This blog will cover some news items related to Sustainability: Corporate Social Responsibility, Stewardship, Environmental management, etc.


Getting Mobile Gamers to Buy; but one-third of games downloaded to mobile phones are free.

Getting Mobile Gamers to Buy

Published: October 05, 2005
(After October 13, 2005, this article will only be available to
eStat Database subscribers.)

A growing number of mobile phone users play games on their phones, according to data from
NPD Group. Meanwhile, Telephia finds that about one-third of games downloaded to mobile phones are free.

The percentage of US mobile phone users who play games on their devices is increasing, according to NPD Group. Still, just 27% of users play games on their phones. This percentage includes those who play games that came with their phones, meaning that the percentage of users who download games is even lower.

Although games are seen as a revenue generator for wireless providers, Telephia finds that 36% of the mobile games downloaded in the second quarter were acquired for free, with revenue-generating purchases making up 64%.

But free trials sometimes end up generating revenues. Puzzle and strategy games remain the most popular type of game for mobile phones, and almost one-half of game downloads of this type are free. However, these games also are among the highest priced games, and account for 27.1% of mobile game revenues. A similarly simple genre, car and casino games, account for another 44% of free downloads, but do not generate as much revenue as puzzle and strategy games.

Overall, pricing varies significantly, ranging from an average of $3.57 for card and casino games to $4.29 for action and adventure games. Free downloading also varies. Classic and arcade games are typically not offered for free (only 18% in Telephia's study were), and only 25% of sports and racing games could be tried for nothing.

The variety of approaches employed by mobile providers reflects the newness of the industry, according to Telephia. "At this early stage of the game, publishers are employing different strategies with pricing and promotional incentives to learn what will gain the most traction with consumers and deliver the best revenue performance outcome," says Kanishka Agarwal, Vice President of New Products, Telephia.

To learn more about mobile gaming, read eMarketer's North America Wireless Trends report.

Since Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol, what is it doing differently from the United States?

Since Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol, what is it doing differently from the United States?
Dr. Mark C. Trexler

Mark: Canada is an interesting case. Yes, it has ratified the Kyoto Protocol - but it's not yet clear how the Canadian government will deliver on that commitment. The provincial government in Alberta, which happens to be Canada's energy capital, is characterized by many as being solidly in the camp of climate "skeptics." So you can imagine the complications of developing Canadian compliance policy for Kyoto. This is one reason that the promotional materials selling compliance with the Protocol in Canada focus on such economic opportunities as developing and exporting new emissions-reducing technologies. But this same focus makes it hard to figure out exactly where Canada's needed reductions will come from by the Kyoto Protocol’s deadline of 2012.

It’s not that there isn’t a lot of activity in Canada on this front. The federal government is developing a long list of initiatives, including:

  • A multi-billion dollar Climate Fund, which will finance domestic and international emissions reduction efforts. The Fund will finance a wide variety of measures, including R&D and technology development activities, making it difficult to project what the Fund will actually deliver by 2012 for Kyoto compliance purposes.
  • A major domestic offsets program, for which the rules are now being written. International market mechanisms like the Clean Development Mechanism were seen as a major victory for Canada and the United States when the Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997. Today, they seem out of political favor, and it’s much more common to hear that Canada should "keep its money at home."
  • A Large Final Emitters program, in which Canada’s larger companies are given emissions reduction obligations, albeit expressed in largely intensity-based terms. These obligations can be met internally, through offsets, or by buying allowances from the federal government [at a fixed cost of $15/ton (Canadian)].
Notwithstanding the fact that Canada and the U.S. are in very different places when it comes to Kyoto, a particularly notable distinction in Canada’s stance, as compared to the direction the United States might well have gone, is the distribution of compliance burden between government and industry. In Canada, the primary burden of meeting Kyoto, at least for now, appears to lie with the federal government. The national government has accepted responsibility for the dominant fraction of the needed reductions, established intensity-based targets for industry that make it difficult to know the absolute reductions that will be delivered, and guaranteed to major emitters that their liability won’t exceed $15/ton (Canadian).

It’s a bit early to say conclusively whether and when Canada will need to scramble to adapt its current lineup of programs to the needs a 2012 Kyoto deadline, and whether it will have enough time to do so in a cost-effective manner. Of course, Canada is not alone among industrialized countries in being in this boat.

Additional information about what Canada is looking at, including its domestic offsets program design documents, is available

Dr. Mark C. Trexler has more than 25 years of energy and environmental experience, and has focused on global climate change since joining the World Resources Institute in 1988. He is now president of
Trexler Climate + Energy Services, which provides strategic, market, and project services to clients around the world.

Got a question for our climate expert? Email

New tax credits made available under this summer?s US Energy Policy Act are proving to be a real catalyst for new commercial-scale solar power concentrati

Tax breaks spur U.S. solar projects

BARSTOW, CA, September 30, 2005 - New tax credits made available under this summer’s US Energy Policy Act are proving to be a real catalyst for new commercial-scale solar power concentration projects.

Major announcements have been unveiled from Stirling Energy Systems and Solargenix, and this week came a new announcement from Utah-based International Automated Systems (IAUS), which has secured a site location outside Barstow, California, for a 1 MW, commercial-scale solar thermal power project.

The new 30 percent federal investment tax credit (effective next year) will take the financial sting out of large investments in solar energy projects that might otherwise be quite risky without it. Companies making these commercial-scale investments are charting a new course for solar energy in the U.S.

Traditional solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies, while well suited for residential homes and businesses, are simply not the most efficient way to address commercial solar-generated power. Although you might hear differently from any company sending solar PV panels to Germany where the government incentives are generous, the costly silicon raw material required for PV modules is too precious and in too constrained a supply to be used in large quantities for commercial power plants of multi-MW capacities.

IAUS, like Stirling Energy Systems and Solargenix is pursuing the goal of large-scale solar-generated commercial power through different means.

According to Chris Taylor, a staff engineer for IAUS, the company’s CSP power plant will have two fundamental characteristics that distinguish it from regular solar PV technology and other solar approaches. First, it will use a series of a hundred 30 foot-wide modules, each with a honeycomb cluster of fresnel lenses - effectively stacked pockets of polymer-based magnifying glasses that capture the sun’s energy to super-heat water to 975 degrees C.

In a second stage, the super-heated water is kept pressurized at 3000 PSI to prevent it from turning into steam. This water is then piped into a one of IAUS’ patented bladeless turbines -- almost like a fuel in a rocket engine -- where it is released through a narrow nozzle that "flashes" the water into steam that powers an electrical turbine.

Taylor says the company has developed an inexpensive way to manufacture the polymer-based fresnel lenses and, when coupled with their unique rocket-like turbines, the project is likely to eventually expand beyond the initial 1 MW destined for outside Barstow, California.

And it’s not just Taylor who feels optimistic about the approach. Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), a crucial element to a power project’s success, are already in the works with utilities in Nevada and Southern California.

IAUS expects to complete construction of the solar power plant during the first quarter 2006.