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April 2014 Green Energy Times Online

Read the articles:  Table of Contents

A Note From Sam Rashkin: Goodbye Challenge, Hello Zero

The DOE Challenge Home is changing its name to DOE Zero Energy Ready Home. This is a big deal! We are taking on the exhaustive process of rebranding after working so hard to establish awareness of this cutting edge new program; after developing an impressive internal infrastructure (e.g., logos, brochures, website, and extensive program documentation); and after integrating the name in external initiatives (e.g., green MLS’s, regional incentive programs, proposed tax credit language, appraisal training, etc.). Which begs the question, why change?  Some recent history is in order to answer that question. This winter, presidents and senior staff from ten leading companies, representing over 50 percent of the 8,000 homes committed to Challenge Home certification, were gathered for a day-and-a-half roundtable meeting to learn from each other and to discuss opportunities for moving forward. DOE heard one unanimous request loud and clear; ‘Zero Energy Ready’ is a much more effective name to engage consumers than ‘Challenge Home’. Collectively they said, “Please change the name!”

These partners are right and we have to change the name regardless of how painful the transition process is. DOE Zero Energy Ready Home cannot be a successful program if we don’t listen to our partners and continuously improve. And so, the process begins. Please pardon the upheaval and please be patient. Changes this significant cannot happen overnight and without bumps-and-bruises along the way. However, before you know it, September 2014 will roll around and the process will be complete. Most importantly, the outcome remains the same — all of our DOE Zero Energy Ready Home partners will be providing great homes for American homebuyers.

Continue reading A Note From Sam Rashkin: Goodbye Challenge, Hello Zero

April 22 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “People, not new power plants, are driving the clean energy future” To take full advantage of low-carbon, renewable energy sources, we need a flexible power grid to harness clean energy when it is available. That’s where people-driven demand response comes in. [Environmental Defense Fund]

Science and Technology:

  • HELMETH EU is an power-to-gas process that can be more than 85% efficient. First, power from solar or wind turns water into oxygen and hydrogen. Then, hydrogen reacts with carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide to methane, the main constituent of natural gas. [Nanowerk]

World:

  • Greenpeace has published a short report on recent trends in Chinese coal consumption, titled “The End of China’s Coal Boom.” The report shows plans of multiple provinces in China to reduce the use of coal. Beijing stands out with a reduction of 50% over the next couple of years. [CleanTechnica]
  • Feldheim is a small, rural town about 40 miles south of Berlin. Historically, the population has only been approximately 150 although it has “exploded” to over 2,000 people due to its recent success as a perfect example of community resiliency. [Resilience]
  • An experimental small-scale concentrating solar thermal demonstration plant at Newcastle’s Wallsend Pool plant will generate 30 kW of electricity and 150 kW of heat for the public swimming pool – enough to keep it heated, and thus open, all year round. [RenewEconomy]
  • Nottingham clean-technology group Chinook Sciences has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation, the UK’s highest accolade for business success, for its ground-breaking work on recovering recyclable metal and generating renewable energy from waste. [Nottingham Post]
  • A First Nations community, dependent on a big oil business, is asking that company to pay for a solar system to provide them with clean energy. With fossil fuel dependence, has come pollution, inability to hunt or fish on polluted lands, and sickness. [ThinkProgress]

US:

  • Something rare and extraordinarily positive occurred on American television. Fortunately, through YouTube and 350.org, the rest of the world got to see it too.  A new cable TV series, “Years of Living Dangerously,” is about climate change in the 21st century. [CleanTechnica]
  • The US DOE released its comprehensive, Strategic Plan 2014. The Plan provides a roadmap for the DOE’s work over the next four years and highlights its major priorities. The Plan promises to halve the county’s net oil imports by 2020.[CleanTechnica]
  • Climate change is real and a real problem for the world, Apple said on Monday, announcing its progress on environment targets ahead of Earth day. Apple says that 94% of its corporate facilities and 100% of its data centres are now powered by renewable energy. [The Guardian]
  • The DOD will break ground Friday on a solar power plant at Fort Huachuca that will be the largest installation on a US military base, demonstrating the military’s increasing reliance on alternative energy. The 18-MW plant will be owned by Tucson Electric Power. [azcentral.com]
  • US nonhydro renewable production in the US increased to account for 6.2% of total electrical supply in 2013, up from 5.4% in 2012, with 11 states producing nonhydro renewable energy at more than twice the national average, according to the EIA. [PennEnergy]
  • US Geothermal Inc, a geothermal energy company with offices in Boise, Idaho, has announced plans to acquire a late stage development at the Geysers that has shown promise for enough steam production to power up to 26,000 homes.[North Bay Business Journal]

RE News

RE NewsGreetings REV!

Hello REV!

As spring begins to join us here in Vermont, REV remains highly active at the State House (they all finish up on May 9), in the Partnership Program, the Public Service Board (PSB), the Vermont System Planning Committee (VSPC) and more – on your behalf.  Scroll on down for specifics, and as always, feel free to pick up the phone and call REV, or send an e-mail if you have specific questions that we may be able to assist you with.  We look forward to making our way throughout the State over the next few months to meet with members in your own backyards to hear how business is going, what’s working, and what’s not – so expect to hear from us soon about these local Membership meetings – and please do plan on joining!

Thanks for all you do,

Gabrielle and the REV team

Read more at the website: RE News

Renewable Energy Vermont Announces Position on Vermont as a “Green Energy Corridor”

In response to several proposals to transmit energy from Vermont’s north and west to markets in southern New England, the REV board of directors today announced its support of a “Green Energy Corridor.”

While REV has not endorsed any specific proposal, the trade association favors projects that:

  • Transmit renewable energy only.
  • Provide a public good to Vermonters through support of our in-state clean energy development programs and infrastructure.
  • Prioritize delivery of energy to southern New England to provide Vermont’s in-state renewable industry opportunity for continued growth.

“Vermont has a long history of serving as a commercial conduit between our neighbors, and REV supports the evolution of that relationship to include renewable energy,” said board chair Thomas Hughes.  “Done right, these projects could help Vermont and the region reach our clean energy targets.”

REV strongly supports Vermont’s goal of supplying 90% of the state’s total energy needs in 2050 with renewable energy.

“Through the combination of conservation, efficiency and local renewables Vermont can achieve our goals,” said executive director Gabrielle Stebbins.  “It will be more difficult for our neighbors to do the same with their larger populations and greater energy demands.  That’s why it makes sense for Vermont to help by serving as a Green Energy Corridor between renewable energy supplies and demand.”

The full position paper can be accessed at: www.revermont.org

 

Climanomics: The Good, the Bad and the Opportunities

Join us at Lakes Region Community College on Wednesday, April 30 for the expert climate change panel: Climanomics: The Good, the Bad and the Opportunities.  The flyer for this free event is displayed below, or click here for more information.

Reminder also to check out LRCC’s spring and summer energy classes 

Register for energy classes this spring and summer at Lakes Region Community College:

  • Building Analyst, plus Fast-Track Review and BPI testing, starting May 14
  • Renewable Energy Sources, starting May 21
  • Introduction to Photovoltaics, plus NABCEP exam, starting May 22
  • Building Operator Certification, starting August 22

Click here for LRCC’s Energy Calendar and registration information.

Andy Duncan, Energy Services and Technology, direct tel. 603-366-5329
Lakes Region Community College,  www.lrcc.edu/energy  tel. 603-524-3207  

 

April 21 Green Energy News

World:

  • Chinese Premier Li Keqiang reiterated plans to boost construction of solar and wind power plants along with projects to transmit electricity from the clean sources. The nation will also start construction of some key nuclear power projects in eastern coastal areas. [Bloomberg]
  • The local unit of Belgium-based Enfinity Group is set to proceed with the development of its first solar power project in the Philippines this June. The company has secured confirmation of commerciality for its planned 10-MW power project in Davao del Sur. [BusinessWorld Online Edition]
  • Some candidates for office in the rural hinterlands of Indian states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are trying to woo voters with solar lights, which are in great demand, while the EC deployed them to conduct polls in Maoist-hit and remote areas. [Hindustan Times]
  • Agriculture wasn’t specifically named last week when Ontario announced the last of its coal-fired power plants was being closed down. But the province said it was replacing coal generation with a mix of emission-free electricity sources. And farmers like that. [Guelph Mercury]

 

US:

  • Last year got off to a shaky start for the U.S. wind energy industry, but new project construction and installed generation capacity took off following belated Congressional extension of the federal renewable energy production tax credit. This year we have deja-vu. [Triple Pundit]
  • There aren’t too many things former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and current DFL Gov. Mark Dayton agree on, but one of them is the need to protect Minnesota from emissions from coal-fired power plants in North Dakota. [WDAZ]
  • Within three years, some Chicago area residents could be saving money on their electric bills, thanks to power generated 500 miles away. The $2 billion Rock Island Clean Line would take 3,500 MW of power created by thousands of wind turbines in Iowa and deliver it to Illinois. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • Around 1 billion people live in areas at risk of sea-level rise and coastal flooding. The US East Coast has a rate of sea level rise three or four times faster than the global average, with cities, beaches and wetlands exposed to flooding, according to the new IPCC report. [Climate Central]
  • Consolidated Edison Inc. emitted 3.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases last year. Just about everyone agrees this isn’t sustainable. Even Con Ed’s new chief executive, John McAvoy. [Crain's New York Business]

CEDF RFP for Food Waste Digestion Pilot Project

The Vermont Public Service Department and the Clean Energy Development Fund are seeking proposals for a pilot project(s) to demonstrate the anaerobic digestion of food waste. The CEDF is offering grant funds of up to $150,000 through a request for proposals (RFP) for a food waste digestion pilot project . The RFP, and its attachments, may also be found on the CEDF web page:

The Public Service Department and the Clean Energy Development Fund seek proposals for a pilot project(s) to demonstrate the anaerobic digestion of food waste. Proposed projects should promote the development and deployment of cost-effective, anaerobic digestion of food waste for the long-term benefit of Vermont farms and Vermont energy consumers.

Questions on this RFP must be made in writing and are due by 4 p.m. April 30, 2014. Responses to questions will be posted to the CEDF web page alongside the RFP.

Proposals are due by 4:00 P.M. on May 19, 2014

Please do not hesitate to forward this REP onto other interested parties.

____________

Andrew Perchlik
Vermont Public Service Department
Clean Energy Development Fund
802-828-4017

April 20 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “Onsite Generation: Can Utilities Rethink Their Business Proposition?” Can utilities adapt to emerging innovations that allow customers to “bypass” their services? Or, will power companies become the modern-day dinosaur? [Forbes]

World:

  • The South Korean Finance Ministry says it plans to recommend easing unnecessary rules to fuel innovation and investment in technologies that can allow growth in such areas as wind, solar and geothermal power generation. [GlobalPost]
  • The Asian Development Bank has agreed to provide technical assistance to Pakistan to develop greenhouse gases reduction technologies to mitigate the effects of climate change as part of implementing the national policy on climate change. [DAWN.com]
  • Turkish Officials are examining plans to build the country’s first ecological city, with buildings heated by burning biogas produced from pistachio shells. The pistachio-heated city would encompass 3,200 hectares, and house 200,000 people. [South China Morning Post]
  • A UK Government inspector ordered Wiltshire Council to delete its wind farms policy from the Core Strategy. The council had planned to impose a minimum distance between housing and new wind developments, essentially preventing any from being built in the county. [The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald]

US:

  • Natural variability alone cannot explain the extreme weather pattern that has driven both the record-setting California drought and the cooler weather seen in the Midwest and East this winter, a major new study finds. [Energy Collective]
  • A report issued by ClimateCentral, an organization which studies changing weather trends, and tries to understand and explain their causes, says an increase in severe weather has led to a doubling of major power outages across the country in the past decade. [Energy Collective]
  • The US DOE has proposed a minimum energy efficiency standards for linear fluorescent light bulbs, the tube lamps that are located in virtually every office, hospital, school and airport in the country. [Energy Collective]
  • The Koch brothers, Grover Norquist and some of the nation’s largest power companies have backed efforts in recent months to roll back state policies that favor green energy. Campaigns have struck Kansas, North Carolina and Arizona and are starting elsewhere. [Los Angeles Times]
  • More than 70% of Ohioans support the state’s renewable-energy requirements, according to a poll paid for by a clean-energy business group. The poll results were released this week as the Ohio Senate is considering a proposal that would rewrite the requirements. [Norwalk Reflector]
  • The California Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comment on the proposed Tylerhorse Wind Project, a 60-MW facility planned for 1,200 acres in Kern Country. Since 2009, the BLM has approved nearly 14,000 MW of renewable energy capacity. [Sierra Sun Times]

April 19 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “An In-Depth Look at the Future of American Energy and How We Get There” The U.S. is poised to spend around $2 trillion over the next two decades replacing our outdated electric infrastructure. We must make sure that investment is in clean energy. [Environmental Defense Fund]

Science and Technology:

  • Sandpoint, Idaho is on track to be the first to replace a traditional road surface with super-strong, textured glass panels that harness solar power. Locally developed 1-inch-thick panels will melt snow and ice, power LED lights embedded in the roadway and generate electricity. [The Spokesman Review]

World:

  • Analysts at French-based energy components company Schneider Electric have concluded that extending or expanding Australia’s renewable energy target would lead to lower electricity prices, lower carbon emissions and increased competition. [CleanTechnica]
  • Sharp Corp. said it will build a large 2.2-MW solar power plant in a town within an evacuation advisory area around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Sharp plans to begin construction in December, with operations to start the following June. [The Japan Times]

US:

  • According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office (FERC), 92.1% of new electricity generation capacity in the US in January through March of 2014 came from renewable energy sources. [Treehugger]
  • Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar. However, that four-minute mark is not good enough for the Obama Administration, which just used the Solar Summit to launch a set of initiatives to ramp up the pace of development even faster. [CleanTechnica]
  • A federal judge ruled Friday that part of a Minnesota law designed to promote the use of renewable energy is unconstitutional because it attempts to control business that takes place outside state borders — and she barred Minnesota officials from enforcing it. [Bismarck Tribune]
  • The Energy Department announced $15 million to help communities develop multi-year solar plans to install affordable solar electricity for homes and businesses. The funding will help with the SunShot Initiative goal to make solar energy fully cost-competitive. [Today's Energy Solutions]
  • Four new wind farms are poised for development in Utah after Rocky Mountain Power inked agreements with the companies to buy the power over 20 years. The farms, once in action, will have the capacity to produce 300 MW, enough to power 93,600 homes. [Deseret News]
  • According to a new analysis by SNL Financial, more than half of all new energy generation infrastructure planned for the next few years is renewable energy, with renewable power plants replacing retiring coal. [Smithsonian]

April 18 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “An onshore wind cap makes no sense” The UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, says Liberal Democrats in the UK Government will not accept a cap on onshore wind. The Coalition Government is not changing tack on onshore wind or renewables. [Liberal Democrat Voice]

Business and Economics:

  • Tackling climate change is the only way to grow the economy in the 21st century, according to Unilever CEO Paul Polman. He says businesses are starting to understand climate risks, but governments are failing to respond. [RTCC.org]

World:

  • Ukraine is seeking U.S. investment in its biomass, wind and solar power industries. The idea is to use renewable energy to curb its reliance on fuel imports from Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region last month and has troops massed on the border. [Bloomberg]
  • Residents living near the UK’s Delabole wind farm have received a £50 ‘windfall’ payment after the turbines at the site performed better than expected. In 2013, 15% of the UK’s energy needs were met through renewables with wind power accounting for 50% of this. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]
  • E.ON and Unipart have embarked on a UK biomass heating project. The arrangement calls for E.ON to install, operate and maintain a new 995 kW biomass boiler at Unipart’s head offices in Oxford. [Renewable Energy Focus]
  • British Airways has announced plans to power its flights using sustainable jet fuel made from landfill waste — a move it says will be equal to taking 150,000 cars off the road. The company says it’s committed to buying 50,000 tonnes of the sustainable jet fuel per year. [The Malay Mail Online]
  • For the first time, small renewable energy generators in Ireland will be able to sell electricity on the Single Electricity Market, the wholesale electricity market across the whole island of Ireland. All sizes of turbines are welcome.[Siliconrepublic.com]
  • Greenpeace has just put out an optimistic new report suggesting that China’s decade-long coal boom might soon come to a close, due to slowing economic growth and new crackdowns on air pollution. Citigroup and others have been making similar predictions of late. [Vox]

US:

  • More than two years after closing the last such loan guarantee, the US DOE announced on Wednesday that it intends to make up to $4 billion available “for innovative US renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases.” [National Geographic]
  • Raleigh, North Carolina ranks 15th in the country for solar projects installed between 25 and 50 watts per person, per capita, according to a new study released on Thursday by the Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center.[Triangle Business Journal]
  • The White House honored 10 local heroes as “Champions of Change” for their efforts to promote and expand solar deployment in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. One was Henry Red Cloud, founder of Lakota Solar Enterprises. [Indian Country Today Media Network]
  • Colleges across America are trying their hand at saving the planet. And if the Princeton Review’s annual listing of the country’s greenest schools is any indication, there are a handful that probably have really low utility bills.[NEWS.GNOM.ES]
  • A small county in Northern California has become the first county government in the state to become grid energy positive. Yolo County (population 200,000), just west of Sacramento County, now produces 152 percent more energy from solar panels than it uses. [Christian Science Monitor]
  • Over the past months, there has been a bit of a selling spree of Entergy stock. But this sell-off isn’t coming from just anybody: these sales are by corporate top executives. Between December and early April, five Entergy execs sold off large portions of their Entergy stock. [GreenWorld]