Get Email Updates!

Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

October 21 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Is Climate Science Denial Leading to Human Rights Violations, Asks Philippines Commission” • As climate change liability increasingly lands in courtrooms around the globe, the Philippines Commission on Human Rights is taking a different and unique approach, investigating climate change impacts as a human rights infringement. [DeSmog]

Philippine boy after Typhoon Ketsana (Photo: Asian Development Bank, Creative commons)

  • “Are Extreme Weather Events Linked to Climate Change?” • Can a Single Extreme Weather Event be Attributed to Climate Change? Ten years ago the answer to this question was a solid “no.” But the science of identifying singular extreme weather events as results of human-caused climate change is changing fast. [Scientific American]
  • “Prices for New Tesla Model 3 and Other Popular EVs Lower than Used Prices” • Over a year into its production run, the Tesla Model 3 is still selling at significantly higher prices on the used market than it sells for new. Is this a joke? No, it’s real, and it is actually the new normal for the best value EVs in several markets around the world. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Tesla Model S Still #1 Large Luxury Car in USA – By Far” • Rather than just beating the competition in the large luxury car class, the Model S seems to be demolishing it. Tesla Model S sales have remained steady, but its lead in sales has grown from previous quarters because of declining sales of competing luxury car models. [CleanTechnica]
  • “US City Empowers Australian Councils to Develop Solar as Lack of Federal Climate Policy Causes Concern” • Mayor Rex Parris of Lancaster, California, attributes an increase in jobs, new manufacturers moving to the city, and a reduction in crime to the city’s net-zero energy policy. He spoke with Australian council representatives. [ABC Local]

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

October 20 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Puget Sound Energy Launches Green Direct to Support 100% Renewable Goals” • Washington State energy provider Puget Sound Energy announced that the second round of its Green Direct program has been fully subscribed. It allows local councils and businesses to buy 100% of their energy from local renewable sources. [CleanTechnica]

Puget Sound Energy’s Wild Horse Wind Farm

  • “Trump Administration Opens California Coast to Wind Power Projects” • For the first time, the federal government is opening the door to offshore wind energy development on the California coast. The Trump administration is soliciting proposals for wind power projects in three areas totaling more than 1,000 square miles in federal waters. [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]
  • “Supreme Court Stalls Youth Climate Change Case” • The US Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a high-profile climate change lawsuit that 21 young activists brought against the federal government. The order freezes trial proceedings in US District Court in Oregon until lawyers for the young people provide a response. [New Jersey Herald]
  • “New England Power Line Opposition Brings Together Unusual Alliance” • Groups that are more often on opposite sides of energy debates are making cases against the proposed $950 million, 1,200-MW transmission line, which would carry Canadian hydropower through northern and western Maine on its way to Massachusetts. [Energy News Network]
  • “Chinese Dominate the Wind Dharts” • Chinese companies were responsible for almost two-thirds of the total wind power capacity added in 2017, according to a report from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. “Global Wind Power Asset Ownership 2018,” found that 63% of capacity additions last year were made by 11 Chinese companies. [reNEWS]

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

Virginia’s new energy plan holds promise: Here are seven steps for success

By Mary Shoemaker, State Policy Analyst

Governor Ralph Northam’s new 2018 Virginia Energy Plan (VEP), released earlier this month, rounds out a busy year for clean energy policy in Virginia. It contains policy and program recommendations that will, if thoroughly implemented, deepen energy savings and expand clean energy in the Commonwealth. It proposes that the governor establish a goal to reduce energy consumption in state buildings 20% by 2022, continue robust energy savings performance contracting, and practice more-thorough energy data management. The VEP also proposes a cumulative statewide combined heat and power target and reinforces the value of state and private financing for customer energy efficiency programs. ACEEE is glad the VEP includes several recommendations we put forward in our comments. Now it is time to put them into action.

The VEP and SB 966

While the state government is already a leader on energy efficiency, utilities in Virginia have historically invested minimally in it. In a recent ACEEE ranking of the 51 largest US electric utilities on energy efficiency programs and policies, Dominion Energy Virginia (Dominion)—the largest utility in the Commonwealth—ranked 50th. But soon, that could change. Earlier this year the Virginia General Assembly passed the Grid Transformation and Security Act (SB 966) to require Dominion and Appalachian Power Company (APCo) to ramp up spending on efficiency programs and the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to engage stakeholders in planning. The VEP echoes these requirements. While SB 966 should drive significant utility sector energy savings, it is not a done deal. Utilities will still need to have efficiency programs approved by regulators, who have historically relied on outdated cost-effectiveness testing methods and rejected programs that would almost certainly gain approval in other states…

To continue reading the blog post, visit: http://www2.aceee.org/e/310911/rginia-s-new-energy-plan-holds/491pjg/228414905

October 19 Green Energy News

Headline News:

“Trump’s failure to fight climate change is a crime against humanity” • President Donald Trump, along with others who oppose action to address human-induced climate change, should be held accountable for climate crimes against humanity. Their policies deny the rights to life, health, and property to their own citizens and people worldwide. [CNN]

Refugee shelters in Kenya (Pete Lewis, Department for International Development, Wikimedia Commons).
Climate change will force increasing numbers of people to live in refugee camps with little hope.

  • “Switching To Clean Energy May Save 11 Million Life Years In India” • India could save an estimated 11 million life years each year by replacing coal-fired power plants with clean, renewable energy, according to a Harvard study. Burning coal is a major cause of air pollution, which is one of the largest contributors to death in both India and China. [NDTV]
  • “Justice Dept asks Supreme Court to put climate change lawsuit on hold” • The Justice Department filed an emergency petition asking the Supreme Court to put on hold a federal lawsuit by 21 minors youths who say the federal government failure to act to curb climate change is depriving them of rights to life, liberty and property. [CNN]
  • “Local leaders commission Rhode Island landfill solar array” • Governor Gina Raimondo, along with business leaders and other elected officials, joined Southern Sky Renewable Energy RI to mark the completion of a 2.6-MW solar array. The former municipal landfill site is now producing clean energy for the town of North Providence. [Solar Power World]
  • “December date for Massachusetts offshore bonanza” • The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold an auction on 13 December to lease 158,000 hectares off the Massachusetts coast for offshore wind development. Nineteen companies have qualified to participate in the auction for the Massachusetts Wind Energy Area. [reNEWS]

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

Residents tell Lebanon City Council, “No Pipeline!”

On October 17, 2018, more than 50 people, including a group of Lebanon High School students, rallied on the steps of Lebanon City Hall to send city government the message, “No Pipeline Here!” Most then walked inside to deliver over 1,100 signatures, all from Lebanon residents and students calling on the City Council to take every legal and regulatory action at its disposal to prevent a natural gas storage facility, regasification plant, and pipeline from proceeding.
Lebanon High School junior Celia Barnett, who led the rally and later addressed the City Council, said, “Until I learned about the petition I was unaware of the gas pipeline that was planned for my community. I was shocked to find out about this dirty and dangerous pipeline. Installing this pipeline will make it much more difficult to move towards renewable energies in the future. I ended up immediately wanting to make a difference.”

As Celia concluded her remarks, a classmate presented a petition signed by 115 Lebanon High School students to the council.  Next, Chuck Manns, read out the petition, signed by 1059 Lebanon residents who called on the City Council to “take every legal and regulatory action at its disposal to deny the natural gas depot/pipeline”.  Mr. Manns, a resident of the Trues Brook neighborhood, which is closest to the proposed site of the storage tanks then addressed safety concerns related to trucking liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the proposed site on a congested main artery through West Lebanon.

Several other Lebanon residents and the chair of the Hartford, VT Selectboard made powerful statements to the City Council.  Dr. Eric Bronstein, a family physician and resident of Lebanon, addressed the public health impacts of gas extracted by fracking then noted that gas worsens climate change.  “A lot could go wrong with this pipeline, and likely would go wrong, based on this industry’s track record. But this issue is way bigger than our backyard,” said Dr. Bronstein. “We need to do better than just asking ourselves what could go wrong. We need to ask ourselves what can we do right for the safety of our neighborhoods, our families, our streets, our businesses, our state, and this planet we care about.” 

Sarah Riley, a member of Sustainable Lebanon, the grassroots volunteer group that organized the petition drive and rally, pointed out “troubling indications” about the safety track record of Liberty Utilities, the company that proposes to build the gas project in Lebanon.  She drew attention to a report prepared for Liberty by consulting engineers in August 2015, and noted that specific safety concerns remain unstudied by the company more than three years later.  She also noted that Liberty had kept that “fatal flaw analysis” shielded from public view until spring of 2018 when the Public Utilities Commission finally required release of the document following a citizen request under New Hampshire’s right-to-know law.  Ms. Riley pointed out that the PUC’s Safety Division, in assessing Liberty a $20,000 fine in a gas project in Keene, cited the company’s “not appropriately following the most minimal of federal safety regulations, Liberty’s inability to properly follow its own written procedures and maintaining documentation of the steps being completed per the applicable procedures…”  Liberty was fined $54,000 in 2016 and 2017 for failing to monitor leaks in its existing pipelines.

Phil Bush, another member of Sustainable Lebanon, presented a request that the City Council set up a task force dedicated to finding ways that the city of Lebanon can prevent the pipeline from being built. According to Mr. Bush’s statement, the task force should include citizen participation from the start and consider opportunities for the City Council to prevent pipeline construction, such as developing an amendment to the City’s zoning ordinance, opposing the special exemption from the zoning board that the pipeline requires, and supporting local businesses in rejecting the pipeline proposal. Sustainable Lebanon suggests that the City also explore ways that it can partner with other municipalities, such as Keene and towns along the Granite Bridge route, to oppose the pipeline, and join cities across the state in passing legislation to stop construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Last March, Liberty Utilities secured a gas distribution franchise from the PUC, which provides it a license to build an LNG storage depot and regasification facility and to construct a pipeline through Lebanon and Hanover streets, despite objection from thousands of residents and both municipalities.  Liberty would need local zoning permits before it can start construction.

Lebanon City Councilor Clifton Below told the PUC at a hearing In September, 2017 that the city does not support expanding natural gas. He testified “to make clear to the Commission that our current Master Plan, which is the official policy of the City adopted by both the Planning Board and the City Council, does not support the expanded use of natural gas. It’s not consistent with our goals to move more quickly to reduce our carbon footprint as a city and to develop renewable energy.”

Phil Bush said that catastrophic climate events have convinced Sustainable Lebanon that we have to move quickly to curtail the warming caused by burning fossil fuels. And many agree: a poll of NH residents in October 2016 showed that 67% favor renewable energy to 24% favoring natural gas.

“Many people think natural gas is green, but it’s not good for the environment,” according to Sustainable Lebanon’s Jon Chaffee. “It is a fossil fuel, and it causes even more global warming than the other fossil fuels now used for heating in Lebanon, because gas leaks up into the atmosphere where it has a greenhouse effect 80 times that of CO2”.

Chaffee, who recently organized a forum for Lebanon business leaders on renewable energy alternatives, also said, “The pipeline can be stopped if there are no customers. If local businesses are sensitive to public opinion and hear how strongly the public wants to see Lebanon move away from fossil fuels, we are hoping they will refuse to contract for pipeline gas.” Liberty is required by the PUC to obtain commitments from 50% of the customers needed to support the pipeline before it can start construction.

“We hope our City Council will respect public opinion and our Master Plan principles and take further action to stop this pipeline,” says Sarah Riley of Sustainable Lebanon. She adds, “To that end, I think the best first action the Council can take will be to set up the pipeline Task Force as we have urged them to do.”

Guidebook for Equitable Clean Energy to be Released at REV2018 Conference

Low and moderate income households have historically lacked access to renewable energy technologies due to a variety of barriers and challenges. On Friday, October 18th, as one of the concurrent sessions on the second day of the Renewable Energy Vermont Conference & Expo, attendees and members of the media will have a chance to learn more about how the Vermont Energy Access Coalition collaboratively identify and implement solutions to these barriers.

The Vermont Energy Access Coalition was formed by formed by Renewable Energy Vermont’s Education Fund and created in partnership with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, a new guidebook, and checklist on equitable clean energy initiative and program design. Panelists will also share case studies featuring innovative LMI programs from around the country.

Who: Jennifer Green, Burlington Electric Department; Harlan Lachman, Energy Efficiency Institute, Olivia Campbell Andersen, Renewable Energy Vermont

What: No One Left Behind: Equity in Innovation Session 
When: Friday, October 19th | 9:30 – 10:15 am
Where: DoubleTree by Hilton Conference Center – 870 Williston Road, So. Burlington, VT 05403
Learn more at: www.revconference.org and email austin@revermont.org for media credentials
Associated Hashtags: #REV2018 #VTpoli

More about the REV Conference:

The 18th Annual Renewable Energy Vermont Conference and Expo announced an impressive lineup of speakers for REV2018, themed REVitalize: Transforming Energy Further, Faster, Together. REV2018, northern New England’s premier event exploring clean energy innovation and climate solutions convenes on Thursday, October 18th through Friday, October 19th.

Katherine Hamilton, known for her podcast The Energy Gang from Green Tech Media, on will address the conference Friday.

The conference will also host three extraordinary plenary panels. On Friday, conference goers will have the rare opportunity to engage with three Public Utility Commission members around the challenges and opportunities of achieving 100% renewable energy. Joining the panel will be Lorraine Akiba, who recently retired from the Hawaii PUC, Abigail Anthony a Rhode Island PUC Commissioner, and Margaret Cheney a Vermont PUC Commissioner. This panel will be moderated by Kerrick Johnson, Chief Ecosystems Officer at Utopus Insights.

Outside of the regular conference sessions, REV is offering two opportunities for professional development. For the second year, REV will host a “Women in Energy Luncheon” beginning at 12:30 p.m. Friday, October 19th. The networking luncheon sold out in 2017, so room space has been doubled for the 2018 gathering. Leading Wonder Women at the lunch include Marie-Claude Francouer, Quebec Delegate to New England, Anne Galloway from VTDigger, Heather Hunt of New England State Committee on Electricity, and Olivia Campbell Andersen of Renewable Energy Vermont.

For more information about the conference, its speakers, sessions, and registration visit www.revconference.org.

Members of the media are invited to attend the conference, please request press credentials in advance. Please email info@revermont.org to reserve media credentials.

October 18 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “There is No Alternative to a World of 100% Renewables” • In a pv magazine interview, Christian Breyer, Professor of Solar Economy at Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology, explains a 100% renewables model is not only technically feasible, but also the cheapest and safest option for dealing with climate change. [pv magazine International]

Dawn at a wind farm (Image: Germanborrillo, flickr)

  • “US greenhouse emissions fell in 2017 as coal plants shut” • Greenhouse gases emissions from the largest U.S. industrial plants fell 2.7% in 2017, the EPA said, as coal plants shut and as the coal industry competes with cheap natural gas and renewable sources such as solar and wind. The drop was steeper than in 2016 when emissions fell 2%. [ETEnergyworld.com]
  • “Rural Scots Voice Onshore Support” • Onshore wind is supported by two-thirds of Scots living in rural areas, according to a survey by Survation. The poll found even higher backing for solar and tidal energy (83% each) and offshore wind power (78%). Only 11% of people surveyed were opposed to onshore windpower. [reNEWS]
  • “Tesla Seals the Deal for Gigafactory 3 in China” • It is official. Tesla has acquired just under 1300 acres of land in the Shanghai Lingang Equipment Industrial Zone for its Gigafactory 3. The factory is expected to cover about 1200 acres. The official signing ceremony for the transfer of land to Tesla took place in China on October 17. [CleanTechnica]
  • “100 MW Power-to-Gas Project Planned in Germany” • Three German transmission system operators entered into concrete plans to build a 100-MW power-to-gas pilot plant in Lower Saxony, northwestern Germany. According to the companies, “Element One” should be the largest plant of its kind in Germany to date. [pv magazine International]

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

October 17 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Trump Administration to Drop its Emergency Coal, Nuclear Bailout Plan” • The Trump administration has shelved a plan to invoke wartime emergency powers to justify multibillion-dollar bailouts for economically struggling coal and nuclear plants, at least for now. Several sources say economic and security advisors objected to the plan. [Greentech Media]

Sun setting on a coal plant

  • “Volkswagen’s Diesel Scandal Costs hit $33 billion with New Audi Penalty” • Volkswagen is once again counting the cost of cheating on diesel engine emissions tests. The German carmaker said that it had been hit with a new fine relating to failings at its Audi subsidiary, sending the total cost of the scandal to nearly $33 billion. [CNN]
  • “Afghan Drought ‘Displacing More People than Taliban Conflict'” • A deadly drought in Afghanistan is causing a humanitarian crisis that has displaced more people this year than the war between the government and the Taliban. The UN is allocating $34.6 million to help the 2.2 million people estimated to have been affected by the drought. [BBC]
  • “Japan will Flush Unsafe Water from Fukushima Nuclear Plant into Sea” • Water the Japanese government is planning to release into the Pacific Ocean from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant contains radioactive material well above legally permitted levels, according TEPCO, to the plant’s operator. [Independent.ie]
  • “Wind and Solar Account for At Least 20% of Electricity In Ten States” • Wind and solar electricity generation in 2017 provided at least 20% of total generation in 10 states, according to new figures published by the US government’s Energy Information Administration. In four states, wind energy provided over 30% of the electricity. [CleanTechnica]

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

Vermont Attorney General Warns: Scammers Targeting Utility Customers

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan is warning Vermonters about a spike in scams by fraudsters pretending to be utilities. The Attorney General issued a “Scam Alert” and joins Vermont power companies in warning Vermonters about the scam.

These scammers call residents and businesses demanding immediate payment for electricity with a credit card, pre-paid card, or money order. Utilities reported a sharp increase in complaints from consumers this week. In response, the Attorney General issued a “Scam Alert” to over 4,000 Vermonters to warn them of this fraudulent activity.

“Our team is working with local utilities to raise awareness and stop these scams,” said Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan. “If any Vermonter is not sure about who is on the other end of the phone, you should not make a payment. Hang up and call the AG’s office or your local utility.”

Vermont utilities also issued statements warning consumers:

“We are focused on protecting our customers and providing them with information. We will never demand immediate payment over the phone and threaten to shut you off,” said Mary Morris, who leads Green Mountain Power’s customer service team. “We want to hear from you if you get a call that doesn’t feel right. Our toll free number is 1-888-835-4672.”

“At Burlington Electric, safety is our number one value,” said Mike Kanarick, Manager of Customer Care and Communications at Burlington Electric Department. “And, safety includes protecting the financial security of our customers and the Burlington community. If you ever doubt the identity of a person claiming to represent BED, please call our customer care team right away at 802-865-7300.”

“This is a terrible thing scammers are doing; they not only steal money but they leave the victim feeling violated and embarrassed,” said Patty Richards, General Manager of the Washington Electric Coop. “Anyone can fall victim. If you receive a call demanding immediate payment or using scare tactics, this is a scam,” she said. “When in doubt take action and hang up.  You can always place a call directly to your electric utility and verify if you owe money,” said Richards.

“Always better to err on the side of caution,” said Sue Bernier, VEC’s manager of member services. “If you get a suspicious call asking you for personal information or payment, hang up and call your utility right away.”

To sign up for the VT Scam Alert, or to report a scam, call 1-800-649-2424 or visit the Consumer Assistance Program. Those who have already signed up for Vermont Alert can receive scam alerts by adding that notification on their account at www.vtalert.gov.

October 16 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “The UN’s Devastating Climate Change Report was Too Optimistic” • While deniers claim the latest IPCC report is “too alarmist,” one former IPCC lead author said, “If anything it is the opposite. Once again, with their latest report, they have been overly conservative (ie, erring on the side of understating, underestimating the problem).” [Motherboard]

Dry countryside (Shutterstock image)

  • “US Corporations Break 4-GW Renewable Energy Record” • Large US companies are acting on renewable energy goals at a record pace. During the course of this year, through August, they have already procured nearly 4 GW of utility-scale wind and solar capacity, breaking the previous full-year record, set in 2015, by nearly 750 MW. [Solar Power World]
  • “Australia Should be ‘Exporting Sunshine, Not Coal’, Economist Jeffrey Sachs Tells Q&A” • Economist Jeffrey Sachs has criticised successive Australian governments for “defending a 19th or 20th century industry” rather than taking decisive action to address climate change. He said Australia should be “exporting sunshine, not coal.” [The Guardian]
  • “Post IPCC 1.5°C Report, UK Government Seeks Advice on Net-Zero Emissions Target” • A week after the IPCC report warned that limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires unprecedented action, the government of the UK is seeking advice from its Committee on Climate Change on setting a date for a net-zero emissions target. [CleanTechnica]
  • “UK’s Largest Companies Pledge Hundreds of Millions of Pounds to Tackle Climate Change” • Around thirty of the top businesses across the UK have announced significant pledges, worth hundreds of millions of pounds, to tackle climate change. The pledges mark the government’s first ever Green GB & NI Week. [GOV.UK]

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