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Let’s Talk Energy Efficiency in Vermont

Welcome home

Join Efficiency VT for a series of forums.

Save the Date: 5 Towns—3 Year Plan—1 Vermont 

We are creating a three year plan for Vermont’s Energy Efficiency Utility. And we want your input. Join us at one of five Community Forums we are hosting around the state. Presented & moderated by Jim Merriam, Director Efficiency Vermont. A light supper will be provided.

FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

All dates: 6 pm – 7:30 pm

Here is Where We Will Be:

  • October 27 – St. Albans
  • October 28 – Barre
  • October 29 – Lyndonville
  • November 5 – Bennington
  • November 6 – Brattleboro

Visit EfficiencyVermont.com/CommunityForums for locations and directions.

Add Your Voice to the Energy Efficiency Conversation

We’d love to know if you’re coming, but registration is not required to attend.

RSVP by phone: (888) 921-5990
OR
RSVP Online

October 24 Green Energy News

World:

  • European leaders agreed to cut carbon emissions by at least 40% by 2030, in a move that could pave the way for a global treaty on tackling climate change next year. The wording means that the target could be raised to 50% in the event an ambitious emissions reduction deal is agreed in Paris next year. [Business Green]
  • The United States has challenged the Japanese government over moves to ramp up exports of coal-fired power technology and to offer cheap loans to lure buyers, according to a U.S. source with direct knowledge of the matter. Japan’s shipments of the equipment soared to nearly $8 billion last year. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]
  • DuPont is part of a plan by the government of Macedonia to create a market for cellulosic ethanol in the Pelagonia region of that country. Ethanol Europe and DuPont will work toward building a market for the fuel in Europe, which would support a commercial-scale second-generation ethanol plant in Macedonia. [The News Journal]

US:

  • For years, the utilities responsible for providing electricity to the nation have treated residential solar systems as a threat. Now, they want a piece of the action, and they are having to fight for the chance. If utilities embrace home solar, their deep pockets and access to customers could be transformative. [Scientific American]
  • County ballot issues to ban fracking could have a large impact outside those counties. And the campaign money being spent on both sides – but primarily by big energy companies – shows how much is at stake. The highest profile and most contentious ban is the one on the ballot in Denton, Texas. [Resilience]
  • SunEdison, a leading solar technology manufacturer and provider of solar energy services announced today that it has closed on construction financing. The funds will be used to construct the 26 MW DC Vega solar power plant located in Merced County, California. [AltEnergyMag]
  • Renewable energy experts Thursday credited Sonoma County with a leading role in the expanding green power industry, a sector combating climate change as it creates jobs – including economic growth fueled locally by one of the state’s first public electricity programs of its kind. [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]
  • In its 2015 State Solar Panel Rankings Report, solar advocacy group Solar Power Rocks has graded states based on a complex set of criteria. New York and Massachusetts both get A+ grades, and Connecticut, New Jersey and Vermont each get a solid A. The rest of the nation, despite less cloudy skies, is mostly not doing as well. [Mother Nature Network]
  • Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court upheld approval of the 39-MW Passadumkeag Mountain wind project by the Board of Environmental Protection after an appeal by a local opposition group. The court decision also clarified that the board has a broad power to review the decisions of state regulators. [reNews]
  • The Solar Community initiative is the first nationwide bulk solar purchase program launched to give homeowners easy access to more affordable, clean, renewable energy. The initiative presents a new approach to purchasing, financing and installing solar panels at a uniform discounted price to anyone in the US. [WebWire]
  • Wind energy is generating most of the dollars being invested in renewable energy in Michigan, according to a study released by the Pew Charitable Trust on Thursday, October 23. More than $2 billion was invested in renewable energy in the state between 2009 and 2013, according to the study. [The Ann Arbor News]
  • Since Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, darkening swaths of the nation’s most densely populated state for days, a microgrid at Princeton University has emerged as a national example of how to keep power running for residents, emergency workers and crucial facilities when the next disaster strikes. [Princeton University]

October 23 Green Energy News

World:

  • The Ikea Group may be putting a price on carbon emissions and is making great strides to become more sustainable. It has committed to investing €1.5 billion until 2015 in renewable energy, mainly wind and solar power. Ikea aims to produce at least 70% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2015. [Triple Pundit]
  • The Ugandan authorities have approved an additional nine renewable electricity plants – some of them under the Global Energy Transfer for Feed-in Tariffs program – to generate a total of 132.7 MW to boost Uganda’s transformation into an upper middle class country. Eight of the plants will go online by 2018. [Bernama]
  • The public sector will play an important but secondary role in financing the French energy transition, according to a new study. The state-funded study says an additional investment of €20 billion per year is needed to complete the energy transition. The study gives an overview of France’s fight against climate change. [EurActiv]
  • Australia’s Renewable Energy Target will not be scrapped, but the government is negotiating industry exemptions with the opposition. The government, led by coal advocate Tony Abbott, called for cuts, exemption for some mining industries, or a complete abolition. Labor rejected these but proposed further talks. [PV-Tech]
  • One of Australia’s main wind turbine tower manufacturers has announced it will shed 100 staff after the federal government revealed its intention to seek a cut to the Renewable Energy Target. Continued uncertainty over the large-scale RET led the company to mothball “most” of its wind tower fabrication facilities. [Business Spectator]
  • China’s installed wind power capacity will reach 100,000 MW by the end of 2014, a year ahead of the scheduled targets for the year outlined in the country’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), a senior official said on Wednesday. China’s installed wind power capacity had already hit 83,000 MW by the end of August. [ecns]
  • The UK is way off track to meet its target to have 25% of heating provided by low carbon sources, such as heat pumps and biomass boilers, a new report from WWF has revealed. The Warm homes, not Warm Words report shows that just 2% of UK heating demand currently comes from low carbon sources. [Business Green]

US:

  • Trash to fuel, the stuff of the 1980s sci-fi comedy movie trilogy “Back to the Future” is now a reality. The 2015 Bi-fuel Chevrolet Impala – not a tricked-out DeLorean – really can run on leftovers, table scraps and, oh yeah, grains from brewing beer, as Quasar Energy Group uses organic waste to produce biogas, which can fuel the car. [Florida Weekly]
  • The US is reducing oil dependence, slowing the growth of electricity needs, and making energy services more affordable to all Americans – and our smarter use of energy is the single most important contributor to these positive trends, according to a report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council. [AltEnergyMag]
  • Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced more than $53 million for forty research and development projects that will aim to drive down the cost of solar energy, tackling key aspects of technology development in order to bring innovative ideas to the market more quickly. [Utility Products]
  • New York Governor Cuomo today announced the first transactions of NY Green Bank to kick off clean energy projects across New York. Such projects are traditionally difficult for the private sector to finance because the financial industry has little experience with them and there is no way established way to evaluate risks. [InvestorIdeas.com]
  • Satellite observations of huge oil and gas basins in East Texas and North Dakota confirm staggering 9% and 10% leakage rates of heat-trapping methane. Scientists evaluating this put the use of fracked gas in perspective. In short, fracking speeds up human-caused climate change, thanks to methane leaks alone. [ThinkProgress]

October 22 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “When Grid Defection Makes Economic Sense (Graphs & Charts)” A Rocky Mountain Institute and Cohn Reznick report, “The Economics of Grid Defection,” addresses the question of when it makes sense to go off the grid in various parts of the US for those in the residential or commercial sectors. [CleanTechnica]

World:

  • The UK’s wind farms generated more power than its nuclear power stations on October 21, the National Grid says. During a 24-hour period on that day, spinning blades produced more energy than splitting atoms. Wind made up 14.2% of all generation and nuclear offered 13.2%. [BBC News]
  • The Australian clean energy industry and Labor Party have immediately rejected the Abbott government’s opening gambit in negotiations to find a bipartisan agreement on the future of the renewable energy target. Labor rejected it as a job-killing “phoney” offer before it was even announced. [The Guardian]
  • The Cook Islands Prime Minister opened Infratec Renewables’ 960-kW Te Mana o Te Ra solar plant in Rarotonga. The panels are expected to produce about 5% of the Cook Islands’ electricity. The country aims to produce 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by next year, rising to 100% by 2020. [SundayNews.co.nz]
  • Greece’s dominant power utility PPC won approval from the energy regulator to produce electricity at two wind parks it plans to build in northern Greece. The production licence opens the way for construction of parks of 106-MW capacity in Rodopi, a project which is estimated to cost €127.2 million ($161.47 million). [Reuters Africa]

US:

  • The Department of Defense released its 2014 Climate Change Adaption Roadmap, outlining how the military plans to adapt to climate change. For the first time, the Pentagon discusses climate change as an immediate risk – a factor to be incorporated into how the military operates today. [Energy Collective]
  • General Motors’ new 2.2-MW solar array at its Lordstown Complex will be complete by the end of 2014. It will be GM’s largest solar installation in the Western Hemisphere. GM remains on track to meet a company goal of 125 MW of renewable energy deployed globally by 2015. [Today's Energy Solutions]
  • Sharyland Utilities, a power transmission company, has filed an interconnection agreement with Unity Wind at the Texas Public Utility Commission. The filing covers a wind farm in Deaf Smith County with a capacity of up to 240 MW and a projected second phase of 100 MW of solar generation. [Amarillo.com]
  • GE’s Distributed Power business, Western Energy Systems, and Phoenix Energy announced they have signed an agreement for GE to supply Jenbacher gas engines to power a series of bioenergy plants that Phoenix Energy plans to build around California. The plants will use biomass gasification for fuel. [AltEnergyMag]
  • Cornell University expanded its renewable energy portfolio as Distributed Sun, Building Energy and ABM announced they successfully launched production for Cornell’s Snyder Road Solar Farm, consisting of a 2-MW array on eleven acres of Cornell property in the Town of Lansing. [AltEnergyMag]
  • In the first program of its kind, 3M Co. is one of three large US companies that are offering assistance to employees who want solar panels at their homes. The program, called the Solar Community Initiative, promises discounts of 30% to 35% on solar-panel projects, and help on planning and installation. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
  • A new report from the US DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley and National Renewable Energy Laboratories on the price impacts of its SunShot initiative has found the cost of solar energy in America fell by up to 19% in 2013, with utility-scale PV systems falling below $2 a watt – 59% below what modeled pricing predicted in 2010. [Energy Matters]
  • Ecoplexus Inc has closed financing and commenced construction on three solar PV projects totaling 21 MW and costing about $40 million. The projects have signed long-term power purchase agreements contracts with Duke Energy Progress and are expected to achieve commercial operations in 2014. [PennEnergy]
  • The US wind industry saw installations surpass last year’s total last month, according to new data published this week. The American Wind Energy Association announced that the total for the first nine months of 2014 was 1,254 MW. The installations for 2014 have now exceeded the 1,088 MW installed during the whole of last year. [Business Green]

US DOE Technology Demo Program

better buildings webinar1

2014 Webinar Series

November

Finding the Next Big Thing(s) in Building Energy Efficiency:
HIT Catalyst and the Technology Demo Program

Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 3:00 – 4:00 PM EDT

Presenters: Amy Jiron, U.S. Department of Energy; Kathryn Rameriz-Aguilar, University of Colorado Boulder

Learn how the Department prioritizes high impact technologies (HITs) to advance energy efficiency. Hear from a Better Buildings program participant who is working with Department staff to test promising technologies in buildings. Learn what they are finding and how you can get involved.

Register here →

Copyright © 2014 Better Buildings, U.S. Department of Energy, All rights reserved.

Bike Lanes on Route 302

When the long-planned bike path between Montpelier and Barre was “derailed” by the impossibility of locating the path in the railroad’s right-of-way, an effort was begun to study infrastructure improvements to Route 302 in order to create a safer roadway for bicyclists, pedestrians, and other vulnerable roadway users.

Planners and engineers have done peer-reviewed traffic modeling which shows that a road “diet” for the five-lane section of Roue 302 is very feasible and relatively low cost.  The proposed changes will be presented at the Berlin select board meeting, which begins on Monday, November 3 at 6:30.  If you are a resident of Berlin, please consider attending the meeting to express your support for this concept to balance the vocal opponents of this plan.  In addition, this meeting offers an opportunity for all interested individuals to ask questions and learn more about the specifics of the road “diet” concept.

Thanks for your interest and support for safer, friendlier biking and walking conditions in Vermont.

Nancy Schulz
Executive Director
VT Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition
PO Box 1234
Montpelier, VT 05601
(802) 225-8904

www.vtbikeped.org
www.facebook.com/vtbikeped

EV Event in Brattleboro:

ev event

Kingdom Community Wind Meets State Sound Levels

GMP-Logo_NewNew Summer Testing Report Analyzed 1640 Hours

COLCHESTER, VT – Green Mountain Power (GMP) today announced that the latest sound monitoring report finds Kingdom Community Wind continues to meet strict sound standards set by state regulators. The report, which analyzed 1640 hours of data, is part of an ongoing comprehensive compliance monitoring program and the results are filed with the Public Service Board.

“We are very pleased to share this information with Vermonters,” said Dorothy Schnure, GMP’s spokesperson. “Kingdom Community Wind is a key part of helping to lower rates for customers by generating clean, reliable and cost-effective power. The project is part of the reason why we are lowering rates for customers at the same time other utilities in the region are seeking double digit rate increases.”

The testing follows guidelines set by the Vermont Public Service Board and was conducted at four separate locations near the wind project. In total, 1640 hours of data were collected from August 20, 2014 to September 9, 2014. Sound levels at all four monitoring stations were below levels set by regulators for the project. Green Mountain Power has recently taken steps to increase and expand sound monitoring at the site as part of its commitment to ensure that it continues to operate within standards.

“It is great to learn that GMP continues to operate Kingdom Community Wind so responsibly and I am not surprised that the wind plant continues to meet state sound standards,” said Richard Pion, chair of the Lowell selectboard. “I live near the plant and find it to be quieter than many of the other sounds near my home.”

October 21 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “Oil decline: Price makes the story” When the world’s business editors sent their reporters canvassing to find out what is behind the recent plunge in the world oil price, they looked at normal economics in action. But the issue here has much more to do with politics than with supply and demand.  [Resilience]

Science and Technology:

  • The technology for managing a distributed energy landscape includes smart inverters, advanced power electronics, other grid edge devices, communications networks and software platforms. Now, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the DOE’s ARPA-E program bring us microsynchrophasors. [Energy Collective]
  • A new, somewhat clever means of managing and improving the efficiency of the power grid was recently unveiled by a coalition of some of the world’s largest automakers. It is in fact simply a technology that allows for the direct communication of utility companies and plug-in electric vehicles, via the cloud. [CleanTechnica]

World:

  • A report from the EU on power prices is only the latest of a number coming to the same conclusion. Along with three earlier reports, it proved that “wind energy is one of the lowest cost options for reducing carbon emissions,” with each focusing on a different attribute of wind energy’s performance. [CleanTechnica]
  • Renewable energy lies at the heart of a dispute between Spain and France: Spanish wind turbines easily produce more power than is needed in the domestic market but that energy is wasted because there are few transmission lines to carry it across the border to France, but France wants to protect its nuclear reactors from competition. [Financial Times]
  • Global wind capacity could reach 2000 GW by 2030 and meet up to 19% of electricity demand, according to a report released by the Global Wind Energy Council and Greenpeace International. It also says that the sector could create more than 2 million jobs worldwide and cut CO2 emissions by more than 3 billion tonnes per year. [reNews]
  • According to the Clean Energy Pipeline, global clean energy investment jumped 11% in the third quarter of 2014 over figures a year earlier, clearing $64 billion. The third quarter figures represent a 3% decrease on Q2 2014 numbers, but are still healthy growth over a year earlier. [CleanTechnica]
  • Dutch power grid operator TenneT has signed a contract for a €150 million ($192 million) loan to finance a grid project to help connect offshore wind farms in the Netherlands. The Netherlands aims to build offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 3,450 MW by 2020. [Energy Live News]
  • A portion of the Northwest Russian Karelian Republic’s boiler systems will gradually be shifted to local forms of fuel such as peat and lumber production refuse now that the region’s government has decided to transfer 35% (250 MW) of its heat generation to these sources. [Bellona]

US:

  • In the next Vermont legislature, a renewable portfolio standard could be created to establish how much electricity generated from wind, solar and other renewable resources utilities must sell. Under the current voluntary goal, utilities are allowed to sell renewable power credits out of state to reduce electric rates. [vtdigger.org]
  • The hot summer was the third in which Southern California went without 2,200 MW from the San Onofre nuclear plant. Drought reduced the state’s hydroelectric output by another 1,628. Despite these events, California did not have any major outages, primarily because of its increased renewable capacity. [KCET]
  • Minnesota’s highways are poised to become green energy generators with up to five 1-MW PV arrays built on public right-of-way. If the pilot project proceeds as planned it would exceed the capacity of a solar installation expected to go online next fall that is touted as the largest in Minnesota. [MinnPost]
  • Michigan wind turbines could be erected without regard for some local laws under recently introduced legislation. The bill would amend Michigan’s Right to Farm Act to include wind production. It would allow wind turbines to be constructed on agricultural land without zoning or building permits. [Michigan Capitol Confidential]

Bernie Sanders in Keene, NH

Please join U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire. Show images to see more details, or go to bernie.org/events.

Please join U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire. Show images to see more details, or go to bernie.org/events.

Please join U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire. Show images to see more details, or go to bernie.org/events.

Join Vermont’s independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders at a student rally Tuesday, October 21 at noon to discuss what’s at stake in the 2014 elections.

Lantern Room in the L.P. Young Student Center
(Located between Appian Way and Blake Street)
Keene State College, Keene, NH 03435

(Click here for directions)

Please join U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire. Show images to see more details, or go to bernie.org/events.

Vermont’s independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders will be speaking at Plymouth State University at a student town meeting to discuss how we:

  • Get Out the Vote on November 4
  • Deal with the Issue of Wealth and Income Inequality
  • Get Big Money Out of Politics
  • Make College Education Affordable
  • Combat Climate Change

While this is a meeting organized by students, members of the general public are more than welcome to attend and participate.

Hyde Academic Building, Room 220
Plymouth State University
Highland Ave, Plymouth, NH 03264

(Click here for directions)

Please join U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire. Show images to see more details, or go to bernie.org/events.

Please join U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire. Show images to see more details, or go to bernie.org/events.