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April 19 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • On Monday, the Puerto Rican power utility boasted that it had restored electricity to 97% in the nearly seven months since Hurricane Maria. Two days later, the precarious electric grid collapsed as a result of a minor accident, plunging the entire island into a blackout. According to officials, the power should be restored in 24 to 36 hours. [The Guardian]
Living without power (Getty Images)

Living without power (Getty Images)

  • Many Puerto Rican families staying on the mainland since Hurricane Maria were relying on FEMA to extend vouchers they depend on for housing until May 14. But on April 16, FEMA told evacuees the aid would be cut off by April 20. The fact that the FEMA has not restored utilities at their homes does not qualify them for help. [Orlando Weekly]
  • In a walk-the-talk move, California Gov Brown now has a solar plus storage microgrid serving his new home, a ranch north of Sacramento. Like 1.4 billion others in the world, the isolated home had no access to an electric grid. The Brown Ranch microgrid has 48 solar panels and 10 SimpliPhi PHI 3.4 kWh, 48-V batteries. [Microgrid Knowledge]
  • Wind power generated a record 6.3% share of all US electricity last year, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s newly released US Wind Industry Annual Market Report 2017. Last year, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota generated over 30% of their electricity from wind energy, data in the the report showed. [OilPrice.com]
  • Walmart announced that suppliers have reported reducing more than 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in the global value chain, as part of Walmart’s Project Gigaton initiative. Project Gigaton seeks to work with suppliers to reduce emissions from the company’s value chain by a billion metric tons, by 2030. [Windpower Engineering]

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

Jobs at Better Future Project

Starting this summer, the Better Future Project will be expanding work nationally and helping to coordinate the national student fossil fuel divestment movement! 

If you or someone you know would be a good fit to join the growing team as a Campus Organizer, Better Future Projects is now hiring!  Click here to see job opportunities.

 

April 18 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • In its quarterly Renewable Energy Index, Green Energy Markets said the amount of renewable energy generated in Australia is set to exceed the original Renewable Energy Target of 41,000 GWh in 2020. That target was scrapped in 2015 by the federal government, because it took the position that the goal was impossible. [ABC Online]
Wind turbines (Fabrizio Bensch | Reuters file photo)

Wind turbines (Fabrizio Bensch | Reuters file photo)

  • Increasing the pace of global renewable energy adoption by at least a factor of six is critical for meeting energy-related emission reduction needs of the Paris Climate Agreement. However, it can still limit global temperature rise to 2° C, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s long-term renewable energy outlook. [ETEnergyworld.com]
  • Green Mountain Power has done a lot to put distributed energy resources in the hands of its customers. But less than 3% of the Vermont utility’s customer base is currently using one of these offerings, a report from the Rocky Mountain Institute said. That adoption rate will have to grow tenfold or more to meet state clean energy goals. [Greentech Media]
  • A bill passed by the New Jersey legislature calls for 600 MW of energy storage for the state within three years. It also calls on the New Jersey Public Utilities Board to analyse further storage use and to make revisions for community solar, energy efficiency, peak demand reduction, and solar renewable energy certificate programs. [Energy Storage News]
  • Westinghouse Electric Co, emerging from bankruptcy, is ready to supply six nuclear reactors to India on schedule, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said. “The Trump administration thinks nuclear energy is very important. It’s important domestically, it’s important internationally.” The two countries are moving on a 2008 agreement. [Economic Times]

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

CSWD announces new recycling guidance on bottle caps

Put caps back on bottles and jars before recycling
It’s perhaps the most hotly debated “blue-bin” recycling question of the decade: Should you put the cap back on that bottle before you recycle it? Or does the cap go in the trash?
The Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD), the municipality that oversees recycling in Chittenden County, is laying the debate to rest with updated instructions on preparing bottles and jars for recycling: Rinse. Re-CAP. Recycle.”
The CSWD Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Williston is a sorting facility, where machines and people tumble, toss, pick, and sort blue-bin items into same-category materials. Those sorted materials are sold into global commodities markets, where processors buy them for manufacturers to make new products, and the cycle begins again. 
Items smaller than two inches fall through gaps in the MRF’s sorting machinery and ultimately get swept up with other contaminants – i.e., trash – and trucked to Coventry for burial in Vermont’s last remaining landfill. That’s why up to now, CSWD encouraged the public to put small caps in the trash. But demand for recycled plastic is high, and with that demand comes opportunity. 
Manufacturers value the plastic used to make bottle caps, which are generally made of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP). Sometimes, HDPE and PP can be worth even more than the plastic used to make the bottle itself! But caps are too small to be sorted solo. To make it to market, the caps must be firmly attached to their bottle. 
Doing your part is easy: Empty the bottle (Rinse), put the cap back on (Re-CAP), and put the capped bottle in your blue bin or cart (Recycle). Re-attaching the caps gives all of that plastic the best chance of being properly sorted and on to a new life as a different product. And it isn’t just plastic bottles and their caps that count – this same new practice applies to plastic jugs, plastic tubs (like margarine or yogurt), and glass jars.
To help educate residents about the impact of their recycling decisions, CSWD offers regularly scheduled public tours of the MRF. Visitors go behind the scenes to find out what happens to blue bin recycling once it leaves the bin or cart – and see exactly how it’s sorted and prepared for global markets. Find the full schedule or sign up for a tour at www.cswd.net/learn.

Battery Storage to Recharge the Clean Energy Transition – New Report

Clean Energy Group makes the case for battery storage as an emerging opportunity to transform all sectors of the economy

Report coverA report released today by the national nonprofit Clean Energy Group (CEG) sets out actions that activists and foundations can take to accelerate the clean energy transition with battery storage. The free report provides an in-depth look at 10 major areas where battery storage has begun to transform the energy system, including lowering customer electricity bills, allowing for greater clean energy equity, replacing polluting peaker plants, and supporting the buildout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

This new comprehensive report is titled “Jump-Start: How Activists and Foundations Can Champion Battery Storage to Recharge the Clean Energy Transition.”

The report proposes over 50 specific actions to accelerate the rate of battery storage adoption, which could facilitate greater solar deployment, reduce emissions, increase technology access to the poor, and improve the efficiency of the electric grid. The report is supported by over 250 up-to-date citations to the current literature in the field.

Clean Energy Group has been working on battery storage issues for the past five years from a non-profit perspective. During that time, CEG, which does not take any corporate contributions, has provided groups as diverse as state and federal policymakers, cities, low-income community groups, industry, environmental advocates, foundations, and investors with free information to help them understand how energy storage delivers social benefits.

The report should prompt more action and support to advance battery storage, either deployed alone or paired with renewables, to meet environmental, equity, economic development, and public safety goals.

“This is a hopeful report, but it’s also cautionary,” says report lead author and CEG President Lewis Milford. “The bottom line is this: if clean energy, environmental justice and climate activists and their funders do not develop a strategic focus on battery storage, they will miss what could be this generation’s greatest clean energy opportunity.”

This report is available at www.cleanegroup.org/ceg-resources/resource/jump-start-battery-storage.

April 17 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport may become the nation’s first airport to get 100% of its energy from solar power. Officials have agreed to move ahead with initial work on a third phase of its solar farm. The newest phase would help create enough electricity to pay the airport’s power bill, its chief executive said. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]
Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (Staff File Photo | Times Free Press)

Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (Staff File Photo | Times Free Press)

  • A small island in the Pacific Ocean is the site of a discovery that could change Japan’s economic future. The island has large enough supplies of several rare earth minerals to supply current world demand for hundreds of years. Rare earth elements are used for numerous specialty products. Nearly all supplies had been coming from China. [CNN]
  • Falling prices for solar and wind power is helping the Iowa utility owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway gain on its goal of generating 100% of its electricity from renewable sources, a company officer said. But a major force driving MidAmerican Energy’s renewable energy plans is its customers, who want more clean energy. [GreenBiz]
  • Green Mountain Power in Vermont has several high-impact opportunities to build upon its customer-focused energy programs while re-imagining its business model as an “energy transformation company,” delivering low-carbon, affordable, reliable energy to customers, according to a new Rocky Mountain Institute report. [Solar Builder]
  • Scientists have developed a plastic-eating enzyme that may be used to combat one of the world’s worst pollution problems. Researchers from the UK’s University of Portsmouth and the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory say the enzyme can “eat” the polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, that is used to make plastic bottles. [CNN]

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

April 16 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Two more Massachusetts offshore wind energy leases are moving toward auction by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, as southern New England and Mid-Atlantic states are hastening their own planning for wind power. The two lease tracts totaling 390,000 acres are located south of Martha’s Vineyard. [WorkBoat]
Turbines off Block Island, (Photo: RI Department of Energy)

Turbines off Block Island, (Photo: RI Department of Energy)

  • Scientists at Utrecht University have modeled a way to hit tough global climate targets without resorting to the extensive use of negative emissions technology. They found that by using more renewable power and reducing agriculture emissions the world can hit a 1.5° goal with less use of negative emissions technology. [www.businessgreen.com]
  • “‘It’s The Gulf Stream, Stupid!’ Climate Scientists Warn Tipping Point Is Near.” • Take away the heat of the Gulf Stream and Europe becomes up to 10º C cooler in winter, parts of Africa become more arid, and sea level rise along the eastern seaboard of the United States increases. Flow in the Gulf Stream is down 15% since 1950. [CleanTechnica]
  • Mexico’s Secretary of Energy, Pedro Joaquin Coldwell, said last week that renewable sources will likely produce 43% of the country’s electricity by 2024. The calculation is based on the results of the energy auctions carried out by the government so far, he said. 65 renewable power plants are to be built in the next three years. [Renewables Now]
  • Omaha Public Power District customers will soon be able to support local solar power. OPPD as early as next year will start selling shares of solar power to interested customers. The utility designed each share of solar power to represent roughly 10% of the electricity that an average residential customer uses each month. [North Platte Telegraph]

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

April 15 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • A trial date of October 29 has been set for a landmark lawsuit brought by a group of young Americans. Juliana v. United States was filed in 2015 on behalf of 21 young plaintiffs who allege their constitutional and public trust rights are being violated by the government’s creation of a national energy system that causes climate change. [DeSmog]
Protesting kids holding a banner (Credit: Our Children's Trust)

Protesting kids holding a banner (Credit: Our Children’s Trust)

  • “China’s bold energy vision” • The boldest plan to achieve the targets set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement comes from China. China’s Global Energy Interconnection offers a vision of how to achieve this energy transformation that is breathtaking. It moves electricity from where renewable resources are abundant to where it is needed. [Gulf Times]
  • According to a study published this month in the journal Nature Geoscience, Antarctica’s frozen underbelly is melting and receding at a rate around five times faster than normal. In the centuries following an ice age, glacier grounding lines should retreat about 82 feet per year, but the ice is retreating at speeds up to 600 feet annually. [KIRO Seattle]
  • The Indian government is will provide 700,000 solar study lamps in five states where rural household electrification levels are low. In Bihar alone, the target is to provide more than 188,400 underprivileged students with solar study lamps. Around 40,570 of such lamps have already been distributed to students by the program. [ETEnergyworld.com]
  • Since the downturn in mining operations, nearly 1,000 miners have left the Wyoming coal industry. About 5,600 remain. Some were laid off and hired back with different working conditions: less pay, a weaker insurance plan, a temporary position. Other workers are on mandatory overtime or searching for a second job. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

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

April 14 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Italian energy group Eni is considering stepping up its nuclear fusion investment. Nuclear fusion is a technology considered so uncertain that Eni remains the only global oil company prepared to bet on it. This happens just as the falling cost of solar and wind power and a shift to electric vehicles raise doubts over long-term demand for oil. [Reuters]
Fusion experiment at MIT (Bob Mumgaard | Plasma Science and Fusion Center | Handout via Reuters)

Fusion experiment at MIT (Bob Mumgaard | Plasma Science and Fusion Center | Handout via Reuters)

  • Ireland’s power system is the first in the world capable of delivering 65% of all electricity from variable sources including wind. EirGrid said it had achieved “record levels” of variable renewable energy after successful completion of a five-month trial. It said the all-island power system was the first in the world to reach this level. [Independent.ie]
  • Wisconsin’s largest coal-fired power plant, We Energies’ Oak Creek generating facility on the Lake Michigan shoreline south of Milwaukee, burns about 12,000 tons of coal each day. As it arrives by the trainload and sits in large piles, black coal dust blows into nearby neighborhoods. There is concern among residents. [Wisconsin Public Radio News]
  • This week, New York Gov Andrew Cuomo announced up to $15 million in funding available for grid modernization projects. Also this week, the NYPA’s Board of Trustees approved a $9.3 million sensor deployment program aimed at transforming the state’s grid; it is the first phase of a multi-stage program that will cost $55 million. [Utility Dive]
  • The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled against ExxonMobil in the company’s bid to block the state’s attorney general from obtaining records to investigate whether the company knew about the role fossil fuels play in climate change. It ruled that the AG has jurisdiction to investigate climate-related offenses by Exxon. [Insіdеr Cаr Nеws]

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

NH Electric Co-op Is First in State to Offer Off-Peak EV Charging Rate

To help its members realize the benefits of Electric Vehicle (EV) ownership, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) has become the first electric utility in the state to offer deeply discounted rates to members who charge their EVs during off-peak hours.

EV ownership is on the rise and most auto manufacturers are currently offering or plan to offer multiple electric vehicle models. EV drivers can benefit from increased efficiency over fossil fuel powered vehicles, as well as lower maintenance costs.  NHEC members purchasing or leasing EVs now can also choose an off-peak charging option to further reduce operating costs.

“The auto industry is changing rapidly and we see tremendous potential in the growth of EV ownership,” said Craig Snow, NHEC Vice President of Member Services. “At the same time, it’s important to manage this new source of electric load in ways that benefit Co-op members, the regional electric grid and the environment.”

The goal of NHEC’s off-peak charging program is to incentivize EV charging during times when regional electric demand is low, thus avoiding the need to build new generation facilities and further strain the New England electricity transmission grid to meet the added demand for power, Snow added.

As part of its new program, NHEC is also offering rebates of up to $300 to residential members who install Level 2 EV charging stations (240 volts) in its service territory. Rebates will help offset the cost of installing a second electric meter that records EV charging usage and enables members to take advantage of the lower off-peak charging rate. Rebates of up to $1,000 are also available for NHEC members who purchase or lease qualified EVs. Off-peak rates are effective for EV charging only. Household usage will still be separately metered and billed at NHEC’s basic residential rate.

Effective May 1st, 2018, the off-peak rate for EV charging will be 8.7 cents per kWh, which is 42% lower than the basic residential rate (effective May 1, 2018) of 14.9 cents per kWh. Off-peak hours are 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday – Friday, including all hours on weekends and holidays. The rate for on-peak charging will be 22.5 cents per kWh.  Rates will be adjusted in May and November each year to reflect the seasonal change in the price of wholesale power.

For participating members who limit their EV charging to off-peak hours, the potential savings is significant. The owner of an EV like the Chevrolet Bolt who drives 16,000 miles a year can save about $20 a month by charging during off-peak times.

NHEC members who already have a Level 2 EV charger installed in NHEC service territory are also eligible for the rebate if they sign up for off-peak charging and install a dedicated meter.

Visit the EV page on the NHEC website at www.nhec.com/take-charge-save for program details and applications, or call NHEC Member Solutions at 1-800-698-2007. Funds are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.