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June 3 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Lights flick on across a sleepy hamlet in Kenya, thanks to the efforts of more than 200 Maasai women at the frontline of a solar power revolution. Trained in solar panel installation, they use donkeys to haul their solar wares from home to home in the remote region, giving families their first access to clean and reliable power. [TODAYonline]
Massai village in Tanzania. Photo by David Berkowitz. Wikimedia Commons.

Massai village in Tanzania. Photo by David Berkowitz. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Power for All is a global campaign dedicated to promoting the fastest, most cost-effective, and most sustainable approach to universal energy access. It claims that access to distributed, democratized, and renewable energy can be delivered twice as fast and at 10% of the cost of the top-down, centralized model. [CleanTechnica]
  • China is the world’s largest hydro power producer and is expected to share its technology with the world despite challenges at home, according to the China Economic Weekly. China’s installed hydropower capacity of 300 GW led the world and accounted for 27% of global capacity in 2014, the magazine said. [WantChinaTimes]
  • Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum says he loves Pope Francis, but he wants the pontiff to stop talking about climate change. He says the pope should “leave science to the scientists.” The pope, who has a master’s degree in chemistry, is becoming increasingly vocal about climate change. [Huffington Post]
  • A new low in California’s worsening drought was reached Monday when state officials reported that the state’s snowpack is gone. This was inevitable as a measurement two months ago said it was at 5% of normal. Despite the dire water measurement, power supplies are basically unaffected. [Natural Gas Intelligence]

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

June 2 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The Global Apollo Program aims to make the cost of clean electricity lower than that from coal, worldwide, within 10 years. It calls for £15 billion a year of spending on developing green energy and energy storage. In today’s money, it is the same cost as the Apollo Program that put astronauts on the moon. [The Guardian]
Earthrise. NASA photo, taken by Apollo 8 crew member Bill Anders. Wikimedia Commons.

Earthrise. NASA photo, taken by Apollo 8 crew member Bill Anders. Wikimedia Commons.

  • A Japanese industry ministry projection shows Japan’s oil use is likely to fall by 33% by around 2030 to about 2.5 million barrels per day as Tokyo pushes for a return of nuclear power, suspended after the Fukushima Disaster, and boosts renewable use. Japan is the world’s fourth-biggest importer of oil. [THE BUSINESS TIMES]
  • Ford Motor Co is joining Tesla Motors Inc and Toyota Motor Corp in a strategy of letting competitors use patented technology to accelerate development of electric-drive vehicles. Ford will open up hundreds of patents on electric-car technology. Unlike Tesla and Toyota, it will license its patents for a fee. [Automotive News]
  • All the electricity delivered to Borrego Springs, California, during a nearly nine-hour period in May came from a nearby solar energy plant, in what utility officials believe is the first time in the country an entire community has been powered by a renewable microgrid, San Diego Gas & Electric announced. [Times of San Diego]
  • US developer Cape Wind has been granted a temporary reprieve while regulators mull a long-term extension request. Construction of the 468-MW project was to start by 1 May. The Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board agreed to suspend the deadline while it considers a request for a two-year extension. [reNews]

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

June 1 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Renewable power produced 49.9% of the Spain’s electricity in the 29 days of May to Friday, grid operator Red Electrica de Espana said in its monthly report. Wind power was 25% share of total power. Hydroelectric plants generated 14.9%. The share of all major renewable sources grew in comparison to April. [SeeNews Renewables]
Wind turbines in Spain. Author: petter palander. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Wind turbines in Spain. Author: petter palander. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

  • The 630-MW London Array offshore wind farm has generated 5 TWh in its first two full years of operation. The facility in the Thames Estuary has also achieved an average availability of over 95% from its 175 turbines. London Array is owned by EON, Dong Energy, Masdar and Canadian pension fund La Caisse. [reNews]
  • BP, Shell, and four other major energy companies who have written the UN calling for a global price on carbon to help them accelerate deployment of low emission technologies. The letter outlines the companies’ desire for a dialogue with the UN and governments about a scheme to put a price on emissions. [Business Green]
  • Sonoma Clean Power is rolling out service Monday to three additional cities and in doing so is set to become the main electricity supplier within Sonoma County, California, dislodging PG&E from its long domination in the region. Sonoma Clean Power will supply to 90% of the county’s customers. [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]
  • In Connecticut, FuelCell Energy said that its megawatt-scale FuelCell Energy hydrogen delivery system is now available and can generate more than 1,200 kilograms of hydrogen per day, adequate to power a fleet of more than 1,500 fuel cell cars while also producing two megawatts of ultra-clean electricity. [Biobased Digest]

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

May 31 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Large swaths of green pasture along Massachusetts highways are being transformed into solar power fields that state transportation officials say could save taxpayers $15 million over the next 20 years. Ten sites along Route 3 and the Mass Pike have been selected for the first phase of the project. [Boston Herald]
A view of the Mass Pike, Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Photo by ToddC4176. Wikimedia Commons.

A view of the Mass Pike, Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Photo by ToddC4176. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Cutting US greenhouse gas emissions to the target level announced by the Obama administration won’t require huge policy changes, according to a new report from the World Resources Institute. Reducing emissions by 26% to 28% in the next 10 years can be achieved under existing policies and laws. [Summit County Citizens Voice]
  • In a new book, noted environmentalist Lester Brown says the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy will happen much faster than expected.“I think we’re going to see a half-century of change compressed into the next decade,” he says. “And this is partly because the market is beginning to drive this transition.” [PRI]
  • After several weeks of delays, a solar plane took off from China Saturday for a historic crossing across the Pacific that organizers hope will end in Hawaii in five days. Solar Impulse 2, with André Borschberg manning the controls, was supposed to fly May 4, but repeated bouts of poor weather delayed it. [CBS News]
  • Researchers at Stanford are trying to develop large bioreactors where billions of bacterial methane generators called “methanogens” crank out the gas around the clock. These microbial colonies would be fed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and clean electricity from electrodes, Stanford News says. [The Green Optimistic]

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

May 30 Green Energy News

Headline News:

Shelf cloud of a supercell over Miami, Texas. NOAA Photograph. Wikimedia Commons.

Shelf cloud of a supercell over Miami, Texas. NOAA Photograph. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Torrential downpours in Texas have flooded drought-parched lands. A heat wave has so far killed more than 1,800 people in India. Alaska, of all places, had record 91° readings. A pair of top-of-the-scale typhoons hit the Northwest Pacific. A drought is taking hold in the East. Part of the blame goes to climate change. [aol.com]
  • Calculations based on the EPA’s estimate of corn ethanol emissions show that last year’s production and use of 14 billion gallons of corn ethanol resulted in 27 million tons more carbon emissions than if Americans had used straight gasoline. That’s worse than Keystone’s projected emissions. [Environmental Working Group]
  • The Indian state of Karnataka, which lies in the country’s Southwest, is now embarking on setting up a mega solar power park, said to be the world’s biggest. The park, with a capacity of 2,000 MW, will come up on 10,000 acres of land in a parched area. The site was chosen for its sunlight and low land use. [The Hindu]
  • Toshiba Corporation received an order to supply a large-scale battery energy storage system for Tohoku Electric Power Company’s Minami-Soma Substation Project. The 40-MW, 40-MWh lithium-ion system, will be Japan’s largest. Construction of the system has begun, operations should start next February. [WebWire]
  • While much of the attention related to EPA’s Clean Power Plan is focused, appropriately, on the emissions and economic benefits of the new standards, a report just released by the CNA Corporation identified another benefit that may end up being worth more than all the other impacts combined: water. [Energy Collective]

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

May 29 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The highest temperature recorded on Wednesday reached 116.6° Fahrenheit (47° Celsius) in the eastern Indian states of Jharkhand and Odisha. More than 1,400 people have died in the heat wave. Climate change is likely is a factor, according to a research scientist with the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. [CNN]
Elephants beat the heat in an Indian zoo. Photo by Elroy Serrao. Wikimedia Commons.

Elephants beat the heat in an Indian zoo. Photo by Elroy Serrao. Wikimedia Commons.

  • The biggest solar power project in Minnesota has won approval from state regulators. The $250 million Aurora Solar Project by Edina-based Geronimo Energy calls for installation of ground-mounted solar panels at 21 sites. Geronimo plans to finish the project in 2016 and sell the power to Xcel Energy. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
  • TDI-New England wants to build a 1,000-MW power line under Lake Champlain. The developer has offered Vermont millions of dollars to lower electricity bills and to clean up Lake Champlain. State officials like the potential windfall, but they say it won’t get in the way of a vigorous review of the project.[Vermont Public Radio]
  • Data from the Energy Information Administration reveals highest levels of renewable energy use in the US since the Great Depression of the 1930s, when the country was in the depression and wood was a major source of heat. Renewable energy supplied 9.8% of total domestic energy consumption in 2014. [pv magazine]
  • Three of the world’s largest tech companies, Apple, Facebook, and Google, have called on the North Carolina General Assembly to avoid making changes to the state’s renewable energy policies. They said the policies were important parts of the reasons they had to choose to invest in the state. [Triangle Business Journal]

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

Upper Valley Food Coop Event

Friday, June 5 in the Gathering Room, upstairs at the Upper Valley Food Co-op

Brain Buzz!

Join Dartmouth Grad student, Jacob Heiling, who will be talking about Mutualisms in Nature.

  • Species interactions occur on a continuum
  • Cooperation is an emergent property of interactions between “self-interested” partners
  • Cooperative interactions (or “mutualisms”) can be thought of as barter transactions between species
  • What happens when one partner “cheats”? Are there sanctions against this?

5:30pm, upstairs in the Co-op’s Gathering Room

This is a FREE forum. Coffee & Tea provided!

- Reminder about library hours -

Our library of Sustainable Living Resources will be open and available to members during   Open Hours. Tuesdays: 10am to noon; Wednesdays: 4 to 6pm; Saturdays: 2 to 4pm. Come check out our selection of books and DVDs.   

May 28 Energy News

Headline News:

  • Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd has closed an A$600 million ($462 million US) green bond, the biggest certified so far under the Climate Bonds Standard. About 40% will go to refinance green property, with the rest for wind and solar energy loans in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Asia. [SeeNews Renewables]
Wind farm in Australia. Author: Steven Caddy. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Wind farm in Australia. Author: Steven Caddy. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

  • Citibank lowered its long-run thermal coal forecast by 11%, citing increasing competition from natural gas and renewables and weak Chinese demand They told clients, “Global thermal coal demand is suffering from increasing environmental pressure and competition from natural gas and renewable energy.” [Platts]
  • Discounting any immediate plans to stop coal imports, India’s Coal and Power Minister, Piyush Goyal, said that the government will open more than 60 coal mines across the country in the coming days. He said the new mines were part of the plan for state miner Coal India to double its production by 2020. [Business Today]
  • The Jordan News Agency said there will be a 20-year solar power purchase agreement between the Hong Kong-based, Hanergy Thin Film Power Group, and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources in Jordan. The projects are valued at $1.5 billion. Hanergy recently gave Jordan a grant for transmissions. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • Two northwest Ohio lawmakers used a business pitch on Wednesday in hopes of persuading fellow Republicans to weaken past moves they argue stymie development of large-scale wind farms. They pointed to the $1.1 billion expected to be invested in a new energy-intensive data center in central Ohio by Amazon. [Toledo Blade]

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

May 27 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • In a new report, the US Department of Energy says the US could get 35% of its electricity from wind power within 35 years. The report details the benefits of replacing fossil fuel power plants with wind turbines generating carbon-free electricity. One benefit is saving 260 billion gallons of water each year. [TakePart]
Wind farm in rural America.

Wind farm in rural America.

  • According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, wind and solar accounted for all new generating capacity placed into service in April. Wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower combined have provided 84.1% of the new US electrical generating capacity placed into service so far in 2015. [North American Windpower]
  • Clean energy employed more than 7.7 million people across the world last year, according the International Renewable Energy Agency. The number, which covers people employed directly by renewable energy firms and throughout the supply chain, marks an 18% rise on the 6.5 million jobs recorded in 2013. [GreenBiz]
  • Ahead of the climate change Conference of the Parties in December, France’s lower house of parliament has approved a bill aimed at boosting renewable energy and reducing reliance on nuclear power, among other environment-friendly measures. There were 308 votes for the bill, and 217 against. [Jamaica Observer]
  • Duke Energy will partner with LG Chem and Greensmith to build a battery-based energy storage facility at the site of Duke’s decommissioned WC Beckjord coal-fired power plant in New Richmond, Ohio. The new plant will serve to regulate and stabilize the electric power grid in the eastern US. [Cincinnati Business Courier]

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

June 16 Forum on Financing for Energy Improvement Projects

Forum to Promote New No-Interest or Low-Interest Financing

Two great low or no-interest financing options are now available to help Vermonters make energy improvements in their homes: PACE financing and the Heat Saver Loan.

A public informational forum on these energy financing options will be held on Tuesday, June 16 at 5:30 pm at the Marlboro College Graduate School, 28 Vernon Street in downtown Brattleboro. Pizza and beverages will be provided. Space is limited – to register, contact Paul Cameron at 251-8135 or pcameron@brattleboro.org.

PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing is available to residents of Vermont towns that have officially approved a PACE program, including Brattleboro, Putney, Marlboro, and Manchester.

Improvements that can be financed through these low rates include energy audits, weatherization measures, cold climate heat pumps, high efficiency oil, propane and wood pellet central heating systems, heat pump water heaters, and solar hot water heaters.  Vermonters earning up to 80% of the state’s Average Median Income (AMI) can get 0% financing; 80-100% AMI can get 0.99% financing; and 100-120% AMI can get 1.99%. Renewable electric generation systems can also be financed through PACE at the standard program rate which is currently 6%. Other advantages of PACE financing include low closing costs, no down payment required and ability to pay the loan off in advance with no penalty. Specific income levels and information on the PACE process are available at www.efficiencyvermont.com/PACE.

In addition to PACE financing, Vermonters looking to improve the thermal efficiency of their home can finance eligible improvement projects through the Heat Saver Loan Program.

Heat Saver Loans are available statewide, and cover many similar projects, including weatherization, cold-climate heat pumps, solar hot water systems, biomass heating systems, and other clean heating technologies. Interested homeowners must work with an approved installer or certified contractor. Heat saver loans are available through Opportunities Credit Union and the Vermont State Employees Credit Union with interest rates ranging from 0% to 4.99%. Specific income levels and qualifying contractors can be found by visiting at www.efficiencyvermont.com/HeatSaver.

Financing efficiency and renewable energy measures through PACE or the Heat Saver Loan program often result in homeowners saving more on energy costs than they are paying for the improvements, so they save energy and money from the beginning. Efficiency Vermont, the state’s energy efficiency utility, can review project plans to help determine how cost effective the project is, and will assist homeowners through the PACE and Heat Saver Loan processes.

The June 16 forum is sponsored by Brattleboro Climate Protection, Brattleboro Energy Committee,   Sustainable Energy Outreach Network, Home Energy Advocates, and Efficiency Vermont.

More information on Heat Saver Loans is available at www.efficiencyvermont.com/HeatSaver.

More information on PACE financing is available at www.efficiencyvermont.com/PACE; contact Efficiency Vermont at info@efficiencyvermont.com or 888-921-5990 with questions.