Get Email Updates!

August 4 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “EPA’s carbon rules are catching up with the market” The President rolled out Monday the much-anticipated centerpiece to his climate change plan. It envisions an overhaul in power plants, what they burn, and the broader electricity system. It’s ambitious. But to people in and around the power sector, this revolution is already well underway. Not because of the EPA, but the market. [WBFO]
Emissions spew out of a large stack at the coal-fired Morgantown Generating Station in Newburg, Maryland. Scott Tong

Emissions spew out of a large stack at the coal-fired Morgantown Generating Station in Newburg, Maryland. Scott Tong

  • In Washington, the American Lung Association describes the Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations as lifesaving. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch calls them job-killing. Rocky Mountain Power generates around 80% of the electricity used in Utah from coal, but spokesman Paul Murphy says his company is already making the changes the EPA wants away from fossil fuels. [KUER]
  • Dominion Virginia Power, the state’s biggest power generator, was cautiously optimistic, commending the US EPA for making “critical changes” to the Clean Power Plan draft to make compliance targets more achievable. Virginia Governor McAuliffe said Monday the EPA apparently made changes to the final plan that addressed his original concerns about equity and flexibility. [Daily Press]
  • The Obama administration has unveiled its clean power plan. The first-of-their-kind limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants will require slightly tougher cuts than the original proposal. The EPA is calling for a 32% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants below 2005 levels by 2030. That is up from the 30% target as part of last year’s proposal. [OilPrice.com]
  • The Obama administration unveiled the final version of its Clean Power Plan on Monday, establishing for the first time federal limits on carbon emissions for the nation’s power plants, but apparently through the embrace of renewables, solar and wind power, rather than natural gas. Coal, of course, took the greatest beating. But supporters of natural gas power also were not happy. [Natural Gas Intelligence]

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

GMP Statement Praises New Climate Change Regulations

Green Mountain Power today issued the following statement in support of New Climate Change Regulations:

“Green Mountain Power, Vermont’s Energy Company of the Future, supports the new climate change regulations.  This aligns with GMP’s mission to deliver low-cost, low-carbon, and highly reliable power, which is critical to our energy future. And it also aligns with our shared Vermont goal to reduce carbon emissions and use more clean energy. In Vermont, the frequency and severity of storms caused by a changing climate have a high cost, and a practical plan for reducing carbon emissions is a key part of lowering costs for customers and increasing reliability.

“GMP is partnering with customers to accelerate the pace of change here in Vermont to  a more distributed energy future that is based on energy being generated closer to the home and where it is used. We are finding new ways to help Vermonters save money and be more comfortable, while moving to cleaner local sources of energy – exemplified by the deployment of substantial renewable generation in the past several years, our Energy Homes of the Future, “eHomes”, and our goal to make Rutland the Energy City of the Future. Generating energy through microgrids empowers customers to make more choices about how and when they use energy.

“While some utilities across the country are fighting innovative clean energy solutions, we are moving full steam ahead with our efforts to find new ways to bring down energy costs and generate more clean power. It is critical that we rethink the current grid and business model to more local distributed generation. We want to transform the distribution grid from a 100-year-old electric delivery model where energy is transmitted inefficiently across long distances to a new system designed to create efficiencies and distributed energy solutions through renewable technologies and energy storage. This is the future, and we are so excited to be a part of how Vermont is leading the way.”

Diverse NH Leaders to Voice Support for EPA’s Finalized Clean Power Plan

CONCORD, NH – Following the finalization of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean Power Plan on Monday, August 3rd at 2PM in Washington, local leaders will hold a tele-press conference at 3:30 on Monday, August 3, 2015 to voice their support for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan to combat climate change, and call on local, state, and national leaders to do the same. Experts in health and financial field, as well as a faith leader, will be included.

The Clean Power Plan is the largest single action on climate as it sets the first ever nation-wide limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants, and encourages investments in clean energy and energy efficiency.

DATE: August 3, 2015

TIME: 3:30PM

DIAL: LINK TO REGISTER FOR TELEPRESSER Registration is required

SPEAKERS:

Speakers at Monday’s event will discuss specifically the projected economic, health and leadership benefits of the plan. More speakers are expected.

Katie Robert, MPA, is the president of the board of the New Hampshire Public Health Association. She provides management and technical support to a variety of projects across the public health spectrum. Katie has been working directly and indirectly with NH child care programs to improve physical activity and nutrition policies in their settings. In addition, Katie works on a number of projects related to health communication and outreach plan development for a variety of state and privately-funded collaborative programs. She received her Master’s in Public Administration and her BA in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire.

Julie Fox Gorte, Ph.D. is the Senior Vice President for Sustainable Investing at Pax World Management LLC. She oversees Environmental, Social and Governance-related research on prospective and current investments as well as Pax’s shareholder advocacy and work on public policy advocacy.

Dr. Gorte serves on the boards of Ceres, the Sustainable Investments Institute, the Endangered Species Coalition and the American Sustainable Business Council. She serves as the co-chair of the Asset Management Working Group of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiatives and is on the steering committee for UNEP’s workstream on biodiversity.

Prior to joining Pax, Dr. Gorte served as Vice President and Chief Social Investment Strategist at Calvert. Her experience before she joined the investment world in 1999 includes nearly 14 years as Senior Associate and Project Director at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, Vice President for Economic and Environmental Research at The Wilderness Society, Program Manager for Technology Programs in the Environmental Protection Agency’s policy office and Senior Associate at the Northeast-Midwest Institute. Dr. Gorte received her Bachelor of Science in Forest Management at Northern Arizona University and a Master of Science and Ph.D from Michigan State in resource economics.

Steve Blackmer is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. Steve received his Master’s degree in Religion from Yale Divinity School in 2012 with a focus on Christianity spirituality and the environment; he also holds a Master’s degree in Forestry from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Dartmouth College. Steve is forming a network of people committed to connecting their environmental action with spiritual and religious transformation – a network he calls the “Green Friars” (without limitation as to gender or faith) – and creating a new multi-faith church, The Church of the Woods in Canterbury NH, particularly to serve people who find “God” in nature.

MORE:

The plan, as part of the Clean Air Act, will reduce carbon from power plants by 30 percent below 2005 levels nationwide by addressing four areas, such as energy efficiency, reducing demand, and promoting renewable energy like wind and solar. States can create their own implementation plan or work with others to adopt a multi-state plan.

It is likely that the flexibility of the Clean Power Plan will allow New Hampshire and the other Northeast states involved in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, to continue making climate advances.

REMINDER: YOU MUST REGISTER TO PARTICIPATE: LINK TO REGISTER FOR TELEPRESSER

 

August 3 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Ethiopia is bursting with a feeling of unprecedented economic optimism owing to its high economic growth in the last twenty years, and the Ethiopian people are upbeat about their country’s future. And after more than a decade of heavy investments in its renewable energy, Ethiopia is emerging as a leading producer and exporter of clean electricity. [Somaliland Sun]
Ethiopia with large hydro power and wind farm projects like pictured Green Mountain Wind Farm Fluvanna looks to become the renewable energy powerhouse of Africa.

Ethiopia with large hydro power and wind farm projects like pictured Green Mountain Wind Farm Fluvanna looks to become the renewable energy powerhouse of Africa.

  • The Obama administration unveiled its Clean Power Plan, which is aimed at a large reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The President will next begin selling it to the public at a White House event. The Clean Power Plan is the final version of EPA regulations, which President Barak Obama called “the biggest most important step we’ve ever taken to combat climate change.” [CNN]
  • The wind and solar industries cheered while coal companies vowed to kill President Barack Obama’s new limits on climate-change pollution as details of the historic regulations emerged on Sunday. The rules include tougher limits on carbon emissions and more incentives for renewable energy than expected. That may also mean fewer benefits for natural gas. [theday.com]
  • Hillary Clinton promised to make the US a clean energy superpower, but many knowledgeable critics see her climate goals as inadequate. James Hansen, who first told congress about the “cause and effect relationship” between climate change and human emissions, said, “It’s just plain silly … No, you cannot solve the problem without a fundamental change.” [CleanTechnica]
  • In an opinion piece, the most recent head of the National Australia Bank made revelations about the backlash from government to business that dared speak out in support of sensible climate change and renewable energy policies. Cameron Clyne lamented the government’s economically reckless policies, “willful ignorance,” and retribution to those who did speak out. [RenewEconomy]

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

August 2 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Western Australia is about to get its first solar powered mine site, with work starting next week on a $40 million solar array to supply Sandfire Resources’ DeGrussa copper mine with a substantial portion of its power. Under a deal with Juwi, the builder, Sandfire will buy power for at least six years, with further agreements if Sandfire keeps the mine going. [The West Australian]
A Juwi Energy project in East Africa similar to the one proposed for Western Australia.

A Juwi Energy project in East Africa similar to the one proposed for Western Australia.

  • Purpose Energy is a company on a mission: “Changing the world, one beer at a time.” Eric Fitch, co-founder and CEO of Purpose Energy, has made a breakthrough in waste remediation, renewable energy, and beer brewing. The company’s patented “tribrid bioreactor,”installed at Magic Hat Brewery in South Burlington, Vermont, has changed the game. [Wicked Local Woburn]
  • In its initial version, the Clean Power Plan called for cutting the country’s power plant emissions 30% from 2005 levels by 2030, with different targets for each state. The current plan accommodates many of the objections raised initially, but White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said this week that the final rule will be “stronger in many ways than the proposed rule.” [Yahoo! Maktoob News]
  • One opportunity for the governor of California to meet his goal for renewable energy is to partner with other Western states to coordinate of electricity systems across the West. According to a study by the California ISO, a functional Western grid using the state’s renewable requirement could lower pollution levels by nearly 2.6 million metric tons annually. [Sacramento Bee]
  • Plant Vogtle’s proposed nuclear expansion with new units 3 and 4 will cost an estimated $65 billion, former Georgia Public Service Commissioner Bobbie Baker says, based on his analysis of information he received when cross-examining the PSC staff witness at the June 23, 2015 PSC hearing. The hearing was for the 12th Vogtle Construction Monitoring Review. [Atlanta Progressive News]

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

 

August 1 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • A Maine company that’s developing tidal power and river power systems says it’s successfully connected one of its units to the power grid in an Alaskan village. Ocean Renewable Power Company says its 25-kW RivGen Power System has been successfully deployed in the remote river village of Igiugig. This is to reduce the village’s reliance diesel-powered generators. [PennEnergy]
ORPC's RivGen Power System in Igiugig before being submerged for operation

ORPC’s RivGen Power System in Igiugig before being submerged for operation.

  • Dr James L Powell, director of the National Physical Sciences Consortium, examined titles and abstracts of more than 24,000 peer-reviewed scientific articles on climate change published during the past couple of years. He identified 69,406 authors named in the articles. Only four of them rejected the fact that human emissions cause climate change. [CleanTechnica]
  • A report from the University of Georgia says states can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by combining of renewable energy sources and energy-saving strategies. Complying with the Clean Power Plan would also produce substantial collateral benefits such as lower electricity bills, greater GDP growth, and significant reductions in SO2, NOx, and mercury emissions. [CleanTechnica]
  • In an unprecedented show of business support for tackling climate change, 365 companies and investor groups sent letters today to more than two dozen governors across the United States voicing their support for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan for existing power plants and encouraging the state’s “timely finalization” of state implementation plans to meet the new standards. [Sustainable Brands]
  • In every decade since the 1970s, the US has added less hydropower capacity than the decade prior. But now energy experts say that new ways of thinking about hydropower has placed the energy source on the verge of a resurgence in the US. Hydropower production is anticipated to grow by more than 5% in 2016 alone, according to the US Energy Information Administration. [TIME]

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

GMP Files for Customers to Receive Third Bill Decrease in Four Years

Agreement with key stakeholders will result in a 0.76% net bill decrease for customers beginning October 1st

Colchester, Vt – Green Mountain Power today announced it has reached two agreements with stakeholders that will result in a net 0.76% decrease in electric bills if approved by the Public Service Board (PSB). The filings, which are subject to PSB approval, will take effect on October 1, 2015 and follow last year’s 2.46% rate decrease. The proposals, above all, keep rates low and stable for customers. If approved, these rates will be lower than GMP’s rates in 2013, even when adjusted for inflation.

“At a time when the cost of living and doing business continues to rise, even for companies like GMP, it’s heartening to offer families and businesses some needed relief,” said Mary Powell, president and CEO of Green Mountain Power. “In addition, as Vermont’s Energy Company of the Future, we are committed to going even further by providing customers new products and services to help them save money, be more comfortable and reduce use of foreign oil.”

The announcement and filings are the result of the work between GMP, the Vt. Department of Public Service, and AARP. The agreements will provide cost-effective and stable electric rates for the families and businesses of Vermont.

“This is tremendous news for all customers, and especially for Vermont businesses,” said CEO Clay Adams at Simon Pearce. “GMP is a great partner in helping us lower our energy costs, and this is another example of their commitment to helping businesses thrive in a competitive market.”

The agreements among GMP, the Vt. Department of Public Service and AARP would result in a net 0.76% decrease to customers’ bills effective October 1. This includes a 0.73% increase, offset entirely by a 1.49% decrease resulting from a one-time return of surplus funds from the low-income charge to customers last year, and a reduction of the low income charge going forward.

The stable rate proposal stands in contrast to other northeastern states, which are currently facing significant rate increases.

“We appreciate the good work of GMP and others to keep our electric rates low and stable for several years now, this is really welcomed news for us,” said Peter Longchamp of Vermont Hard Cider. “We are very dependent on affordable and reliable power and having a 0.76% bill decrease following a 2.46% rate decrease last year is really going to help us keep our company strong.”

GMP continues the important work of delivering on its commitment to streamline services for customers, improve storm response and increase its work to deliver clean, cost-effective and highly reliable energy for Vermonters now and in the future.

“This shows how we can keep rates low and stable for Vermont businesses and families and lead the nation with investments in new innovations and a clean energy future,” Powell said. “This is a great example of what we can accomplish when we work together for the good of Vermont.”

July 31 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The losses are continuing to mount as more coal companies report their second quarter earnings. Cloud Peak Energy announced a $53 million loss for the quarter Wednesday, and Arch Coal reported a $168 million dollar loss Thursday, following a $1 billion loss Peabody Energy reported Monday. The losses result largely from competition from natural gas and renewables. [Wyoming Public Media]
Open pit coal mine. Credit Stephanie Joyce

Open pit coal mine. Credit Stephanie Joyce

  • There is an assumption that when a supply-demand imbalance incident happens, there will be an automatic response within 5-6 seconds from conventional (gas, coal, hydro) generators to stabilize the power supply. This has been an important talking point in an argument against having too much renewable power. But the assumption turns out to be simply wrong. [CleanTechnica]
  • Europe’s offshore wind industry has shattered previous installation records in the first half of 2015, installing 2,342.9 MW of electricity generation capacity, triple the same time last year. Installations for the first half of 2015 had reached 2,342.9 MW, tripling the grid-connected capacity of the same period in 2014 and bringing Europe’s operating capacity up to 10,393.6 MW. [CleanTechnica]
  • Utility scale solar has grown so in the US that utilities are now longer fighting it, with large scale solar likely to be competitive even if tax credits are removed. That is the view of SunPower, one of the biggest solar module manufacturers and project developers in the US, which just bought out the 1.5-GW solar portfolio in the US built up by Australia’s Infigen Energy. [CleanTechnica]
  • In New York state, sheriff’s deputies arrested 10 protesters, including several yoga practitioners and a cello player, in front of Crestwood Midstream’s gates Wednesday. They were protesting Crestwood’s plans for a gas storage facility. They arrived at 8 am, unrolled yoga mats, and blockaded the company’s north entrance, performing a series of poses to cello music. [Finger Lakes Times]

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

July 30 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The island if Hawaii gets about 50% of its energy from a mixture of renewable sources. A lot of that is thanks to the state’s only geothermal plant, Puna Geothermal Venture, which sits on the eastern rift zone of the Kilauea Volcano. The plant generates about 38 MW, according to the Hawaii Electric Light Co, enough to power up to 4,400 typical Hawaiian homes. [Business Insider]
A lava lake inside Kilauea’s overlook crater in 2008. USGS photo,

A lava lake inside Kilauea’s overlook crater in 2008. USGS photo.

  • Despite the UK government making moves to scale back the level of support given to solar technology, Scotland remains committed. In the aftermath of proposals to scrap support for most renewable sources, Scottish Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland is at the forefront of the renewables industry and solar is an important part of our renewable mix.” [Solar Power Portal]
  • The coal industry and its supporters often argue that coal is still a relevant energy source because it’s cheap, and cheap electricity reduces energy poverty. But on Tuesday, Oxfam Australia directed an entire report to Australia’s government, saying that for the one billion people living without electricity, coal is more expensive than renewable energy sources. [ThinkProgress]
  • SolarCity introduced a new solar energy service that will make it possible for many small and medium-sized businesses to pay less for solar electricity than they pay for power from their local utility for the first time. SolarCity will initially offer its SMB service to owner-occupied business locations in California, but expects to expand it to other territories in early 2016. [AltEnergyMag]
  • Exelon’s Quad Cities nuclear plant may be a goner come September. Chris Crane, CEO of the company, which is the largest nuclear plant operator in the country, made clear on a conference call with analysts that he doesn’t see a way to keep money-losing Quad Cities open without a state law charging Illinois ratepayers more to support nuclear plants. [Crain’s Chicago Business]

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

Governor Cuomo Announces

Solar Energy to Power Belleayre, Gore, and Whiteface Ski Centers

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that the three state operated ski resorts at Belleayre, Gore and Whiteface Mountain have committed to using solar power to operate their ski lift and snowmaking operations.

“By using renewable energy to power major operations at these world-class ski resorts, we are building upon this administration’s commitment to expand this state’s use of renewal energy, strengthen this important, job-creating economic sector, and reduce New York’s carbon footprint,” Governor Cuomo said. “This exciting news is just one more reason to visit one of New York’s premier ski resorts this winter.”

The 25-year power purchase agreement with Borrego Solar is the most recent environmental initiative the state and ORDA have undertaken to run its business units with increased sustainability and efficiency. It is also in keeping with Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision’s NY-Sun initiative, a $1-billion initiative to advance the scale-up of solar and move the state closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry as New York builds a clean, resilient and affordable energy system.

Gore Mountain is home to the most skiable terrain and largest lift infrastructure in New York State, and its massive snowmaking system, lift operations, and other electrical equipment use about 13-million kilowatt hours of power and cost approximately $1-million in utility costs each year. The solar energy for Gore, produced at a location in Washington County, is expected to reduce Gore’s energy bill by over $213,000 during the first year. Borrego’s projections indicate that the three ski resorts could save as much $14-million over the 25-year period, utilizing more than 10 megawatts of solar power.

The solar projects received support from NY-Sun through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which administers the initiative.

“With this initiative ORDA will substantially reduce its carbon footprint essentially akin to removing over 46,000 cars from the road over the life of the agreement,” said ORDA chairman Pat Barrett. “We want to make sure that this wonderful recreational sport stays around for generations to come.”

“These projects demonstrate an innovative use of solar energy, which is helping a wide range of businesses across New York State reduce electricity costs and preserve the environment,” said John B. Rhodes, president and CEO, NYSERDA. “They are examples of tangible State actions under Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers.”

The solar power project is the latest sustainable endeavor for all three resorts. Over the past two years, Gore Mountain has added 260 low-energy, high-efficiency guns to its snowmaking fleet, along with a several powerful fan guns, while Whiteface has added 100 guns to its fleet. Meanwhile Belleayre, began transitioning away from diesel air compressors to electric, as well as adding energy-efficient guns to its fleet of 600 guns that are responsible for covering the Catskill region resort’s 55 trails.

Low-energy, high-efficiency guns use the same amount of water as a traditional gun, but the air that these guns use is 25-percent of a traditional gun. The energy savings come from running compressors for a shorter period of time, while making more snow in less time and shortening the snowmaking season.

All three resorts have modernized their pumping systems and/or compressors to further offset energy use, and over the last two seasons Gore has operated more lifts for more days than ever before, while using less energy than in past. ORDA mountains have been presented with four international “Silver Eagle” awards, one to Whiteface for Excellence in Environmental Education; and three to Gore for Excellence in Environmental Group Relations, Environmental Education, and Excellence of Visual Impact Resources.

Under NY-Sun, the growth of solar in New York State has increased more than 300-percent from 2011 to 2014, which is twice the rate of U.S. solar growth overall. A total of 314.48 megawatts of solar electric was installed as of December 2014 across the state, equivalent to powering more than 51,000 homes.

In addition to project support, NY-Sun also supports Community Solar NY, K-Solar and Shared Renewables. For information about NY-Sun, visit ny-sun.ny.gov .

For more information about Belleayre, Gore and Whiteface and all of the activities and events that take place on ORDA’s venues, visit www.whitefacelakeplacid.com .