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Best service from developers? A power station made of batteries.

In Utah, Soleil Lofts signed a one-of-a-kind deal with Rocky Mountain Power, which can harness batteries for power. This arrangement allows the utility to reduce production costs while helping the developer save money, according to the Wasatch Group, the developer in Utah who built and manages the apartments.

Wasatch executives see the virtual power plant as proof that batteries are a smart investment for building owners.

“VPP provides an income stream and makes it a more attractive property to rent,” said Ryan Peterson, president of Wasatch Guaranty Capital, the company’s real estate and investment unit. “One of the reasons we are interested in renewables and solar energy is that it reduces operating expenses and increases cash flow, which is very important to property owners.”

The Soleil project comes at the intersection of several trends: a transition to cleaner and renewable energy; the rapid decline in the cost of batteries and energy storage, which has fallen by nearly 80 percent over the past decade, according to the Boston Consulting Group; and a push from developers to reduce their environmental footprint.

Battery energy storage in the United States increased significantly last year, adding 476 megawatts of storage in the third quarter, a 240% increase from the previous quarter, according to the US Energy Storage Monitor.

But that’s far from what is needed to support a fully renewable energy system. A report from the University of California at Berkeley, exploring the switch to renewable energy, suggests that the United States would need 150 gigawatts of storage to achieve a 90% clean energy grid by 2035.

“We’re at a crossroads,” said Mark Dyson, a clean energy expert at RMI, a Colorado organization focused on sustainability. “Since prices have come down so much, especially for batteries, I would expect a growing fraction of new homes to incorporate these technologies. Virtual power plants are the cheapest and most valuable thing for America’s power system to build. “

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Their pandemic safety plan starts with a ‘decontamination station’

Quentin and Stacy Blakley opened the ‘decontamination station’ in their home garage as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in Georgia in March and never closed it. Mr Blakley, 45, an Atlanta firefighter based at the city’s international airport, uses it to protect his family from a job that exposes him to strangers on a daily basis. At the end of each 24-hour shift for air emergencies and medical calls, he returns home to South Fulton, Ga., And removes his uniform in the garage. No exceptions. He takes a shower away from Stacy, 45, and their four sons – ages 14, 12 and a set of 9-year-old twins – then throws his clothes into a laundry bag. Finally, Mr. Blakley walks into his house.

Quentin I work at the busiest airport in the world, which means I am in contact with a lot of people. I have to decontaminate myself before I can deal with my wife and sons. We have learned a lot more about how Covid-19 spreads since its launch, but there is still so much we don’t know. If we get a call at the airport, we have to pass hundreds of people, some up close, to reach this patient who needs help. Anyone could wear it. So, I’m just as careful and careful as possible to make sure I don’t bring anything home.

Stacy We all learned the term “frontline worker” during the pandemic. This is what Quentin has been doing for 15 years. And yes, it’s scary when you think of the environment he’s in for a 24 hour shift. As soon as the pandemic started, we set up the garage for him. I call it the decontamination station.

Stacy Quentin has high blood pressure and after finding blood clots in his legs, he was recently diagnosed with diabetes. Data shows that African Americans with pre-existing conditions are more susceptible to this virus. I never really told him about it, but it made my stress levels worse. I think, he’s my husband and the father of my four boys. I don’t like the term fear, but that’s what it was.

Stacy We were both dealing with stress, but we also relate it to our families.

Quentin I grew up watching my dad struggle with diabetes and having to take insulin shots.

Stacy My father had a stroke at 36 and died of a heart attack at 54.

Quentin There was also the fear speech. I had to sit the boys down and explain to them what the pandemic was. I told them that society had changed and we had to change too. I had to try to contain their fears. Like everyone else, they heard on television that 1,000 people had understood or 800 people had died. All they hear are numbers and death, and that shook them at first. And they said, “Daddy, you deal with the public, what does that mean to you?” And I said, “It means I have to do everything in my power to stay safe and protect you.”

Stacy The boys were real soldiers. We had to do something as a family. So we started cycling. I picked up my old 10 speed bike from my mom’s garage and we got it fixed. We walked around the neighborhood and the trails. This is now our new family outing.

Stacy I am a civil engineer. My job was eliminated because of Covid-19. It was in April. And now I have this new life as a teacher for my children who are at home. And honestly, it’s scary when you’re used to a paycheck every two weeks. At the same time, I always wanted my own engineering firm. I created it in 2016 as a safe space for everyone, especially women and people of color, but I really haven’t brought it to life until now. It’s called Douglas Consulting Group, after my father’s name. On the one hand, oh my God, I lost my job. On the other hand, oh my God, look at this opportunity to do this full time.

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News Quiz: US Election, Sean Connery, International Space Station

News Quiz: US Elections, Sean Connery, International Space Station Did you catch the headlines this week? Compiled by Will Dudding, Anna Schaverien and Jessica Anderson