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Energy Panel January 22, 2018 in Chelsea, VT

On Monday (January 22, 2018) a panel discussion on Vermont’s energy future will be happening at the Chelsea School Library (6 School Street, Chelsea) at 7:00 PM. Sponsored by some town energy committees, it is open to residents of Orange County and neighboring towns.

Representatives Bob Frenier and Rodney Graham, and Senator Mark MacDonald have confirmed they will be attending. Senator Jane Kitchel, Rep. David Ainsworth, and Rep. Chip Conquest have also been invited. 
 
We urge you to attend and make clear to these legislators (some of them will need to hear it) that you want a clean energy future and a faster transition to it and away from fossil fuels!
You can submit questions in advance for the panel by emailing Phillip Mulligan at phillipgmulligan@gmail.com.

January 22 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • There is a term for what’s going on right now in the Sierra Nevada and the mountains that feed the Colorado River. It is called a “snow drought,” and Nevada climate scientists warn that periods of below-average snowpack have become increasingly common, and more frequent snow droughts are likely as global temperatures rise. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
Not enough snow, Washoe Lake (Benjamin Hatchet, Desert Research Institute)

Not enough snow, Washoe Lake (Benjamin Hatchet, Desert Research Institute)

  • A report says New England could see rolling power blackouts within years without more stable fuel supplies. ISO-New England is an independent nonprofit that manages the six-state power grid. The group studied how fuel supply and demand might play out in those states in the hypothetical winter of 2024 to 2025. [New England Public Radio]
  • “The challenges driving microgrids into the mainstream” • Five years ago, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the potential of microgrids became quite clear when widespread disruption caused power outages in several states. Buildings with their own microgrid systems stood out like beacons against a backdrop of blackouts. [Power Engineering International]
  • Both New England and California have cut greenhouse gas emissions since launching market-based cap and trade programs. But analysts say the programs are not the primary drivers of emissions reductions. If that is true, does cap and trade work? The numbers are not all in and the experts still disagree on the programs’ effectiveness. [Utility Dive]
  • Now that oil prices have begun to rise again, Norway’s oil and gas development and output will as well, with output perhaps eclipsing the earlier high of 2004 within five years, according to a report from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. Norwegian oil and gas investment is expected to begin climbing in 2018, after 4 years of decreases. [CleanTechnica]

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

January 21 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • A team of researchers led by a University of Arizona associate professor of dendrochronology examined lines of hundreds of tree rings to reconstruct the last 290 years of climate history. They found increases in extreme summer weather events in the last 50 years, which related to increased changes in the jet stream from climate change. [Arizona Daily Star]
Pine on Mount Olympus (Photo: Greg King)

Pine on Mount Olympus (Photo: Greg King)

  • Omaha-area economic development officials are looking to get a piece of Apple’s $30 billion-plus expansion plan announced last week. Apple will build data centers, and it also plans to build a new corporate campus. Apple will power its new facilities with renewable energy, and Nebraska has a lot of wind power to offer. [Omaha World-Herald]
  • The California Public Utilities Commission approved 15 utility pilot programs to accelerate the change to electric mobility, generally supporting needs of disadvantaged communities. Historically, they been shut out of affordable high-quality transportation, and air pollution levels have been dangerous. The oil lobby is not happy. [CleanTechnica]
  • Product announcements this week from Nissan’s Infiniti luxury brand and Volkswagen’s Porsche division tap into a larger story from last year. While global automakers are watching what Tesla is up to, an announcement in July by near-luxury brand Volvo seems to have had just as much impact on new vehicle product planning. [OilPrice.com]
  • In India, as part of the Southern Railway’s initiative to save on electricity costs by producing 4 MW of solar power, rooftop solar plants will be installed at 11 stations in the Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad railway divisions. The solar installations are expected to produce electric power at half the price the system currently pays. [The New Indian Express]

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

January 20 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Climate change threatens the sugar maples in northern hardwood forests. As global temperatures rise, drought could stunt their growth, a decades-long study found. The number of sugar maple trees will decrease, diminishing the amount of maple syrup available and eliminating the stunning colors of these forests during autumn. [Newsweek]
Sugar maples, threatened (Photo: Muffet, Wikimedia Commons)

Sugar maples, threatened (Photo: Muffet, Wikimedia Commons)

  • Despite initiating a slew of regulatory rollbacks allegedly aimed at helping the struggling coal sector regain jobs, the entire sector grew by just 771 jobs during President Trump’s first year in office. Moreover, several key coal-producing states like Ohio, Kentucky, Montana, and Wyoming lost more coal jobs than they gained in the year. [ThinkProgress]
  • The government in Canada says it plans to invite expressions of interest in a renewable energy power program that could include offshore wind. The Honourable Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced C$200 million (US$161 million) of funding for innovative emerging renewable power to expand renewable energy sources. [Offshore Wind Journal]
  • Panasonic is building a smart city in Colorado. Called CityNow, the futuristic city is rising outside Denver and will be a living lab experiment for creating towns that can survive a disaster, run on clean, renewable power, and contain sustainable infrastructure that improves people’s lives, according to a report from Inhabitat. [Proud Green Building]
  • Opinion: “It’s Time for Electric Companies to Pivot” • Renewable energy is rapidly changing the electric grid, and utilities need to adapt or face still greater disruption in their industry, according to a report from the Rocky Mountain Institute. Two directions in particular appear likely to offer opportunities for growth, the report says. [IEEE Spectrum]

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

January 19 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Norway is aiming to be the first country in the world to switch to 100% electric planes for short-haul flights, the country’s airport operator Avinor has announced. The company wants all of the country’s short-haul airliners to be electric by 2040, in what is the most goal yet adopted for the embryonic electric aviation sector. [www.businessgreen.com]
Airplanes

Airplanes

  • A new ISO-NE report finds that New England’s grid is vulnerable to a season-long outage of any of several major energy facilities, such as the 688-MW Pilgrim nuclear plant, which recently went offline when a cold snap caused the loss of a power line to the plant. The most concerning trend is increased reliance on natural gas. [RTO Insider]
  • Capital Stage AG, a Hamburg-based solar and wind park operator, has announced a partnership with the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to co-invest in a Power Capital portfolio, consisting of more than 20 solar farms with a total generating capacity of 140 MW. The investment is ISIF’s first for solar park developments in Ireland. [Independent.ie]
  • UK house-holders can cut their domestic energy bills by up to 66% by turning their homes into mini-power stations, according to Japanese car giant Nissan. Excess energy collected via solar panels on sunny days and stored in a fridge-sized home-battery during off-peak times could be sold back to the national grid when demand for it is at its highest. [This is Money]
  • Wind power generation in the UK, which exceeded 10 GW for the first time on January 13, reached 13.6 GW on January 17, according to data by Drax Electric Insights. At 13.6 GW, it supplied 29% of the country’s total power between 1245 and 1315 local time, UK power producer Drax Group Plc said in a social media post. [Renewables Now]
  • In Massachusetts, the Northampton City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution showing support for the ideal of achieving 100% renewable energy reliance. It is a goal that’s been championed by a number of other Massachusetts communities; six other municipalities have already signed resolutions supporting it. [MassLive.com]

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

January 18 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Residents in 30 towns across Vermont, including Brattleboro, Dummerston, Londonderry, Marlboro, Newfane, Putney, and Weston, are petitioning to put climate change on their respective Town Meeting Day agendas and ballots. Vermont has a goal to power the state with 90% renewables by 2050, but is far from meeting this mark. [Commons]
A red-tailed hawk rests at a solar farm in Michigan. (Photo: Deb Nystrom, Wikimedia Commons)

A red-tailed hawk rests at a solar farm in Michigan. (Photo: Deb Nystrom, Wikimedia Commons)

  • As the founder and CEO of BlackRock, Laurence D Fink controls over $6 trillion in assets. On January 16, the chief executives of most of the major business corporations in the world received a letter from him telling them they have to develop a social conscience if they wish BlackRock to continue investing in their businesses. [CleanTechnica]
  • A boom in solar power could wipe out $1.4 billion a year of summertime revenue for Texas fossil-fuel generators. Almost 15 GW of solar power may be installed in the coming years, and every GW stands to reduce peak summer wholesale electricity prices by about $2.76/MWh, analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows. [BloombergQuint]
  • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is building a reactor that will make a renewable form of natural gas in a two-step process. First, supplies of cheap solar and wind-powered electricity will be used to split hydrogen from water. Then the hydrogen will be combined by microbes with carbon dioxide to make natural gas. [E&E News]
  • A clean energy group in Ohio has new data that they say can change the debate on clean energy during the 2018 campaign season. The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum is pointing to a poll that shows conservative voters are 36 percent more likely to vote for someone who supports energy efficiency and increases the use of renewables. [WOSU]

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

January 17 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “China Is the New World Leader in Renewable Energy” • China is becoming dominant in the realm of renewable energy, a report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis says. And the US decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement was an important catalyst for the growth in China’s renewable energy leadership. [Futurism]
PVs in China (Image: Wikimedia Commons | WiNG)

PVs in China (Image: Wikimedia Commons | WiNG)

  • At the Detroit auto show, Ford announced it is more than doubling its previous commitment to electric cars to $11 billion by 2022. By then, The Verge says, it will have 16 electric models in its product lineup, for a total of 40 models that are hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or fully electric. By comparison, GM says it will have 16. [CleanTechnica]
  • Scotrenewables Tidal Power SR2000 tidal current turbine delivered impressive generation throughout heavy North Atlantic storms that battered the Orkney Islands in late autumn and early winter. The turbine showed it is capable of generating through around 99% of conditions experienced at the Orkney site. [Renewable Energy Magazine]
  • An “energy revolution” is being predicted for the UK over the next decade, as farmers and landowners look to invest in energy storage technology. The renewable energy storage systems, which include both batteries and thermal storage systems, can run from very small units to technologies for power plant and grid-scale installations. [FarmingUK]
  • UK investment in wind and solar power has crashed since the Government reduced the amount of help available, new figures show. The dramatic slump, a 56% fall in a single year, sparked an accusation that the Government is failing in its environmental strategy, despite its “green veneer.” Meanwhile, much of the world powers ahead. [The Independent]

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

Master Gardener Volunteer Annual Seed Swap – Middleburgh, NY

The Schoharie and Otsego Master Gardener Volunteers will host the Annual Master Gardener Seed Swap on Saturday, January 27, 2018. Participation is free, and you do not have to donate seeds to benefit.  A selection of 2017 seeds will be available as supplies last.
The Schoharie Master Gardener Seed Swap will be held at the Middleburgh Library in Middleburgh, NY.  The Otsego Master Gardener Seed Swap will be held at the Kinney Memorial Library in Hartwick, NY.  Both will run from 10 to 11:00 a.m.
National Seed Swap Day is designated as the last Saturday in January.  The mission is to conserve and promote crop diversity in local communities through a planned event at which neighbors gather to exchange seeds and chat about plans for the upcoming season.
 
For more information on this event, visit our website at http://cceschoharie-otsego.org/gardening or email schoharie-otsego@cornell.edu.  Cooperative Extension is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities.  Accommodations for persons with special needs may be requested by contacting Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties prior to the program at 518-234-4303 or 518-296-8310.

January 16 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The latest weather reports from Alaska are alarming. In December, 2017, the average temperature in Alaska was 19.4° F according to a report from NOAA. That average is 2.1º F more than the previous high temperature record set in 1985. For the month, Alaska was 15.7º F warmer on average, compared to data going back to 1925. [CleanTechnica]
Above average temperatures in Alaska

Above average temperatures in Alaska

  • Data from both the Energy Information Administration and Rhodium Group show that solar and wind power represented 94.7% of the US net new electricity capacity (15.8 GW out of 16.7 GW) added in 2017. However, that is mainly because fossil fuel power continued to fade away, as 11.8 GW of utility-scale fossil fuel plants closed. [Engadget]
  • “Is An Oil Price Spike Inevitable?” • The oil glut is over, at least when it comes to US commercial inventories. Brent touched $70 last week, and discoveries continuing to sit at record lows, so there is a chance that $70 a barrel is only the beginning. One thing, however, is certain: The oil market is notoriously difficult to predict. [OilPrice.com]
  • “Edible insects: Do insects actually taste any good?” • Edible insects are often portrayed as something of a sustainable super-food, an environmentally friendly alternative to livestock. But who is already eating them and do they actually taste any good? (Spoiler: Hornet larvae taste like sweet mussels when cooked and seasoned properly.) [BBC]
  • A massive oil tanker that sank off the coast of China could affect marine life for decades, experts say. The 900 foot-long tanker was carrying about a million barrels of ultra-light crude oil at the time of the collision. China’s State Oceanic Administration said several oil slicks have already been found, including one covering over 22 square miles. [CNN]

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

Green Mountain Power Alerts Customers to Phone Scam

Scammers Are Targeting Businesses and Customers Demanding Immediate Payment
 
Colchester, VT – Green Mountain Power is warning customers about a bill payment phone scam that threatens customers with disconnection within the hour if they do not pay immediately.   Customers received calls claiming to be from GMP and giving the customer a fake toll-free number to call, which is answered by a recording claiming to be Green Mountain Power.
 
These calls are not from Green Mountain Power, and customers should hang up if they receive a call with such demands. If customers have any questions about their account status, they should call the authorized phone number for GMP, 888.TEL.GMPC (888.835.4672).
 
“Customers should be very wary of giving any information out over the phone unless they initiate the call,” said Kristin Carlson, vice president strategic and external affairs. “Customers should know we will never demand immediate payment through credit cards or pre-paid cards.”

 

 Customers receiving any call with these demands should follow these steps:
 
–        Do not provide payment or any other personal information;
–        Do not engage with the caller;
–        Immediately hang up;
–        Do not call back the number; and
–        Call GMP Customer Service at 888-835-4672 to report what happened and share any information you are able to provide, including name of the caller, caller’s phone number, and substance of the call.
 
Customers are encouraged to report this scam by contacting the Vermont Attorney General’s Office Consumer Assistance Program at 800.649.2424 (in-state only) or 802.656.3183 (from out of state numbers)  or by visiting www.uvm.edu/consumer. GMP encourages customers to sign up for the recently-launched Attorney General’s Office Scam Alert program by visiting this web address where subscribers may opt to receive scam and fraud alerts from the by text message, email, or phone.