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Google and Microsoft sign PPAs for renewable energy access • The Register

Microsoft and Google have both unveiled new agreements for access to renewable energy sources for their datacenters as part of attempts to lower the carbon footprint of their IT operations.

Search giant Google said it has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Engie, a French utility company, for 100MW of energy generated by the Moray West offshore wind farm in Scotland to power its UK operations.

Meanwhile, Microsoft announced its own PPAs in Ireland that cover more than 900MW of new renewable electricity capacity to supply power for its datacenters located there.

Microsoft did not disclose the suppliers for its renewable energy agreements, but other sources have identified Norwegian energy company Statkraft and Ireland’s Energia Group as two that are involved, with the energy coming from a mix of wind and solar projects.

The Redmond giant said that by 2025, it expects that its datacenters located in Ireland will be running entirely from renewable energy from new projects supported by PPAs such as these.

Google likewise claimed that its new agreements will bring the company closer to its goal of running entirely on carbon-free energy sources by 2030, across its UK offices and cloud regions. It said that with the latest PPA signed with Engie, it already expects to be at or near 90 percent carbon-free by 2025.

In a statement, Google EMEA President Matt Brittin said that people across the UK and Europe are increasingly worried about climate change and energy security.

“We share that concern and believe technology is an important part of the solution – both by reducing our own emissions, and by helping others to reduce theirs.”

The move follows earlier agreements by both companies to buy up renewable energy in the US. Google signed a deal with SoftBank subsidiary SB Energy for 900MW of solar power for a datacenter in Texas, while Microsoft inked a 20-year agreement with AES Corporation earlier this year to provide renewable energy to its datacenters in California from a portfolio of 110MW solar and 55MW four-hour storage projects.

However, while these projects have laudable aims, they will not always offset the carbon footprint of such megacorps, especially if they are expanding faster than they are buying up carbon credits or investing in renewable energy.

For example, in its annual sustainability report for 2021, Microsoft conceded that while it had reduced its own CO2 emissions by about 17 percent year-on-year, its carbon footprint had actually expanded because of significant growth during the same period.

Microsoft said that while it has expanded its datacenters to meet customer demand, it has also doubled down on its commitments to reducing carbon consumption and helping solve the larger issues of climate change. ®

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Culture

The Call for AI Regulation in Creative Industries

THE VOICE OF EU | Widespread concerns have surged among artists and creatives in various domains – country singers, authors, television showrunners, and musicians – voicing apprehension about the disruptive impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on their professions.

These worries have prompted an urgent plea to the U.S. government for regulatory action to protect their livelihoods from the encroaching threat posed by AI technology.

The Artists’ Plea

A notable rise in appeals to regulate AI has emerged, drawing attention to the potential risks AI poses to creative industries.

Thousands of letters, including those from renowned personalities like Justine Bateman and Lilla Zuckerman, underscore the peril AI models represent to the traditional structure of entertainment businesses.

The alarm extends to the music industry, expressed by acclaimed songwriter Marc Beeson, highlighting AI’s potential to both enhance and jeopardize an essential facet of American artistry.

The Call for AI Regulation in Creative Industries

Copyright Infringement Concerns

The primary contention arises from the unsanctioned use of copyrighted human works as fodder to train AI systems. The concerns about AI ingesting content from the internet without permission or compensation have sparked significant distress among artists and their representative entities.

While copyright laws explicitly protect works of human authorship, the influx of AI-generated content questions the boundaries of human contribution and authorship in an AI-influenced creative process.

The Fair Use Debate

Leading technology entities like Google, Microsoft, and Meta Platforms argue that their utilization of copyrighted materials in AI training aligns with the “fair use” doctrine—a limited use of copyrighted material for transformative purposes.

They claim that AI training isn’t aimed at reproducing individual works but rather discerning patterns across a vast corpus of content, citing precedents like Google’s legal victories in the digitization of books.

The Conflict and Seeking Resolution

Despite court rulings favoring tech companies in interpreting copyright laws regarding AI, voices like Heidi Bond, a former law professor and author, critique this comparison, emphasizing that AI developers often obtain content through unauthorized means.

Shira Perlmutter, the U.S. Register of Copyrights, acknowledges the Copyright Office’s pivotal role in navigating this complex landscape and determining the legitimacy of the fair use defense in the AI context.

The Road Ahead

The outpouring of concern from creative professionals and industry stakeholders emphasizes the urgency for regulatory frameworks to safeguard creative works while acknowledging the evolving role of AI in content creation.

The Copyright Office’s meticulous review of over 9,700 public comments seeks to strike a balance between innovation and the protection of creative rights in an AI-driven era. As the discussion continues, the convergence of legal precedents and ethical considerations remains a focal point for shaping the future landscape of AI in creative industries.


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How Vibertron Is Making Technology Consulting More Accessible To SMEs

SMEs Growth by Raza H. Qadri

By Clint BaileySr. Business and Technology EditorThe Voice of EU

Raza H. Qadri, founder & chief strategy officer of Vibertron Technologies

Vibertron Consulting, based in California, emerged on the scene just a year ago, as a subsidiary of Vibertron, and is rapidly gaining momentum as the preferred integrated technology and strategic consultancy platform in the United States and beyond.

At the helm of Vibertron Consulting is Raza H. Qadri (Ali), a highly accomplished individual with a diverse range of qualifications. With an MBA, a B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering, and a third degree in Computer Science, Qadri firmly believes in the importance of formal education as a cornerstone for building a robust and sustainable business.

Having amassed valuable experience across various industries including engineering, media, finance, and technology, as well as successfully founding three startups, Qadri is now putting his theories into practice. He has established a global business-to-business (B2B) remote work platform that offers integrated technology, marketing, and sales consultancy solutions specifically designed for small and medium-sized businesses.

Credits: Vibertron Technologies


With his expertise and a strong background in multiple fields, Qadri aims to empower businesses by providing comprehensive solutions tailored to their specific needs. The integrated approach of Vibertron Consulting allows clients to leverage technology, strategic marketing, and sales expertise to expand their operations and drive growth.

“An integrated platform is more of a complex business and go-to-market challenge rather than a technical one” Qadri explained.

“There are complexities associated with technical scale and optimization, but with today’s technology we can build a diverse platform using pre-existing components such as integrated services, even though the new technology trend is shifting back to data centre-based digital architecture.”

A Blend Between Marketplace & Integrated Managed Solutions

Founded in 2019, Vibertron presents itself as a hybrid technology company, providing clients with the opportunity to acquire comprehensive remote work, and consulting solutions. Facilitated by an internal database comprising approximately 1,500 thoroughly vetted specialists from the marketing, sales, and technology consulting industries, Vibertron ensures a high level of expertise and professionalism among its professionals. Notably, the specialists within the database possess a minimum requirement of a Master’s degree or 5-7 years of work experience in their respective fields. This stringent selection process ensures that clients can confidently engage with skilled professionals who possess the necessary qualifications and industry knowledge to deliver exceptional results.

“At Vibertron, we pride ourselves on working with top-tier professionals who exemplify integrity and professionalism. We prioritize building a team that upholds these values and ensures a positive client experience. Trust and excellence are at the core of our interactions, guaranteeing that our clients receive exceptional service every step of the way.” Qadri explained.

“To achieve this, we have created a B2B platform that is a blend between a marketplace and a managed professional solutions with two distinct models – one for one-time service buyers and one for clients looking for managed 360° marketing, sales, and technology solutions.”

Keeping It Simple

As stated on Vibertron’s official website, clients seeking integrated technology, marketing, and sales consultancy services can choose from three distinct plans: MCiHT™ (Technology), MCiM™ (Marketing), and MCiS (Sales). Each plan offers tailored solutions to cater to the specific needs and requirements of businesses in these domains.

Credits: Vibertron.com

“In addition to essential features like a social feed, messaging capabilities, and secure payment infrastructure (currently leveraging Stripe and Bank of America), Vibertron recognizes the importance of embracing emerging technologies such as AI and blockchain. By integrating these cutting-edge technologies, we aim to enhance our platform and deliver innovative solutions that meet the evolving needs of our clients.” Qadri said.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Hybrid Consulting Model

In line with its core objective, Vibertron is strategically preparing to implement an AI-based hybrid co-pilot. This advanced technology will assist clients in acquiring integrated solutions and conducting thorough due diligence. By leveraging blockchain technology, Vibertron aims to validate project credentials, enabling clients to confidently engage with top-tier professionals who possess a proven track record of successfully delivering similar work. Throughout the entire process, Vibertron remains fully committed to supporting clients every step of the way, ensuring a seamless and reliable experience.

“Our ultimate objective is to enhance trust within the consulting industry, recognizing the significant value consultants bring in accelerating progress. However, we have observed numerous distortions arising from market inefficiencies, resulting in a widespread lack of confidence in the role of consultants. By addressing these challenges and fostering transparency and reliability, we aim to rebuild trust and establish consultants as valuable assets for achieving business goals.” Qadri explained.

“We firmly believe that an improved consulting industry, potentially operating on a smaller scale, has the potential to serve as an economic engine, fostering accelerated growth within the global economy. By addressing the challenges and enhancing the efficiency of the consulting sector, we can create a conducive environment for rapid economic advancement on a global scale.”

A Unique Niche Between Consulting & Remote Working

Vibertron Consulting adopts a distinctive business model in which internal Project Managers, acting as Client liaisons, oversee and manage the complete technology, marketing, and sales operations of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). These dedicated Project Managers provide real-time monitoring of teams and deliver the utmost level of consulting service in their respective domains, ensuring that businesses receive exceptional support and guidance.

“We have developed our business suites with SMBs in mind. Consider the expenses and commitment involved in hiring full-time staff for technology or marketing roles. We have revolutionized this dynamic by offering business solutions that cost less than employing even a single full-time professional in these fields. This is a key factor that attracts SMB owners to choose our services for managing their entire technology, marketing, or sales operations. Furthermore, our team comprises highly skilled professionals, and the scope of our services is unmatched by any standard, adding to our appeal in the market.” Qadri added.

Sustainable Growth

Presently, Vibertron operates in Europe, the UK, and the US and is actively engaged in securing seed funding for the consulting segment. Furthermore, the company intends to expand its products and workforce in the US, aiming to hire ten new employees by the end of this year, effectively doubling its team size.

Since its inception, the startup has experienced significant growth, progressing from a team of two to fourteen individuals, successfully completing over 650 projects. Additionally, Vibertron has served 75 LCE clients seeking consulting services in the domains of technology, marketing, and sales. Embracing the age-old adage that “cash is king” Qadri, a staunch proponent, emphasizes the importance of generating revenue at the earliest stages of the business, fostering sustainability and facilitating further development.

“By prioritizing revenue generation, we aim to deliver enhanced value to customers, provide a better quality of life to our employees, and enable investors to recognize the long-term viability and sustainability of our business model.” he said.

“In the current business landscape, startups driven by growth objectives must adhere to fundamental principles such as maintaining healthy cash flow, establishing stable operational and burn rates, and relying on revenue-backed valuations. These foundational principles serve as crucial guidelines for us towards ensuring the long-term viability and success.”

Funding & Growth

Qadri added, “While securing funding remains an ongoing process for us, as it does for many startups, our position as a profitable business enables us to effectively navigate the transitional period between being considered “too early” and reaching the ideal stage of development. This financial stability provides us with the necessary resilience and flexibility to sustain growth and seize opportunities as they arise.”.


Photo credits: Vibertron.
By Clint Bailey, Senior Business News Editor at ‘Voice of EU’ as well as co-editor of EU-20 magazine. Have a tip? Send him a DM at info@voiceofeu.com.

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Innovative Kite Sail Technology Startup Paves the Way for Greener Shipping Industry | “EU20”

The maritime sector faces increasing pressure to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. Recently, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) announced new emissions-reduction targets. In this piece, we will analyze:

  • Beyond The Sea’s Revolutionary Kite Sail Technology
  • A Game-Changer for the Maritime Industry
  • Expanding Possibilities and Environmental Commitments

Overcoming Challenges and Seeking Government Support

Future Opportunities

In response, startups like Beyond The Sea are revolutionizing the industry with their innovative kite sail technology. With the ability to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20%, these kite sails have the potential to transform the way ships and vessels operate.

In response, startups like Beyond The Sea are revolutionizing the industry with their innovative kite sail technology. With the ability to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20%, these kite sails have the potential to transform the way ships and vessels operate.

Beyond The Sea’s Revolutionary Kite Sail Technology

In southwest France’s Arcachon Bay, Beyond The Sea conducted successful tests of their blue inflatable kite sail. The company’s founder, Yves Parlier, combined his sailing expertise with artificial intelligence and automated traction systems to develop a highly efficient kite sail. This innovative technology adapts the sail’s position based on wind conditions, resulting in significant fuel savings.

A Game-Changer for the Maritime Industry

The impact of kite sails on the maritime industry cannot be understated. With approximately 100,000 merchant ships and 4.6 million fishing trawlers worldwide, the potential for widespread adoption of this technology is enormous. The Wind Ship association predicts that by 2030, the market for kite sails could be worth four billion euros, with around 1,400 vessels equipped with this sustainable solution.

READ MORE: ALL ABOUT ‘BEYOND THE SEA’

Expanding Possibilities and Environmental Commitments

Beyond The Sea plans to further develop their kite sail technology. In upcoming tests off the waters of Norway, Japan, and the Mediterranean, they will explore larger kite sizes, aiming to reach 800 square meters within four years. Meanwhile, other companies like Airseas and Chantiers de l’Atlantique are also pioneering alternative solutions, such as larger kites for larger ships and rigid sails for ocean liners.

Overcoming Challenges and Seeking Government Support

While the wind propulsion sector shows promise, challenges remain. The cost of heavy fuel oil and the need for environmental regulations are key considerations. Lobbying for wind to be recognized as a fuel, the sector is working closely with the French government to create a supportive regulatory framework.

Recognizing wind as a viable fuel source could not only accelerate the adoption of wind propulsion technology but also create over 30,000 new jobs by 2030.

Future Opportunities

The innovative kite sail technology developed by Beyond The Sea and other companies presents a game-changing opportunity for the maritime industry. With the ability to significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions, these sustainable solutions align with the industry’s growing focus on environmental responsibility.

By harnessing the power of the wind, the maritime sector can chart a course toward a greener and more sustainable future.


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— By Johnathan Elf, Contributor ‘Voice of EU’

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