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May 27 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • In a new report, the US Department of Energy says the US could get 35% of its electricity from wind power within 35 years. The report details the benefits of replacing fossil fuel power plants with wind turbines generating carbon-free electricity. One benefit is saving 260 billion gallons of water each year. [TakePart]
Wind farm in rural America.

Wind farm in rural America.

  • According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, wind and solar accounted for all new generating capacity placed into service in April. Wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower combined have provided 84.1% of the new US electrical generating capacity placed into service so far in 2015. [North American Windpower]
  • Clean energy employed more than 7.7 million people across the world last year, according the International Renewable Energy Agency. The number, which covers people employed directly by renewable energy firms and throughout the supply chain, marks an 18% rise on the 6.5 million jobs recorded in 2013. [GreenBiz]
  • Ahead of the climate change Conference of the Parties in December, France’s lower house of parliament has approved a bill aimed at boosting renewable energy and reducing reliance on nuclear power, among other environment-friendly measures. There were 308 votes for the bill, and 217 against. [Jamaica Observer]
  • Duke Energy will partner with LG Chem and Greensmith to build a battery-based energy storage facility at the site of Duke’s decommissioned WC Beckjord coal-fired power plant in New Richmond, Ohio. The new plant will serve to regulate and stabilize the electric power grid in the eastern US. [Cincinnati Business Courier]

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

June 16 Forum on Financing for Energy Improvement Projects

Forum to Promote New No-Interest or Low-Interest Financing

Two great low or no-interest financing options are now available to help Vermonters make energy improvements in their homes: PACE financing and the Heat Saver Loan.

A public informational forum on these energy financing options will be held on Tuesday, June 16 at 5:30 pm at the Marlboro College Graduate School, 28 Vernon Street in downtown Brattleboro. Pizza and beverages will be provided. Space is limited – to register, contact Paul Cameron at 251-8135 or pcameron@brattleboro.org.

PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing is available to residents of Vermont towns that have officially approved a PACE program, including Brattleboro, Putney, Marlboro, and Manchester.

Improvements that can be financed through these low rates include energy audits, weatherization measures, cold climate heat pumps, high efficiency oil, propane and wood pellet central heating systems, heat pump water heaters, and solar hot water heaters.  Vermonters earning up to 80% of the state’s Average Median Income (AMI) can get 0% financing; 80-100% AMI can get 0.99% financing; and 100-120% AMI can get 1.99%. Renewable electric generation systems can also be financed through PACE at the standard program rate which is currently 6%. Other advantages of PACE financing include low closing costs, no down payment required and ability to pay the loan off in advance with no penalty. Specific income levels and information on the PACE process are available at www.efficiencyvermont.com/PACE.

In addition to PACE financing, Vermonters looking to improve the thermal efficiency of their home can finance eligible improvement projects through the Heat Saver Loan Program.

Heat Saver Loans are available statewide, and cover many similar projects, including weatherization, cold-climate heat pumps, solar hot water systems, biomass heating systems, and other clean heating technologies. Interested homeowners must work with an approved installer or certified contractor. Heat saver loans are available through Opportunities Credit Union and the Vermont State Employees Credit Union with interest rates ranging from 0% to 4.99%. Specific income levels and qualifying contractors can be found by visiting at www.efficiencyvermont.com/HeatSaver.

Financing efficiency and renewable energy measures through PACE or the Heat Saver Loan program often result in homeowners saving more on energy costs than they are paying for the improvements, so they save energy and money from the beginning. Efficiency Vermont, the state’s energy efficiency utility, can review project plans to help determine how cost effective the project is, and will assist homeowners through the PACE and Heat Saver Loan processes.

The June 16 forum is sponsored by Brattleboro Climate Protection, Brattleboro Energy Committee,   Sustainable Energy Outreach Network, Home Energy Advocates, and Efficiency Vermont.

More information on Heat Saver Loans is available at www.efficiencyvermont.com/HeatSaver.

More information on PACE financing is available at www.efficiencyvermont.com/PACE; contact Efficiency Vermont at info@efficiencyvermont.com or 888-921-5990 with questions.

May 26 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “New Wind Turbine Capacity Factor Could Increase From ~40% To ~60%” – The engineer and economist Bernard Chabot has written an article explaining how wind power capacity factors for new wind turbines could increase from about 40% to 60%. Such a change has profound implications. [CleanTechnica]
Four wind turbines on the Somerset Wind Farm, in Somerset, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jeff Kubina from Columbia, Maryland. Wikimedia Commons.

Four wind turbines on the Somerset Wind Farm, in Somerset, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jeff Kubina from Columbia, Maryland. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Just weeks after producing its first batch of synthetic diesel fuel made from carbon dioxide and water, Audi has laid claim to another synthetic, clean-burning and petroleum-free gasoline replacement fuel called “e-benzin.” The fuel was created by Audi’s project partner Global Bioenergies, in France. [Gizmag]
  • The Government of Japan signed a contribution agreement on its pledge of $1.5 billion to the Green Climate Fund, bringing the total confirmed agreements since the GCF’s November 2014 Berlin meeting up to 58.5% of amounts pledged, and well over the 50% threshold required by its governing board. [CleanTechnica]
  • Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk has grown to include over 100 institutional investors with more than $24 trillion in collective assets. The network is actively calling for an end to global fossil fuel subsidies and a strong Paris climate agreement later this year. It is also moving the corporate world. [Communities Digital News]
  • New Jersey wants to double its spending on energy-storage projects to $6 million. Renewable sources, such as solar and wind, could supply more power, and critical facilities like schools and wastewater treatment plants could keep up and running when the power grid fails, as it did during Hurricane Sandy. [NJ Spotlight]

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

May 25 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The Solar Impulse 2, the experimental plane attempting to fly around the world without a single drop of fuel, is set to take off from China early Tuesday morning on the most challenging and dangerous part of its journey yet. Andre Borschberg will fly alone during the non-stop flight from Nanjing to Hawaii. [CNN]
Solar Impulse SI2 in 2014. Photo by Milko Vuille. Wikimedia Commons.

Solar Impulse SI2 in 2014. Photo by Milko Vuille. Wikimedia Commons.

  • The construction on a 2.3-MW floating solar power plant has been completed in Hyogo prefecture, western Japan. It is the world’s largest floating solar power plant in terms of output. The plant is expected to generate 2,680 MWh every year. It is more efficient than land-based systems because the water cools the panels. [Xinhua]
  • Roughly 1% of Australia’s geothermal energy, which is shallower than five kilometres, could supply the nation’s total energy requirements, government estimates reveal. In the state of Victoria, some of the best geothermal areas are below beds of brown coal. The state government seems to prefer the coal. [Sydney Morning Herald]
  • Recent bids in Jordan confirmed last year’s results from Dubai: Solar is now cheaper than gas-fired power in this region, with major implications for energy strategies. Bids in Jordan’s recent solar auction were just over 6¢/kWh, slightly above the record 5.84¢ from Acwa Power last November in Dubai. [The National]
  • Blue Sphere Corp, a clean energy company that develops, manages and owns waste-to-energy projects, has announced that they will break ground on their a project in Johnston, Rhode Island, on Wednesday, May 28. The 3.2 MW of energy will come from uneaten food that would normally end up in local landfills. [GoLocalProv]

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

May 24 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Despite burning more coal for energy than all other provinces combined, Alberta is set to ween itself off the black mineral, earning praise from a coalition of physicians. Canada has laws to close or upgrade coal plants, but its provinces have pushed through stricter, faster plans, and Alberta could be next. [Calgary Herald]
The 760-MW Sheerness coal generating station, located southeast of Hanna, Alberta. Photo by Paul Jerry from Medicine Hat, Canada. Wikimedia Commons.

The 760-MW Sheerness coal generating station, located southeast of Hanna, Alberta. Photo by Paul Jerry from Medicine Hat, Canada. Wikimedia Commons.

  • AXA, one of the largest insurance companies in the world and the largest in France, announced this week that it will sell more than $550,000,000 in coal investments by the end of 2015. It will triple its investments in renewable energy, energy infrastructure and green bond to more than $3 billion by 2020. [PlanetSave.com]
  • A new government analysis of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan shows that the proposal could further weaken an already battered coal industry. Electricity generation from the carbon-intensive fossil fuel would fall by 90 GW, more than twice the decline government analysts had predicted as recently as April. [Lexington Herald Leader]
  • The installation of charging stations for plug-in electric cars is moving ahead in New York, despite a decline in sales of the vehicles that mirrors the drop in gas prices. The sales blip bothers neither the state and federal agencies that are bankrolling the installation of this new infrastructure nor manufacturers. [Times Herald-Record]
  • Siemens Energy unveiled a new product last week at the AWEA Windpower trade show in Orlando that it will partially manufacture in Hutchinson, Kansas, starting in 2017. The SWT 2.3-120 is a modification of Siemens’ original SWT 2.3-108 wind turbine, allowing higher performance at lower wind speeds. [Hutchinson News]

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

Upper Valley Food Coop Event

Companion Planting with Karen Ganey

Saturday, May 30, at the White River Community Garden at Ratcliffe Park

Karen Ganey of Permaculture Solutions will discuss strategies for combining plants to assist each other, deter bugs, and compliment growth.

2:00 pm, at the WRCG on Latham Works Lane.

This is a FREE workshop open to the Upper Valley Community.
- Reminder about library hours -

Our library of Sustainable Living Resources will be open and available to members during   Open Hours. Tuesdays: 10am to noon; Wednesdays: 4 to 6pm; Saturdays: 2 to 4pm. Come check out our selection of books and DVDs.   

May 23 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Australians in Melbourne have been negotiating for four years with various government bodies of the state of Victoria for an entirely solar-powered tram network in Melbourne. The network would be the world’s largest, and it would make the capital city of Victoria become a world environmental leader. [CleanTechnica]
Solar powered tram. Digital visualization by Australia Solar Group.

Solar powered tram. Digital visualization by Australia Solar Group.

  • Ben van Beurden, the chief executive of Shell, has endorsed warnings that the world’s fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned unless some way is found to capture their carbon emissions. The oil boss has also predicted that the global energy system will become “zero carbon” by the end of the century. [The Guardian]
  • Over 2,000 business leaders, political leaders, and senior climate negotiators at the Business & Climate Summit pledged to lead a global transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. The question is “who will lead?” Policymakers call for business leadership, and business leaders call for well-founded policy. [CleanTechnica]
  • According to a recently released report by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, grid parity was coming much quicker than expected. It has already been met in six major cities, and in 2017 the population at parity is likely to be 71 million instead of the 51 million projected in 2012. [CleanTechnica]
  • How large are global energy subsidies? The answer: quite a lot larger than we thought, according to new estimates from the International Monetary Fund. They say subsidising fossil fuels costs an enormous $5.3 trillion a year, or around $10 million a minute. The fund says the figures are “extremely robust.” [CleanTechnica]

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

Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Kickoff

Please join Bernie as he officially kicks off his campaign for president on Tuesday, May 26th at Waterfront Park in Burlington. Bring family and friends. Enjoy Mango Jam’s music and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. We’re going to have a great time at this historic event.

Bernie Sanders’ Official Presidential Campaign Kickoff

Tuesday, May 26th at 5pm
Waterfront Park Burlington, Vermont

RSVP Now RSVP now Bernie’s hometown of Burlington and the people of Vermont mean the world to Bernie, and there’s nowhere else where he would want hold an event this important. That’s why he would love to have fellow Vermonters like you in person to show support for his presidential campaign.

RSVP to attend Bernie Sanders’ official presidential campaign kickoff in Burlington on Tuesday.

Can’t wait to see you,

Team Bernie

P.S. In the event of rain, the event will be moved to Memorial Auditorium, 250 Main St. in Burlington. We’ll see you rain or shine.

Updating Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan

Vermont Public Service Department Announces Process for 2015 Update to the Comprehensive Energy Plan

The Vermont Public Service Department today announced its process for   updating the Comprehensive Energy Plan  (CEP), which is required to be completed by the end of 2015. The Department will solicit public input through a series of meetings this summer, as well as through written comments, and produce a draft CEP by September. That draft plan will then be available for additional public review and input throughout the fall, with a final CEP to be completed by the end of the year.

“The Comprehensive Energy Plan shapes how government, utilities, and the private sector approach our state’s energy challenges,” said Commissioner of Public Service Christopher Recchia. “In turn, the CEP is shaped by the input we receive from Vermonters.  I look forward to hearing and learning from all Vermonters about both our successes and our challenges as we go forward to continue to strengthen Vermont’s energy security, our economy, the comfort of our citizenry and protection of the environment.  The CEP update is an opportunity to focus our strategies and priorities toward these goals.”

The current Comprehensive Energy Plan was completed in 2011. It established a state goal of meeting 90% of Vermont’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2050, underpinned by a strategy of virtually eliminating Vermont’s reliance on oil by mid-century through enhanced efficiency and increased use of renewable energy in heating, transportation, and electric power. Progress toward this goal will foster economic security and independence, safeguard our environment, drive in-state innovation and job creation, and increase community involvement and investment.

In the 2015 CEP update, the Department and its partner agencies intend to identify prioritized strategies to make concrete progress toward energy goals. The updated CEP will incorporate the best current knowledge regarding Vermont’s energy options and their impacts on our economy, environment, and the public health. To gather this information, the Department will host topical stakeholder meetings in Montpelier on June 24 and 30, and public meetings around the state during the month of July.

Along with the plan for public input via meetings and written comments, the Department released a set of questions on which it is especially seeking public input. These questions cover topics such as:

  • Whether to set sector-based or economy-wide renewable energy goals for 2025, in addition to the longer-term goal of 90% renewable by 2050 that was established in the 2011 CEP;
  • How Vermont energy policy should address the potential use of liquid biofuels (such as biodiesel, ethanol, and bioheat blends) for heating and transportation; and
  • How the CEP should address the potential for fostering breakout clean energy firms that can export their products and services.

The full list of questions can be downloaded at the CEP project webpage, www.energyplan.vt.gov, where up to date information will be available about the project. The Department has developed an online tool to collect answers to these and other questions, as well as general comments; it is linked from the project webpage.

May 22 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • A study by US wind energy experts suggests integrating more renewable generation into one of North America’s major power grids could boost its stability and resilience. The research was done by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and GE Energy Consulting based on a study in the western US. [reNews]
Stateline Wind Project, Eastern Oregon or Washington. Photo by Sam Beebe. Wikimedia Commons

Stateline Wind Project, Eastern Oregon or Washington. Photo by Sam Beebe. Wikimedia Commons

  • Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, could phase out the use of fossil fuels by the middle of this century, according to the kingdom’s oil minister. He said the kingdom plans to become a “global power in solar and wind energy” and could start exporting electricity instead of fossil fuels in coming years. [The Australian Financial Review]
  • Global hydroelectric power capacity could double to 2,000 GW by 2050 or sooner, according to a report released this week by the World Energy Council. The report notes that hydropower worldwide has seen a resurgence since 2005 due to better management and understanding of the hydroelectric technology. [HydroWorld]
  • Minnesota utility regulators approved lower electric rates for people who charge plug-in vehicles in their garages at night. The new rates, which take effect in about two months at Xcel Energy Inc. and two other utilities, could shave 40% or more off the already low cost of charging plug-in cars. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
  • Renewable energy development company SunEdison has received contracts to build 33 MW of DC rooftop solar with Southern California Edison in the utility’s most recent round of solar procurement. SCE will purchase the electricity from the 17 rooftop installations through 20-year power purchase agreements. [PV-Tech]

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