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September 17 Green Energy News

Science and Technology:

  • For renewables power sources, nearly all energy inputs are original production and mitigating the waste from that production. More energy is produced than the fossil fuels used. Wind is the most efficient fuel for electricity, creating 1164% of its original energy inputs. [Wall Street Journal]
  • MIT professor Fikile Brushett is working on taking the power generated by wind and solar, chemically lashing it to molecules derived from flora and fauna, and storing it in liquids until it’s needed to electrify our homes. The process may reduce costs of redox flow batteries. [PennEnergy]
  • A recent study by GE and NREL shows that the entire eastern US grid could achieve a dramatic increase in wind penetration without suffering any major destabilizing effects, without threatening electric reliability, and without installing any costly energy storage. [Scientific American]
  • Scientists at the University of Glasgow found a new way to make hydrogen that is 30 times faster than the state-of-the-art method, offering a solution to some common problems with generating electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind, or wave energy. [Nature World News]


  • Australia’s coal industry is in a flap after an announcement from the Chinese government it would ban the import of certain types of coal. According to the Wall Street Journal, the directive is primarily aimed at low-grade coal mainly coming from Indonesia and Australia. [Energy Matters]
  • The Kosh-Agach solar PV pilot power plant in the Altai region of Russia is now online. The 5 MW project is apparently the largest solar power plant to be installed in Russia to-date, and is serving as the prototype for a further four more such projects in the region. [CleanTechnica]
  • Germany switched on Europe’s largest commercial battery plant on Tuesday, an installation powered by 25,600 lithium-ion batteries that will help stabilise the region’s growing supply of renewable energy. The €6 million plant is the size of a school gymnasium and stores 5 MWh. [Economic Times]
  • New Delhi is going through a rooftop revolution because of a freshly-minted regulation by the power watchdog, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, which permits enterprises and residents to not only generate their own solar energy but also sell it to the grid. [Khaleej Times]
  • Over the past 17 years, the German village of Wildpoldsried has invested in renewable energy projects that include 4,983 kW of photovoltaics, five biogas facilities, 11 wind turbines and a hydropower system. Now it produces 500% of the energy it needs and sells the excess. [Inhabitat]


  • The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant has begun a gradual reduction of the electricity it generates that will end with the plant shutting down in December. The coast-down period will end the plant’s operating cycle as the nuclear fuel in the reactor is depleted. [WAMC]
  • A heat wave that set year-to-date records for California statewide power use on Monday and Tuesday was thwarted by electricity infrastructure that has been upgraded in recent years and increased power from renewable energy sources. Over 10% of demand was met by solar power. [Press-Enterprise]
  • The EPA announced it is extending the Clean Power Plan’s public comment period 45 days, making the new deadline December 1.The head of the EPA office writing the new rule said she still expects to meet the June deadline for making revisions to the rule based on the comments. [Journal and Courier]
  • In the Vermont, the Green Mountain State, sunflowers are an emerging source of renewable energy. Sunflowers are grown on several farms and then harvested for their oilseeds which are then converted to biodiesel and livestock feed. []

Help Make Sept. 21, 2014 Historical – GET to NYC!

Why We March

September 15, 2014
by Bill McKibben, Eddie Bautista and La Tonya Crisp-Sauray

This post first appeared at TomDispatch.

On Sunday, September 21st, a huge crowd will march through the middle of Manhattan. It will almost certainly be the largest rally about climate change in human history, and one of the largest political protests in many years in New York. More than 1,000 groups are coordinating the march — environmental justice groups, faith groups, labor groups — which means there’s no one policy ask. Instead, it’s designed to serve as a loud and pointed reminder to our leaders, gathering that week at the United Nations to discuss global warming, that the next great movement of the planet’s citizens centers on our survival and their pathetic inaction.

As a few of the march’s organizers, though, we can give some sense of why we, at least, are marching, words we think represent many of those who will gather at Columbus Circle for the walk through midtown Manhattan.

We march because the world has left the Holocene behind: scientists tell us that we’ve already raised the planet’s temperature almost one degree Celsius, and are on track for four or five by century’s end. We march because Hurricane Sandy filled the New York City subway system with salt water, reminding us that even one of the most powerful cities in the world is already vulnerable to slowly rising ocean levels.

We march because we know that climate change affects everyone, but its impacts are not equally felt: those who have contributed the least to causing the crisis are hit hardest, here and around the world. Communities on the frontlines of global warming are already paying a heavy price, in some cases losing the very land on which they live. This isn’t just about polar bears any more.

And we march for generations yet to come, our children, grandchildren and their children, whose lives will be systematically impoverished and degraded. It’s the first time one century has wrecked the prospects of the millennia to come, and it makes us mad enough to march.

We march with hope, too. We see a few great examples around the world of how quickly we could make the transition to renewable energy. We know that if there were days this summer when Germany generated nearly 75% of its power from renewable sources of energy, the rest of us could, too — especially in poorer nations around the equator that desperately need more energy. And we know that labor-intensive renewables would provide far more jobs than capital-intensive coal, gas and oil.

And we march with some frustration: why haven’t our societies responded to 25 years of dire warnings from scientists? We’re not naïve; we know that the fossil fuel industry is the 1% of the 1%. But sometimes we think we shouldn’t have to march. If our system worked the way it should, the world would long ago have taken the obvious actions economists and policy gurus have recommended — from taxing carbon to reflect the damage it causes to funding a massive World War II-scale transition to clean energy.

Marching is not all, or even most, of what we do. We advocate; we work to install solar panels; we push for sustainable transit. We know, though, that history shows marching is usually required, that reason rarely prevails on its own. (And we know that sometimes even marching isn’t enough; we’ve been to jail and we’ll likely be back.)

We’re tired of winning the argument and losing the fight. And so we march. We march for the beaches and the barrios. We march for summers when the cool breeze still comes down in the evening. We march because Exxon spends $100 million every day looking for more hydrocarbons, even though scientists tell us we already have far more in our reserves than we can safely burn. We march for those too weak from dengue fever and malaria to make the journey. We march because California has lost 63 trillion gallons of groundwater to the fierce drought that won’t end, and because the glaciers at the roof of Asia are disappearing. We march because researchers told the world in April that the West Antarctic ice sheet has begun to melt “irrevocably”; Greenland’s ice shield may soon follow suit; and the waters from those, as rising seas, will sooner or later drown the world’s coastlines and many of its great cities.

We don’t march because there’s any guarantee it will work. If you were a betting person, perhaps you’d say we have only modest hope of beating the financial might of the oil and gas barons and the governments in their thrall. It’s obviously too late to stop global warming entirely, but not too late to slow it down — and it’s not too late, either, to simply pay witness to what we’re losing, a world of great beauty and complexity and stability that has nurtured humanity for thousands of years.

There’s a world to march for — and a future, too. The only real question is why anyone wouldn’t march.

The views expressed in this post are the author’s alone, and presented here to offer a variety of perspectives to our readers

Some worthwhile links: Continue reading Help Make Sept. 21, 2014 Historical – GET to NYC!

September 16 Green Energy News


  • “Solar & Wind Power Can Be Cost-Competitive In Any Country, Says IEA” A new look at an almost-new report notes that the International Energy Agency says any country can reach a high share of renewable energy cost-effectively, mostly by relying on solar and wind power. []

Science and Technology:

  • This past August was the warmest since records began in 1881, according to new data released by NASA. The latest readings continue a series of record or near-record breaking months. May of this year was also the warmest in recorded history. [Huffington Post]
  • Demonstration systems from Hawaii to the eastern banks of Canada are showing that a “fleet” of water or space heaters can act as a sort of fast-acting sponge that absorbs extra electricity on the grid, especially wind power, making the grid more stable and storing energy. [Environment & Energy Publishing]


  • The Legislative Affairs Office of China’s State Council released the first draft of the highly-anticipated revisions to the national Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law, providing hope that blue skies won’t always be so fleeting as they have been of late. [Energy Collective]
  • A week before heads of state meet at the United Nations to discuss climate change, a major report on Tuesday from global political, environmental, and industry leaders says it’s possible to grow the world economy while tackling global warming. [National Geographic]
  • Mainstream Renewable Power has signed an agreement with Swiss wind farm developer NEK Umwelttechnik to purchase the 225 MW Ayitepa Wind Farm in Ghana, which is under development. The project is expected to start generating power early in 2016. [Renewable Energy Focus]
  • The government of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has lined up three major projects to produce 2,500 MW of solar power in the Rayalaseema region of the state. A memorandum of understanding for these projects will be signed tomorrow. [NDTV]


  • San Diego has one of the highest adoption rates of electric vehicles in the world, and it is seriously fashionable to drive an EV in San Diego. The city has a notable milestone to celebrate this year with more than 10,000 EVs on the roads in the metro region. [CleanTechnica]
  • The proportion of coal miners who suffer from progressive massive fibrosis, a particularly lethal an advanced form of black lung disease, has skyrocketed in central Appalachia in recent years, according to experts with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. [Huffington Post]
  • A group of four Vermonters is asking federal regulators to force Green Mountain Power to stop marketing its power as renewable. They say by selling credits for green power to customers out of state to offset fossil fuel use, GMP is effectively making Vermont dependent on coal and gas. [Vermont Public Radio]
  • REC Solar, a national leader in commercial solar system design and installation, today announced growing momentum across the state of Hawaii, with the completion of six solar energy systems for Hawaii’s historic Dole Plantation and W.M. Keck Observatory. [AZoCleantech]
  • US electric power holding company Duke Energy has made a $500 million commitment to the expansion of solar energy in North Carolina. The company will construct three PV facilities – totaling 128 MW of capacity – which will be built in Bladen, Duplin and Wilson counties. [PV-Tech]
  • With the passage of HB 4385/SB 2214 early last month, Massachusetts has joined New Hampshire and Wisconsin as the only states to provide incentives for the use of clean, renewable fuels to heat and cool buildings. [The National Law Review]

7th Annual Tour de Farms

Discounted, advance registration for the 7th Annual Tour de Farms ends today (September 15) at 5:00 pm.  The Tour will take place on Sunday, September 21 in Shoreham.

The Tour de Farms is a relaxing event in which bicyclists pedal from farm to farm, sampling delicious locally-grown foods, prepared by family farmers in Vermont’s beautiful Champlain Valley.  Bicyclists have a choice of either a 10-mile loop or a 30-mile loop with the Shoreham Town Green as the starting and ending point.  After 5:00 pm today, on site registration on the day of the Tour will be the only option.

To secure the discounted registration, please go to:

This year’s Tour is made possible thanks to generous support from:  Earl’s Cyclery & Fitness, VBT Bicycling & Walking Vacations, Shelburne Farms, AARP, City Market and Cafe, Healthy Living Market and Cafe, Ingrid Punderson Jackson Real Estate, Langrock Sperry & Wool, Merchants Bank, Old Spokes Home, Louis Garneau, Terry Bicycles, The Bike Center, the Farmhouse Group of restaurants and the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op.

We hope you can join us at this year’s Tour de Farms and we encourage you to support those businesses and organizations who are making the Tour possible.

Thank you.

Nancy Schulz
Executive Director
VT Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition
PO Box 1234
Montpelier, VT 05601
(802) 225-8904



Electric Car Show and Tell in Concord, NH

CONCORD, NH – National Drive Electric Week (formerly National Plug-In Day) is planned for the Granite State on September 20th at City Plaza, Concord (in front of the State House). Event organizers include ConVerdant Vehicles, Granite State Clean Cities, New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association and New Hampshire Sierra Club. Drive Electric Week organizers, in conjunction with the Electric Auto Association, planned this annual nationwide observance as a means to draw attention to the environmental, economic and other benefits of plug-in electric vehicles (EV) at 130 separate events in 35 states and abroad – breaking records again as the largest celebration to date.

New Hampshire’s 3rd Annual National Drive Electric Week Celebration takes place in front of the State House in Concord from 8-12pm during the Concord Farmer’s Market. Electric cars like Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and others will be on display from local dealerships or their owners with charging stations, fliers, electric bicycles, and more. Learn more about electric achievements in New Hampshire and up-coming events. Additional information will be on hand, such as flyers on environmental benefits of electric cars, charging stations and inverters. Open and free to the public.

For more information about National Drive Electric Week, go to

WHO: Event Organizers, ConVerdant Vehicles, NH Sierra Club, NH Automobile Dealers Association, Plug-In America and Granite State Clean Cities Coalition;

WHAT: Third Annual Drive Electric Week Celebration

WHEN: September 20, 2014, from 8:00 a.m. to noon, during the Concord Farmer’s Market

WHERE: Capitol Plaza, in front of the State House, Capitol Street, Downtown Concord, NH

SEE: Electric Cars, bicycles, plug-in charging stations, hand-outs, Segways and more

Spokespeople available upon request for radio and reporter interviews.

Heat your New Home with a Hair Dryer

Did you know that it’s possible to save 90% of typical home energy costs?  Passive House, the most stringent energy standard in building construction, enables you to build a cheaper, more comfortable, healthier and safer home that requires only 10% of typical energy use.  A PH Building is  heated with the heat gains from appliances, the occupants’ body heat, cooking, bathing, TV and computer heat gains etc., but for those really cold snaps less than the heat produced by a hair dryer can make up the difference.  You don’t need a furnace, woodstove, heated floor, or boiler.  In fact, you could use an actual hair dryer, or bake a cake, or cook a pizza, or have a party, and the waste heat from that one event would make your house as cozy and warm as you could desire for days of sub-zero temps without sunshine.

Not to be confused with Passive Solar, Passive House is a construction method that uses super-insulation, sunward positioning of high performance windows, sealing against air leakage, and controlled air exchange to create a highly energy-efficient building.  There are tens of thousands of these buildings in existence around the world, including a few homes right here in Vermont.  And, there is a technique called “EnerPHit” that can perform a Passive House-level retrofit to an existing building.

To explore the latest technology in building design and retrofitting, join experts in the field and see the latest products at the second annual Passive House Symposium on Thursday, Oct. 2 at Vermont Technical College, Randolph.  For more information or to register go to

Watch this space next week for another installment about the symposium.


September 15 Green Energy News

Science and Technology:

  • Wind farms can interfere with ground radar systems due to turbine blades returning a radar signal that can be mistaken as an aircraft or weather pattern. New technology is being used in some Vestas turbines to reduce problems with radar. [Energy Matters]
  • The director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency says in REthinking Energy — the first edition in a new IRENA series — that solar PV costs fell by two-thirds between the end of 2009 and 2013 – “a speed of change comparable to that seen in the IT revolution.” []


  • At least 150 major companies worldwide – including ExxonMobil, Google, Microsoft and 26 others in the United States – are already making business plans that assume they will be taxed on their carbon pollution, a report today says. [USA TODAY]
  • A pioneering new school project was opened in South Africa’s Gauteng Province. Harnessing the latest renewable energy technologies, the solar-powered internet school connects teachers and pupils to the internet, bringing them into the digital age. [The Guardian]
  • Irrigators from around Australia have met to discuss how they can cope with rising electricity prices. Power prices in most Australian states have doubled over the past seven years, with higher network charges making up much of the increased costs. [ABC Online]
  • More than 15,000 Australian businesses have installed solar power to reduce energy bills, and there is the potential for tens of thousands more to do so if the RET remains unchanged, the Clean Energy Council has said. [EcoGeneration]
  • Leading environmentalists from 44 countries have teamed up to call on foundations and philanthropists around the world to use endowments worth billions of dollars to turn the tide on global warming. [reNews]
  • Eight UK wind power companies are launching a campaign aimed at dispelling myths around onshore wind power, specifically to convince MPs that it is the cheapest and one of the most popular forms of renewable energy. [Business Green]
  • A controversial windfarm has been given the go ahead by the UK government. The Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm was given permission by the planning inspectorate to start work on the project. It will see 32 wind turbines erected in the Clocaenog forest near Ruthin. [News North Wales]


  • The U.S. Navy and the University of Hawaii have formed a partnership to work on a $2.5 million energy research project to come up with a power grid modernization strategy and action plan to meet the future needs of the Navy in Hawaii. [Pacific Business News]
  • A new poll said 88% of Wisconsin voters support an increase in solar energy use, and similar figures were recorded for biomass energy and wind power. One prominent environmentalist says voters clearly believe using more renewable energy would lead to more jobs in the state. [Public News Service]

September 14 Green Energy News


  • The six Central American countries had a total solar capacity of 6 MW in 2013. The total is expected to reach 22 MW by the end of 2014. However, market researcher IHS believes it can reach up to 243 MW in 2015 and continue growing rapidly from there. [CleanTechnica]
  • Electric utility executives around the world are watching developments in Germany nervously as renewable technologies they once thought irrelevant begin to threaten established business plans. Many in poor countries are considering skipping the fossil age altogether. [New York Times]
  • The first renewable energy scheme in Scotland to draw heat from a river is set to be installed by the University of Glasgow in a bid to lower the university’s heating bill by a quarter. A heat pump will extract latent heat from water that is between 8° C and 10° C all year round. [Herald Scotland]
  • In an effort to mitigate spiralling energy prices after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japanese companies are pouring money into fuel-efficient technologies. Ireland’s Glen Dimplex’s fuel-efficient, energy-saving heating solutions have become a popular choice. [Irish Independent]
  • India Power Corporation Ltd, a power generation and distribution company, is augmenting its renewable power procurement plans. It has also planned to add 200 MW of windpower capacity by the end of 2015. [Hindu Business Line]


  • A federal judge ruled last Thursday that BP acted with “gross negligence” in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. This decision could result in the company paying an estimated $18 billion in fines. Most must be spent on restoring the environment and coastal communities. [Energy Collective]
  • After a seven-year-long investigation, scientists at the National Audubon Society issued a grim report finding that more than half of the 650 or so bird species in North America may be threatened by global warming. [Canada News]
  • The two Democrats who hope to regulate utilities in Arizona admit they face an uphill battle winning election in a Republican state, but they insist they are on the right side of the issue that resonates most with voters: renewable power. []
  • Google’s most recent investment in renewable power is in a project that sits on an old oil and gas field. It is Google’s 17th large investment in renewables and puts the company’s total tab at more than $1.5 billion on three continents for a capacity of more than 2.5 GW. [Forbes]
  • Olympic National Park in Washington says that for the first time in more than a century, chinook salmon have been spotted in the upper reaches of the Elwha River following the recent removal of two dams. [KOMO News]

Solar 101 Info Session


Join me & Dave from the Newbury Village Store for a question & answer session about how to go solar at Thistle Cafe. I’ll answer all your questions about how solar works in Vermont, what makes a good solar site, and how federal and state incentives and SunCommon’s innovative financing programs have finally brought solar within reach of everyone.

*there will be snacks!!

Here are the details!

What: Solar 101 Info Session!
Where: Thistle Cafe, Newbury Village Store
When: Wednesday, September 24th @ 6pm

Join us to mingle with your community & to learn more about
going solar at no upfront cost!


Hope to see you there,

Taylor Ralph
Solar Organizer
(802) 274-4756

SunCommon believes that everyone has the right to a healthy environment and safer world. Our mission is to tear down the barriers that have made renewable energy inaccessible. We intend to repower our communities one home, one school, and one business at a time. We make going solar easy and affordable so that all Vermonters can together create a healthy environment and safer world.

September 13 Green Energy News

Science and Technology:

  • The Archimedes, a Dutch renewable energy start-up is currently working on a novel wind turbine small enough to be mounted on the roof of a typical home, but which is still highly efficient at converting wind to energy and is nearly soundless. [Jetson Green]
  • ABB has announced it will install its PowerStore solution, a commercial flywheel technology, to integrate with a battery system on Kodiak Island, Alaska, and enable the integration of more renewable energy from an expanded wind farm to the island’s microgrid. [North American Windpower]


  • Recently published analysis shows Chinese coal consumption fell for the first time this century in the first half of this year. Even more striking, China’s gross domestic product growth and coal consumption have decoupled, suggesting a structural shift in the Chinese economy. [Energy Collective]
  • As part of its inaugural Rethinking Energy report, the International Renewable Energy Agency looks at some of the economic benefits that the now – it says – inevitable shift to renewables will bring. High among these is job creation. [CleanTechnica]
  • Currently, Ontario gets 2312 MW of windpower, 4091 MW of hydro, and 159 MW of other renewable energy, for a total of 6562 MW of renewable energy. That means Ontario is getting 35% of its 19.000 grid load from renewable resources. [CleanTechnica]
  • Indian Prime Minister Modi on Friday called for a solar-powered corridor along the India-Pakistan border in the deserts of Rajasthan and Gujarat, with two pilot projects of 5 MW being initiated as part of promotion of the renewable energy, specially the solar energy. [Free Press Journal]
  • A wind farm which will generate enough electricity to power around 14,000 homes has officially been opened in Scotland. The £26 million Twinshiels wind farm has 10 turbines and adjoins Eneco’s Tullo wind facility – a seven-turbine development. [Energy Live News]
  • Siemens, together with universities and local utility Allgäuer Überlandwerk GmbH, will for three years look into how to best manage energy systems with distributed renewable power generation, batteries, district heating, biogas plants and diesel generators. [Mynextfone]
  • Chile’s Environmental Assessment Service has approved a 698-MW solar power development. The ‘South Campos Sol project’ will require $1.6 billion in investment and will be built over more than 2,000 acres in the Copiapó province, in the Atacama Region. [PV-Tech]


  • A state energy board gave conditional approval Friday to a $140 million wind farm that would rise south of Blue Hill in south-central Nebraska. The Cottonwood Wind Project would have 52 turbines and a capacity to generate 89.5 MW of power. [Omaha World-Herald]
  • Minnesota Power’s rededication ceremony of the 4-MW 91-year-old Winton hydroelectric station. The electric power company is highlighting its recent investments in its 11 Minnesota hydroelectric stations this year with its Hometown Hydro Celebration ceremonies. [Tower Timberjay News]
  • Renewable energy is helping Montana families and businesses take charge of their power supply like never before. There are now more than 1,000 solar arrays, small-scale wind turbines and micro-hydro generators producing clean energy in the state. [MTPR]
  • A new poll found that a substantial majority of Midwesterners believe renewable energy is a reliable and affordable option that is not only an increasing source of good jobs, but is also a good way to ensure the country’s energy generation is self-reliant and secure. [CleanTechnica]