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October 10 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Burlington, Vermont, is installing solar arrays on city buildings, serving as a model to encourage private businesses and organizations to do so, too. The arrays help ensure low-cost and locally generated power will be available during times of high use, such as hot summer days when demand for energy is greatest. []
A new solar array on the roof of the Burlington Electric Department headquarters on Pine Street. Photo courtesy of Burlington Electric Department

A new solar array on the roof of the Burlington Electric Department headquarters on Pine Street. Photo courtesy of Burlington Electric Department

  • According to the International Energy Agency’s Energy Efficiency Market Report 2015, energy efficiency improvements of IEA member countries contributed to a total 10 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions avoided over the last 25 years. This is roughly equivalent to annual emissions by all IEA member countries. [CleanTechnica]
  • The US will add 11 GW of utility-scale solar power plants in 2015 and 2016, doubling the cumulative capacity in that segment, the US Energy Information Administration projects. California, North Carolina and Nevada will get 70% of the expected new solar capacity. About 4.4 GW will be deployed in California alone. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • California Governor Jerry Brown signed bill AB 693, which designates $100 million to solar installations in low-income communities over the next 10 years. The bill should assist installations in 215,000 multifamily housing units. Low-income families using solar power will also be eligible for credits toward utility costs. [Grist]
  • New York may be giving California a run for its money as the most progressive state at transforming the electric grid. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new goals, increasing the state’s commitment to clean energy. Topping the list is a target to install solar arrays on 150,000 additional homes and businesses by 2020. [pv magazine]

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

Bray, Housing Vermont and Audet Honored at RE 2015

Leading the Energy REVolution.

REV_Logo_SmBurlington, VT — Renewable Energy Vermont (REV) recognizes a Vermont real estate development company and two Vermonters for their outstanding contributions to the progress of a sustainable energy future at Renewable Energy 2015: “Leading the Energy REVolution”, an annual conference hosted by REV taking place on October 8-9 at the Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center in Burlington. The 2015 Renewable Energy Awards are generously presented by VLITE as part of their continuing commitment to building an energy secure Vermont.

This year’s awardees include:

The Renewable Energy Legislative Award, awarded to an elected official who worked to advance energy policy in the state in the prior year, is awarded to Senator Christopher Bray from Addison County. In his first year as Chair, Senator Bray passed a Climate Change Resolution, initiated a Water bill that did become law, and – critically – oversaw the passage of Vermont’s Act 56, the Renewable Energy Standard.  Act 56 focuses on the balance between rate impact, renewable goals, alignment with regional policy, helping Vermonters lower their total energy costs, economic development and greenhouse gas emission reductions. This Act brought Vermont into compliance with the regions’ RPS policies thereby preventing a $40 million rate increase, set forth renewable energy requirements through 2032, and also made significant changes in solar siting requirements while also establishing a Solar Siting Task Force.  For those who experienced the last three weeks of the 2015 Legislative Session, Chair Bray provided a fair and balanced approach to governing and an example of true leadership. Not surprisingly, this will not be the first energy-related honor for Senator Bray, who was the recipient of the Vermont Natural Resources Council’s Legislative Leadership Award in 2009.

The Renewable Energy Industry Award, celebrates a Vermont company who went above and beyond its core mission to increase the deployment of renewables. This year the recipient is Housing Vermont, a non-profit real estate development company that creates permanently affordable rental housing for Vermonters through public-private partnerships.  Since its founding in 1988, Housing Vermont has produced almost 5,000 affordable apartments for Vermonters. For the past five years Housing Vermont has been involved in trailblazing work to integrate renewable energy in their buildings.  Housing Vermont has installed solar hot water in 650 units, solar electric in over 120 units and modern wood central heating systems serving 342 affordable apartments throughout the state. By the end of 2016, Housing Vermont will have developed 650 kW (AC) of photovoltaic system that will be net metered to over 300 affordable housing units.  As noted by Housing Vermont, “in order to be good at our core mission of providing affordable housing, we have to be great at this energy work.”

The 2015 Jim Grundy Award, is named for Jim Grundy, one of the founders of REV, a renewable designer and businessman, and beloved husband, family and community member.  Jim was known for his integrity of spirit, kindness of soul and ingenuity and craftsmanship in renewable energy technologies, as well as a willingness to personally invest in advancing renewable energy in Vermont through his daily actions and throughout his community. This year’s Jim Grundy award will be presented to Marie Audet and the Audet Family of Blue Spruce Farm and Audet’s Cow Power in Bridport, Vermont. Marie Audet and the team at Blue Spruce farm are true pioneers in what they refer to as “Cow Power” on their third-generation farm that produces milk for Vermont’s famous Cabot Cheeses. Producing almost 4,500,000 gallons of milk each year and with 3,000 acres of land to feed the cows, Blue Spruce Farm generates electricity by feeding cow manure into an anaerobic digester which produces a biogas which in turn spins an electric generator creating electricity. The farm also boasts a Northwind 100 Turbine and hosts a solar array.  Marie and her family are truly a model for many, opening their farm to thousands of tourists annually to show visitors what a true working Vermont landscape looks like – from food to renewable energy to community.

“For REV members and the Board, it’s a sincere pleasure to take a brief moment out of every year to thank a few of the Vermonters that quietly work towards making renewable energy and efficiency happen in their communities, homes and businesses.  These awards show the breadth and scope of who makes energy work here in Vermont – from housing entities to farmers, to legislators and town energy committee members. Truly, this works takes all of us collaborating together”, says Jeff Forward, Chair of the Renewable Energy Vermont board.

To learn more about the Renewable Energy Awards, the recipients and RE2015: Leading the Energy REVolution visit,

About Renewable Energy Vermont (REV)

REV is Vermont’s only non-profit, non-partisan renewable energy trade association working to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and expanding the availability of renewable sources of energy throughout the state and region.

October 9 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Electricity sent to the National Grid by wind turbines in Scotland was 82% higher in September than the same month last year, analysis by WWF Scotland and data company WeatherEnergy found. The grid took 563,835 MWh of power from Scotland’s windfarms in September 2015, up from 308,301 MWh in September 2014. [Scotsman]
September’s unusual weather led to green energy boom. Picture: Ian Rutherford

September’s unusual weather led to green energy boom. Picture: Ian Rutherford

  • Renewables represented only 7% of the energy used in the production and consumption of food across EU member states in 2013, compared to 15% in the overall energy mix, according to a JRC Science and Policy report. The small share of renewables can be explained with the food industry’s high reliance on fossil fuels. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • SunEdison, one of the world’s biggest renewable energy investors has warned that “draconian” UK subsidy cuts will kill solar power in Britain, blaming policy changes for a pullback that led to the collapse of a big installer and nearly 1,000 job losses. Just two weeks ago Drax said it was pulling out of a £1 billion UK plan. [Financial Times]
  • America’s reliance on renewable sources of energy has reached historic levels and is poised to make even greater gains in the near future, according to report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The report found that energy sector carbon pollution was lower last year than in 1996, down 10% reduction in the past decade. []
  • While pipeline companies and politicians insist that bringing more natural gas to New England will lower energy prices, Massachusetts recently approved a plan that puts the cost for that gas on electricity customers. The state’s Department of Public Utilities endorsed allowing electric companies to enter into natural-gas contracts. [ecoRI news]

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

October 10 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Spot shortages in solar panel equipment are lengthening delivery schedules and threatening to stall utility-scale projects for electric cooperatives. Some vendors and manufacturers project lead times for large orders of up to six months, beginning in 2016, and saying their delivery capacity could be completely booked by year’s end. [Electric Co-op Today]
Manufacturers are warning that increased demand to meet the need of large solar installations could lead to spot shortages of some components. (Photo By: Suniva)

Manufacturers are warning that increased demand to meet the need of large solar installations could lead to spot shortages of some components. (Photo By: Suniva)

  • Scotland has reached and surpassed its target of generating 500 MW of locally and community owned renewable energy five years early. Scotland’s Energy Minister announced that Scotland has already installed an estimated 508 MW of community and locally owned renewable energy capacity, well in advance of its target of 2020. [CleanTechnica]
  • Volkswagen’s US boss has admitted he was aware early last year of the emissions cheating affecting millions of the company’s vehicles. He said he was told about a “possible emissions non-compliance” in the spring of 2014. The revelation is in testimony due to be presented to a committee of the US House of Representatives. [BBC]
  • While the production of fossil fuels drops in the United States, solar and wind power is skyrocketing as technology and cheaper financing drive down the costs. The federal government expects a surge in renewable energy in the coming year, just as America’s fracking boom is starting to falter and crude oil production declines. [Sacramento Bee]
  • A trio of analysts on a supply/demand panel at the LDC Gas Forum Rockies & the West in Los Angeles threw a wet blanket on the chances of growth in natural gas-fired generation in the West, particularly California, blaming the sun and the wind. The analysts were unenthusiastic about both export projects and storage. [Natural Gas Intelligence]

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

October 7 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Renew Oregon, a new coalition of clean-energy advocates, filed two proposed measures they hope to get on the November 2016 ballot. The measures would require Oregon’s large utilities to phase out coal-fired power generating plants by 2030. Oregon could be the first state in the nation to vote on the issue. [Statesman Journal]
Boardman Turbine Coal Plant near Boardman, Oregon. Photo by Tedder. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Boardman Turbine Coal Plant near Boardman, Oregon. Photo by Tedder. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

  • “The Republican Party stands alone in climate denial” Sondre Båtstrand at the University of Bergen compared the climate positions of conservative political parties from the USA, UK, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Germany. He found the US Republican Party stands alone on climate change denial. [Skeptical Science]
  • New research published in the journal Nature says 3.3 million people are killed every year as a result of outdoor air pollution. The number of deaths each year is currently set to rise to 6.6 million a year by 2050 (by researcher estimates), if emissions aren’t cut, reminding us of the importance of electric vehicles. [CleanTechnica]
  • Energy efficiency saved large manufacturers in the United States an estimated $2.4 billion in energy costs over the past five years, and could generate over $11 billion in annual energy savings by 2020, according to the US Department of Energy’s Better Plants Program, a multi-sector initiative to improve energy efficiency in buildings. [CleanTechnica]
  • The expectation of additional solar, wind and hydro-based power entering the California Independent System Operator’s grid is credit negative for the state’s merchant generators and companies that market electricity at competitive rates, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Natural gas plants may suffer lost value. []

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

Renewable Energy 2015 Conference & Expo

Leading the Energy REVolution

REV-LogoBurlington, VT — Renewable Energy 2015 (RE 2015) is Vermont’s premier event exploring the transition to a clean energy economy. The 15th annual business conference, hosted by Renewable Energy Vermont (REV) is slated for October 8 and 9 at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Burlington, VT.

With expert speakers on a diverse array of topics, this dynamic forum will look at the opportunities and hurdles involved in moving toward an integrated energy infrastructure addressing power, heating and transportation needs. The conference spans two days and features over 25 conference sessions with more than 65 speakers from throughout the region. Topics covered include: wind, solar, bioenergy technologies, transportation, resilient grid technology, energy efficiency and energy storage solutions. Conference sessions will look at hurdles to implementing renewables as well as untapped opportunities, technological innovations and tools for financing renewable energy.

For more information visit,

What: RE2015: “Leading the Energy REVolution” Conference & Expo

Where: Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center Burlington, VT

When: Thursday, October 8 — 7:30 AM to 7:00 PM, Friday, October 9 — 7:30 AM to 12:30 PM.

Leading the Energy REVolution Conference

  • Special Address: Vermont’s Energy Future – Governor Peter Shumlin
    • Thursday, October 8 – 8:50 AM, Emerald Ballroom
  • Keynote Address: Yoram Bauman “The Stand-Up Economist”
    • Thursday, October 8 – 12:30 PM, Emerald Ballroom
  • Special Event: 2015 Renewable Energy Awards
    • Thursday, October 8 – 5:10 PM, Emerald Ballroom
  • Special Address: View From the Legislature – Speaker of the House Shap Smith
    • Friday, October 9 – 8:20 AM, Emerald Ballroom

About Renewable Energy Vermont (REV)

REV is Vermont’s only non-profit, non-partisan renewable energy trade association working to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and expanding the availability of renewable sources of energy throughout the state and region.

October 6 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • SimpliPhi Power batteries use a lithium-ferro-phosphate chemistry that brings the benefits and energy density of conventional lithium-ion batteries without some of the problems. The proprietary architecture and battery management pulls this chemistry together in a unit that’s 98%, efficient with a number of important advantages. [CleanTechnica]
Rooftop solar with SimpliPhi battery backup.

Rooftop solar with SimpliPhi battery backup.

  • South Africa plans to build a solar park in its Northern Cape Province to produce an additional 1,500 MW. Africa’s most advanced economy is investing heavily in renewable energy to counter chronic electricity deficits, which have made utility Eskom resort frequently to controlled power cuts to prevent the grid from collapsing. [Citizen TV]
  • Last Friday, the rather conservative International Energy Agency quietly released its Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015. The report concluded that by 2020, 26% of the world’s energy will be generated by renewable sources. The agency calls it “a remarkable shift in a very limited period of time.” [Motherboard]
  • The US electric bus market is finally getting lively, judging by news from US manufacturer Proterra. The company announced plans for a new West Coast factory to complement its first plant in South Carolina, and just opened its new California headquarters in Silicon Valley while introducing a new addition to its production line. [CleanTechnica]
  • To combat climate change, some of the most influential companies have become a part of a green alliance called RE100. RE100 has 36 member companies, all of whom are moving to 100% renewable power in their operations. Goldman Sachs, Starbucks, Nike, P&G, and Walmart have all joined the campaign. []

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

Energy Innovation Center Discussion

How will the U.S. achieve the energy future Americans envision?

RUTLAND, Vt. – GMP is hosting an energy talk on Tuesday, October 6, at the Energy Innovation Center in downtown Rutland. The talk is part of the GMP College Connections lecture series.

The free public event begins at 5:30 p.m. and will last approximately an hour. Light refreshments will be served.

Professor Lara Bowers of College of St. Joseph will lead a discussion examining research on Americans’ views about energy, how well those views align with current U.S. energy portfolio, and implications for the future. Bowers will help the audience navigate the complex landscape of public policy on renewable energy. She will examine a selection of laws on both the state and national level.

Lara Bowers is a professor of Biology and Genetics at the College of St. Joseph. She was awarded a PhD in Microbiology from Yale University. Other interests and passions include sustainable living and residential solar panels.

The GMP College Connections is a lecture series created as part of an agreement between GMP and all four Rutland County colleges to work together to bolster economic, educational and community development. Talks are authored and presented by faculty from each of the institutions. The presentations explore a variety of energy issues, including the science of energy, renewable power, financial concerns and the psychology of energy use. All talks are held at GMP’s Energy Innovation Center in Rutland.

In addition to College of St. Joseph, the other participating schools are Castleton University, Community College of Vermont (CCV) and Green Mountain College.

For more information on the series contact:

About Green Mountain Power

About Green Mountain Power Green Mountain Power (GMP) serves approximately 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and has a vision to be the best small company in America by partnering with Vermonters to improve lives and transform communities. GMP is focused on a new way of doing business to meet the needs of customers with integrated energy services that help people use less energy and save money, while continuing to generate clean, cost-effective and reliable power in Vermont. GMP is the first utility in the world to get a B Corp certification, meeting rigorous social, environmental, accountability and transparency standards and committing to use business as a force for good. In 2014, Vote Solar named GMP a Solar Champion. More information at: Connect with GMP on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GreenMtnPower.

Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan

Vermont Public Service Department Releases Public Review Draft of Comprehensive Energy Plan, Seeks Public Input

Five Public Hearings Scheduled Across Vermont in October

Montpelier ­– The Public Service Department today released the Public Review Draft of the 2015 Comprehensive Energy Plan. The draft reaffirms Vermont’s goal of meeting 90% of the state’s energy needs through renewable sources by 2050 and provides additional details on how to get there.

The PSD sought significant public and stakeholder input to inform the draft and has been working across state agencies – including the agencies of Natural Resources; Transportation, Agriculture, Food and Markets; Commerce and Community Development; and Human Services – to put the draft together.

The PSD will be holding a series of five public hearings around the state in October to seek reaction and comments on its draft Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan. In addition, comments are welcome in writing via the comment form at the CEP project website, until November 9, 2015.

“The 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan drove concrete actions to meet Vermont’s energy goals and advance our economy, environment, and public health,” said Commissioner of Public Service Christopher Recchia. “The updated plan builds on that success and shows paths forward to continue that progress. We welcome public review, and will incorporate comments in the final plan to be released toward the end of the year.”

Dr. Asa Hopkins, director of energy policy and planning at the Vermont Public Service Department added “We are particularly interested in hearing from the public about what we’ve gotten right, what we’ve gotten wrong, and what’s missing from the draft plan. The Department and our sister agencies will be continuing to refine the plan, and public input will definitely improve the final product.”

This draft 2015 CEP expands upon the ambitious long-term goal of obtaining 90% of the state’s total energy needs from renewable sources by mid-century. When combined with the statutory goal of 25% renewable by 2025 (10 V.S.A. § 580(a)), this draft CEP proposes the following set of goals:

  • Reduce total energy consumption per capita by 15% by 2025, and by more than one third by 2050.
  • Meet 25% of the remaining energy need from renewable sources by 2025, 40% by 2035, and 90% by 2050.
  • Three end-use sector goals for 2025: 10% renewable transportation; 30% renewable buildings; and 67% renewable electric power.

The plan emphasizes the importance of efficiency and conservation. This includes efficiencies gained by using new electric technologies (heat pumps, electric vehicles) that are substantially more efficient than previous technologies. It also includes efficiency in electric generation that comes from shifting away from wasteful power plants that send heat up smokestacks, and toward wind, solar, and hydroelectric. The focus on strategic electrification reinforces the shift toward distributed energy resources that support our grid, increase resilience, and lower infrastructure costs.

The draft CEP builds on the state’s accomplishments since the previous plan was completed in 2011. Some of those accomplishments include:

  • passage of Act 56 establishing a Renewable Energy Standard;
  • the Thermal Efficiency Task Force and two Clean Energy Finance Summits;
  • updated building energy codes and a Vermont residential building energy label;
  • pilots of new financing programs including the Heat Saver Loan;
  • signing of the multi-state Zero Emission Vehicle memorandum of understanding;
  • expansion of the Standard Offer program while lowering the cost of new contracts by more than 60%;
  • expansion of net metering to 15% of peak load and an ongoing process to design a sustainable net metering program; and
  • expansion of solar net metering and standard offer projects in the ground by 10× since 2011.

Meanwhile, electric rates in Vermont have increased only 4.2% since 2011, which is slower than overall inflation, while New England average rates rose 11.9% and U.S. average rates have increased 5.7%.

Public Hearings

Dates and locations for the hearings are:

  • Oct. 7: Lyndonville (Lyndon State College, Moore Community Room)
  • Oct. 13: Essex Junction (Essex High School, cafeteria)
  • Oct. 21: Montpelier (Vermont College of Fine Arts, Noble Hall)
  • Oct. 26: Westminster (Bellows Falls Union High School, auditorium)
  • Oct. 29: Rutland (Rutland Regional Hospital, Community Health Education Center)

The hearings will run from 6-8 pm and light refreshments will be served.

“We know that energy issues, including the economic and environmental benefits and costs, have been at the top of the news in many communities,” said Dr. Hopkins. “We look forward to the opportunity to hear from Vermonters about how your experience and vision should be reflected in the final plan.”

The hearings are hosted by the Vermont Department of Public Service, in partnership with the local regional planning commission.

For more information on the CEP, for more detailed directions to the public hearing locations, or to comment on the draft plan, visit:

October 5 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Africa’s ‘Light Bulb Moment’ and Its Lead Role in the Global Renewable Energy Transformation” Africa’s lack of access to clean, affordable energy is a scandal. The poorest households in Africa are spending the equivalent of U.S. $10 per kilowatt-hour on lighting. But Africa’s energy deficit is not only a scandal. It is an opportunity. []
Cooking at the fire in Rwanda. Photo by Oorna.M. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons

Cooking at the fire in Rwanda. Photo by Oorna.M. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons

  • An expert report submitted to the Victorian government notes that in that state, as in many others in Australia, the current levy on PV exports to the grid pays rooftop solar owners around 6 ¢/kWh, which is then resold at 20 to 30¢/kWh, leaving 15 to 25¢/kWh to be shared as a “windfall profit” by the retailer and network operator. [RenewEconomy]
  • The International Energy Agency is revising its new renewable energy forecasts. In its recent medium-term outlook assessment it now expects renewable energy will account for two-thirds of net additions to global power capacity over 2015 to 2020. It expects installation of 700 GW of renewable capacity in the next five years. [Business Spectator]
  • Ten global food companies urged both the United States and world leaders to agree to address climate change in a joint letter. The CEOs from Mars, Unilever, General Mills, Nestlé USA, Kellogg Company, Ben & Jerry’s, New Belgium Brewing, Stonyfield Farm, Clif Bar and Dannon USA all signed the letter. [The Green Optimistic]
  • This month SolarCity will start producing a solar panel with 22% efficiency. The company plans to produce the majority of the new PV panels at its 1-GW-plus manufacturing facility in Buffalo, New York, which is expected to open in 2016. Until that plant opens, the PVs will be produced in a pilot facility. [SeeNews Renewables]

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