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March 20 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Bay State Wind signed a letter of intent to work with NEC Energy Solutions to develop energy storage system for its 800-MW offshore wind farm. Massachusetts-based NEC Energy Solutions will develop a 55-MW/111-MWh storage system to support the proposed offshore wind farm off the coast near Martha’s Vineyard. [CleanTechnology News]
Offshore windpower

Offshore windpower

  • XEV, a company few have ever heard of, is showing off its LSEV 3D-printed electric car at the China 3D Printing Cultural Museum in Shanghai this week. It will be featured next month at the Beijing auto show, according to a China Daily report. The diminutive two-seater could be the world’s first mass-produced 3D-printed EV. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Don’t Bet On A Decline In Chinese Solar PV Production” • China’s the “One Belt One Road” initiative is promising $1.2 trillion for struggling economies worldwide. One of the goals of the program is to marginalize American world influence. The solar panels and other goods the US has subjected to a tariff are tools for the program. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Solar Surprise: Small-Scale Solar A Better Deal Than Big” • For a Public Utilities Commission eyeing the least cost solar energy, the greatest benefit will be at a scale of less than about 10 MW to 20 MW. For a city or community looking to maximize the value of the citizens’ solar investment, smaller systems are best. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Dutch government has begun to follow through on its renewable energy pledges by awarding Swedish firm Vattenfall two contracts for what will be the world’s first wind farms to be built entirely without public money. The Dutch government announced that its call for tender for zero-subsidy offshore wind bids had paid off. [EURACTIV]

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

Deadline Nears for Weatherize Upper Valley

The deadline is March 31 for residents in 11 Vermont and New Hampshire towns to sign up to participate in Weatherize Upper Valley. The Vital Communities program encourages homeowners to invest in energy efficiency projects by offering free or discounted home energy assessments and chances to win cash prizes.

Residents in Orford, Piermont, Lyme, Lebanon, Plainfield, and Cornish, New Hampshire, and Springfield, Chester, Woodstock, Pomfret, and Bridgewater, Vermont, can sign up for their energy assessment through March 31 by visiting Homeowners who sign weatherization contracts by May 31 will be entered into drawings for cash prizes up to $500 toward the cost of their energy improvements.

Weatherize Upper Valley teams up community volunteers with certified weatherization contractors to provide professional home energy assessments, proposals, and quotes. Before March 31, participants in Vermont can request free comprehensive home energy walk-throughs and New Hampshire residents can request their $100 energy audit from our Weatherize partner contractors.

“In the past six weeks more than 140 homeowners have signed up for home energy assessments with Weatherize partner contractors to explore opportunities for energy improvements,” said Sarah Brock, energy program manager at Vital Communities. “During our first round of Weatherize Upper Valley in 2017, 101 people signed contracts to invest in home energy efficiency projects. We hope to see similar results this year. The first step for homeowners is to sign up for an assessment with their community’s Weatherize contractors by visiting by March 31.”

Weatherize Upper Valley is a program of Vital Communities made possible with support from Energy Emporium, Dead River Company, Perry’s Oil Service and Patten’s Gas, the Canaday Family Foundation, the Harris and Francis Block Foundation, Lintilhac Foundation, Lyme Foundation and Jane’s Trust Foundation. Participating weatherization contractors include Building Energy, van de Ven Construction, Vermont Foam Insulation, Weatherization and Renovation of Montpelier, Farnum Insulators and Earthshare Construction in Vermont. ABC Energy Savings, Build Basic Green, Building Alternatives, Quality Insulation, Shakes to Shingles, Earthshare Construction and Yankee Thermal Imaging are participating with New Hampshire communities.

NH Energy Week Wraps Up Celebrating New Hampshire’s Municipal, Business and Legislative Energy Champions

With events in Keene, Dover, and Concord, including breakfast for 300 at the LEED Certified Grappone Center, NH Energy Week concluded last Thursday evening with an Energy Award Ceremony and Reception.

The Honorable Kelly Ayotte chaired the Award Selection Committee responsible for selecting the winner of each category from a roster of nominations submitted by the nine NH Energy Week partner organizations: The Nature Conservancy; NH Clean Tech Council; Environmental Defense Fund; Ceres; CRES Forum; New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility; CDFA; New Hampshire Brewers Association, and the New Hampshire Municipal Association.
Selection Committee members include:
·      Rich Grogan, NH Small Business Development Center
·      Maureen Smith, Orr& Reno
·      Jeff Feingold, editor of the New Hampshire Business Review
The three award categories and winners are:

 Municipal Energy Champion: City of Claremont

Business Energy Champion: Worthen Industries
Legislative Energy Champion: NH State Representative Herb Richardson (R-Lancaster)

 Each award winner was presented a trophy designed and made by Vivian Beer, a New Hampshire based furniture designer/maker and winner of the 2016 HGTV’s Ellen’s Design Challenge.

Special thanks to CRES Forum, Worthen Industries and Granite Apollo for sponsoring the award ceremony and reception. And thank you to the Premier Energy Week Sponsors Timberland, NH Saves and Coca Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England.

March 19 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Worldwide, 1.2 billion people have little or no access to electricity. A man in Grass Valley, Nevada, is on a mission to help solve the energy poverty crisis. Angelo Campus is the CEO of BoxPower Inc, a startup company that provides off-grid communities with affordable microgrid systems in shipping containers. [The Union of Grass Valley]
BoxPower unit at the Nevada County Fairgrounds

BoxPower demonstration unit at the Nevada County Fairgrounds

  • Interview: “GE Aims Coal-Killing Energy Storage Solution At Willing Customers” • The US DOE recently floated the idea of carving out a place for small coal power plants in the distributed energy landscape of the future, but it looks like the agency’s latest attempt to save coal is a day late and a dollar short. GE is pitching energy storage. [CleanTechnica]
  • Shell is taking tentative steps away from the oil and gas sector, in which it has flourished for over a century, and toward more renewables. In an effort to move towards a less carbon-intensive energy system, Shell has been investing in biofuels, carbon capture and storage technologies, as well as green energies such as wind and solar. [Power Technology]
  • Incoming South Australian Premier Steven Marshall revealed that the new Liberal government will not continue with Jay Weatherill’s plan to install batteries in thousands of low-income households. The Liberal plan will instead focus on means-tested subsidies for battery systems and inter-connectivity with New South Wales. [Gizmodo Australia]
  • Saudi Arabia’s crown prince was not holding back any punches: “Without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.” The crown prince is visiting the United States this week. Washington could refuse to support Arabian nuclear power ambitions, but Arabia could take its business elsewhere. [Stratfor Worldview]

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

March 18 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • President Trump’s nominee for deputy administrator of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, has spent much of his career working for less oversight from the agency. He is a longtime aide to Sen James Inhofe, known for his climate-denying antics on the Senate floor. After that job, Wheeler became a lobbyist for the fossil fuels industry. [89.3 KPCC]
Corsa Coal's Acosta Deep Mine in Pennsylvania, with a US flag draped over the mud (Justin Merriman | Getty Images)

Corsa Coal’s Acosta Deep Mine in Pennsylvania, with a US flag draped over the mud (Justin Merriman | Getty Images)

  • North Korea’s Foreign Minister went to Sweden, prompting speculations about a meeting between US President Trump and Mr Kim Jong-Un, leader of North Korea. Sweden is happy to help resolve tensions on the Korean peninsula arising from the North Korean construction of a nuclear reactor and pursuit of nuclear military power. [The Straits Times]
  • The conservative Liberal Party has won the election of South Australia state, ending the Australian Labor Party’s streak of 16 years in power in the state. Along with promises of tax cuts for small businesses, Marshall’s campaign promised to scaling back the Australian Labor Party approach to renewable energy which he described as reckless. [Xinhua]
  • February is traditionally the slowest selling month in China, but with electric car sales at around 34,000, there’s not much to complain about. Numbers were up 88% year over year, making this by far the best February ever. During the month, BYD stepped into first place, dethroning the Beijing brand BAIC from its leading position. [CleanTechnica]
  • In a closed-door meeting at the Heritage Foundation, EPA chief Scott Pruitt told a group of conservatives that he has plans for additional science reform at the agency, attendees said. The EPA has not formally shared details of the plan, but it is widely expected to resemble an efforts that Republican lawmakers have been pushing. [Scientific American]

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

March 17 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Chinese suppliers of solar panels may be facing epic headwinds in the year ahead, as rising production capacity is set to coincide with growing trade protectionism in the US and India and a downturn in domestic demand. Chinese solar manufacturing supplied 55% to 83% of global demand for various solar products last year. [South China Morning Post]
Solar panels in China

Solar panels in China

  • The former site of a coal mine could be producing solar power by the end of 2020. Plans were unveiled by electricity provider TransAlta for a mine shut down in 2006. Reclamation work had begun the following year to restore it to forest and pasture land. But now, TransAlta believes it’s a prime location for a new solar project. [The Olympian]
  • Some Rwandans in remote areas of the country have decided not to wait for the government to provide them with electricity. Instead, they invested in off-grid energy to change lives in their villages. One village will soon bid farewell to darkness, thanks to a hydropower project that was designed by a local entrepreneur and built by local people. [KT Press]
  • Officials from state and local governments, Alabama Power, and Walmart celebrated the launch of AL Solar A, a 79.2-MW solar energy project developed by Alabama Power to help Walmart reach its corporate renewable energy goals. The project features more than 338,662 solar panels spread across 1,100 acres just south of LaFayette. []
  • In Florida, Gulf Power customers may be surprised to learn that some of the energy they use comes from wind. At the beginning of 2016, Gulf Power became the leading purchaser of wind energy in the state. That year it provided more than 1.7 million MWh of wind-generated energy, enough to power 131,842 houses. []

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

March 16 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Massachusetts Gov Charlie Baker released a $1.4 billion bond bill that would authorize spending on climate change preparedness and environmental protection. The bill provides $300 million to respond to the impacts of climate change, including $170 million to repair dams and sea walls and help coastal communities. []
Storm at Lynn, Massachusetts

Storm at Lynn, Massachusetts (The waves are hitting a sea wall in front of the buildings.)

  • The Southern Environmental Law Center and Environmental Defense Fund are suing the EPA for failing to release information about the Heartland Institute’s efforts to attack climate science. Officials at the Heartland Institute, a promoter of climate denial, publicly stated that EPA requested their assistance in a review of climate science. [Augusta Free Press]
  • The New Hampshire Senate has passed a bill allowing larger businesses to get into net metering. The bill would increase five-fold the size of net metering systems, from 1 MW, perhaps a size for a midsize store or a town hall, to 5 MW, which might be used by facilities like those of BAE Systems or Foss Manufacturing. [New Hampshire Business Review]
  • Xcel Energy filed a stipulation with a coalition of 14 diverse groups, asking the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to approve a process that could lead to $2.5 billion in clean energy investments in rural Colorado, without bill increases. Upper portfolio estimates are 1,000 MW of wind, 700 MW of solar and 700 MW of natural gas. [Windpower Engineering]
  • According to an alert from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, Russia has hacked into many of our government entities and domestic companies in the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors. This is essentially most of what makes our country go. [Forbes]

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

Colby-Sawyer Hosts Acclaimed Filmmaker, Author and Activist John de Graaf

NEW LONDON, N.H. – Colby-Sawyer College presents a screening of “Redefining Prosperity: The Gold Rushes of Nevada City” followed by a discussion with producer John de Graaf. The free event, open to the public, will be held on Wednesday, March 21, at 7 p.m. in Clements Hall in the Curtis L. Ivey Science Center.

The newly released one-hour documentary features Nevada City citizens and the back-to-the-land movement that helped revitalize and unite the former California Gold Rush town while generating a deeper dialogue about sustainable environments. Following the film, de Graaf will answer questions and discuss the campaign “And Beauty for All,”  a national effort to restore ecosystems and revitalize communities.

Colby-Sawyer’s Director of Sustainability and Innovation Jennifer White ’90 worked with the college’s Cultural Events Committee to bring the co-founder of Take Back Your Time and The Happiness Initiative to New Hampshire.

“John’s enduring work sits at the intersection of community wellbeing, economic prosperity and environmental sustainability,” said White. “He understands how to uncover the leverage points that we can all access to promote positive change in our lives — the same foundations at the core of what drives our operations and programming at Colby-Sawyer.”

Fifteen of de Graaf’s documentaries, including the popular “Affluenza,” have been broadcast nationally on PBS. His books include the bestseller Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic, now in its third edition, and What’s the Economy For, Anyway? His work and speaking engagements involve exploration of the intersection of happiness, work-life balance, consumerism, health and sustainability. de Graaf has taught at The Evergreen State College and recently served as an adviser to the government of Bhutan as it develops its Gross National Happiness project proposal for the United Nations.

March 15 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Researchers at the University of Maryland claim to have found a way to strip away lignin and hemicellulose from wood. They say that the result, which they call “nanowood” costs less and has insulating qualities that are superior to many insulation materials commonly used in building construction today. Nanowood is also stronger. [CleanTechnica]


  • “Solar saves carbon faster and more effectively than nuclear power” • Renewable electricity, chiefly from wind and solar power, adds electricity generation and saves carbon faster than nuclear power does or ever has, according to a data-rich new study by Amory Lovins and three colleagues at Rocky Mountain Institute. [Solar Builder]
  • US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke claimed the “carbon footprint on wind [energy] is significant.” But wind power’s carbon footprint is among the smallest of any energy source. The carbon footprints of coal and natural gas are close to 90 and 40 times larger, respectively, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory says. []
  • Encore Renewable Energy has commissioned a 200-kW roof-mounted solar array at the von Trapp Brewing & Bierhall in Stowe, Vermont. The electricity generated by the array will provide a clean source of electricity for Stowe Electric Department, with all renewable energy credits associated with the array being retired. [Solar Power World]
  • After breaking a few energy storage records with its battery system projects in Australia, Tesla looks to come back to the US to build a new world’s largest Powerpack battery system in Colorado. Xcel Energy had requested bids for major renewable energy and storage projects in Colorado, and Tesla is one of the companies bidding. [Electrek]
  • Georgia Power, which announced a goal of 1.6 GW of renewable energy by 2021, is going to hit that goal with solar alone before the end of 2019. The company’s current goal for 2021 includes residential, community solar, and larger projects. Georgia Power already has 970 MW of solar capacity online and 649 MW of large scale project coming. [pv magazine USA]

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

Help stop bee-killing pesticides in Vermont — Voting soon!

Sierra ClubThe Vermont House of Representatives needs to hear from you as soon as possible to ask for key improvements to H.915. Instead of protecting our bees and butterflies from bee-killing neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides — 10,000 times more toxic than DDT — it relies upon public service announcements, compiling survey results and passive measures for neonic-free seeds. In short — it’s better than nothing, but could it be substantially improved by stopping the retail sale of neonics.

For eight years Vermont lawmakers have discussed protecting pollinators.  The legislature’s own Pollinator Protection Committee (PPC), recommends prohibiting retail outlets from selling these toxic chemicals to consumers and banning their use on ornamental (non-agricultural) plants. However since 2010, bills that would actually protect our pollinators fail to pass, such as this year’s H.688 which contained a ban on retail neonics and other PPC recommendations.
Neonics don’t just harm pollinators which come into contact with treated plants, they last for years in the soil and easily runoff into lakes and streams. In Vermont, neonics have been found in pollen in honeybee hives and already three of our bumblebee species are believed to be extinct.

Please submit your comments now and call your Representative right away, asking them to strengthen and pass H.915.

There are 630 products on store shelves in Vermont that contain these insecticides which are lethal to key pollinators. We also know that professional pesticide applicators dumped 15,000 pounds of neonics on golf courses, lawns and ornamental plants in 2016. If we truly care about our pollinators, these non-essential uses would be prohibited.
Connecticut and Maryland have already banned the consumer use of neonics. Vermont can follow that strong lead by passing legislation to help safeguard our bees, butterflies and birds from the widespread use of bee-killing pesticides.
You can also call your Representative today at (802) 828-2228 and urge them to strengthen and pass H.915 for our bees.
Thank you in advance for taking action to protect Vermont’s pollinators.
Judy Bellairs, Forest and Wildlife Committee, Vermont Chapter
Co-Chair, Pollinator Team, Sierra Club Grassroots Network