savvy: Local Motion

A new company helps companies manage their fleets using the sharing economy.

As the sharing economy expands, consumers now have seemingly endless options for borrowing cars, bicycles, housing and furniture without the hassle of ownership.

Sharing is becoming second nature to consumers armed with mobile phones and constant connections to the Internet. But it’s not just limited to individuals.

Collaborative consumption is also becoming more important for large corporations looking to make their operations more efficient and less costly. Some of the products used by companies are a natural extension of the web: document sharing, project management tools and sales software are just a few. But sharing is also extending to physical assets.

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Why big data is going green

Data centres are notorious energy hogs, but more are realizing that energy efficiency and profits go hand in hand.

The “digital universe” is very similar to the physical universe in its construction. There’s the matter we can easily see: computers, mobile phones, television screens and software. But behind every text message, embedded video, streaming song or recorded television show lays a vast network of data unseen by the physical eye. It’s like the “dark matter” that scientists believe makes up most of space. The digital universe, coined by the consulting firm IDC, is expanding at an astonishing rate. The firm’s latest estimates show a 300 per cent increase in data creation by the end of the decade – growing from 1.3 trillion gigabytes to 40 trillion gigabytes.

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Utilities under threat

How distributed energy is changing North America's power sector

For a glimpse at the legacy of yesterday’s electricity business, one can travel to the Southeastern U.S., where two massive nuclear reactors are being constructed at the 2,400-megawatt Vogtle power station in Georgia.

When completed, they will be the first nuclear units constructed in America since 1979. But getting them built is the problem. The expansion, which will consist of two 1,100-megawatt generating units, is 14 months over schedule and nearly $1 billion over budget. It could be 2018 before either reactor finally starts feeding the grid.

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Cleantech & Obama: Round 2

Just how much Obama's administration can accomplish depends on his willingness to flex his executive muscles.

The 2012 election season proved just how much Americans support cleantech. Case in point: Solyndra. After the solar manufacturer went bankrupt in September 2011, renewable energy became an election-year flashpoint. Because the Obama administration had put so much stock into the cleantech sector as a job creator and economic driver, the failure of a high-profile solar firm that received substantial backing from the government was a perfect opportunity for opponents to attack the president.

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Obama’s energy report card

By Joe Romm and Stephen Lacey
Joe Romm and Stephen Lacey from the Center for American Progress review the President's clean energy record.

Grading President Obama on his clean energy policies is no easy task. Ask a conservative, and they’ll say Obama has invested far too much in the industry. Ask a progressive concerned about climate, and they’ll tell you he’s done far too little.

Outside of those lenses, it’s important to keep in mind that this Administration has done more to lay the groundwork for a clean energy revolution than any other president in history. However, a number of major factors have dragged Obama’s grades down. Some of them are a direct result of the Administration’s actions and others are just market realities.

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