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Vermont Public Service Department Releases A New Consumer Information Resource: “A Vermonter’s Guide to Residential Solar”

A new, free guide produced for the Vermont Public Service Department will help homeowners navigate the process of going solar.

Montpelier, VT – Vermonters interested in installing a residential solar photovoltaic (PV) system have a new resource to help them navigate the path towards energy independence. The guide, titled “A Vermonter’s Guide to Residential Solar,” was produced by the nonprofit Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) for the Vermont Public Service Department and is available to download for free on the Department’s website.

“Vermont has seen tremendous growth in residential and community-scale solar with over 6,000 installed net-metered solar projects in the state” noted Public Service Department Commissioner Chris Recchia. “As thousands more Vermonters explore the possibility of going solar, the Vermont Public Service Department is committed to providing quality information to help them navigate the process. It is our hope that affiliated agencies and organizations will help spread the word about this helpful new booklet.”

There are many ways to build and finance a solar PV system. “A Vermonter’s Guide to Residential Solar” can help residents decide whether it makes sense for them to go solar and if so, how. The guide includes relevant information needed at different points during the decision making and installation process:

  • Reasons Vermonters are choosing solar
  • The physical components of a PV system
  • Consumer needs, opportunities, and system design considerations
  • Ways to finance a solar system
  • Solar savings and incentives, including the federal tax credit, net metering, and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
  • Choosing a solar contractor and reviewing a solar contract
  • Solar system permitting
  • After a system is installed

Appendices cover questions to ask a solar contractor, a project checklist, a glossary, and other resources.

“A Vermonter’s Guide to Residential Solar” is available as a pdf athttp://publicservice.vermont.gov/sites/dps/files/documents/Renewable_Energy/Vt%20Guide%20to%20Residential%20Solar%202016.pdf

Development and publication of this guide was funded through the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge II. Production was managed by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) and the Vermont Public Service Department’s Clean Energy Development Fund through the New England Solar Cost-Reduction Partnership, a Rooftop Solar Challenge II project. The New England Solar Cost-Reduction Partnership is working to reduce the costs of solar deployment across five New England states by targeting non-hardware solar “soft” costs.

About the SunShot Initiative

The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the Energy Department supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. You can learn more about the SunShot Initiative at energy.gov/sunshot.

About the Vermont Public Service Department Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF)

The CEDF, at the Vermont Public Service Department (PSD), offers a portfolio of funding opportunities to accelerate the development, commercialization, and production of clean energy in Vermont including: grants, direct incentive payments, credit enhancements for renewable energy lenders, contracts for specific products or services, and other offerings as may be authorized by the Vermont General Assembly and subject to approval of the PSD. Since its inception, the CEDF has awarded over $64 million in federal and state resources for renewable energy and energy efficiency in Vermont, leveraging total investments of more than $258 million in the state’s clean energy infrastructure. Learn more at http://publicservice.vermont.gov/renewable_energy/cedf.

About the Clean Energy States Alliance

The Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) is a national, nonprofit coalition of public agencies and organizations working together to advance clean energy. CESA members—mostly state agencies— include many of the most innovative, successful, and influential public funders of clean energy initiatives in the country. CESA works with state leaders, federal agencies, industry representatives, and other stakeholders to develop and promote clean energy technologies and markets. It supports effective state and local policies, programs, and innovation in the clean energy sector, with an emphasis on renewable energy, power generation, financing strategies, and economic development. CESA facilitates information sharing, provides technical assistance, coordinates multi-state collaborative projects, and communicates the views and achievements of its members. Learn more at www.cesa.org.

September 29 Energy News

Headline News:

  • The findings of a twenty year-long research project shows that golden eagles in proximity to the Beinn an Tuirc windfarm in Scotland are thriving. The wind farm has long-term resident birds successfully raising chicks, throwing a spanner in the works for anyone who claims wind farms and wind turbines are inherently dangerous to birds. [CleanTechnica]
Golden Eagle (Photo by Martin Mecnarowski, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Golden Eagle (Photo by Martin Mecnarowski, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

  • The price of oil surged and slipped back in trading as traders questioned whether the output cut agreed by Opec would be binding. Prices had jumped by 6% on Wednesday’s news that Opec had voted for the first production cut in eight years. Oil ministers said full details of the agreement would be finalized in November. [BBC]
  • Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has put the country’s renewable energy mix up for discussion, unleashing a political storm over the blackout in South Australia. Experts insisted the statewide electricity failure had “absolutely nothing” to do with that state’s heavy reliance on wind power. [North Queensland Register]
  • China’s largest private investor group, China Minsheng New Energy Investment Co, is developing a 2-GW solar farm in the Ningxia region which will be made up of some 6 million solar panels. According to Bloomberg, it will be the largest solar farm the world has ever seen, requiring an investment of up to $2.34 billion. [Bloomberg]
  • The City of Burlington wants to use waste heat from several major sources around town, which otherwise would be vented into the atmosphere, and use it to heat buildings and create hot water. A partnership of the city, businesses, advocates, and organizations will explore the potential of creating a district energy system. [Vermont Biz]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

What’s Your Question? Ask @ REV2016

 

rev

Decision 2016: Energy Choices kicks off in just 15 days! Register today to join us at Northern New England’s premier and most comprehensive clean energy conference.  Space is limited and going fast.

We are thrilled to have nearly 120 expert panelists and moderators sharing clean energy news and innovations at REV2016. New speakers and session details are now posted on www.revconference.org.

What’s Your Question?

Building on important election and policy decisions ahead this fall, the conference schedule on Friday, October 14th offers you an opportunity to connect with elected leaders and candidates directly.

8:00 a.m. Breakfast with Candidates and Legislators

Members of REV’s Policy & Legislative Committee and Political Action Fund supporters are invited to a special breakfast session with legislative leaders and candidates for the Vermont House of Representatives and State Senate.  If you would like to attend this session, please email wil@revermont.org for more information.

9:00 a.m. – Conversation with the Candidate: Sue Minter

                                             
Former Transportation Secretary and Democratic Candidate for Governor, Sue Minter, joins us for a conversation style Q&A with conference attendees.  Hear her vision on the critical issue of Vermont’s energy future and growing our climate economy.  Happening less than a month before the General Election, this will be a session you won’t want to miss.Do you have a question for Sue? Submit it info@revermont.org with “Question for Sue” in the subject line for a chance to ask your question at REV2016.

*Note: REV invited both major party Gubernatorial candidates to speak at the conference this summer.

Oct. 13th, 5:30 p.m. – Networking Happy Hour & Green Mtn. Silent Auction
REV2016 offers unparrelled networking opportunities.  Connect with fellow energy innovators over drinks on Thursday, October 13th during our first ever Green Mountain Silent Auction.  Featuring all kinds of Vermont treasures including items from: BurtonConcept2Lake Champlain ChocolatesStowe Mountain ResortVermont Teddy Bear and much, much more all auction proceeds will benefit our new non-profit Renewable Energy Vermont Education Fund.
Learn more about this and other sessions in our detailed conference agenda, now available online at www.revconference.org/agenda. Pre-conference registration closes October 10th!

About RE2016

Renewable Energy 2016 (REV2016) is an annual convention bringing together key players in the clean energy sector. This year’s conference will take place on October 13 & 14 at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Burlington, Vermont.

Learn more about the conference >>

Continuing Education

Earn American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Continuing Legal Education credits for attending. With expert speakers on a diverse array of topics, this dynamic forum offers the latest insights on the regional renewable energy industry.

Learn more about the agenda >>

World’s Leading Expo in the Wind Field

Internationality and Innovation | On- and Offshore
Enjoy the video
 

Otsego Lake Assn. and SUNY Oneonta BFS Deploy a Water Quality Monitoring Buoy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Kiyoko Yokota, Technical Advisor
September 28, 2016
Otsego Lake Association Kiyoko.Yokota@oneonta.edu 607-437-3742

Dateline: Cooperstown, NY — The Otsego Lake Association (OLA), in cooperation with SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station (BFS) researchers, have installed an automated water quality monitoring buoy on Otsego Lake.
The majority of the new system was installed by the BFS Volunteer Dive Team, lead by Paul Lord and Jim Vogler (Lecturers of Biology, SUNY Oneonta) and assisted by SUNY Oneonta undergraduates Zach Piper and Alex Sessions. Two BFS interns from Laurens Central School, Kayla Johnson and Connor Lewis March Sr., completed installation of the sensors under supervision by Kiyoko Yokota (Assistant Professor of Biology, SUNY Oneonta). The system will continuously collect water temperature and light intensity data at 15-minute intervals at various depths, 24/7. This data set will complement the existing biweekly manual water quality monitoring program carried out by BFS staff and enables the researchers to more closely monitor and predict biological productivity of the lake water, which is strongly influenced by temperature and light availability. The collected data are planned to be publicly available through the Global Lakes Observatory Network (GLEON, www.gleon.org).
The buoy and the anchoring system were provided by OLA, the monitoring equipment was funded by the SUNY 4E Grant, and other supplies were procured with the SUNY Oneonta Faculty Research Grant. A National Science Foundation grant proposal is pending, which, if awarded, would enable an upgrade to a fully automated system that will monitor a dozen parameters (including phytoplankton density) simultaneously, not just temperature and light.
The Otsego Lake Association is grateful to the following organizations for their support of this project: BFS, OCCA, Glimmerglass Condominium Association, Otsego County Sheriff’s Office, and NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

For more information, please visit http://www.otsegolakeassociation.org/

September 28 Energy News

Headline News:

  • New York City is set to be increasingly challenged by sea level rises caused by melting glaciers and thermal expansion of the ocean as the planet warms. By 2100, sea levels could be up to 50 inches higher than today in New York, a scenario that has prompted the city to pledge billions of dollars for flood defenses and adaptation. [The Guardian]

Solar panels on a Rockefeller Center rooftop in midtown Manhattan in New York. (Photograph: Mark Lennihan / AP)

  • Twelve minutes into the first face-to-face encounter between the candidates, Clinton raised the issue of climate change by pointing to Trump’s past claims that question the science behind rising temperatures and assertion that climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. “I did not,” Trump said. “I do not say that.” [Scientific American]
  • Almost all of us on Earth, 92% of the world’s people, now breathe polluted air, the World Health Organization says. An interactive map, based on global air pollution data, shows places where outdoor air quality fails to meet WHO guidelines. About 3 million deaths each year can be linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution. [CNN]
  • A controversial $36 billion liquefied natural gas project proposed for the northern coast of British Columbia just got a conditional green light from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government. The shipping terminal and its associated pipeline will be one of the most carbon-intensive resource projects in Canada’s history. [CBC.ca]
  • Ontario’s Liberal government took steps to take some pressure off of rising electricity rates, cancelling plans to sign contracts for up to 1,000 MW of power from solar, wind and other renewable energy sources. The move is expected to keep about $2.45 a month from being added to bills for homeowners and small businesses. [CTV News]
  • Vermont’s Department of Public Service released a public review draft of the energy planning determination standards and recommendations. The Department is due to issue final standards and recommendations by November 1. The public is encouraged to comment on the draft standards and recommendations through October 20. [vtdigger.org]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

Event Reminder: Energy Storage Presentation

Pease Public Library, Plymouth, NH
TomorrowWednesday, September 28th

The Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative (PAREI) will be hosting a presentation about energy storage and batteries. Tracy Abbott, Territory Manager for Northeast Battery, Kaylan Jana, Senior Applications Engineer for Trojan Battery Company and Brian Jaibur, Director of Sales-Master Distribution for Trojan Battery Company will present information about the latest battery technology, industry trends and practical uses for energy storage in homes and businesses. “Energy storage systems provide ways to manage and store our power whether it comes from the grid or renewable energy systems” said Sandra Jones, Co-Director of PAREI, “We wanted to provide an opportunity for our members and the general public to learn more about energy storage from experts in the field.”

The presentation will be held on Wednesday, September 28th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Pease Public Library in the Community Meeting Room located off Russel St in Plymouth. It will start with a group presentation and then the presenters and PAREI Staff will run table presentations about products and project examples. The night will close with an opportunity for Q and A. The doors open at 5:30pm. This event is free and open to the public. No RSVP necessary. Refreshments will be served. For more information call PAREI at 603-536-5030 or e-mail Adam Hoyng, PAREI Program Assistant at alhoyng@gmail.com .

September 27 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Statkraft has officially opened the 73-MW Banja hydropower plant in Albania, the first of two projects that will make up the 256-MW Devoll hydro scheme. The plant, which is located 65 kilometers southeast of the capital Tirana and is Statkraft’s first in the country, will generate about 255 GWh of electricity a year. [reNews]

    Hydro dam (Statkraft image)

    Hydro dam (Statkraft image)

  • The owners of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant had to keep a lot of spare parts around to keep the facility running. While the plant was open, the VY had a warehouse filled with equipment that workers might need in case something broke down. It closed in December 2014, and now the plant is auctioning off inventory. [Vermont Public Radio]
  • In the UK, controversy over fracking has been reignited after a surprise announcement that a future Labour government would ban it. Shadow minister Barry Gardiner won loud applause at Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool when he attacked the Government’s policy on promoting shale gas. The Green Party supported the announcement. [BT.com]
  • On September 27, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing challengers’ arguments against the Clean Power Plan, but many power companies are not waiting for the courts to resolve the legal challenges. Instead, they are cutting carbon emissions already and accelerating the shift to clean energy. [Natural Resources Defense Council]
  • New York City is thinking big on energy storage, 100 MWh by 2020. In addition, Mayor Bill de Blasio has expanded solar power targets. He announced an expansion of targets to 1,000 MW of citywide solar capacity by 2030. That level of capacity could meet the power needs of more than 250,000 households. [Energy Matters]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

NH Groups to Deliver Petitions in Support of Energy Saving Programs

Over 1000 Signatures supporting a stronger RGGI program

CONCORD, NH – A coalition of local groups are showing their support for energy saving programs in New Hampshire called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the 9 state program to reduce carbon from power plants. The regional program is currently undergoing its 4 year periodic policy review with all of the participating states. There is opportunity to strengthen the carbon emissions levels during the review.

The program has successfully reduced carbon, increased energy efficiency, supported renewable energy and lowered the bills. In a recent poll, 68% of NH voters support RGGI and believe climate change is a serious problem.

The groups are delivering petitions to demonstrate support for energy savings to the New Hampshire decision makers and further encourage them to continue to improve the program. The signatures were collected over the summer and more are expected from a scheduled Town Hall meeting Wednesday night.

The groups include NH Sierra Club, Environment New Hampshire, Union of Concerned Scientists, National Wildlife Federation, Mom’s Clean Air Force, and the League of Conservation Voters.

DATE: September 27, 2016

TIME: 1PM

WHERE: State House, Main Street Concord, NH

Vermont Department of Public Service Issues Draft Energy Planning Standards

Montpelier, Vermont – The Department of Public Service today released a public review draft of the energy planning determination standards and recommendations called for in Act 174, the Energy Development Improvement Act. The draft standards and recommendations, along with an overview, can be found here – http://publicservice.vermont.gov/content/act-174-recommendations-and-determination-standards. The Department is due to issue final standards and recommendations by November 1. The public is encouraged to review and comment on the draft standards and recommendations through October 20. In addition, the Department will host a public hearing to present the draft standards and gather feedback in Randolph on October 11.

Once finalized, these standards and recommendations will be used by the Department and regional planning commissions to make determinations as to whether regional and municipal plans are consistent with state energy policy. Plans that receive an affirmative determination will receive substantial deference for their land conservation measures and specific policies when the Public Service Board considers orderly development in its review of siting applications. Act 174 details a set of planning requirements to receive a determination, including consistency with Vermont’s energy and climate goals and the inclusion of energy analysis across the building, transportation, and electrical sectors.

The draft standards published today consist of a checklist of required analyses, goals, and actions. The Department hopes that this checklist approach will enable municipal and regional planners to conduct planning with a determination of energy compliance in mind.
Act 174 establishes three pathways for a plan to receive a determination of energy compliance: 1) regional plans will be evaluated by the Department; 2) once their region’s plan has received an affirmative determination, municipal plans will be evaluated by their regional commission; and 3) until July 1, 2018, a municipality in a region that has not received a determination may apply to the Department for evaluation.

“Achieving Vermont’s renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals is going to require an all-hands-on-deck approach at the local, regional, and statewide level,” noted Department of Public Service Deputy Commissioner Jon Copans. “We are hopeful that these standards and the planning process envisioned in Act 174 will inspire Vermonters to work collaboratively at the local level to plan for the energy transformation necessary to continue to make progress towards our goals.”

“In many ways, the constructive conversations we have had with interested stakeholders as we worked on these standards mirror the dialogue we believe will happen at the local and regional level as we all do our part to fight climate change and achieve greater energy independence,” continued Copans. “I want to thank the hundreds of interested Vermonters who have engaged with the Department as we worked to craft this initial draft of the standards, and encourage all to remain involved and share feedback as we continue to make improvements.”

To inform development of the draft standards, the Department conducted substantial public and stakeholder outreach. This included a half-day public forum on August 30, several topical stakeholder focus groups, and an online survey (which received nearly 150 responses), as well as numerous meetings with individual stakeholders and organizations.

“Act 174 requires the Department to develop standards and recommendations. We appreciate Department’s extensive efforts to reach out to our members and to understand the context of plan development at the local level. We strongly encourage towns to review the draft determination standards and help the Department to continue their development,” noted Karen Horn, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at Vermont League of Cities and Towns.

“These proposed standards show how the Department has learned from the energy planning work and input of our region and others. We look forward to reviewing the draft determination standards and providing additional feedback, and encourage others to do the same,” added Catherine Dimitruk, Director of the Northwest Regional Planning Commission.

The Department will hold a public hearing to gather feedback on the draft determination standards in the Chandler Music Hall Upper Gallery Space at 71-73 Main Street in Randolph on Tuesday, October 11, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The hearing will include a presentation of the draft standards and provide an opportunity for members of the public to comment. Persons requiring special accommodations should call (802) 828-2811 at least five business days prior to the event to make arrangements.

Written comments may be submitted to PSD.PlanningStandards@vermont.gov through October 20.
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The Department of Public Service is an agency within the executive branch of Vermont state government. Its charge is to represent the public interest in matters regarding energy, telecommunications, water and wastewater.

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Vermont Public Service Department
112 State Street, Room 241
Montpelier, VT 05620