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July 31 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The losses are continuing to mount as more coal companies report their second quarter earnings. Cloud Peak Energy announced a $53 million loss for the quarter Wednesday, and Arch Coal reported a $168 million dollar loss Thursday, following a $1 billion loss Peabody Energy reported Monday. The losses result largely from competition from natural gas and renewables. [Wyoming Public Media]
Open pit coal mine. Credit Stephanie Joyce

Open pit coal mine. Credit Stephanie Joyce

  • There is an assumption that when a supply-demand imbalance incident happens, there will be an automatic response within 5-6 seconds from conventional (gas, coal, hydro) generators to stabilize the power supply. This has been an important talking point in an argument against having too much renewable power. But the assumption turns out to be simply wrong. [CleanTechnica]
  • Europe’s offshore wind industry has shattered previous installation records in the first half of 2015, installing 2,342.9 MW of electricity generation capacity, triple the same time last year. Installations for the first half of 2015 had reached 2,342.9 MW, tripling the grid-connected capacity of the same period in 2014 and bringing Europe’s operating capacity up to 10,393.6 MW. [CleanTechnica]
  • Utility scale solar has grown so in the US that utilities are now longer fighting it, with large scale solar likely to be competitive even if tax credits are removed. That is the view of SunPower, one of the biggest solar module manufacturers and project developers in the US, which just bought out the 1.5-GW solar portfolio in the US built up by Australia’s Infigen Energy. [CleanTechnica]
  • In New York state, sheriff’s deputies arrested 10 protesters, including several yoga practitioners and a cello player, in front of Crestwood Midstream’s gates Wednesday. They were protesting Crestwood’s plans for a gas storage facility. They arrived at 8 am, unrolled yoga mats, and blockaded the company’s north entrance, performing a series of poses to cello music. [Finger Lakes Times]

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

July 30 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The island if Hawaii gets about 50% of its energy from a mixture of renewable sources. A lot of that is thanks to the state’s only geothermal plant, Puna Geothermal Venture, which sits on the eastern rift zone of the Kilauea Volcano. The plant generates about 38 MW, according to the Hawaii Electric Light Co, enough to power up to 4,400 typical Hawaiian homes. [Business Insider]
A lava lake inside Kilauea’s overlook crater in 2008. USGS photo,

A lava lake inside Kilauea’s overlook crater in 2008. USGS photo.

  • Despite the UK government making moves to scale back the level of support given to solar technology, Scotland remains committed. In the aftermath of proposals to scrap support for most renewable sources, Scottish Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland is at the forefront of the renewables industry and solar is an important part of our renewable mix.” [Solar Power Portal]
  • The coal industry and its supporters often argue that coal is still a relevant energy source because it’s cheap, and cheap electricity reduces energy poverty. But on Tuesday, Oxfam Australia directed an entire report to Australia’s government, saying that for the one billion people living without electricity, coal is more expensive than renewable energy sources. [ThinkProgress]
  • SolarCity introduced a new solar energy service that will make it possible for many small and medium-sized businesses to pay less for solar electricity than they pay for power from their local utility for the first time. SolarCity will initially offer its SMB service to owner-occupied business locations in California, but expects to expand it to other territories in early 2016. [AltEnergyMag]
  • Exelon’s Quad Cities nuclear plant may be a goner come September. Chris Crane, CEO of the company, which is the largest nuclear plant operator in the country, made clear on a conference call with analysts that he doesn’t see a way to keep money-losing Quad Cities open without a state law charging Illinois ratepayers more to support nuclear plants. [Crain’s Chicago Business]

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

Governor Cuomo Announces

Solar Energy to Power Belleayre, Gore, and Whiteface Ski Centers

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that the three state operated ski resorts at Belleayre, Gore and Whiteface Mountain have committed to using solar power to operate their ski lift and snowmaking operations.

“By using renewable energy to power major operations at these world-class ski resorts, we are building upon this administration’s commitment to expand this state’s use of renewal energy, strengthen this important, job-creating economic sector, and reduce New York’s carbon footprint,” Governor Cuomo said. “This exciting news is just one more reason to visit one of New York’s premier ski resorts this winter.”

The 25-year power purchase agreement with Borrego Solar is the most recent environmental initiative the state and ORDA have undertaken to run its business units with increased sustainability and efficiency. It is also in keeping with Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision’s NY-Sun initiative, a $1-billion initiative to advance the scale-up of solar and move the state closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry as New York builds a clean, resilient and affordable energy system.

Gore Mountain is home to the most skiable terrain and largest lift infrastructure in New York State, and its massive snowmaking system, lift operations, and other electrical equipment use about 13-million kilowatt hours of power and cost approximately $1-million in utility costs each year. The solar energy for Gore, produced at a location in Washington County, is expected to reduce Gore’s energy bill by over $213,000 during the first year. Borrego’s projections indicate that the three ski resorts could save as much $14-million over the 25-year period, utilizing more than 10 megawatts of solar power.

The solar projects received support from NY-Sun through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which administers the initiative.

“With this initiative ORDA will substantially reduce its carbon footprint essentially akin to removing over 46,000 cars from the road over the life of the agreement,” said ORDA chairman Pat Barrett. “We want to make sure that this wonderful recreational sport stays around for generations to come.”

“These projects demonstrate an innovative use of solar energy, which is helping a wide range of businesses across New York State reduce electricity costs and preserve the environment,” said John B. Rhodes, president and CEO, NYSERDA. “They are examples of tangible State actions under Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers.”

The solar power project is the latest sustainable endeavor for all three resorts. Over the past two years, Gore Mountain has added 260 low-energy, high-efficiency guns to its snowmaking fleet, along with a several powerful fan guns, while Whiteface has added 100 guns to its fleet. Meanwhile Belleayre, began transitioning away from diesel air compressors to electric, as well as adding energy-efficient guns to its fleet of 600 guns that are responsible for covering the Catskill region resort’s 55 trails.

Low-energy, high-efficiency guns use the same amount of water as a traditional gun, but the air that these guns use is 25-percent of a traditional gun. The energy savings come from running compressors for a shorter period of time, while making more snow in less time and shortening the snowmaking season.

All three resorts have modernized their pumping systems and/or compressors to further offset energy use, and over the last two seasons Gore has operated more lifts for more days than ever before, while using less energy than in past. ORDA mountains have been presented with four international “Silver Eagle” awards, one to Whiteface for Excellence in Environmental Education; and three to Gore for Excellence in Environmental Group Relations, Environmental Education, and Excellence of Visual Impact Resources.

Under NY-Sun, the growth of solar in New York State has increased more than 300-percent from 2011 to 2014, which is twice the rate of U.S. solar growth overall. A total of 314.48 megawatts of solar electric was installed as of December 2014 across the state, equivalent to powering more than 51,000 homes.

In addition to project support, NY-Sun also supports Community Solar NY, K-Solar and Shared Renewables. For information about NY-Sun, visit ny-sun.ny.gov .

For more information about Belleayre, Gore and Whiteface and all of the activities and events that take place on ORDA’s venues, visit www.whitefacelakeplacid.com .

July 29 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • ABB has commissioned and handed over the DolWin1 offshore wind grid connection to the Dutch-German transmission system operator TenneT. The 800 MW link connects offshore wind farms around 75 kilometers off the German coast with the country’s transmission grid. The DolWin1 grid connection can integrate enough power to supply around one million households. [PennEnergy]
ABB wind energy grid connection.

ABB wind energy grid connection.

  • A surprise backer of a 50% renewable energy target at the Labor Party’s weekend conference was Australia’s largest coal mining and energy union. The president of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union supports Labor’s energy policy, on the condition a Labor government provide assistance for thousands of workers who might lose their jobs. [The New Daily]
  • A New South Wales start-up plans to become Australia’s first community-owned renewable energy retailer, as well as its cheapest. Enova Energy, which was formed last year by residents from the Northern Rivers Region, aims to retail renewable electricity, while providing advice and professional services for those who want to install solar or leave the grid entirely. [CleanTechnica]
  • Germany’s transition from coal-fired and oil-fired power to carbon-free electricity hit a new milestone on July 25, when solar, wind, and other sources of renewable energy met 78% of the day’s energy demand. That beat the old record of 74%, made in May 2014, according to Craig Morris, a journalist who has covered Germany’s energy scene for more than a decade. [TakePart]
  • The Obama administration has decided to give states more time to comply with proposed regulations requiring dramatic cuts in greenhouse-gas pollution from power plants, people familiar with the plans have said. The EPA will give states an additional two years, until 2022, to begin phasing in pollution cuts, even as the agency toughens the standards for the states. [Washington Post]

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

July 28 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Norway is hoping to become the “green battery of Europe” by using its hydropower plants to provide instant extra electricity if production from wind and solar power sources in other countries fade. Engineers believe they could use the existing network to instantly boost European supplies and avoid other countries having to switch on fossil fuel plants to make up shortfalls. [Climate News Network]
Norwegian dam. Statkraft photo.

Reserviours behind Norwegian dams such as this could be used for pumped storage. Statkraft photo.

  • FERC issued its monthly report on new US generating capacity. CleanTechnica added a careful estimate of new rooftop solar capacity, and here are the numbers: 44% of new capacity came from wind power, 41.5% came from solar power, 13% was biomass, and 2% was natural gas. Overall, for the first half of 2015, renewables accounted for 78.4% of new capacity. [CleanTechnica]
  • Warren Buffett joined leaders of a dozen major US businesses at the White House in calling for robust action on global warming. Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, Walmart, General Motors, Cargill, Bank of America and others announced over $140 billion in investments in low-carbon projects and other actions as they shift toward greater reliance on renewable energy. [Omaha World-Herald]
  • Installation of the turbine foundations for Deepwater Wind’s 30-MW Block Island project started Sunday and will take about eight weeks. Submarine cable installation is to commence in the spring of 2016, followed by turbine installation in the summer. The Block Island offshore wind farm is planned to be producing power in the final quarter of 2016. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • Bill Fehrman, CEO of MidAmerican Energy, said Monday the company could get up to 57% of its energy from wind with its latest renewable energy project. Wind’s growing presence in MidAmerican’s portfolio is encouraging, and so is news that the utility is looking to invest in Iowa solar projects; both community solar and utility-sized solar are being considered. [DesMoinesRegister.com]

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

July 27 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • An Entrade Energiesystems E3 micro-scale biomass CHP plant has passed 1000 hours of operation (nearly seven weeks), with almost no human interference. The plant produces 22 kW of electrical energy and 55 kW of thermal energy, and plants can be connected in series. The unit fits in a standard shipping container, and can be installed in less than a day. [Renewable Energy Focus]
An Entrade Energiesystems E3 micro-scale biomass CHP plant has passed 1000 hours of operation (nearly seven weeks), with almost no human interference. The plant produces 22 kW of electrical energy and 55 kW of thermal energy, and plants can be connected in series. The unit fits in a standard shipping container, and can be installed in less than a day. [Renewable Energy Focus] Photo: © ENTRADE Energiesysteme AG

Photo: © ENTRADE Energiesysteme AG

  • Although Kodiak Island relied on hydropower for 80% of the electricity, it also burned 2.8 million gallons of diesel oil, costing $7 million, per year. Kodiak Electric Association set a goal of producing 95% of the community’s electrical needs with renewable energy by 2020. They actually arrived there well ahead of time, and are now 99.7 % renewably powered. [GreenBiz]
  • Schneider Electric, S&C Electric Company, and Oncor, which does transmission and distribution, teaming up to put together a microgrid featuring nine separate distributed generation sources along with energy storage infrastructure. Oncor says the project is the “most advanced microgrid in North America,” and will provide insight into optimization strategies. [CleanTechnica]
  • A bipartisan energy bill that includes a 50-GW National Geothermal Goal is awaiting the Senate Finance Committee’s markup on Tuesday. The bill would have federal agencies identify priority areas for geothermal development, and facilitate new discoveries by allowing limited non-competitive leasing of adjacent lands where a new discovery has been made. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • Developers of a plan by a Swanton family for what could become Vermont’s latest large-scale wind power project want to ask for state approval before the end of the year in hopes that construction can begin on what may be a seven-turbine, 20-MW installation before the end of 2016. The Swanton Wind project would be on a ridge northeast of St. Albans. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]

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

July 26 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Coal is losing the war” While coal industry supporters blame the EPA for its decline, coal’s enemies also include the vast natural gas industry, rising renewable energy, decreased global demand, Wall Street and deep-pocketed nonprofits that deem coal a public-health threat. And they have recently notched a host of victories that show the war is becoming a rout. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
Air pollution at a power plant before EPA-required updates. US National Park Service photo. This photo is in the public domain because it was prepared by a federal employee for the US government.

Air pollution at a power plant before EPA-required improvements. US National Park Service photo. This photo is in the public domain because it was prepared by a federal employee for the US government.

  • An IMF study says worldwide energy subsidies are much greater than previously known. The combination of direct and indirect subsidies is projected at $5.3 trillion in 2015, or 6.5% of global GDP. Most of this arises from countries setting energy taxes below levels fully reflecting damage to the environment associated with fossil fuel consumption. Country-level estimates are available. [imf.org]
  • Glasgow-based Start Renewable Energy has won a £350,000 contract to supply heat pumps for a system which will, for the first time in the UK, see solar thermal panels used to power district heating. Star will design and build a large-scale heat pump system connected to a solar energy farm to be built in the new town of Cranbrook, now under construction near Exeter. [Herald Scotland]
  • The state of Hawaii submitted testimony opposing Hawaiian Electric Industries’ merger with NextEra Energy Inc, as currently proposed. Governor David Ige outlined the reasons for this. “Although I welcome capital investment in Hawaii with respect to energy, any merger or investment must align with the state’s 100 percent renewable energy goal,” Ige says. [North American Windpower]
  • Village Green Ventures, is building a 1-MW anaerobic digester at the Brunswick Landing business park in Brunswick, Maine. It will have three steel tanks, the largest of which will stand 75 feet tall. Digesters can eat most any kind of organic material, including food waste, sludge, manure and cooking grease. This one is going to need roughly 180 tons of waste each day. [WGME]

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

July 25 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Grid-connected wind generation capacity in the EU reached 129 GW in 2014, meeting 8% of Europe’s demand for electricity. A report by the European Commission’s in-house science service, projects that at least 12% of electricity will be from wind by 2020, a significant contribution to the European energy goal that 20% of energy come from renewable sources by 2020. [E&T magazine]
Wind power makes a valuable contribution to renewables targets. Photo credit: EU.

Wind power makes a valuable contribution to renewables targets. Photo credit: EU.

  • Up until mid-last year, oil prices hovered over $100 per barrel, but with its excessive production paired with falling demand, the prices have declined by half and stayed low. The coal industry has also been struggling. Years of buildup in the mining capacity have forced global coal prices to tumble and there’s little hope that the industry will be back firmly to its knees. [CleanTechnica]
  • Insurance giant Aviva has announced new targets to invest £500 million a year for the next five years in low-carbon infrastructure, in a move that will prevent 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. The investments will be made in renewable energy and energy efficiency infrastructure in Europe. They will include investment in solar PV and wind power. [Business Green]
  • The state of Massachusetts has a goal to produce 1,600 MW of solar power by the year 2020. To do this, the state Senate voted on Thursday to raise the maximum amount of solar power permitted to be resold by consumers to the main grid. This is part of a far larger bill intended to fight against climate change, called the Climate Change Preparedness Bill. [Apex Tribune]
  • Almonds, vilified during the current drought for being one of California’s thirstier crops, have a surprisingly small carbon footprint compared to other nutrient-rich crops, according to a report from a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis, and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. California grows about 80% of the world’s commercial almonds. [UC Davis]

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

OPEN FARM WEEK, AUGUST 3-9

VERMONT CO-OPS: HUBS FOR VERMONT OPEN FARM WEEK, AUGUST 3-9

This August, farms across Vermont are opening their doors to the public for Vermont’s first Open Farm Week.  A celebration of the “farm” in “farm to table,” the weeklong event will give people a behind-the-scenes look at Vermont’s vibrant working landscape. Farmers across Vermont will open their barn doors and garden gates to welcome the public, and Neighboring Food Co-ops across Vermont will serve as hubs to support farmers and promote the week to their members.

“The role of Vermont food co-ops in helping successfully launch Open Farm Week is just one of the many ways food co-ops support the local food system on an ongoing basis,” said Erin Buckwalter, Market Development and Community Food Security Manager of Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Vermont. “Connecting community members and shoppers to the farmers who stock their shelves, and educating shoppers about supporting their local farmers is vitally important work to transforming the food system.”

The Neighboring Food Co-op Association, as network of over 30 food co-ops across New England, teamed up to organize the event with partners from NOFA VT, Vermont Fresh Network, City Market/Onion River Co-op, Vermont Farm to Plate Network Agritourism Task Force, Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Dig In Vermont, Intervale Center, Vermont FEED, Shelburne Farms, Vermont Farm Tours, the Farm-Based Education Network, UVM Extension, and Vermont Farmers Market Association.

“This weeklong event is a great way for food co-ops to further promote local farmers and strengthen the connections within the local food system,” says Sarah Bhimani, Outreach & Education Manager at City Market. “There is a strong desire among our customers to know where their food is coming from, and the events planned for Open Farm Week will help those customers get to know Vermont farms and farmers better.  We’re happy to help facilitate these connections between our local farmers and customers!”

For an up-to-date listing of participating farms, their offerings, and their Open Farm Week hours, visit: www.diginvt.com/blog/openfarmweek

Vermont Open Farm Week is made possible by the generous support of Premiere Sponsor City Market/Onion River Co-op as well as the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, Localvore Today and Woodchuck Hard Cider.

Participants are encouraged to join the conversation on social media by using #VTOpenFarm.

 

July 24 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • In June, Dutch district court ordered the Netherlands to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 25% lower than 1990 levels by 2020. This is several percentage points deeper than the 17% reduction the country had been envisaging. The same reasoning used by the Dutch judges for declaring tort law valid for dealing with climate change could be applied elsewhere. [CleanTechnica]
The Netherlands has long embraced renewable energy, but some judges say it must do more. Uberprutser, CC BY-SA.

The Netherlands has long embraced renewable energy, but some judges say it must do more. Uberprutser, CC BY-SA.

  • According to a recent announcement, Indian solar PV manufacturer Rolta Power signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese firm Zhenfa New Energy Science and Technology to develop solar power projects in India. The companies would together install 2 GW of solar power projects by 2020, which is expected to generate revenue of around $2.03 billion. [CleanTechnica]
  • Developers in Oklahoma and other windy states are ramping up construction on wind farms in the wake of a last-minute renewal of a key federal tax credit that took place at the end of 2014. The American Wind Energy Association said 13,600 MW of capacity was under construction across 101 projects in 24 states. Oklahoma is expected to add another 1,440 MW. [NewsOK.com]
  • The earlier revenue-neutral New York State Carbon Tax proposal has now transformed into a combined tax credit and investment proposal, according to the Network For Sustainable Financial Markets. The proposal would allow for tax credits to low-income groups, in addition to encouraging investments for reduced carbon emissions or climate change mitigation. [CleanTechnica]
  • French lawmakers passed legislation that included a last-minute amendment initially rejected by the government to increase the target price of carbon to €56 ($61.48) a ton in 2020 and €100 a ton in 2030. The rate, now €14.50 a ton, climbs to €22 a ton in 2016 and is integrated in a levy on fossil fuels. This fulfills a campaign pledge of President Francois Hollande. [Bloomberg]

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