UNC Kenan-Flagler Blogs

Author Archives: Tracy Triggs-Matthews

NC Cleantech Podcast #3 with Lee Anne Nance, Executive VP Research Triangle Regional Partnership

Leading in smart grid, smart water and smart transportation, the North Carolina Research Triangle region boasts over 500 companies that employ thousands of North Carolinian’s in what is referred to as the Cleantech sector. (www.researchtrianglecleantech.org) The pace of innovation resulting from collaborations between start-ups, universities, and established companies are giving the area the competitive economic edge to be noticed worldwide as leaders in the Cleantech space. The next highlight in the Cleantech Podcast series, is a conversation with  Lee Anne Nance, Executive Vice President, Research Triangle Regional Partnership. Lee Anne discusses the role of higher education in the Triangle Region’s economic growth and how the clean tech sector represents an emerging industry for jobs. The Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP) is a business-driven, Read More

Utility Debt Risk – Part II

By Katie Bradshaw (MBA UNC Kenan-Flagler/MEM Duke University ’15) This is Part 2 of a 2 part blog post on utility financial risk shared from the Environmental Finance Center. Part 1 focuses on utility revenue risk, and Part 2 focuses on utility debt risk. In the first blog post on utility financial risk, we discussed how debt risk in addition to revenue risk were significant contributing factors in the Energy Future Holdings bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy of a leveraged buyout on record. While it is relatively rare for utilities to declare bankruptcy, it is not unusual for utilities to carry high levels of debt. In fact, utilities often have capital structures with high amounts of debt combined with highly rated credit Read More

Lights Go Out on the Largest Leveraged Buyout in History

By Katie Bradshaw (MBA UNC Kenan-Flagler/MEM Duke University ’15) This is Part 1 of a 2 part blog post shared from the Environmental Finance Center on utility financial risk. Part 1 focuses on utility revenue risk and Part 2 focuses on utility debt risk. On April 29, 2014, the Texas-based utility Energy Future Holdings Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, ending the largest leveraged buyout on record. Utility bankruptcies in general are rare, but even outside of the utility realm, a bankruptcy of more than $40 billion in an asset-based industry is unheard of. So naturally, many of us are left asking questions – what went wrong and are other utilities at risk of going bankrupt? What went wrong? In 2007, Read More

NC Clean Tech Podcast #2 with John Morrison, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for Strata Solar

  With relatively cheap land, tax incentives and abundant sunshine, North Carolina has been experiencing a boom in the solar industry. Currently, the state is 4th in the nation for installed solar capacity and the 592 MW currently installed across the state provides enough energy to power 64,500 homes (Solar Energy Industries Association). With over 300 MW of installed solar, Strata Solar ranks as one of the top providers in America.   As part of the NC Clean Tech podcast series, we are pleased to highlight this pioneering clean tech company and their Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, John Morrison. John talks about why solar development in North Carolina is succeeding and the role universities play in providing the Read More

Announcing NC Clean Tech Podcast Series

In February 2014, CSE and UNC’s Institute for the Environment partnered with the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster and Strata Solar to hold the first North Carolina Clean Tech Summit.  This event brought together over 300 clean tech business leaders, state lawmakers, policy advocates, economic developers, and faculty and students from UNC Chapel Hill for a day long discussion of North Carolina’s growing clean tech sector. The second annual Clean Tech Summit is planned for February 19-20, 2015 at UNC’s Friday Center and  will include a focus on the military and renewable energy; boosting North Carolina’s competitiveness in manufacturing; and fostering an innovation economy across the state. Throughout this year, we will be posting links to podcasts that highlight pioneering clean Read More

Financing Urban Agriculture: A Growing Field of Possibilities

Emily Kosmala is a Research Assistant at the Environmental Finance Center at UNC Chapel Hill. She began working with the EFC in Fall 2013 as an assistant to the wetland finance project.  She will graduate in May 2014 From UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School with a B.S. in Business Administration, Marketing Management concentration and a minor in Sustainability. Special thanks to the Environmental Finance Center for allowing us to re-post this blog. As a student working under the Wetland Finance program at the Environmental Finance Center at UNC Chapel Hill, I spend most of my time exploring options for financing wetland protection. I’ve been studying new and creative ways to account for the value of the ecological processes that wetlands provide, including Read More

Sustainability Exchange at Copenhagen Business School

By Cindy Frantz (MBA ’15) Over spring break, seven UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA students teamed up with a group of Duke Fuqua MBA students to participate in an exchange program with the Copenhagen Business School.  We traveled to Denmark for a week-long course on sustainability with a focus on Scandinavian companies. Each morning we discussed a different topic or case related to sustainable business, and each afternoon we visited a Scandinavian business to hear about various approaches and successes related to their sustainability efforts.  We learned about IKEA’s response to child labor accusations from Marianne Barner—the executive tasked with managing IKEA’s internal and external efforts to remedy the crisis.  We visited the corporate headquarters of the global shipping company Maersk, where Read More

Register for the 2014 Global Sustainability Symposium, April 2 & 3

The Story of Cities: Global and Local Perspectives on the Quest for Sustainable and Thriving Communities April 2 & 3, 2014 Varsity Theater and FedEx Global Education Center University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Free and Open to the Public Register Join this year’s global sustainability symposium The Story of Cities: Global and Local Perspectives on the Quest for Thriving and Sustainable Communities to examine the factors that create healthy and innovative communities where people and businesses thrive across the globe. Participants will learn from the examples of Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai, The Hague, and Durham. The program’s goal is to stimulate conversation and inspire innovation in community building. Key Features Thought leaders and experts share their insights Discussion of innovative models from Read More

HSH.com Interview with Dr. Christopher Wedding: Should You Go Green?

Dr. Christopher Wedding, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, was recently interviewed by HSH.com on making the decision to ‘go green’ when either building or pursuing home improvement projects. Below is an excerpt from the article. The full interview can be viewed here.   A recent report from Harvard University says that home improvement projects are expected to post strong gains throughout 2014. As more homeowners embark on home-improvement projects, the decision of whether or not to “go green” becomes more prevalent. Likewise, more and more first-time homebuyers are deciding to either buy newly built green homes or set extra money aside to make green improvements. According to the 2013 Green Builder Media study, “Consumers Read More

Small Steps, Big Wins for Undergraduate Net Impact Club at UNC Chapel Hill

By Ting Ting Eeo (Environmental Studies major, Business minor 15′) Among the many exciting programs the Undergraduate Net Impact Club established this year, was its participation in the nationwide Small Steps, Big Wins (SSBW) contest, a sustainability competition hosted by the national Net Impact organization. Last semester, Net Impact sought to encourage more students to think about the environmental and social impact they could make through sustainable actions from riding the bus, to volunteering in the community. Using the myActions website as a social network to both record actions and connect with other SSBW participants, students were able to raise money for non-profits and see how many pounds of CO2 they reduced. The Net Impact team invited several environmental and Read More