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April 2014 Green Energy Times Online

Read the articles:  Table of Contents

April 23 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “As nuclear power dies, solar rises” At long last, this Earth Day we celebrate the true dawn of the Solar Age. That sunrise is hastened, here and abroad, by the slow demise of the once-touted “too-cheap-to-meter” Atomic Age of nuclear power.[CNN]
  • “Japan must stop financing coal” As President Obama begins his visit to Japan, 33 environmental groups from 19 countries around the world released an open letter calling on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to end support for coal plants. [The Ecologist]

Science and Technology:

  • Scientists at Harvard and MIT announced something extraordinary: they had found a way to create solar cells that can store accumulated energy from sunlight, and then, with no more than a burst of a few photons, release that energy in a steady and continuous form. [Echonetdaily]
  • By using computers to analyze data continuously from wind turbines, wind power forecasts of unprecedented accuracy are making it possible for Colorado to use far more renewable energy, at lower cost, than utilities ever thought possible. [MIT Technology Review]

World:

  • “Run-of-river” hydro power, gentler and smaller-scale than massive hydroelectric projects that irretrievably flood huge areas of land, may become a $1.4 billion-dollar industry in the next 10 years, according to Tocardo International BV, a Dutch turbine maker. [CleanTechnica]
  • Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou says his government is committed to developing sustainable energy and the green economy in Taiwan. Ma made the remarks at an Earth Day function for environmental protection groups at the Presidential Office in Taipei City. [Taiwan Today]
  • The UK is set to become the largest market for solar PV in Europe during 2014, confirming its status as the hottest market across the region. This is the first time that the UK will have been at the lead for installed PV in Europe, which is nearly always taken by Germany. [Solar Power Portal]
  • The UK government has awarded early-stage Contracts for Difference to eight renewable energy projects totalling 4.5 GW. Five offshore wind farms range in size from 258 MW to 1200 MW. Three biomass plants will range from 299 to 645 MW. [reNews]
  • The UK’s National Trust launched a new renewable energy trading company to sell electricity generated at the places it looks after. Its first large hydro turbine is expected to generate enough power for eight mansions, three castles and 45 holiday cottages in Wales. [Energy Live News]

US:

  • America’s solar capacity has tripled during the past two years. Rooftop solar has been in the van of this development. Environment California’s new report focuses on the twenty cities on a mere 0.1% of the nation’s land that produce 7% of the solar energy. [CleanTechnica]
  • The EIA is seriously exaggerating shale gas production in its drilling productivity report. Fortunately the EIA also publishes independent production data by shale play in its Natural Gas Weekly Update, making it possible to see how far off it is. [Resilience]
  • Out of 600 Ohio voters surveyed, 72% responded that they favored renewable energy sources over more traditional forms of energy. When asked if they were “strongly in favor,” 52% responded in the affirmative. [CleanTechnica]
  • Apple is offering free recycling of all its used products, at the same time it vows to power all of its stores, offices and data centers with renewable energy to reduce the pollution caused by its devices and online services. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]
  • Google has signed a renewable energy deal with MidAmerican. Under the deal, MidAmerican Energy, a unit of billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway will supply up to 407 MW of wind-sourced energy to Google’s data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. [RTT News]

A Note From Sam Rashkin: Goodbye Challenge, Hello Zero

The DOE Challenge Home is changing its name to DOE Zero Energy Ready Home. This is a big deal! We are taking on the exhaustive process of rebranding after working so hard to establish awareness of this cutting edge new program; after developing an impressive internal infrastructure (e.g., logos, brochures, website, and extensive program documentation); and after integrating the name in external initiatives (e.g., green MLS’s, regional incentive programs, proposed tax credit language, appraisal training, etc.). Which begs the question, why change?  Some recent history is in order to answer that question. This winter, presidents and senior staff from ten leading companies, representing over 50 percent of the 8,000 homes committed to Challenge Home certification, were gathered for a day-and-a-half roundtable meeting to learn from each other and to discuss opportunities for moving forward. DOE heard one unanimous request loud and clear; ‘Zero Energy Ready’ is a much more effective name to engage consumers than ‘Challenge Home’. Collectively they said, “Please change the name!”

These partners are right and we have to change the name regardless of how painful the transition process is. DOE Zero Energy Ready Home cannot be a successful program if we don’t listen to our partners and continuously improve. And so, the process begins. Please pardon the upheaval and please be patient. Changes this significant cannot happen overnight and without bumps-and-bruises along the way. However, before you know it, September 2014 will roll around and the process will be complete. Most importantly, the outcome remains the same — all of our DOE Zero Energy Ready Home partners will be providing great homes for American homebuyers.

Continue reading A Note From Sam Rashkin: Goodbye Challenge, Hello Zero

April 22 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “People, not new power plants, are driving the clean energy future” To take full advantage of low-carbon, renewable energy sources, we need a flexible power grid to harness clean energy when it is available. That’s where people-driven demand response comes in. [Environmental Defense Fund]

Science and Technology:

  • HELMETH EU is an power-to-gas process that can be more than 85% efficient. First, power from solar or wind turns water into oxygen and hydrogen. Then, hydrogen reacts with carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide to methane, the main constituent of natural gas. [Nanowerk]

World:

  • Greenpeace has published a short report on recent trends in Chinese coal consumption, titled “The End of China’s Coal Boom.” The report shows plans of multiple provinces in China to reduce the use of coal. Beijing stands out with a reduction of 50% over the next couple of years. [CleanTechnica]
  • Feldheim is a small, rural town about 40 miles south of Berlin. Historically, the population has only been approximately 150 although it has “exploded” to over 2,000 people due to its recent success as a perfect example of community resiliency. [Resilience]
  • An experimental small-scale concentrating solar thermal demonstration plant at Newcastle’s Wallsend Pool plant will generate 30 kW of electricity and 150 kW of heat for the public swimming pool – enough to keep it heated, and thus open, all year round. [RenewEconomy]
  • Nottingham clean-technology group Chinook Sciences has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation, the UK’s highest accolade for business success, for its ground-breaking work on recovering recyclable metal and generating renewable energy from waste. [Nottingham Post]
  • A First Nations community, dependent on a big oil business, is asking that company to pay for a solar system to provide them with clean energy. With fossil fuel dependence, has come pollution, inability to hunt or fish on polluted lands, and sickness. [ThinkProgress]

US:

  • Something rare and extraordinarily positive occurred on American television. Fortunately, through YouTube and 350.org, the rest of the world got to see it too.  A new cable TV series, “Years of Living Dangerously,” is about climate change in the 21st century. [CleanTechnica]
  • The US DOE released its comprehensive, Strategic Plan 2014. The Plan provides a roadmap for the DOE’s work over the next four years and highlights its major priorities. The Plan promises to halve the county’s net oil imports by 2020.[CleanTechnica]
  • Climate change is real and a real problem for the world, Apple said on Monday, announcing its progress on environment targets ahead of Earth day. Apple says that 94% of its corporate facilities and 100% of its data centres are now powered by renewable energy. [The Guardian]
  • The DOD will break ground Friday on a solar power plant at Fort Huachuca that will be the largest installation on a US military base, demonstrating the military’s increasing reliance on alternative energy. The 18-MW plant will be owned by Tucson Electric Power. [azcentral.com]
  • US nonhydro renewable production in the US increased to account for 6.2% of total electrical supply in 2013, up from 5.4% in 2012, with 11 states producing nonhydro renewable energy at more than twice the national average, according to the EIA. [PennEnergy]
  • US Geothermal Inc, a geothermal energy company with offices in Boise, Idaho, has announced plans to acquire a late stage development at the Geysers that has shown promise for enough steam production to power up to 26,000 homes.[North Bay Business Journal]

RE News

RE NewsGreetings REV!

Hello REV!

As spring begins to join us here in Vermont, REV remains highly active at the State House (they all finish up on May 9), in the Partnership Program, the Public Service Board (PSB), the Vermont System Planning Committee (VSPC) and more – on your behalf.  Scroll on down for specifics, and as always, feel free to pick up the phone and call REV, or send an e-mail if you have specific questions that we may be able to assist you with.  We look forward to making our way throughout the State over the next few months to meet with members in your own backyards to hear how business is going, what’s working, and what’s not – so expect to hear from us soon about these local Membership meetings – and please do plan on joining!

Thanks for all you do,

Gabrielle and the REV team

Read more at the website: RE News

Renewable Energy Vermont Announces Position on Vermont as a “Green Energy Corridor”

In response to several proposals to transmit energy from Vermont’s north and west to markets in southern New England, the REV board of directors today announced its support of a “Green Energy Corridor.”

While REV has not endorsed any specific proposal, the trade association favors projects that:

  • Transmit renewable energy only.
  • Provide a public good to Vermonters through support of our in-state clean energy development programs and infrastructure.
  • Prioritize delivery of energy to southern New England to provide Vermont’s in-state renewable industry opportunity for continued growth.

“Vermont has a long history of serving as a commercial conduit between our neighbors, and REV supports the evolution of that relationship to include renewable energy,” said board chair Thomas Hughes.  “Done right, these projects could help Vermont and the region reach our clean energy targets.”

REV strongly supports Vermont’s goal of supplying 90% of the state’s total energy needs in 2050 with renewable energy.

“Through the combination of conservation, efficiency and local renewables Vermont can achieve our goals,” said executive director Gabrielle Stebbins.  “It will be more difficult for our neighbors to do the same with their larger populations and greater energy demands.  That’s why it makes sense for Vermont to help by serving as a Green Energy Corridor between renewable energy supplies and demand.”

The full position paper can be accessed at: www.revermont.org

 

Climanomics: The Good, the Bad and the Opportunities

Join us at Lakes Region Community College on Wednesday, April 30 for the expert climate change panel: Climanomics: The Good, the Bad and the Opportunities.  The flyer for this free event is displayed below, or click here for more information.

Reminder also to check out LRCC’s spring and summer energy classes 

Register for energy classes this spring and summer at Lakes Region Community College:

  • Building Analyst, plus Fast-Track Review and BPI testing, starting May 14
  • Renewable Energy Sources, starting May 21
  • Introduction to Photovoltaics, plus NABCEP exam, starting May 22
  • Building Operator Certification, starting August 22

Click here for LRCC’s Energy Calendar and registration information.

Andy Duncan, Energy Services and Technology, direct tel. 603-366-5329
Lakes Region Community College,  www.lrcc.edu/energy  tel. 603-524-3207  

 

April 21 Green Energy News

World:

  • Chinese Premier Li Keqiang reiterated plans to boost construction of solar and wind power plants along with projects to transmit electricity from the clean sources. The nation will also start construction of some key nuclear power projects in eastern coastal areas. [Bloomberg]
  • The local unit of Belgium-based Enfinity Group is set to proceed with the development of its first solar power project in the Philippines this June. The company has secured confirmation of commerciality for its planned 10-MW power project in Davao del Sur. [BusinessWorld Online Edition]
  • Some candidates for office in the rural hinterlands of Indian states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are trying to woo voters with solar lights, which are in great demand, while the EC deployed them to conduct polls in Maoist-hit and remote areas. [Hindustan Times]
  • Agriculture wasn’t specifically named last week when Ontario announced the last of its coal-fired power plants was being closed down. But the province said it was replacing coal generation with a mix of emission-free electricity sources. And farmers like that. [Guelph Mercury]

 

US:

  • Last year got off to a shaky start for the U.S. wind energy industry, but new project construction and installed generation capacity took off following belated Congressional extension of the federal renewable energy production tax credit. This year we have deja-vu. [Triple Pundit]
  • There aren’t too many things former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and current DFL Gov. Mark Dayton agree on, but one of them is the need to protect Minnesota from emissions from coal-fired power plants in North Dakota. [WDAZ]
  • Within three years, some Chicago area residents could be saving money on their electric bills, thanks to power generated 500 miles away. The $2 billion Rock Island Clean Line would take 3,500 MW of power created by thousands of wind turbines in Iowa and deliver it to Illinois. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • Around 1 billion people live in areas at risk of sea-level rise and coastal flooding. The US East Coast has a rate of sea level rise three or four times faster than the global average, with cities, beaches and wetlands exposed to flooding, according to the new IPCC report. [Climate Central]
  • Consolidated Edison Inc. emitted 3.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases last year. Just about everyone agrees this isn’t sustainable. Even Con Ed’s new chief executive, John McAvoy. [Crain's New York Business]

CEDF RFP for Food Waste Digestion Pilot Project

The Vermont Public Service Department and the Clean Energy Development Fund are seeking proposals for a pilot project(s) to demonstrate the anaerobic digestion of food waste. The CEDF is offering grant funds of up to $150,000 through a request for proposals (RFP) for a food waste digestion pilot project . The RFP, and its attachments, may also be found on the CEDF web page:

The Public Service Department and the Clean Energy Development Fund seek proposals for a pilot project(s) to demonstrate the anaerobic digestion of food waste. Proposed projects should promote the development and deployment of cost-effective, anaerobic digestion of food waste for the long-term benefit of Vermont farms and Vermont energy consumers.

Questions on this RFP must be made in writing and are due by 4 p.m. April 30, 2014. Responses to questions will be posted to the CEDF web page alongside the RFP.

Proposals are due by 4:00 P.M. on May 19, 2014

Please do not hesitate to forward this REP onto other interested parties.

____________

Andrew Perchlik
Vermont Public Service Department
Clean Energy Development Fund
802-828-4017

April 20 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “Onsite Generation: Can Utilities Rethink Their Business Proposition?” Can utilities adapt to emerging innovations that allow customers to “bypass” their services? Or, will power companies become the modern-day dinosaur? [Forbes]

World:

  • The South Korean Finance Ministry says it plans to recommend easing unnecessary rules to fuel innovation and investment in technologies that can allow growth in such areas as wind, solar and geothermal power generation. [GlobalPost]
  • The Asian Development Bank has agreed to provide technical assistance to Pakistan to develop greenhouse gases reduction technologies to mitigate the effects of climate change as part of implementing the national policy on climate change. [DAWN.com]
  • Turkish Officials are examining plans to build the country’s first ecological city, with buildings heated by burning biogas produced from pistachio shells. The pistachio-heated city would encompass 3,200 hectares, and house 200,000 people. [South China Morning Post]
  • A UK Government inspector ordered Wiltshire Council to delete its wind farms policy from the Core Strategy. The council had planned to impose a minimum distance between housing and new wind developments, essentially preventing any from being built in the county. [The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald]

US:

  • Natural variability alone cannot explain the extreme weather pattern that has driven both the record-setting California drought and the cooler weather seen in the Midwest and East this winter, a major new study finds. [Energy Collective]
  • A report issued by ClimateCentral, an organization which studies changing weather trends, and tries to understand and explain their causes, says an increase in severe weather has led to a doubling of major power outages across the country in the past decade. [Energy Collective]
  • The US DOE has proposed a minimum energy efficiency standards for linear fluorescent light bulbs, the tube lamps that are located in virtually every office, hospital, school and airport in the country. [Energy Collective]
  • The Koch brothers, Grover Norquist and some of the nation’s largest power companies have backed efforts in recent months to roll back state policies that favor green energy. Campaigns have struck Kansas, North Carolina and Arizona and are starting elsewhere. [Los Angeles Times]
  • More than 70% of Ohioans support the state’s renewable-energy requirements, according to a poll paid for by a clean-energy business group. The poll results were released this week as the Ohio Senate is considering a proposal that would rewrite the requirements. [Norwalk Reflector]
  • The California Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comment on the proposed Tylerhorse Wind Project, a 60-MW facility planned for 1,200 acres in Kern Country. Since 2009, the BLM has approved nearly 14,000 MW of renewable energy capacity. [Sierra Sun Times]

April 19 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “An In-Depth Look at the Future of American Energy and How We Get There” The U.S. is poised to spend around $2 trillion over the next two decades replacing our outdated electric infrastructure. We must make sure that investment is in clean energy. [Environmental Defense Fund]

Science and Technology:

  • Sandpoint, Idaho is on track to be the first to replace a traditional road surface with super-strong, textured glass panels that harness solar power. Locally developed 1-inch-thick panels will melt snow and ice, power LED lights embedded in the roadway and generate electricity. [The Spokesman Review]

World:

  • Analysts at French-based energy components company Schneider Electric have concluded that extending or expanding Australia’s renewable energy target would lead to lower electricity prices, lower carbon emissions and increased competition. [CleanTechnica]
  • Sharp Corp. said it will build a large 2.2-MW solar power plant in a town within an evacuation advisory area around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Sharp plans to begin construction in December, with operations to start the following June. [The Japan Times]

US:

  • According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office (FERC), 92.1% of new electricity generation capacity in the US in January through March of 2014 came from renewable energy sources. [Treehugger]
  • Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar. However, that four-minute mark is not good enough for the Obama Administration, which just used the Solar Summit to launch a set of initiatives to ramp up the pace of development even faster. [CleanTechnica]
  • A federal judge ruled Friday that part of a Minnesota law designed to promote the use of renewable energy is unconstitutional because it attempts to control business that takes place outside state borders — and she barred Minnesota officials from enforcing it. [Bismarck Tribune]
  • The Energy Department announced $15 million to help communities develop multi-year solar plans to install affordable solar electricity for homes and businesses. The funding will help with the SunShot Initiative goal to make solar energy fully cost-competitive. [Today's Energy Solutions]
  • Four new wind farms are poised for development in Utah after Rocky Mountain Power inked agreements with the companies to buy the power over 20 years. The farms, once in action, will have the capacity to produce 300 MW, enough to power 93,600 homes. [Deseret News]
  • According to a new analysis by SNL Financial, more than half of all new energy generation infrastructure planned for the next few years is renewable energy, with renewable power plants replacing retiring coal. [Smithsonian]