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May 17 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Hawaii Court Halts Biomass Plant Over Climate Concerns” • The Hawaii Supreme Court stopped plans by a biomass company to burn locally grown eucalyptus trees to provide energy to the state’s largest utility. The court ruled that the state Public Utility Commission approved the plant without considering Hawaii’s emissions goals. [Climate Liability News]

Hawaii (Credit: James D Morgan | Getty Images)

  • “Inslee Releases $3 Trillion Jobs Plan Centered On Clean Energy, Green Infrastructure” • Washington Gov Jay Inslee has unveiled his presidential campaign’s jobs plan, providing details of a proposal that has a laser-like focus on combating climate change. The proposal projects the creation of 8 million jobs over the next 10 years. [CNN]
  • “Canberra Will Be First Australian City To Run On 100% Renewable Energy From October” • Canberra will be effectively powered by renewable energy from October 1, with completion of the third stage of the Hornsdale wind farm. It will be the first Australian jurisdiction to do so, the Australian Capital Territory’s Climate Change Minister said. [ABC News]
  • “Five Reason’s Why HB 6, Ohio’s Nuclear Plant Subsidy Proposal, Should Be Rejected” • By giving a blatant handout to the nuclear and fossil fuel industries at the expense of renewable energy and energy efficiency, the latest proposal for a “Clean Air Program” in Ohio is bad for consumers, the economy, and the environment. [Union of Concerned Scientists]
  • “Instability Spreading In West Antarctic Ice Sheet” • Almost a quarter of the West Antarctic ice sheet is now affected by ice thinning, according to a study. It found that the ice sheet has thinned by as much as 122 meters in some places, and thinning has left glaciers unstable, according to scientists at the University of Leeds in England. [CNN]

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

May 16 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “2-GW Offshore Bill Advances In Connecticut” • Connecticut’s House of Representatives voted 134 to 10 in favor of legislation that would see the state buy or develop up to 2 GW of offshore wind power. The proposed legislation now goes to the state’s Senate for consideration. Connecticut Gov Ned Lamont is in favor of the measure. [reNEWS]

London Array (reNEWS image)

  • “India’s Largest Power Company Shifts Away From Coal” • Tata Power, India’s largest integrated power company, announced that it will build no new coal-fired plants. In India, over 40 GW of coal-fired power plants are financially stressed, and new additions are coming to a near halt. Peak coal capacity may be closer than anticipated. [Sierra Magazine]
  • “Volkswagen Continues To Ramp Up Its Electric Car Push” • VW’s board of supervisors announced that it is prepared to invest €1 billion in a battery cell factory. The preferred site is Salzgitter in Lower Saxony, where pilot production of battery cells is to begin later this year. The new factory siting is contingent on negotiations with the government. [CleanTechnica]
  • “ACT Declares Climate Change Emergency – Slams Federal Government Failure To Act” • The Australian Capital Territory has become the first state or territory in the country to make a formal declaration of a climate change emergency. The passage of the motion follows similar declarations made in the UK and Ireland. [RenewEconomy]
  • “Renewable Energy Capacity In Texas REC Program Grew By Almost 10% In 2018” • For Texas’ voluntary Renewable Energy Credit program, including areas not in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the total capacity increased by about 2.6 GW, almost 10%, between 2017 and 2018. Analysts differ over whether the growth can continue. [S&P Global Platts]

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

Healthy Soils Legislation Helps Green New Deal

Image: theemeraldcup.com

Seth Itzkan, Steven Keleti, and Karl Thidemann

Congressional Democrats have offered an ambitious legislative framework for 2019. Titled the Green New Deal, it seeks to tackle impending climate threats while generating innovative opportunities in the energy, transportation, and agricultural sectors. The Green New Deal includes support of soil health. Between 50% to 70% of agricultural soil has been lost, and rebuilding soil health is crucial for food system security, water quality, and climate change mitigation.

A bi-partisan movement at the state level is calling for what is termed “Healthy Soils Legislation.” Proposed bills nationwide promote good land stewardship through principles and practices that support the aspirations of the Green New Deal by providing practical support for farmers and ranchers, many of whom might not otherwise be supportive of climate efforts. Speaking to this point, Bill McKibben, founder of the global climate movement, 350.org, stated, “Soil is increasingly taking its rightful and necessary place in the climate fight; this is a battle farmers and ranchers can help the world win.”

A promising indicator of this comes from New Mexico where a Healthy Soils Act was approved with rare, overwhelming consensus. The House version passed with a vote of 48-6 and the Senate version passed unanimously, 34-0. Officially titled “An Act Relating to Natural Resources,” the New Mexico law creates a Healthy Soil Program and a Healthy Soil Grant Program in the state’s Department of Agriculture. The purpose of the program is “to promote and support farming and ranching systems and other forms of land management that increase soil organic matter, aggregate stability, microbiology and water retention to improve the health, yield and profitability of the soils of the state.”

It should be noted that the phrase, “increase soil organic matter,” literally means to increase the carbon content of soil. Carbon is naturally accumulated in soil through the photosynthesis process. Conventional farming and ranching practices have greatly depleted soil of its carbon, contributing to global warming and exacerbating the impact of droughts and floods. Fortunately, improved cropping and grazing methods embraced by environmentalists and producers, and emphasized in healthy soils legislative efforts, can reverse this negative trend and increase soil carbon, making these approaches important allies in the climate flight. It is estimated that improving soil globally can sequester many billions of tons of excess atmospheric carbon annually. Such “drawdown” efforts — meaning they pull carbon out of the air — will be essential as we take measures to bring atmospheric carbon dioxide back down to safe levels.

Commenting on the bi-partisan nature of the New Mexico effort, Jeff Goebel, a management consultant involved in drafting and lobbying for the legislation stated, “We understood that the only people who can actually change the health of the soil on a daily basis are ranchers, farmers, foresters, and gardeners. Therefore, we need to do everything possible to help land managers be successful. We were adaptive (consensual) in the language without giving up the integrity of the legislation.”

Nebraska recently passed legislation to create a Healthy Soils Task Force to develop a healthy soils initiative and action plan. A Massachusetts bill, “An Act to Promote Healthy Soils,” directs the state to form a Healthy Soils Program that shall “seek to optimize climate benefits while supporting the economic viability of agriculture in the commonwealth.” With strong bi-partisan support from both chambers, passage is likely. Healthy soils legislation has also been in legislatures in 2019 in the following additional states: Connecticut, Vermont, New York, Illinois, Iowa, Washington and Oregon.

A complete list of state-level healthy soils legislative efforts is available at the Soil4Climate website, www.soil4climate.org.

 

May 15 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Students press Portland school board to adopt climate curriculum promised 3 years ago” • Dozens of students packed the auditorium at Portland school district headquarters to demand a science and social studies curriculum that addresses climate change. The school board passed a resolution three years ago promising just that. [OregonLive.com]

Student Activists (Eder Campuzano)

  • “Teachers Grapple With Climate Change: ‘A Pretty Scary Topic'” • The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network reviewed more than 30,000 free online resources and found only 700 acceptable for use in schools. The rest include materials from climate change doubters, the oil industry, and others with misleading information. [NBC 10 Philadelphia]
  • “Glasgow Aims To Be The UK’s First ‘Net-Zero’ City” • Plans unveiled by Glasgow would make it the first UK city to reduce its greenhouse emissions to net-zero. The city wants to reach the target before 2045, beating the Scotland-wide ambition of the Scottish government. Glasgow’s plan includes mass EV charging stations. [BBC News]
  • “187 Nations Signed UN Plastics Waste Protocol, But The US Was Not One Of Them” • After China stopped importing waste, delegates from 187 countries met in Geneva to figure how to deal with plastic refuse. They agreed that waste may not be shipped to a country, if it refuses its permission. The US did not sign the protocol. [CleanTechnica]
  • “A Strong Bipartisan Vote For Wind Power In Connecticut” • Connecticut’s House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly for a bipartisan measure that proponents say would make Connecticut a reliable customer of electricity produced by offshore wind turbines, a step to match the output of the aging Millstone nuclear power station. [The CT Mirror]

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

Strolling of the Heifers “Tour de Heifer” challenging rides attract cyclists to Brattleboro

Cyclists from many states will participate in the Tour de Heifer, the cycling event on Strolling of the Heifers Weekend, taking place on Sunday, June 9.

“Strolling of the Heifers works on many programs year-round to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation at farm and food businesses, to connect people and organizations around sustainable living and resilient communities, and to promote the value of local food systems, local thinking and Slow Living”, said Orly Munzing, Strolling of the Heifers’ founder.

Proceeds from this year’s Tour de Heifer will support the Stroll’s Farm-to-Table Apprenticeship Program, which teaches nutrition and culinary skills to underemployed community members, placing them in full-time, permanent positions at local restaurants and institutional kitchens.

The Tour features scenic 15, 30 and 60 mile rides that all begin and end at Robb Family Farm in West Brattleboro.

The Robb Family Farm has been involved with Strolling of the Heifers since it started 18 years ago. Heifers from their 100-year-old family-run farm were some of the first to “stroll” up Brattleboro’s Main Street, but in 2011 the Robbs decided to cease their dairy operations and focus on maple syrup production and pasture-raised beef cattle. Their maple syrup was named the “Best Vermont Made Food Product” in the 2019 Best of Business Awards by Vermont Business Magazine. In addition to hosting the Tour de Heifer, the farm will be offering public tours on  Sunday, June 9 as part of Strolling of the Heifers’ Local Farm Tours. Please pre-register for Farm Tours at www.strollingoftheheifers.com/farmtour.

All Tour de Heifer rides include a farm-fresh lunch served at Robb Family Farm. A Vermont Table Catering will prepare “Tour de Heifer Quiches” and frittatas with field green salad and yummy dessert.

“The 15-miler includes some pavement and more moderate hills,” said Munzing. “We call that the Country Ride, and it can be done by riders without too much experience who are in good shape.”

But the 30-miler and 60-miler, she explained, are nearly all on dirt roads and involve lots of hills: a total of 3,300 vertical feet for the 30-miler, and over 7,000 feet for the 60-miler.

So far, the Tour has signed up riders from all over New England, plus New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

For all of the riders there are water/snack stops en route, including one at the scenic Green River Covered Bridge, the mid point for all of the rides.

All of the routes feature incredible views, farm and woodland terrain and New England villages.

For families and people who love to walk, the Tour also offers a three-mile guided hike to the top of nearby Round Mountain.

The tour is part of the annual Strolling of the Heifers Weekend, which takes place June 7-9 in Brattleboro, Vermont. The centerpieces of the weekend are the world-famous Strolling of the Heifers Parade and the Slow Living Expo, both on Saturday, June 8.

All of the Tour de Heifer routes include substantial stretches of dirt roads. Use of mountain bikes, cross-bikes, or road bikes fitted with at least 28mm tires is recommended. No highway travel is involved in any of the routes. Rental bikes are available at West Hill Shop in Putney at a very reduced rate of $10.

The routes are:

Heifer Classic 60+ mile Ride: A very challenging ride for experienced riders, which starts at 8 a.m. (Slower riders are encouraged to start as early as 7 a.m.) This route is 61 miles, with 7119 feet of climbing.

The 30-mile Green River Challenge: A challenging ride for experienced riders, starting at 9 a.m. It has about 3,300 feet of elevation gain, and minimal pavement.

The 15-mile Country Ride: This is an out-and-back ride, starting at 10 a.m., designed for moderately experienced cyclists. It includes about 1,250 feet of elevation gain over a mix of rolling paved roads and a nearly level dirt road along the Green River.

For walkers: 3-mile Road and Trail Stroll: The guided hike starts 10:30 a.m., from Lilac Ridge Farm to the top of nearby Round Mountain, and then back via Ames Hill Road and Abbot Road. The climb to the summit is about 750 vertical feet and is rewarded by scenic vistas to the east, across the town of Brattleboro to Mt. Wantastiquet and Mt. Monadnock.

Registration and information: Riders and hikers may register for the Tour at www.bikereg.com/tourdeheifer. Rates, lunch included, are $20 for the hike, $40 for the Country Ride, and $70 for 30 and 60-mile options. Children 16 and under riding on any route, $15. Higher rates will be in effect on the day of the event.

More information is available at www.strollingoftheheifers.com/tour

For information on all Stroll Weekend events: www.StrollingoftheHeifers.com

Warren, NH Chosen for Second NH Solar Shares Location

The next NH Solar Shares community PV array will be located on the roof on the right side of the Appleknockers General Store in Warren.

NH Solar Shares announced today that they will be partnering with the Appleknockers General Store to build their second community solar PV array in Warren, NH.  NH Solar Shares is a program run by the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative designed to share solar energy with income eligible families, increase the portion of solar energy on the grid and contribute to a healthier environment.

 
“When we first heard about NH Solar Shares and their mission to bring the benefits of solar energy to local families in our area, we were immediately interested,” said store owner, Tori Berger.   “We want to support our local community in any way we can and we have the perfect roof for installing solar panels.”
 
NH Solar Shares built their first community solar project in Plymouth, NH last Fall on the hillside behind the Frosty Scoops ice cream stand owned by the Common Man Family of Restaurants. Currently ten local families from the Plymouth area sever as shareholders for the Plymouth solar array.  Once the project in Warren is underway, NH Solar Shares will be looking for families from the Warren/Wentworth area to sign up for the program. There is no cost to sign up and new families rotate through the program every two years.
 
The solar energy generated from the community solar arrays are credited monthly to the families’ electric bills. To participate, households must be in the NH Electric Cooperative service territory, qualify for NH Fuel Assistance and be interested in learning about both solar energy and home energy savings. 
 
“We are committed to working long term with NH Solar Shares and supporting its effort to build community PV arrays in our service area and bring the benefits of solar energy to more of our members.” Said Steve Camerino, President of the NH Electric Cooperative.
 
The Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative is kicking off a special small donor fundraising campaign to help raise the funds to build the community solar project in Warren.  For just pocket change, community members interested in supporting the project can reduce climate change by donating to the cost of the solar panels for the project.  Learn more about the Buy C02 Fundraising Campaign here: https://nhsolarshares.org/carbon/
 
Interested donors, volunteers, and local families wishing to get involved should contact NH Solar Shares, PO Box 753   79 Highland Street   Plymouth, NH 03264; 603-536-5030 nhsolarshares@plymouthenergy.org For more information visit www.nhsolarshares.org   NH Solar Shares LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative – a 501-C 3 Not for Profit Tax Exempt Charitable Organization.

May 14 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Deepest Ever Dive Finds Plastic Bag At Bottom Of Mariana Trench” • An American undersea explorer, Victor Vescovo, has completed what is claimed to be the deepest manned sea dive ever recorded, 10,927 meters (35,853 feet). He returning to the surface with the depressing news that there’s plastic trash down there. [CNN]

The submersible, The Limiting Factor (Discovery | Five Deeps Expedition)

  • “Scientists Say They Have Created An Environmentally Friendly Alternative To Styrofoam” • From an environmental perspective, styrofoam is a disaster. Scientists at Washington State University say they have developed an environmentally friendly material derived from plants that works better than Styrofoam for insulation. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Cement Giant Heidelberg Pledges Carbon Neutral Concrete By 2050” • The world’s fourth largest cement manufacturing company, Heidelberg Cement, pledged to bring its emission reduction targets in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, in a first for the industry. The cement sector accounts for around 7% of CO₂ emissions. [Climate Home]
  • “‘Step-Change’ In Energy Investment Needed To Meet Climate Goals: IEA” • The world must double spending on renewable power and slash investment in oil and coal by 2030 to keep the Paris climate treaty temperature targets in play, the International Energy Agency said. That would mean reversing the energy trends of 2018. [Phys.Org]
  • “‘No Middle Ground’: Ocasio-Cortez And Activists Take Aim At Biden At Green New Deal Rally” • Sen Bernie Sanders and Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made the case for radical action to combat climate change at a rally in Washington. “There is no ‘middle ground’ when it comes to climate policy,” Sanders tweeted. [KRTV Great Falls News]

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

Renewables Taxation 101 Educational Event in Concord, NH

When: Thursday May 23, 9am-12pm
Where: UNH School of Law Room 200, 2 White Street, Concord NH
Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/renewable-energy-taxation-101-tickets-60485759535

Join Clean Energy NH for an in-depth forum featuring experts in state and federal renewable energy taxation, successful development, best practices, and examples from NH communities. Attendees will leave this event with a greater understanding of tax law, tax credits and project financing, municipal taxation options for renewable energy systems including large scale solar, and how communities and developers can work together to complete successful projects.

Program Schedule:

  • 9:00am: Registration & light breakfast, networking
  • 9:30am: Program commences
  • 12:00am: Adjourn

Featured Speakers:

  • Moderator: Piper Miller, Market & Policy Lead, Pine Gate Renewables (bio)
  • Rodney Bartlett, Director of Public Works, Town of Peterborough, NH
  • Nicole M. Bodoh, Shareholder, Primmer, Piper, Eggleston, & Cramer, PC (bio)
  • Jeff Haydock, President & CEO, ecoCFO (bio)
  • Jesse Stowell, Vice President of Business Development, Encore Renewable Energy (bio)

Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith, NY to open for a new season May 15

New Season Begins May 15 at Hanford Mills Museum

 

A new season begins May 15 at Hanford Mills Museum. Guided tours will be offered Wednesdays through Sundays and feature demonstrations in the water-powered sawmill, gristmill, and woodworking shop. In addition to operating the 1926 Fitz overshot waterwheel and water turbines, on select days, the Museum operates its wood-fired steam boiler and steam engines. Tours last about two hours.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors to Hanford Mills Museum and operating the water-powered mill,” says Museum Executive Director Liz Callahan. “We have had several upgrades and additions to the site, including a new metal roof on the Mill complex, a new stone log deck in the Mill yard, and the ongoing restoration of the boxcar, which helps us interpret the impact of the railroad on Hanford Mills.”

Visitors can also tour the Hanford House, barns and other outbuildings and view exhibits and a video. The Learning Lab offers young visitors a hands-on play space with blocks, gears, books, and more. Hanford Mills also has picnic tables and a shop stocked with Mill-made items, books, and local crafts.

Special events at Hanford Mills include the Independence Day Celebration on July 4, the Dan Rion Memorial Antique Engine Jamboree & Powerfest on September 7, and the Woodsmen’s Festival on October 5. Free Family Saturdays, which offer free admission to adults who are accompanied by children under 18, will be offered on May 25, June 15, July 20, and August 10. Workshops are offered throughout the season, including a Fly Fishing School run by the Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited on May 18, and the  Steam Power 101 Workshop on June 8-9.

See the website for more information, hanfordmills.org.

Admission and Information

Children 12 and under receive free admission. Admission for adults and teens is $9; senior and AAA member admission is $7.  First responders and members of the military receive half-price admission. Museum members and residents who live in zip codes (13757, 13739, 13786, 13750, and 13806) neighboring Hanford Mills receive free admission. Hanford Mills participates in the nationwide Museums for All program. Anyone with an EBT card receives free admission. See hanfordmills.org for additional discounts.

About Hanford Mills Museum

Hanford Mills Museum operates an authentic water- and steam-powered historic site, which includes a sawmill, gristmill and woodworking shop. The mission of Hanford Mills Museum is to inspire audiences of all ages to explore connections among energy, technology, natural resources and entrepreneurship in rural communities with a focus on sustainable choices. The museum is listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places.

Hanford Mills is located at 51 County Highway 12 in East Meredith, at the intersection of Delaware County Routes 10 & 12, just 10 miles from Oneonta, and 15 miles from Delhi.  For more information, visit www.hanfordmills.org or call 607-278-5744.

Spring Paddle the Border – Vermont