“Part of the vision of the Seattle Aquarium is to invest in alternative energy,” Aquarium President and CEO Robert W. Davidson said. “Operating sustainably will help fulfill our mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment, and this is an important step in that direction.”
Most of the panels will produce electricity on behalf of City Light customers who want to buy solar power through the utility’s Community Solar program. The rest of the panels are being installed as a demonstration project through the utility’s voluntary Green Up renewable energy program with the electricity produced helping to power the Aquarium’s operations.
Only a few of the 1,800 units of the Community Solar portion of the project are still available. Each 24 watt unit of the solar installation cost $150. To buy one of the last units, call Project Manager Suzanne DuRard at (206) 684-3874.
“We’re excited to start construction,” City Light Conservation Resources Director Glenn Atwood said. “Customer demand for participation in the Community Solar project has been strong. We’re looking forward to generating electricity from the power of the sun on their behalf soon. And with our reliance on the power of fresh water and commitment to environmental stewardship, we’re especially pleased to be partnering with a world-class organization dedicated to the life and health of the sea. Our missions are joined by the journey of salmon, from river to ocean and back.”
Participants receive credit on their City Light accounts for their portions of the solar panels’ output through 2020 along with all state production incentives. Together, those credits amount to $1.15 per kilowatt-hour. City Light estimates that participants will receive more than $150 worth of electricity and production incentives for each unit purchased by the end of their agreements. Details are available online at www.seattle.gov/communitysolar.
“The Aquarium community solar system is a great deal,” said Gina Hicks of Capitol Hill, who purchased the maximum 125 units. “So easy, so smart, I couldn't pass it up. I've been telling everyone to get a piece. I can't wait for it to get installed so I can go online and see the power it's generating.”
Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.
September 25, 2013
Halloween fun at the Aquarium
WHEN: October 25–27, 2013
WHERE: Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59, Seattle, WA
WHAT: Come in your creepiest costumes for spooky ice toys with our otters, frighteningly fun games and giant pumpkin carving—both underwater and out of the tank!
October 25–27: See Master Carver Russ Leno wield knives and tools to sculpt giant pumpkins. Leno has carved all over the world, working in such mediums as wood, ice, sand, watermelons and, of course, pumpkins. Located in the Life on the Edge exhibit.
October 25–27: Cheer on your favorite Aquarium SCUBA divers as they carve Halloween pumpkins underwater! Volunteer divers will sculpt their own spooky squash and try to outdo each other in this friendly competition. Located in the Window on Washington Waters exhibit.
October 25 at noon
October 26 and 27 at noon and 3pm
October 26–27: Watch our adorable otters and seals have their own Halloween hilarity with spooky ice toys. Ice toy creators will discuss the creating these cold compositions, and then offer them to our marine mammals in this frighteningly informative demonstration. River otters, not to be left out, will get hollowed-out pumpkins to play with. Located in the Marine Mammals exhibit.
River otter pumpkins at 12:30pm
Spooky ice toys at 1:30pm
October 27: Make the Aquarium one of your stops during the Trick or Treat on the Waterfront event. From the Washington State Ferry terminal to the Olympic Sculpture Park, waterfront businesses will offer a safe and scenic way to enjoy Halloween fun. 11am–5pm.
Hours/prices at the Aquarium: The Aquarium’s admission gate is open 9:30am to 5pm daily, with the exhibits closing at 6pm. Admission fees: Adults $21.95; Youth (4-12) $14.95; Children 3 and younger are admitted FREE.
On the web: www.seattleaquarium.org
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/Aquarium.Seattle
On Twitter: twitter.com/SeattleAquarium
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September 9, 2013
X Prize launches $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health X Prize
Pre-registration opens for global competition incentivizing breakthroughs in ocean pH sensing yechnologies to monitor and sustain the health of our oceans
LOS ANGELES—XPRIZE (www.xprize.org), the global leader in incentivized prize competitions, today announced the launch of its next major competition: the $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE. On the heels of the successful Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE, the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE aims to spur global innovators to develop accurate and affordable ocean pH sensors that will ultimately transform our understanding of ocean acidification, one of the gravest problems associated with the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).
The oceans absorb about one quarter of the CO2 that humans release into the atmosphere, causing the chemistry of the water to change and the oceans to become more acidic. As a result of increased CO2 emissions, ocean acidity is now at unprecedented levels, which could have devastating global consequences.
With inadequate or unaffordable sensors currently available on the market, ocean acidification is only well documented in a few parts of the world, making it nearly impossible to monitor our most imperiled ecosystems. To fully understand and adapt to the threat of ocean acidification, better pH sensing systems to monitor and collect ocean pH data are urgently needed.
“Just as we have sensors to monitor our body’s vital signs, we need a device to help determine the acidity of our oceans before we can determine the best solution to improve its health,” said Paul Bunje, Senior Director of Oceans, XPRIZE. “To accomplish this, we hope to incent innovators around the world, across disciplines, to compete for this prize not only for the ecological benefits, but for the market potential worth far more than the prize purse itself.”
The Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE is the second collaboration between Wendy Schmidt and XPRIZE and furthers the commitment by both to address the Grand Challenge of ocean health. The Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE was a $1.4 million competition to inspire a new generation of innovative solutions to speed the pace of cleaning up oil spills, with the first place winner accomplishing a cleanup rate almost four times the industry’s previously recorded best cleanup rate.
“Ocean acidification is a serious threat we are only beginning to understand,” said Wendy Schmidt. “It could have significant ecological and societal implications, changing the health of entire ecosystems, affecting the global economy and the biodiversity of the planet. As we did with the Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE, we aim to inspire innovators around the world to get behind the creation of better, more efficient methods to monitor and measure ocean health, and ultimately to improve it.”
The Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE is a 22-month competition in which teams can compete for one or both of the two $1,000,000 purses—one for accuracy and one for affordability. For more information about the competition structure, important dates and the registration process, or to submit an intent to compete for this breakthrough prize, please visit oceanhealth.xprize.org.
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Founded in 1995, XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the leading organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development, worth far more than the prize itself. The organization motivates and inspires brilliant innovators from all disciplines to leverage their intellectual and financial capital for the benefit of humanity. XPRIZE conducts competitions in five Prize Groups: Learning, Exploration, Energy & Environment, Global Development and Life Sciences. Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, and the $2.25 million Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE. For more information, go to www.xprize.org, “like” us at http://www.facebook.com/xprize and follow us on Twitter @xprize.
About Wendy Schmidt
Wendy Schmidt is President of The Schmidt Family Foundation, which strives to advance the development of clean energy and support the wiser use of natural resources. She also is founder of the foundation's grant-making arm, The 11th Hour Project, and Climate Central, an independent organization of leading scientists and journalists researching and reporting the facts about our changing climate and its impact on the American public. With her husband, Eric Schmidt, Wendy created the Schmidt Ocean Institute in 2009 to provide future opportunities aboard research vessels for urgent ocean studies. Her work at non-profit ReMain Nantucket focuses on generating a model for smart community downtown development on the island, where her family spends summers. Wendy earned an M.A. in Journalism from The University of California at Berkeley, and a B.A. magna cum laude from Smith College. She serves on the boards of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Climate Central, The California Academy of Sciences, The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, V-Day and MAIYET.