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September 19 Green Energy News

World:

  • The decision by the Scottish electorate to remain within the UK leaves the way open for a number of projects that are dependent on UK subsidies to proceed. Independence would have required negotiation on energy with the remainder of the UK, creating market uncertainty. [Windpower Monthly]
  • Ahead of a UN climate summit, institutional investors managing £15 trillion ($24.6 trillion) of assets are also calling on governments to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels, an estimated £370 billion ($606 billion) worldwide a year, five times the £60 billion paid in renewables subsidies. [The Guardian]
  • Small and medium businesses supplying renewable energy projects around Australia have jointly written to the government, urging it to retain the current policy, rejecting the recommendations of the recent Warburton review to cut the Renewable Energy Target. [Business Spectator]
  • In a speech at the National Press Club in Canberra, Greens leader Christine Milne has called on Australia to commit to being “net carbon zero” by 2050, and commit to cutting emissions by up to 60% by 2030. She suggested introducing emissions standards to phase out use of coal. [RenewEconomy]
  • One of the largest coal power plants in Germany — EON SE’s Wilhelmshaven hard coal plant on the coast of the North Sea — was recently forced to shut down for a week (or so) owing to the water inflow pipes becoming clogged with huge masses of mussels. [CleanTechnica]

US:

  • The White House has unveiled more than 50 actions and commitments designed to provide a major boost to the US solar power and energy efficiency industries. The package is predicted to avoid nearly 300 million ton of emissions by 2030 and save consumers more than $10 billion. [Business Green]
  • In an effort to expand on the rapidly growing PV market, the DOE’s Solar Instructor Training Network has a pilot job training program for veterans at up to three military bases starting this fall. The goal is to engage 400 community colleges to train 50,000 workers by 2020. [PV-Tech]
  • Environmental groups are simultaneously praising Duke Energy for its investment in solar power while criticizing the utility for operating some of the dirtiest power plants in the nation. Duke just committed $500 million to solar, but still runs some of the nation’s dirtiest coal plants. [WCNC]
  • Montana ranks second in the nation for wind energy potential, but currently isn’t even ranked in the top 20 for existing wind development projects. And instead of deploying windpower, it is maintaining one of the dirtiest coal-burning plants in the country. [MTPR]
  • According to the CEO of SolarCity, within ten years every set of solar panels sold by that company will come with a battery backup system, and the energy produced will be less expensive that grid power. [Treehugger]
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is investing in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide. The money, $68 million, will come as loan guarantees and grants. [Clarksville Online]
  • A report released by Environment America, a national federation of statewide advocacy groups, compares carbon emissions from US power plants to world power plant carbon emissions (all sources, all countries). The dirtiest coal plant in the US produces more CO2 than Sri Lanka. [CleanTechnica]
  • The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit yesterday rejected a petition from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to rehear a case ruling that  federal law does not permit the long-standing practice of paying big users not to use energy at peak demand times. [Crain's Chicago Business]

From the American Wind Energy Association:

AWEA logo

AWEA buttonCongress was out for a long summer recess.  They’ve been back in session for less than two weeks.  And now, they’re planning to head out for election preparations.  Tomorrow.

By leaving early, they’re leaving our renewable energy policies  hanging.  The last chance that they’ll have to extend these policies is in November, when they return for the “lame duck” session.

Please reach out today and remind your elected officials that they’ve pushed off the extension of the renewable energy tax incentives long enough – taking action must be a priority when they return in November.

The renewable energy policies in question are the production tax credit (PTC) and investment tax credit (ITC).  These incentives have proven themselves as effective policies to drive the industry forward.  With the support of the PTC and ITC, the wind industry has:

  • Grown to provide over 4% of U.S. electricity, powering over 15 million homes nationwide;
  • Invested $15 billion annually in the American economy; and
  • Supported an average of 73,000 construction, manufacturing, and other well-paying jobs.

American wind investments, jobs, and overall progress toward a cleaner environment, is at risk.  In previous years when Congress has failed to extend these credits, investments have dropped by 92% and tens of thousands of hard-working individuals have been laid off.

Please speak up today.  Tell your federal legislators that you haven’t forgotten about the work that they have yet to do.  Click here to urge them to make the renewable energy tax credit extensions their top priority for the lame duck session.

And, if you happen to see your federal legislators at home this campaign season, please be sure to ask them where they stand on this issue.

Thank you, as always, for supporting American wind power!

Sincerely,
Aaron

Aaron Severn
Senior Director, Federal Legislative Affairs
American Wind Energy Association

SUPPORT OUR LOCAL VT MADE FOODIES

Yelp Vermont Event Honors Vermont Food Finalists of Martha Stewart American Made Awards

The Yelp “Vermont Made” Roundup is happening on Friday, September 26 from 5-730pm (approximately) at Arts Riot in Burlington, VT.

So far 9 out of the 10 Vermont food finalists for the Martha Stewart American Made Awards have confirmed they will attend.

The goal of this event is to increase awareness of the Vermont finalist food companies and the Martha Stewart American Made Awards.  In doing so, the hope is to get the local companies more local consumer awareness and more votes for the social media portion of the awards.

The finalists will provide samples of their products for at least 250 people, mingle with attendees and also be selling their products.

The Roundup is also the night of the Arts Riot Truck Stop, so there should be a lot of crossover between the two events, but the Yelp event will be held inside the building.

The event invite is at this link.

Attendance is free for those who sign up via the Yelp event page or check in via the Yelp app at the door.

Finalists attending:

Queen City Pops
Daily Chocolate
Fortuna Sausage
Tonewood Maple
Nutty Steph’s
Vermont Farmstead
Whitney’s Castleton Crackers
Vermont Maple Sriracha
Fat Toad Farm
Maplebrook Farm (possibly)

September 18 Green Energy News

Global Warming:

  • On Sept. 21, a huge crowd will march through the middle of Manhattan in a loud and pointed reminder to our leaders, gathering that week at the UN to discuss global warming, that the next great movement of the planet’s citizens centers on our survival and their pathetic inaction. [Monterey County Weekly]
  • A UN summit on climate change will see the world begin to seriously tackle global warming, UN climate envoy Mary Robinson said. “The message from the climate summit and the message going forward to Paris is that it’s not business as usual with a little bit of green attached.” [Tengrinews]
  • A newly released report says an ambitious global plan to rid the world of fossil fuels – and generate half of the world’s new energy from renewable sources in just 15 years – could produce more economic benefits than costs, considering the anticipated boost to public health. [Slate Magazine]

Science and Technology:

  • A Gamesa-developed ‘bat shield’ technology has been shown to reduce the number of fatalities at wind turbines. Research to date with US development partner University of Delaware reveals a drop of 90%. However, under longer-term data a reduction range of 30% to 50% is anticipated. [reNews]

World:

  • Solar power may be the best weapon to counter India’s power crisis. The Telangana government is going to implement a new scheme under which solar panels would be attached to handwater pumps to convert them into dual purpose motor pumps in rural areas. [The New Indian Express]
  • Atlantis Resources is ready to draw down cash for its MeyGen tidal array project off the north coast of Scotland after satisfying all conditions in a £51.3 million funding package. The largely public funds will enable works on the 6 MW phase 1a to get underway. [reNews]
  • It has taken banks and financiers some time to get used to solar technology, a very safe investment. However, one promising development is news that Goldman Sachs is offering financing for solar PV projects in Japan for a lower rate than banks. [PlanetSave.com]
  • The Australian Labor party has ruled out negotiating with the Federal Government to scale back the large-scale Renewable Energy Target. The Government is believed to be searching for a bipartisan compromise to scale back the green scheme. [ABC Online]
  • The total worldwide capacity of demand response programs is expected to grow from 30.8 GW in 2014 to more than 196.6 GW by 2023, according to a recent report from Navigant Research. Demand response shifts part of the grid demand from peak periods to low-use periods. [PennEnergy]
  • With more countries utilizing offshore wind potential, the global offshore wind power market is expected to increase more than fivefold from 7.1 GW in 2013 to 39.9 GW by 2020, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. [AltEnergyMag]
  • Enel Green Power announced it has started construction on a 61 MW wind power farm in Chile. The Talinay Poniente wind farm will have 32 wind turbines that will generate enough power to provide electricity for 60,000 households in Chile. [PennEnergy]

US:

  • Clearly, politicians across the ideological spectrum are realizing that voters like clean energy. And for good reason, as wind and solar are big-time job creators and economic drivers, making them not just good politics but smart policy investments for any state’s future. [CleanTechnica]
  • Large wind farms and solar plants are now cost-competitive with gas-fired power in many parts of the US even without subsidy, according to Lazard, raising the prospect of a fundamental shift in the country’s energy market. [Financial Times]

Vermont Public Service Department:

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

Montpelier, Vermont – The Public Service Department announced on September 17, 2014 that the inaugural meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (NDCAP), created by the legislature in Act 179 to succeed the Vermont State Nuclear Advisory Panel, will be held on September 25, 2014, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, in the multi-purpose room at Brattleboro Union High School, 131 Fairground Road in Brattleboro. The agenda for the September 25 meeting includes a discussion of the mission of NDCAP; an overview of the Settlement Agreement reached between the State of Vermont and Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee (ENVY) in December 2013; and Vermont Yankee decommissioning and stakeholder assessment findings. In addition, ENVY will present a summary of current decommissioning activities at Vermont Yankee.  The meeting will be recorded by Brattleboro Cable Access Television (BCTV) who will upload the recording to the Vermont Media Exchange for distribution to all other Vermont public access stations.

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

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]

World:

  • 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]

US:

  • 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. [Examiner.com]

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

Opinion:

  • “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. [PlanetSave.com]

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]

World:

  • 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]

US:

  • 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: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e98u7k32c475c0ee&llr=rm4yijdab

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

NATIONAL DRIVE ELECTRIC WEEK

NEW HAMPSHIRE CELEBRATES 3rd ANNUAL
NATIONAL DRIVE ELECTRIC WEEK

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 driveelectricweek.org.

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.