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Evaluation Gives High Marks for State’s Advanced Wood Heating Program

Report Measures Clean Energy Development Fund’s Efforts Since 2015
 
Montpelier, Vermont – January 7, 2020 – In 2019 the Vermont’s Department of Public Service contracted with the Cadmus Group to conduct an evaluation of the Clean Energy Development Fund’s (CEDF) advanced wood heat incentive and grant programs. Cadmus’ completed report concludes that CEDF’s programs on advanced wood heating were successful, making a positive economic impact in developing the local market for wood fuels and heating systems in Vermont. 
 
Highlights of the report include:
   CEDF’s incentives generated a strong increase in market development and raising market awareness
   CEDF has stimulated sales in the small commercial market that would otherwise not exist without their efforts
   CEDF’s incentives resulted in saving Vermonters over 500,000 gallons in heating oil and over 15,000 gallons of propane annually.
 
“This evaluation shows that our increased efforts to promote clean wood heating are providing real benefits to Vermonters” said Vermont Public Service Department Commissioner June Tierney. “We are proud of CEDF’s efforts”.

NY-GEO 2020 – Registration is Open

Join us for the sixth annual NY-GEO Renewable Heating & Cooling Conference at the Albany Wolf Road Marriott Hotel on March 25th & 26th, 2020.

Weare excited to announce that NYSERDA President and CEO Alicia Barton has confirmed as a keynote speaker for the conference.
Thanks to all who have already registered ! Why not forward this note to your colleagues and encourage them to join you at NY-GEO 2020 ?
Join us for a fantastic program that will help policy makers, installers, organizers, architects, clean energy activists, contractors, building owners and managers, engineers and more to plug into the renewable heat momentum building in New York and across the northeast!
Early Bird discounts are now available for Sponsorships until January 20th and for Exhibits and Attendee registrations until February 2nd.
For Building Professionals, NY-GEO 2020 will provide 5 continuing education credits for building professionals, including BPI credits, AIA credits for architects and ACEC credits for engineers. In addition, on-going IGSHPA Accredited Installer and Certified Geothermal Design courses will culminate at the conference. Click here to learn about and/or register for these courses.
Become a 2020 member of NY-GEO and get a 10% discount on registration exhibition space and a $100 discount on a sponsorship or exhibit. Associate non-voting memberships in NY-GEO are available for only $35 and bring a 5% registration discount.

Last year PSEG Long Island, the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter and Orange & Rockland Utilities provided scholarship funds for students and low income individuals. We hope to attract scholarship sponsors again this year, but those funds wil likely be limited . Email nygeoinfo@gmail.com if you will attend but need a scholarship to pay part of your registration. We want you to attend and will happily share the cost with you, thanks to our scholarship sponsors.

January 30 Deadline Set for Candidates Seeking Nomination to NHEC Board of Directors

PLYMOUTH, NH – Members of the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, Inc. (NHEC) interested in being considered for nomination to the organization’s board of directors should submit their materials to the Nominating Committee by 4:30 p.m. on January 30, 2020.  More information is available on NHEC’s web site at www.nhec.com.

“We are seeking qualified members with diverse personal, professional, and geographical backgrounds,” said Steve Camerino, NHEC’s president and CEO.  “NHEC is a member-owned, non-profit organization, and serving on the board of directors is one of the ways our members can have a direct impact on how this democratically controlled organization is run.  It is an important and rewarding job.”

Board members are elected to three-year terms.  Three of the eleven seats are up for election this year.  Election ballots will be sent to all members in May.  Those elected will be seated at the Annual Meeting of Members, to be held on Monday, June 22, 2020.

The Nominating Committee meets numerous times to review the applications and interview candidates for the Board of Directors.  After completing the process, they nominate a slate of candidates to be included on the ballot.  Only current members of NHEC may serve on the board of directors. The candidates selected will be identified on the ballot as having been nominated by the Nominating Committee.

NHEC members interested in serving on the board of directors may contact Sharon Yeaton at 603-536-8801, or yeatons@nhec.com, for a candidate packet.

NYS projects will bring 146 megawatts our way soon

Note from G.E.T. Publisher: This is an example for all governors to take note of and follow.

From Cortland Standard, November 30, 2019

New York — and Cortland County — is in the midst of a solar energy boom fueled by $1 billion in state funding as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push for New York to produce 70% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Cortland County has seen five commercial solar projects over the past year. Two have already begun, while the others are still in the planning stages. The largest would cost $90 million and produce 90 megawatts, enough electricity to power 20,600 homes; the smallest has installations as small as one megawatt. Together they add up to at least 146 megawatts of electricity.

 

NY-GEO Notes Importance of PSC’s Order on Energy Efficiency that Will Increase Renewable Heating and Cooling in New York State

Buffalo, NY (January 16, 2020):  Today the New York Public Service Commission ordered New York’s utilities to meet increased energy efficiency targets in the New Efficiency: New York proceeding.  As part of the order, for the first time, the energy savings resulting from customers who switch from fossil fuel heating to heat pumps will be included toward energy efficiency goals.  Heat pump technology provides space heating and cooling without burning fossil fuels, using an electric pump to efficiently concentrate and harvest heat naturally found in the air and underground.  The Commission’s order specifically requires New York’s utilities to deliver 3.6 TBtus of energy savings from heat pump installations across the state.  While NY-GEO had urged the Commission to maintain as a minimum its original target of 5 TBtu’s, the adopted target will provide support for tens of thousands of installations over the next 5 years as heat pumps replace fossil fuel heating in New York.

As part of this order, responsibility for incentivizing heat pumps will be transferred to the utilities from the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).  Clean heating and cooling advocates from across the state have been anticipating this move and have asked for strong incentives so home owners and businesses can afford to make this transition.

In response to the PSC’s order NY-GEO Executive Director Bill Nowak stated: “We believe the Commission’s order marks the official beginning of a process that will lead to the eventual end of fossil fuel heating in New York.  With heat pump technology there is no longer a need to be burning gas, oil or propane to heat our homes and businesses.  New York will not meet its climate goals without drastically cutting the substantial percentage of emissions from fossil fuel heating.  Today’s order is an important step in that direction”

The New York Geothermal Energy Organization (NY-GEO) is a non-profit trade association representing geothermal heat pump (GHP) installers, manufacturers, distributors and industry stakeholders from throughout New York State.

Dairy Air Wind Announces Halt to Development Activity

WILLISTON, VT— Dairy Air Wind, the last remaining wind energy project being developed in Vermont, today announced the ending of all development activities surrounding the project. Project partner David Blittersdorf cited a current political environment that is hostile to wind energy as the leading cause for this step. Dairy Air Wind was intended to be a single-turbine project sited in a cornfield on the Champney family’s 450-acre dairy farm in Holland, VT.

“In 2012, there were over a dozen wind projects in development. Now there are none.  This is truly a sad state of affairs for Vermont,” stated David Blittersdorf. “Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. We must combat the carbon emissions crisis and move to a renewable energy based future. We simply can’t do this without wind energy as part of the mix. Anyone who tells you otherwise either doesn’t understand the science, or is lying.”

Under the current governor, Phil Scott, zero wind projects have been approved, two wind projects had previously folded, and now the last remaining project, Dairy Air Wind, has come to a halt as well. Governor Scott made opposition to renewable wind energy a part of his campaign platform in 2016, and following his election he appointed a vocal wind energy opponent as Chair of the Public Utility Commission.

Dairy Air Wind had received a state standard offer-power contract to sell the project’s electricity in Vermont in 2016, but has been stalled in permitting ever since.  Dairy Air Wind has been in the process of applying for a Certificate of Public Good (CPG), but given the current regulatory and political environment, project leadership no longer believes that acquiring a CPG is possible. Prior to today’s announcement, Dairy Air Wind was the last wind project still being developed in Vermont.

“If Vermont is saying no to a project like Dairy Air Wind, we are really saying no to everything,” said Blittersdorf. “We are in real trouble as a state if we can’t build a single wind turbine in a flat cornfield, hosted by a dairy farmer that wants the project built to help keep the farm going. A vast majority of Vermonters know that in the face of mounting threats from climate change, we cannot afford to slow down on expanding wind energy.  Governor Scott has gotten away with a de facto ban on wind energy without paying the political costs. It is time for Vermonters to step up and demand real action on climate change. Until we change the laws and move toward being powered by 100% renewable energy, good renewable energy projects like Dairy Air Wind will continue to fail in permitting.”

David Blittersdorf, CEO and founder of AllEarth Renewables, is a passionate renewable energy advocate.  Over the past eight years, he has led three separate partnerships in building two 2.2-MW community scale solar farms in South Burlington, as well as the 10-MW Georgia Mountain Community Wind project, which was recently acquired by Greenbacker Renewable Energy. Last year he completed construction of the two-turbine Holiday Hill Community Wind Project in Russell, MA.  Developed with broad community support, the project is now producing clean, renewable energy for the town of Russell and surrounding communities.

For more information contact:

Nick Charyk, info@dairyairwind.com, 802.917.2012, www.DairyAirWind.com

January 16 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Electric Aircraft Pilot Training Is Arriving” • Quantum Air and OSM Aviation Group announced an electric aircraft pilot training partnership. OSM Aviation Academy will conduct the Quantum-branded pilot training program according to FAA commercial standards. Electric urban air mobility is taking shape one step at a time. [CleanTechnica]

Bye Aerospace eFlyer (Photo courtesy of Bye Aerospace)

  • “Irrigation Keeps Things Cool In Extreme Heat” • A study in Nature Communications examined the influence of irrigation on extreme heat. The cooling effect of irrigation over regions studied partly or completely offset the effect of global warming contributing to more frequent and intense heat extremes by up to a factor of eight. [Futurity]
  • “Sir David Attenborough Warns Of Climate ‘Crisis Moment'” • “The moment of crisis has come” in efforts to tackle climate change, Sir David Attenborough has warned. According to the renowned naturalist and broadcaster, “we have been putting things off for year after year.” Sir David’s comments came in a BBC News interview. [BBC]
  • “BBC Launches New Climate Coverage” • The BBC announced plans for a year-long series of special programming and coverage on climate change. The Our Planet Matters project is to have news services and shows, including a new monthly Climate Check podcast from BBC Weather, and coverage of debates and events around the globe. [BBC]
  • “Citi Explains Why There’s An ‘Ultimate Cap’ On Oil Prices” • David Bailin, CIO of Citi Private Bank, said the cost of producing electricity from solar energy has been lower than that of fossil fuels for two years. That’s a “permanent change” that will limit how high oil prices can climb, he said. The global oil supply is currently running ahead of demand. [CNBC]

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

Clean Energy Champion of the Year

Clean Tech Business of the Year Awardees Recognized
at Annual Member Holiday Dinner

Clean Energy Champion Award Winner, Tony Giunta (middle), poses with Clean Energy NH Staff (from left to right): Henry Herndon, Executive Director Madeleine Mineau, Brianna Brand, and Michael Behrmann. Photo credit: Clean Energy NH.

Clean Energy NH, the Granite State’s leading clean energy advocate and educator, held its third annual Member Holiday Dinner on December 11 and announced the winners of its annual awards.

The event was held at the law offices of member firm Sheehan Phinney in Manchester and welcomed members from the state’s most distinguished clean technology companies ranging from renewable energy generation, engineering, consulting, energy efficiency, legal, financial, and beyond. Over sixty members gathered at the sold-out dinner to network and recap the state’s challenges and successes in 2019.

The highlight of the event was the award ceremony, during which the nominees and winners were announced.

The Clean Energy Champion of the Year Award was established in 2017. The award is presented annually to a Clean Energy NH member who has gone above-and-beyond in support and engagement with the organization and demonstrates leadership in the transition to a clean energy future. Nominees included Chris Skoglund of the NH Department of Environmental Services, Julia Griffin, Manager of the Town of Hanover, Lebanon City Councilor Clifton Below, and the winner, Tony Giunta of The Nobis Group and Mayor of the City of Franklin. For over 20 years, Tony Giunta has made renewable energy a priority. Throughout his career Tony has been a tireless advocate for vital state- level clean energy policies, including the expansion of the net metering cap.

“I’m very grateful and honored to receive this prestigious award from such a distinguished dedicated organization,” said Giunta. “My continuing drive to move New Hampshire toward a clean energy future has been a multi-team effort of which my co-workers at The Nobis Group and staff at Clean Energy NH have played a significant role. Again, my sincerest thanks to Clean Energy NH for this humbling recognition.”

The Clean Tech Business of the Year Award, also established in 2017, is presented annually to a Clean Energy NH business demonstrating excellence in the clean tech industry sector and support of Clean Energy NH’s mission through engagement with the organization and commitment to their work. Nominees for the award included GDS Associates with offices in Manchester, Froling Energy of Peterborough, and Barrington Power of Barrington, and the winner, Affinity LED Lighting of Dover, NH. Affinity LED Lighting has helped 40 NH cities and towns save money by converting to LED streetlights, and employs veterans at their Dover, NH office.

Also at the event, Clean Energy NH recognized Ted Vansant of New England Commercial Solar Services, with a special Distinguished Leadership and Service Award. Vansant served as Board Chair for two 3-year terms and is stepping down at the end of 2019, handing the Chair position to fellow Board member Charlie Niebling of Innovative Natural Resources Solutions.

“I have been honored to serve as Clean Energy NH’s Board Chair to witness the organization’s growth and expansion over the past several years. With the magnitude of the issues that clean energy addresses only rising in significance, Clean Energy NH is well-poised to make a lasting impact for a stronger NH economy and healthier future for our citizens, and I look forward to remaining involved and supportive of this important work,” said Vansant.

Many thanks to our sponsor:

Lewis Creek Cottage: Net-Zero Energy with a View

All images courtesy Ryan Bent Photography

Barbara Whitchurch

The Lewis Creek Cottage is a net-zero-energy home designed by Rolf Kielman (AIA, Leed AP) for TruexCullins Architecture + Interior Design. It was designed for his daughter, her husband and their new baby boy. Kielman told me that the family was fully on board with net zero right from the start: “My son-in-law insisted that the house be conditioned without the use of carbon fuels.” Also, the orientation and placement of the house on the site was chosen for both passive and active (PV panels) solar gain. Situated on the northern edge of a hay meadow, with a view south to the Green Mountains, the house adjoins 65 acres of preserved land that is part of local efforts to improve the Lewis Creek Watershed. The primary living and gathering spaces are oriented toward the southern view and sun. Windows and glass doors provide ample natural light, beautiful views across the fields, and easy access to the outdoors. The white interior walls and natural wood floors impart a very modern feel.

The builder for this project was Jeremy O’Neil. According to architect Kielman, O’Neil has a long history of energy-efficient construction, and they have worked together before. Don Schroeder, another long-time colleague of Kielman, supplied and installed the solar array and did all the electrical wiring for the house. The 15kW solar array, with battery backup, provides auxiliary power when required. (Their utility, GMP, supports homeowner electrical backup grid load sharing (bit.do/gmp-home-nrg). This is an owner-installed Tesla storage system with two 13 kWh batteries.

A cold climate air-source heat pump system by Mitsubishi provides heating and cooling, as well as hot water. The windows are by Logic from Pinnacle Window Solutions of Maine (bit.do/logic-windows), good value Euro-type windows with an R value of 7. Air quality is controlled by a Lifebreath 205 Max HRV heat recovery system.

The efficient thermal envelope includes four inches of sub-slab insulation, R-42 walls and R-70 roof. The blower door test yielded a 0.5 ACH@50P. Other energy-saving features include low-flush toilets and Energy Star appliances. The exterior siding, cementitious Hardy Board, was chosen for ease of maintenance.

All of these details contribute to a low-upkeep, beautiful home with annual utility costs that are close to zero.

Rolf Kielman began his career designing solar-powered homes in the Philadelphia area during the energy crisis of the mid-seventies. He has been involved in environmentally conscious projects at VT Law School as well as South Farm Homes, a community of net-zero homes in Hinesburg, VT. He is a principal designer with TruexCullins Architecture + Interior Design of Burlington, VT. Learn about more of their high-performance projects at https://truexcullins.com.

Barbara Whitchurch is a freelance writer and a member of Passive House Vermont. She is the co-owner of a Passive House, a Nissan Leaf, a Kia Niro, and a St. Bernard.

Many thanks to our sponsor:

The Many Co-Benefits of a Good Climate Solution

John Gage

The cheapest and quickest way to reduce climate pollution is to put a price on it and let efficient market forces unleash the investment, innovation, and transition to clean energy required. We can protect household budgets during the transition, protect US businesses from free-polluting foreign competition, and strongly encourage all other countries to follow our lead, with a simple three-part solution:

  1. Carbon Fee: Charge fossil fuel producers and importers a carbon fee based on the climate pollution generated from their products, starting at $15 per ton of CO2e and increasing it by $10 more each year;
  2. Dividend: Return all the money collected back to all households each month equally – one share per adult and a half-share per child – to recoup each of us for damages from the pollution; and
  3. Border Carbon Adjustments: Put a corresponding carbon fee on energy-intensive imports from countries that don’t match our carbon price and remove the fee from our exports to keep the US globally competitive.

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 (HR 763) does all that, and the effects are powerful.

Fossil fuel producers will pass their steadily increasing costs down to businesses, incentivizing them to invest in, develop, and use non-polluting energy solutions. Businesses will pass their temporarily higher energy costs down to consumers, and compete to reduce those costs. Consumers cannot pass down their higher costs, but their purchasing power is protected by the dividend. Producers and consumers will make more fully-informed choices and clean energy options will rapidly become less expensive than polluting ones through economies of scale.

Independent studies from Columbia University, Regional Economic Modeling Inc., and the US Treasury have identified many benefits from this climate solution:

It’s Effective: Carbon emissions will be reduced by 40% by 2030 and 90% by 2050. This will hold warming below 2˚C this century when other countries follow our lead.

It’s Bipartisan: Over seventy members of Congress – from both parties – are cosponsors.

It’s Good for People: Two-thirds of all households will break even or receive more in their dividend than they spend due to higher prices from the fee. See how you’ll do here: energyinnovationact.org/carbon-dividend-calculator/.

It Cleans the Air and Water: Sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions from the power sector will decline by more than 95 percent and emissions of oxides of nitrogen decline by about 75 percent by 2030 relative to a current policy scenario. This will yield significant health benefits.

It Helps the Poor: The lowest 10% of households by income will get an average of 9% more income by year five simply because they have smaller-than-average carbon footprints. This benefit is available to everyone simply based on their carbon footprint.

It Creates Jobs: 2.1 million new jobs (net) will be created in ten years from the extra spending enabled by low-income households.

It Protects Businesses: The border carbon adjustment will protect US businesses and jobs by putting the cost of pollution into the price of imports and taking it out of exports in trade with countries that haven’t yet matched our carbon price.

It Has Global Reach: Forty-six other countries are already using or implementing carbon pricing to reduce their carbon emissions, but most of their prices are too low according to US, IMF, and World Bank economists. The border carbon adjustment provision will strongly incentivize all other countries to match our carbon price, driving global emissions down as required for our safety.

We have an opportunity to reap the economic and job benefits of leading the next big global transition, rapidly reduce pollution, and make great strides towards ensuring a safe climate for our children and life on Earth. To do so, we must unleash the full power of an efficient energy market by putting a sufficient price on climate pollution. This will supercharge the green economy.

The Energy Innovation Act solution has sound science and economics behind it and offers many co-benefits, but Congress cannot do this without our help. Status quo-profiting businesses and politicians supported by them have actively worked against effective policy changes for decades. They got the benefits; we got the pollution and are paying for it. If we want change, we must create the political will for it ourselves. By speaking up together for our common interests we can make our democracy work for all of us. Please learn more about it and add your support now. Citizens can write Congress: cclusa.org/energy-innovation-act/. Businesses, organizations, and elected leaders can endorse the bill: energyinnovationact.org/endorse/. Thank you!

John Gage is Citizen’s Climate Lobby’s New Hampshire State Coordinator