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May 21 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Can Regions, Cities become 100% Dependent on renewable energy? Absurd? Not anymore”- Strides are being taken to move entire regions, as well as cities, to 100% renewable energy, according to speakers at the May 13-15 Renewable Cities Forum 2015 in Vancouver. Renewables are transforming policy. [Bloomberg BNA]
Vancouver downtown, winter sunset. Photo by Pmagn. Wikimedia Commons.

Vancouver downtown, winter sunset. Photo by Pmagn. Wikimedia Commons.

  • China’s thermal coal imports are expected to drop by 52 million tonnes or around a quarter in 2015, as the country takes steps to support its domestic producers and address environmental concerns. The expected fall weighs on already historically low prices and exacerbate a supply glut. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]
  • Investment bank Morgan Stanley has painted a bullish outlook for the home battery storage market in Australia, saying it could be worth $24 billion, with half of all households likely to install batteries to store the output from their solar panels. That will mean more than the doubling the number with solar. [RenewEconomy]
  • California has sealed a Memorandum of Understanding (“Under 2 MOU”) with 11 other states and provinces in the Americas and Europe to limit their greenhouse gas emissions to 80-95% by 2050 from 1990 levels. The tricontinental pledge, representing 100 million people, is without precedent and very forward-looking. [CleanTechnica]
  • In Vermont, Stowe Electric Department officials met last week with residents , hoping to assuage concerns over a solar project in their back yard. The project is up for a vote on May 28, as the town needs to get a bond to go ahead with the project. The immediate concerns of the residents may have been allayed. [Stowe Today]

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

Vermont Working to Redefine Bike Transportation Statewide

First Effort of its Kind in the Nation

vbike banner

Go! Vermont and VBike are collaborating to help propel Vermont forward in redefining bike transportation by positioning the Green Mountain State as a leader in bold approaches to bike design and technology. In addition, VSECU is helping to make these innovative bike solutions financially viable to as many Vermonters as possible.

Over the past ten years, an extraordinary bicycle transportation movement has been emerging nationwide, aiming to actively encourage livable communities, promote physical and mental health, and contend with climate change. One of the most notable signs of a significant bike boom occurring in the United States are the 38 major bike share programs that have been established since 2007, with plenty more on the way.  However, a significant piece of this bike transportation trend is being driven by recent innovations, including the latest electric-assist options and cargo bikes, which profoundly expand the range, carrying capacity (children and cargo), hill climbing ease, comfort and overall utility of biking.

Go! Vermont, the state’s alternative transportation agency, and VBike, an organization promoting cutting-edge cycling technology in Vermont, have teamed up to bring new ideas to the state’s bicycle culture. Together they revamped Go!Vermont’s biking webpage to reflect the most recent developments in bike designs and e-assist options that make negotiating Vermont’s challenging hilly terrain practical for nearly anyone, even with children on board a cargo bike! Go Vermont has also has contracted with VBike to provide free consultations with households, families, and businesses to help Vermonters choose between the right cargo bike and e-assist system that best fit their needs. And in a recent development, VSECU, a credit union for all Vermonters, has extended their innovative VGreen low-interest loan program to the purchase of bikes for transportation.  This will make the purchase of an electric-assist cargobike, which can replace a car for many local trips (school drop off, errands, commuting), a financially viable option.

Vermont Representative Mollie S. Burke, stated that “I am thrilled that Go Vermont and VBike are working together to promote a new generation of bike designs and technologies that expand the ability of Vermonters to use bicycles for every-day use. This transportation option offers a low-cost opportunity to help Vermont reduce carbon emissions from motor vehicles, one of my highest legislative priorities.”

The Go Vermont and VBike collaboration along with VSECU extending their VGreen loans to cargo bikes, e-bikes and other bike transportation options represent an unprecedented joint effort to rethink, reimagine, and reinterpret the bicycle towards a whole new era in Vermont. This may be the first effort of its kind in the nation to reconceptualize transportation biking at the state level and combine that with making the purchase of bike for transportation easier than ever before!

Contact Info:
VBike –  Dave Cohen 802-258-7013
Go! Vermont –
VSECU – Laurie Fielder

Less Car More Go – Informative video about the emergence of the cargobike in the US
Families Ditch Cars for Cargo Bikes – New York Times 4/22/15

May 20 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The world’s first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which corresponds to three days use of electricity in a standard Norwegian household. The ferry is powered by lithium-ion batteries charged by hydropower. [The Maritime Executive]
Battery-powered ferry in Norway.

Battery-powered ferry in Norway.

  • German Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande jointly yesterday pledged to do their utmost to ensure an ambitious UN deal to combat climate change is reached this year. The EU’s two biggest economies also urged other countries to do their part in helping achieve a global push to cut emissions. [The Daily Star]
  • Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyzed the pre-approval of a record 34 GW of Chinese wind projects to be built over 2015-18 in an Analyst Reaction, looking at the investment involved, the developers and the geographical distribution of the approved projects. This will be windpower’s biggest year in China. [Business Spectator]
  • In Alaska, faced with climate change and high electricity costs, the Kodiak Electric Association set a goal of producing 95% of the community’s electrical needs with renewable energy by 2020. They actually arrived there well ahead of time, and are now 99.7% renewably powered by wind and hydro. [Business Spectator]
  • The solar capacity in the US is forecast to grow to 40 GW by 2017, up from 20 GW in 2014, according to a new video report from the US Solar Energy Industries Association. Solar will be producing enough energy to power eight million homes by 2017, with all solar markets expected to grow 25-50% in this period. [PV-Tech]

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

May 19 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from installations covered by the EU emissions trading scheme fell by about 4.5% last year, in part, due to the impact of renewables, according to the European Wind Energy Association. It is of interest that power sector emissions fell substantially more than industrial emissions. [reNews]
European sunrise

European sunrise

  • A house in the hills above Stuttgart can theoretically generate enough energy to power itself and an electric car, with enough left over to feed back to into Germany’s national grid. The B10 house is designed to generate 200% energy, a target it hopes to hit within the next year. Almost the entire house is recyclable. []
  • SaskPower’s 140-MW Boundary Dam coal plant has an operating carbon capture and storage system (CSS), which captures 90% of carbon dioxide it produces. It sells most of it to a nearby oilfield for “enhanced oil recovery” and buries the rest. CSS reduces power output by 17% to 18%. [The Australian Financial Review]
  • Unilever has saved 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions since 2008 in its manufacturing network. Energy consumption has been reduced by 20%, the same energy used to run 40 factories or the carbon of over 800,000 acres of forest per year. This has also resulted in significant cost savings of €244 million. [New Food]
  • The ravages of climate change could severely hurt the ability of utilities in the 11 Western states to generate power unless they “climate proof” their power grid using renewables, increased transmission capacity, and energy efficiency, something they are not prepared for, according to a new study. [Standard-Examiner]

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

May 18 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “7 Facts That Prove the Renewable Energy Revolution Has Arrived” – The global transition to clean, renewable energy and away from nuclear and fossil fuels is well under way with remarkable developments happening every day. Here are seven important developments that may surprise you: [EcoWatch]
Wind turbine in UK. Author: Mark Thompson. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

Wind turbine in UK. Author: Mark Thompson. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

  • Giving local communities powers to stop onshore wind farms is one of the first things on the agenda of the new UK energy secretary, Amber Rudd. Personally, she enjoys the turbines, but her position is that they cannot be built on scale in places where people do not want them, she told The Sunday Times. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • A deal has been reached to reduce Australia’s renewable energy target to 33,000 GWh after the government agreed to drop regular reviews of the scheme. The government and Labor reached an agreement during talks in Melbourne on Monday morning, ending more than 12 months of political deadlock. [The Age]
  • US clean energy company Invenergy LLC said Friday it has secured debt and tax equity project financing for the 200-MW Buckeye wind farm in Ellis County, Kansas. Nebraska utility Lincoln Electric System in December completed the power purchase agreement for 100 MW of Buckeye’s power. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • Siemens will supply 65 wind turbines for the Amazon wind farm Fowler Ridge in Benton County, Indiana. With a capacity of 150 MW, the wind power plant will provide Amazon Web Services’ data center. Construction is scheduled to begin in July. Commissioning is planned for the first quarter of 2016. [Sun & Wind Energy]

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

Sane Energy Project’s Interactive Fracked-gas Infrastructure Map

At the Ithaca, New York stop of The Solutions Grassroots Tour: “A Solar Home Companion” local organizer, Stephanie Redmond, asked a very important question of Josh Fox, who had filmed the documentary, Gasland.She wanted to know when he was going to join the Seneca Lake Defenders and get arrested protesting fracked-gas storage in salt cavern under Seneca Lake.

A couple of nights later we were in Watkins Glen, our closest tour stop to the proposed gas storage site. We were there with local winemakers, business owners and many others who had joined the campaign to oppose the gas-storage under Seneca Lake.

Local renewable energy company Renovus Energy was also there. We learned that they had donated the iconic blue We Are Seneca Lake t-shirts that defenders wore while blockading the gates of Houston-based Crestwood Midstream.

The sense of community and purpose in Watkins Glen was so strong. It’s a strength we’ve seen all across the world touring to communities facing down the threat of fracking from beach towns in California to rural communities in Pennsylvania, from winemaking communities in the Finger Lakes region of New York to winemakers in Ardeche, France.

It’s a strength that grows roots and pulls from everything about the places we call home that are worth saving. It’s strength with local character.

                                                         Map of the Week: YOU ARE HERE 

This week our Map of the Week is YOU ARE HERE, a powerful tool for organizers put together by Sane Energy Project that shows the insane build out of fracked gas infrastructure in New York State.

We’ve toured to many of those dots and have seen the strength of the communities there.

The green dot on that beautiful blue lake is where on Wednesday Josh Fox, Bethany Yarrow, Rufus Cappadocia and I joined the Seneca Lake Defenders on a renewable energy themed blockade. Renovus Energy was there too, offering better jobs in the local solar Industry.

We were there to say no to the expansion of extreme energy in our country and yes to the alternative- democratic, renewable energy.

We were there to support our fellow fractivists who have organized an incredible showing of community through an 8th month sustained civil disobedience campaign, but we were also there to represent each and every one of you who is being threatened by fracking and fracked-gas infrastructure.

Like the folks in Waywanda, New York, where the fossil fuel industry wants to put in the CPV Power Plant, a fracked-gas power plant near an area already feeling the effects of the Miniski Compressor Station.

I was at a rally against the CPV power plant in nearby Middletown recently, and I saw the same strength there that I saw when people blockaded the gates of Crestwood on Seneca Lake.

We were there to represent dozens of other communities that are under siege now from bomb trains that run through their backyards carrying explosive oil fracked in the Bakken Shale.

We were there to represent our own infrastructure fights. Bethany’s home and her neighbors’ homes in Schoarie County are threaten the by the Constitution Pipeline.

What will bind the communities of the Finger Lakes and Schoarie County with the rest of the country? Will it be pipelines and crude oil rails? Will it be  air pollution and contaminated waterways?

Or will it be that these communities stood up against the most powerful companies in the history of the world to defend their homes and protect their families?

If these projects are allowed to continue it’s game over for our planet meaning whether there is an infrastructure dot over your house or not, we are all here.

Please share our Map of the Week and check out Sane Energy Project’s interactive fracked-gas infrastructure map YOU ARE HERE.

Lee Ziesche, Grassroots Coordinator

Sanders to Propose Tuition-Free 4-Year Public Colleges and Universities

Sen Sanders Logo

BURLINGTON, Vt., May 17 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will introduce legislation this week to provide tuition-free higher education for students at 4-year colleges and universities in the United States.

“We live in a highly competitive global economy and, if our economy is to be strong, we need the best-educated work force in the world.  That will not happen if, every year, hundreds of thousands of bright young people cannot afford to go to college, and if millions more leave school deeply in debt,” Sanders said.

“Countries like Germany, Denmark, Sweden and many more are providing free or inexpensive higher education for their young people.  They understand how important it is to be investing in their youth.  We should be doing the same.”

Sanders’ legislation would eliminate undergraduate tuition at public colleges and universities and expand work-study programs. The bill, which he intends to file on Tuesday, also would substantially lower student debt and bring down interest rates on college loans.

“We used to lead the world in the percentage of our people who graduated college. Today we are in 12 th place. We used to have great universities tuition free. Today they are unaffordable. I want a more educated work force. I want everybody to be able to get a higher education regardless of their income,” the senator said.

Who: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders

What: News conference on college tuition legislation

When: 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Where: U.S. Capitol “Senate Swamp” on Northeast Lawn. (Rain location: Capitol Room S115)

Contact: Michael Briggs: (202) 228-6492

May 17 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • After four years of drought, production at some California dams is expected to be less than 20% of normal because of low water levels. The shortfall should not cause brownouts because California relies on dams for power far less than it did in decades past, due in part to the emergence of solar and wind energy. [Los Angeles Times]
John Forster says the number of people directly employed in the solar power industry in Scotland could grow from around 400 currently to up to 5,000.

John Forster says the number of people directly employed in the solar power industry in Scotland could grow from around 400 currently to up to 5,000.

  • Compressed air is being studied increasingly as a medium for storing electric energy. While it is not as efficient as many other storage systems, it has the advantage of providing storage over longer terms. It is also expected to be utilized at a fraction of the cost of other systems, possibly as low as 10%. [New Zealand Herald]
  • Ghana’s energy plan is getting financial support. It has four key projects: renewable energy mini-grids and stand-alone solar PV systems; solar PV-based net metering with storage; utility-scale solar PV/wind power generation; and a technical assistance project supported by the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa. [GhanaWeb]
  • Marshall Wind Energy LLC has signed three individual long-term renewable energy power purchase agreements totaling 65 MW of renewable energy with utilities in Kansas and Missouri. The electricity will be supplied from a 72-MW wind farm in Marshall County, Kansas with 36 Vestas V110 2-MW turbines. [PR Web]
  • Thanks to decreasing system prices and state and federal incentives, the number of solar installations in the state of Connecticut rose from 558 in 2008 to more than 10,000 today. Newly available financing is contributing to the increasing numbers of solar projects, even as state incentives are declining. [CT Post]

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

May 16 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded grants to scientists in five western states to do research in geothermal methods that can develop the region’s huge potential. It has been estimated that geothermal in this region could potentially generate enough electricity to power about 100 million homes. [CleanTechnica]
The Sonoma Calpine 3 geothermal power plant at The Geysers field in the Mayacamas Mountains of Somona County, Northern California. Photo by Stepheng3. Wikimedia Commons.

The Sonoma Calpine 3 geothermal power plant at The Geysers field in the Mayacamas Mountains of Somona County, Northern California. Photo by Stepheng3. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Greenpeace Energy desk reported the figures from China’s National Energy Administration in October of 2014, revealing that China’s coal use dropped by 1.28% in 2014. However, in March of this year, new data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China indicates that coal consumption dropped by 2.9%. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Energy Supply Association of Australia, representing the fossil fuel and renewable energy sector, has sourced data from around the world revealing household solar PV penetration in Australia is way out in front of any other nation. Almost 15% of Australian households have adopted the technology. [Daily News Biotech Wired]
  • Virtual power plants for small, distributed power generation have become a fixture of Germany’s electrical grid. While their numbers remain in the low thousands, VPPs withstood a five-year trial period in the electricity market. Now, with falling battery prices, they are beginning to change the grid. [Environment & Energy Publishing]
  • On Friday afternoon, the Vermont Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation that will encourage more renewable energy projects in the state. The bill passed by a vote of 22-6. Nevertheless, it has re-ignited a debate over the impact of solar and wind projects on the communities where they’re built. [Vermont Public Radio]

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

Meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel

Vermont Public Service Department Announces May 28 Meeting of Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel

Montpelier, Vermont  – The Public Service Department today announced the next meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel will be held on Thursday May 28, 2015, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, in the Multi-Purpose Room at Brattleboro Union High School, 131 Fairground Road , Brattleboro, Vermont.

The agenda for the May 28 meeting includes presentations on the Vermont Public Service Board’s Certificate of Public Good (CPG) process and Entergy’s petition for a CPG for a second dry cask storage pad at the Vermont Yankee site. The complete agenda can be viewed online at the following link:

All meetings of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel are open to the public.