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January 15 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Green Mountain Power suffered “several millions” of dollars of lost revenue over the past 18 months because the electric grid in northern Vermont is not robust enough, its director of power planning told the Public Utility Commission. The Washington Electric Co-op has experienced a similar setback for the same reason. [vtdigger.org]
GMP control room (Photo: John Herrick | VTDigger)

GMP control room (Photo: John Herrick | VTDigger)

  • London’s air quality is within legal limits in mid-January for the first time in 10 years, City Hall has said. The capital breached limits for nitrogen dioxide by 6 January every year for the last decade, Mayor Sadiq Khan said. So far this year, London’s NO2 has not exceeded limits, although it is likely to do so later this month, Mr Khan admitted. [BBC]
  • Cape Town, home to Table Mountain, African penguins, sea, and sunshine, is a world-renowned tourist destination. But it could also become famous as the world’s first major city to run out of water. Most recent projections suggest that its water could run out as early as March, after three years of very low rainfall and increasing consumption. [BBC]
  • The falling cost of renewable energy means nuclear power cannot compete with cheap solar power in developed countries, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency report for 2017. Global renewable energy costs are falling so fast they could be consistently cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020, IRENA says. [Energy Matters]
  • An ambitious project to protect Florida’s Treasure Coast waterways from damaging algae faces critics who decry it as shortsighted and discriminatory against the Miccosukee Indian Tribe. The plan would feed fresh water to the Everglades, as nature had once done, but the water is loaded with agricultural nutrients now. [MyPalmBeachPost]

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

January 14 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Global warming will increase the risk of river flooding over the coming decades, endangering millions more people around the world, a study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said. It found that flood defenses especially need to be improved in the United States, Indonesia, Central Europe, and parts of India and Africa. [Sun.Star]
Flooding in Germany (AP image)

Flooding in Germany (AP image)

  • The Australian summer heat is fierce. A section of highway from Sydney to Melbourne started to melt. Heat-struck bats fall dead from the trees. In suburban Sydney, temperatures hit 47.3° C (117° F), though they cooled to 43.6° C (110.5° F) the next day. It is now hotter without an El Niño than it used to be with one. And it may be the new normal. [BBC]
  • The Tesla Model 3 is now on show, and attracting huge crowds. One is being featured at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto and another at the Century City mall in Los Angeles. But a customer who orders a Model 3 today will have to be patient. There are approximately 400,000 people with reservations for them in line already. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Puerto Rico is taking a big step toward revamping how it gets power – and it could be a model for the rest of the US” • More than three months after the storm, 1.5 million Puerto Ricans remain without power, and hundreds of thousands have no clean water. It could happen elsewhere in America. And the solutions for Puerto Rico can inform us. [Business Insider]
  • “Carbon Taxing May Be Coming To Energy Conscious States” • After President Trump said the US would abandon the Paris Climate Agreement, many state and local governments decided to continue with it. Massachusetts State Representative Jennifer Benson proposed taxing carbon much as countries around the world do. [The Drive]

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

Live webcast – Holding fossil fuel companies liable for climate change – Jan 25

The Union of Concerned Scientists and the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at University of California—Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law invite you to a timely and stimulating conversation exploring whether and how the fossil fuel industry can be held liable for the harms climate change is inflicting on communities across the country.

Live Webcast: Holding Fossil Fuel Companies Liable for Climate Change Harms
Date: Thursday, January 25
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST / 6:00 p.m. PST

Register

The event will be webcasted live from the Fowler Museum at UCLA. You will receive an email with details on accessing the webcast upon registration.

The fossil fuel industry is responsible for decades of climate science disinformation and attempts to obstruct climate action. A recent scientific paper in Climatic Change for the first time quantifies the outsized role that carbon pollution traced to these companies has played in exacerbating climate impacts. In the face of the current climate change policy void at the federal level, legal experts are seriously exploring whether and how fossil fuel companies can be held liable.

A handful of recent lawsuits filed by cities and counties in California have put this issue front and center, and New York City also filed suit for climate damages on January 10. But the fossil fuel industry is fighting back—ExxonMobil is now threatening to countersue in California and has begun legal maneuvers that may be time-consuming and costly for the cities and counties.

Featuring scientific and legal experts, as well as perspectives from affected communities, the panel will address how companies involved in the extraction, production, and marketing of fossil fuels can be held to account for the ever-mounting costs of climate harms and preparation.

Power On Puerto Rico

In response to the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Puerto Rico, a group of U.S. solar companies and a global disaster relief agency are mobilizing to bring portable emergency power trailers to remote areas of the unincorporated U.S. territory.

Roughly 40% of Puerto Rico is still without power and clean drinking water after the catastrophic Hurricane Maria tore across the island in September. Hundreds of thousands of island residents are risking serious illness daily as they are forced to collect water from streams and other untreated water sources that are known to be contaminated. Without access to power to charge cell phones or computers and roads destroyed or blocked by fallen trees, many island residents are isolated and unable to get information on aid opportunities.

Amurtel, a non-profit disaster relief agency, and Amicus, a purchasing cooperative of 45 American solar companies, have created a partnership to bring emergency solar power and drinking water systems to those struggling to recover from the hurricane. The effort, called Power On Puerto Rico, is enlisting volunteers from Amicus member-companies to design and build Solar Outreach Systems (SOS) that will be delivered to the areas of greatest need.  These areas are identified by Amurtel volunteers in Puerto Rico who are working closely with the University of Puerto Rico “Instituto para el Desarrollo de las Comunidades” (Community Development Institute).

Three enclosed trailers that will be converted into Solar Outreach Systems once all materials arrive at ReVision Energy’s decarbonization facility in North Andover, MA

Three enclosed trailers that will be converted into Solar Outreach Systems once all materials arrive at ReVision Energy’s decarbonization facility in North Andover, MA

Located close to the equator where solar energy is most abundant, Puerto Rico is an ideal geography for harnessing solar energy. The Solar Outreach Systems, which are portable community-based communication, water purification and emergency power hubs, will immediately assist on-the-ground relief efforts.

The SOS units will be deployed by the Aireko Foundation, an offshoot of Aireko Energy Solutions, which is a Puerto Rico-based member of Amicus. These units will be loaned to the communities for the duration of their need and then be redeployed to other disaster areas around the globe as needs and events dictate.

“The aftermath of Hurricane Maria has been as difficult and often even harder than surviving the storm itself, especially for those communities in the interior of the island. After more than two months, reestablishment of electric power for those communities is still unknown, and the quality of water is not the best – for those communities that are lucky enough to have this service, which are very few. Sadly, those communities are far from returning to their normal lives,” said Hector Rivera Russe of Aireko Energy Solutions. “I’m deeply touched by how my Amicus partners, alongside Amurtel, have jumped without hesitation, to putting their time, resources and effort to give relief to my people in Puerto Rico. I will always be thankful to them,” said Russe.

The first three SOS units are being manufactured in the North Andover, MA warehouse of ReVision Energy, a founding member of Amicus recently named the #1 Rooftop Solar Installer in New England by Solar Power Industry magazine. “We are chomping at the bit to build these portable emergency power units,” said Phil Coupe, a co-founder of ReVision Energy. “The great news is that we already have more than enough volunteers to build the units once we obtain all the necessary components.”

Each SOS is comprised of an enclosed trailer with exterior solar panels and power outlets, along with batteries and a water purification system inside the trailer. Once parked in a sunny location, the exterior solar panels are deployed and switched on to provide 300-400 watts of emergency power while simultaneously purifying up to 600 gallons of clean potable water a day. Each SOS unit can charge up to 10 phones and five laptops simultaneously. Two large outdoor floodlights affixed to the roof of the SOS units will enable community members to have light at night.

The first 10 Puerto Rican communities that will receive SOS’s have already been identified, and are anxiously awaiting their units. Each community will be responsible for the maintenance and security of their unit, but there will be no cost associated with the use.

Power On Puerto Rico is a powerful way that individuals can help fellow Americans in crisis. Although all of the SOS design work, and many of the components, have been donated, Amurtel and Amicus need additional funds to finish manufacturing the SOS units and to deliver them. The estimated cost of each SOS unit is $15,000 to purchase the trailer base, water purification system, charging outlets, lights and batteries.

How can you help? Tax deductible donations of materials, services and cash contributions are being coordinated through http://www.amurtel.org/get-involved/donate/

January 13 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Researchers at the Juelich Research Center and the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Germany studied major electrical grids, and came up with surprising findings. The frequency and voltage variations caused by wind and solar power turn out not to be as great as those caused by the power trading system. [CleanTechnica]
Frequency fluctuations on the European power grid showing regular variation every fifteen minutes due to the market trading system (Credit: Benjamin Schäfer, Max Planck Institute)

Frequency fluctuations on the European power grid show regular variation every fifteen minutes due to the market trading system. An implication of the study is that the variability of solar and wind power may be less than that of normal market operations. (Credit: Benjamin Schäfer, Max Planck Institute)

  • A target for English soil to be managed sustainably by 2030 was welcomed by the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association, which said AD can help achieve this objective with support from government. AD plants recycling biological waste can potentially meet 30% of the UK’s domestic gas or electricity demand. [Renewable Energy Magazine]
  • Earlier this month, Delaware announced it intends to sue the EPA over its lack of action to help curb emissions at power plants in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, which it says are responsible for 90% of the ozone in Delaware. Now it is reducing its own emissions by introducing electric and propane-powered buses into its transportation fleet. [Delaware First Media]
  • A report published by the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis said that with the US pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, China has solidified its position as the dominant global clean energy powerhouse. China is set to lead the way in global power capacity additions for at least the next two decades. [CleanTechnica]
  • Citing several concerns, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F Kilmartin today announced his opposition to construction of the gas-fired Invenergy power plant in Burrillville. He said that he intends to seek permission from the Court to file an amicus brief in Rhode Island Superior Court challenging the plant’s water-supply plan. [STL.News]

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

January 12 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Renewable power met about 44% of Portugal’s electricity demand in 2017, data from the Portuguese Association of Renewable Energy shows. In 2017, thanks to renewable power plants, the average price of electricity in the wholesale market fell to €18.3/MWh (US 2.18¢/kWh), for savings to the consumer of €727 million. [Renewables Now]
Wind farm in Portugal (StockPhotosArt | Shutterstock.com)

Wind farm in Portugal (StockPhotosArt | Shutterstock.com)

  • A report released by the National Institute of Building Sciences, found that every $1 the federal government spends on so-called mitigation projects, such as elevating homes at risk of flooding, improving stormwater management systems, or strengthening buildings against earthquakes, reduces future costs by an average of $6. [Insurance Journal]
  • The Trump administration’s proposal to open vast portions of US coastline to oil drilling was met with ferocious opposition from a number of the coastal governors it would affect. At least one governor, Florida’s Rick Scott, a Republican, asked for and received a waiver from the administration. The waiver drew accusations of favoritism. [CNN]
  • Superstorm Sandy caused more than $71 billion in economic damage, according to the National Hurricane Center. New York City has spent billions on repairs. Now, the city wants the five largest oil companies to reimburse it for its losses and pay for the infrastructure improvements needed to protect the city for the future. [CleanTechnica]
  • Diablo Canyon, the last nuclear plant in California, will begin shutting down operations in six years. State regulators approved a plan outlining details of the closure unanimously. The decision comes after the nuclear plant’s operator made an agreement with a collection of environmental and labor groups to shutter the plant. [Thegardenisland.com]

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

Farm & Food Economy Report to VT Legislature

Workforce development critical to sustain local food economy

2017 Farm to Plate Annual Report shows successful implementation of Vermont’s food system plan has created need for more farm and food workers to meet food business expansion goals due to increased consumer demand

Montpelier, Vt. – Representatives of the Vermont Farm to Plate Network and staff at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund presented the 2017 Farm to Plate Annual Report to the Vermont Legislature House and Senate Agriculture Committees today, identifying a critical need to improve Vermont’s workforce development system in order to continue to grow the local food economy.

Signed into law by the Vermont Legislature in 2009, the creation of Vermont’s Farm to Plate food system plan calls for increased economic development in Vermont’s farm and food sector, new jobs in the farm and food economy, and improved access to healthy local food for all Vermonters. Implementation of Vermont’s ten year food system plan began in 2011 by the Farm to Plate Network—over 350 nonprofits, businesses, and government officials all working together to reach the goals of the plan. The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, a nonprofit organization committed to sustainable economic development, coordinates the Farm to Plate Network and is responsible for reporting the progress and challenges back to the Vermont Legislature in the Farm to Plate Annual Report.

Impacts of Success

Vermont has seen significant economic growth and development in Vermont’s food system since implementation of the Farm to Plate food system plan began in 2011:

· Economic Development: Vermonters spend an estimated $189 million (approx. 7%) on local food products annually (2014 data, next data release in 2018).

· New Jobs: Vermont’s farm and food economic sector employs more than 64,000 Vermonters and added 6,400 new jobs from 2009-2016.

· Food Access: The percentage of Vermont households that are food insecure has dropped from 13.6% in 2009 to 11.4% (29,754 households) in 2015 and charitable food organizations have significantly improved availability of local food for Vermonters.

Food and beverage manufacturing has been one of the few growing manufacturing sectors in Vermont with sales and wholesale distribution totaling $9.1 billion in 2012 (next data release in 2019). Continued growth is due, in part, to increased consumer demand—93% of 2017 Vermonter Poll respondents said it was important to choose products and services from Vermont companies and 80.6% said they are interested in buying more local food than they currently do.

However, many Vermont food businesses report a shortage of workers is inhibiting expansion plans and limiting their ability to fill existing jobs in the farm and food sector. The Farm to Plate Annual Report recognizes that statewide workforce development and training system redesign is critical in order for economic growth, new job creation, and local food availability to continue in Vermont’s local food economy.

Workforce Development Approach

“As the farm and food economy grows, more jobs are created which in turn creates workforce opportunities and challenges for both employers and employees. The Farm to Plate Network is collectively addressing the education, workforce, and training needs of Vermont’s farm and food businesses and organizations. Network members are providing training and skill building most needed by employers, improving local business’ ability to find labor, and positively changing the perception of food system careers, all aimed at helping to alleviate the shortage of workers,” says Jake Claro, Farm to Plate Director at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.

The Farm to Plate Network approach to addressing farm and food sector workforce challenges can serve as a model for responding to workforce development challenges in other Vermont economic sectors. By bringing together diverse stakeholders from across the farm and food economy, the Farm to Plate Network allows for constructive dialogue, networking, and professional development informed by multiple perspectives to create systematic change that no one organization can do alone.

Additional Farm to Plate Network Priorities

The Farm to Plate Annual Report also details progress and challenges in four other areas central to reaching the legislative goals of Vermont’s Farm to Plate food system plan.

· Improving Viability and Financial Profitability of Farms and Food Businesses

· Increasing Local Food Availability in All Market Channels while Balancing Farm Viability and Local Food Affordability

· Increasing Consumer Engagement and Demand for Local Food with the Rooted in Vermont Movement and Ensuring Vermont Product Sales and Labeling at Retail Stores

· Protecting and Expanding Affordable and Environmentally Sustainable Farmland in Agricultural Production

Click here to review the 2017 Farm to Plate Annual Report prepared by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund for the Vermont Legislature:

January 11 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • China is seeing signs of success in its fight against smog as pollution levels slump dramatically in the capital region Beijing. Concentrations of PM2.5 plunged 33% from a year earlier in the fourth quarter in 26 cities around Beijing, according to a Greenpeace East Asia report. Levels in the capital alone tumbled 54%. [Bloomberg]
Beijing, December 4, 2017 (Photo: VCG via Getty Images)

Beijing region, December 4, 2017 (Photo: VCG via Getty Images)

  • Scientist at the National University of Singapore report they have discovered a new way to cool air to as low as 65° F without using any chemical refrigerants or compressors. The system depends on a membrane that removes water from the air, which it then cools by evaporation. It could reduce the amount of average global warming appreciably. [CleanTechnica]
  • In a short press conference after meeting with Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg for just over an hour, President Trump said the US could consider reentering the Paris Climate Accord that he pulled out of last summer, and spoke wistfully about Norway’s hydroelectric capacity. “So, we can conceivably go back in,” Trump said. [Quartz]
  • Nevada’s NV Energy issued a request for proposals that could add up to 330-MW of new renewable energy projects to be built in Nevada. The RFP includes the potential integration of battery energy storage systems. It will provide enough carbon-free electricity to power approximately 200,000 Nevada homes. [Renewable Energy Magazine]
  • The Trump administration is ruling out plans to sell new drilling rights off the coast of Florida after pressure came from Republican Governor Rick Scott. The about-face came just five days after the Interior Department said it was considering selling oil and gas leases in more than 90% of US coastal waters. [Bloomberg]

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

January 10 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • An Xcel Energy solicitation for 238 projects of renewable energy resources with battery storage drew 430 proposals with record low median prices. Wind with storage drew 5,700 MW of bids priced at 2.1¢/kWh ($21/MWh). Wind and solar with storage drew 4,048 MW at 3.06¢/kWh. Solar with storage drew 16,725 MW, at 3.6¢/kWh. [Energy Storage News]
    (The least expensive fossil fuel listed in Lazard’s LCOE analysis, combined cycle natural gas, produces electricity at 4.2¢/kWh to 7.8¢/kWh. Coal, nuclear, and other listed sources are higher than that.)
Wind farm in Idaho (From energy.gov, Wikimedia Commons)

Wind farm in Idaho (From energy.gov, Wikimedia Commons)

  • Over 116 GW of new wind and solar capacity is expected to be installed in the US through the end of 2020, according to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission projection. That total includes 72.5 GW of wind in 465 units and 43.5 GW of solar in 1,913 units. However, coal is expected to keep shrinking, losing 20.7 GW. [Power Engineering Magazine]
  • New York will be the first major city to be remapped by FEMA with climate change in mind, according to a report in the New York Times. Cartographers will take into account the new normal of rising sea levels and increasingly frequent 100-year (and 500-year) storms. FEMA’s maps represent the agency’s flood plain estimates. [Next City]
  • “How Much Longer Does South Florida Have Until The Real Estate Apocalypse Begins?” • At some point the reality that the region is not long for this world will have to sink in, and when it does, demand for homes in the region will crater to a degree that not many living there now probably fully comprehend … so, when will that be? [CleanTechnica]
  • “How Blockchain Can Democratize Green Power” • The certification process for Renewable Energy Credits is expensive and cumbersome, and Power Purchase Agreements can only be negotiated by large green generators. But mom-and-pop green generators can enter the market effectively by using blockchain. [EcoWatch]

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

Local Western New York businesses join forces to provide affordable Geothermal Heating and Cooling options for all homeowners

BUFFALO, NY – January 9, 2018 – ACES Energy, Buffalo Geothermal, Dailey Electric, GeoTherm, Van Hee Mechanical, Phoenix Energy Supply, Waterfurnace and Earth Sensitive Solutions have teamed up to make Geothermal energy heating and cooling available to every homeowner in Western New York. Together these businesses have created a revolutionary concept; GroundUp: Geothermal Alliance of Western New York, to help homeowners easily transition to 100% clean energy.

“Our mission is to bring the highest quality and most affordable Geothermal heating & cooling systems to the people of Western New York, from the GroundUp,” boasted Todd Schmiegel of Buffalo Geothermal. “Our goal is to inform the public about Geothermal benefits and savings, ensure highest quality Geothermal system installation and design, and provide affordable Geosystems to the consumer.”

GroundUp allows qualified homeowners, who are eligible to receive a rebate from New York State, to install Geothermal energy heating and cooling HVAC systems in their home for a total cost of only $24,000, which is thousands of dollars cheaper than currently offered. Geothermal systems with dedicated geothermal heat pumps for domestic hot water are being offered for a total cost of $26,000 to qualified homeowners. The offer is available immediately and typically covers single family homes up to 4000 sqf with good insulation.

Installing Geothermal systems in WNY homes will also aid in reaching the state mandate to have a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority said, “Using clean energy technologies such as geothermal is critical to meeting Governor Cuomo’s nation leading clean energy goals. GroundUp’s ability to provide geothermal systems at a reduced price, together with the state’s rebate, will enable even more consumers to adopt this clean energy and help New York reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has up to $15 million available in rebates for the installation of ground source heat pump systems for residences, businesses and institutions. Rebates are available to qualified installers for two years or until all funds have been exhausted. The total amount of the rebate will be deducted from the total cost of the system, thereby passing the savings along directly to consumers.

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said “I am very excited about the GroundUp program. This is great news for homeowners across Western New York. New York has been a leader in advancing the use of clean renewable energy, and cutting carbon emissions. Geothermal energy systems are a great way for homes and businesses to lower their energy costs, and lower their reliance on fossil fuels. I was pleased to recently announce a change in New York State law that will allow homeowners, small businesses, and not-for-profits to install geothermal systems as part of the On-Bill financing program. It is great to see that the state and private sector are working together to expand the use of this clean, energy efficient technology.”

Geothermal energy heating and cooling systems also allow homeowners to have more control over their energy bills. .

“New York’s over-dependence on natural gas for both heating buildings and generating electricity means that consumers are hostage to budget busting price spikes when cold spells hit,” said Bill Nowak, Executive Director of New York Geothermal Energy Organization. “It’s great to see geothermal companies pooling their buying power on behalf of consumers and helping to break the monopoly grip that fossil fuels have on our energy bills.”

GroundUp: Geothermal Alliance of Western New York is an initiative of the New York Geothermal Foundation and the first of its kind in the area to bring the revolutionary design of Geothermal to every homeowner at a discounted, affordable price. Interested homeowners can find more information and contact approved installers to set up installation at www.groundupgeo.org

If you would like more information about this topic, please visit www.groundupgeo.com