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May 24 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Despite burning more coal for energy than all other provinces combined, Alberta is set to ween itself off the black mineral, earning praise from a coalition of physicians. Canada has laws to close or upgrade coal plants, but its provinces have pushed through stricter, faster plans, and Alberta could be next. [Calgary Herald]
The 760-MW Sheerness coal generating station, located southeast of Hanna, Alberta. Photo by Paul Jerry from Medicine Hat, Canada. Wikimedia Commons.

The 760-MW Sheerness coal generating station, located southeast of Hanna, Alberta. Photo by Paul Jerry from Medicine Hat, Canada. Wikimedia Commons.

  • AXA, one of the largest insurance companies in the world and the largest in France, announced this week that it will sell more than $550,000,000 in coal investments by the end of 2015. It will triple its investments in renewable energy, energy infrastructure and green bond to more than $3 billion by 2020. [PlanetSave.com]
  • A new government analysis of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan shows that the proposal could further weaken an already battered coal industry. Electricity generation from the carbon-intensive fossil fuel would fall by 90 GW, more than twice the decline government analysts had predicted as recently as April. [Lexington Herald Leader]
  • The installation of charging stations for plug-in electric cars is moving ahead in New York, despite a decline in sales of the vehicles that mirrors the drop in gas prices. The sales blip bothers neither the state and federal agencies that are bankrolling the installation of this new infrastructure nor manufacturers. [Times Herald-Record]
  • Siemens Energy unveiled a new product last week at the AWEA Windpower trade show in Orlando that it will partially manufacture in Hutchinson, Kansas, starting in 2017. The SWT 2.3-120 is a modification of Siemens’ original SWT 2.3-108 wind turbine, allowing higher performance at lower wind speeds. [Hutchinson News]

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

Upper Valley Food Coop Event

Companion Planting with Karen Ganey

Saturday, May 30, at the White River Community Garden at Ratcliffe Park

Karen Ganey of Permaculture Solutions will discuss strategies for combining plants to assist each other, deter bugs, and compliment growth.

2:00 pm, at the WRCG on Latham Works Lane.

This is a FREE workshop open to the Upper Valley Community.
- Reminder about library hours -

Our library of Sustainable Living Resources will be open and available to members during   Open Hours. Tuesdays: 10am to noon; Wednesdays: 4 to 6pm; Saturdays: 2 to 4pm. Come check out our selection of books and DVDs.   

May 23 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Australians in Melbourne have been negotiating for four years with various government bodies of the state of Victoria for an entirely solar-powered tram network in Melbourne. The network would be the world’s largest, and it would make the capital city of Victoria become a world environmental leader. [CleanTechnica]
Solar powered tram. Digital visualization by Australia Solar Group.

Solar powered tram. Digital visualization by Australia Solar Group.

  • Ben van Beurden, the chief executive of Shell, has endorsed warnings that the world’s fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned unless some way is found to capture their carbon emissions. The oil boss has also predicted that the global energy system will become “zero carbon” by the end of the century. [The Guardian]
  • Over 2,000 business leaders, political leaders, and senior climate negotiators at the Business & Climate Summit pledged to lead a global transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. The question is “who will lead?” Policymakers call for business leadership, and business leaders call for well-founded policy. [CleanTechnica]
  • According to a recently released report by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, grid parity was coming much quicker than expected. It has already been met in six major cities, and in 2017 the population at parity is likely to be 71 million instead of the 51 million projected in 2012. [CleanTechnica]
  • How large are global energy subsidies? The answer: quite a lot larger than we thought, according to new estimates from the International Monetary Fund. They say subsidising fossil fuels costs an enormous $5.3 trillion a year, or around $10 million a minute. The fund says the figures are “extremely robust.” [CleanTechnica]

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

Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Kickoff

Please join Bernie as he officially kicks off his campaign for president on Tuesday, May 26th at Waterfront Park in Burlington. Bring family and friends. Enjoy Mango Jam’s music and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. We’re going to have a great time at this historic event.

Bernie Sanders’ Official Presidential Campaign Kickoff

Tuesday, May 26th at 5pm
Waterfront Park Burlington, Vermont

RSVP Now RSVP now Bernie’s hometown of Burlington and the people of Vermont mean the world to Bernie, and there’s nowhere else where he would want hold an event this important. That’s why he would love to have fellow Vermonters like you in person to show support for his presidential campaign.

RSVP to attend Bernie Sanders’ official presidential campaign kickoff in Burlington on Tuesday.

Can’t wait to see you,

Team Bernie

P.S. In the event of rain, the event will be moved to Memorial Auditorium, 250 Main St. in Burlington. We’ll see you rain or shine.

Updating Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan

Vermont Public Service Department Announces Process for 2015 Update to the Comprehensive Energy Plan

The Vermont Public Service Department today announced its process for   updating the Comprehensive Energy Plan  (CEP), which is required to be completed by the end of 2015. The Department will solicit public input through a series of meetings this summer, as well as through written comments, and produce a draft CEP by September. That draft plan will then be available for additional public review and input throughout the fall, with a final CEP to be completed by the end of the year.

“The Comprehensive Energy Plan shapes how government, utilities, and the private sector approach our state’s energy challenges,” said Commissioner of Public Service Christopher Recchia. “In turn, the CEP is shaped by the input we receive from Vermonters.  I look forward to hearing and learning from all Vermonters about both our successes and our challenges as we go forward to continue to strengthen Vermont’s energy security, our economy, the comfort of our citizenry and protection of the environment.  The CEP update is an opportunity to focus our strategies and priorities toward these goals.”

The current Comprehensive Energy Plan was completed in 2011. It established a state goal of meeting 90% of Vermont’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2050, underpinned by a strategy of virtually eliminating Vermont’s reliance on oil by mid-century through enhanced efficiency and increased use of renewable energy in heating, transportation, and electric power. Progress toward this goal will foster economic security and independence, safeguard our environment, drive in-state innovation and job creation, and increase community involvement and investment.

In the 2015 CEP update, the Department and its partner agencies intend to identify prioritized strategies to make concrete progress toward energy goals. The updated CEP will incorporate the best current knowledge regarding Vermont’s energy options and their impacts on our economy, environment, and the public health. To gather this information, the Department will host topical stakeholder meetings in Montpelier on June 24 and 30, and public meetings around the state during the month of July.

Along with the plan for public input via meetings and written comments, the Department released a set of questions on which it is especially seeking public input. These questions cover topics such as:

  • Whether to set sector-based or economy-wide renewable energy goals for 2025, in addition to the longer-term goal of 90% renewable by 2050 that was established in the 2011 CEP;
  • How Vermont energy policy should address the potential use of liquid biofuels (such as biodiesel, ethanol, and bioheat blends) for heating and transportation; and
  • How the CEP should address the potential for fostering breakout clean energy firms that can export their products and services.

The full list of questions can be downloaded at the CEP project webpage, www.energyplan.vt.gov, where up to date information will be available about the project. The Department has developed an online tool to collect answers to these and other questions, as well as general comments; it is linked from the project webpage.

May 22 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • A study by US wind energy experts suggests integrating more renewable generation into one of North America’s major power grids could boost its stability and resilience. The research was done by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and GE Energy Consulting based on a study in the western US. [reNews]
Stateline Wind Project, Eastern Oregon or Washington. Photo by Sam Beebe. Wikimedia Commons

Stateline Wind Project, Eastern Oregon or Washington. Photo by Sam Beebe. Wikimedia Commons

  • Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, could phase out the use of fossil fuels by the middle of this century, according to the kingdom’s oil minister. He said the kingdom plans to become a “global power in solar and wind energy” and could start exporting electricity instead of fossil fuels in coming years. [The Australian Financial Review]
  • Global hydroelectric power capacity could double to 2,000 GW by 2050 or sooner, according to a report released this week by the World Energy Council. The report notes that hydropower worldwide has seen a resurgence since 2005 due to better management and understanding of the hydroelectric technology. [HydroWorld]
  • Minnesota utility regulators approved lower electric rates for people who charge plug-in vehicles in their garages at night. The new rates, which take effect in about two months at Xcel Energy Inc. and two other utilities, could shave 40% or more off the already low cost of charging plug-in cars. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
  • Renewable energy development company SunEdison has received contracts to build 33 MW of DC rooftop solar with Southern California Edison in the utility’s most recent round of solar procurement. SCE will purchase the electricity from the 17 rooftop installations through 20-year power purchase agreements. [PV-Tech]

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

May 21 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Can Regions, Cities become 100% Dependent on renewable energy? Absurd? Not anymore”- Strides are being taken to move entire regions, as well as cities, to 100% renewable energy, according to speakers at the May 13-15 Renewable Cities Forum 2015 in Vancouver. Renewables are transforming policy. [Bloomberg BNA]
Vancouver downtown, winter sunset. Photo by Pmagn. Wikimedia Commons.

Vancouver downtown, winter sunset. Photo by Pmagn. Wikimedia Commons.

  • China’s thermal coal imports are expected to drop by 52 million tonnes or around a quarter in 2015, as the country takes steps to support its domestic producers and address environmental concerns. The expected fall weighs on already historically low prices and exacerbate a supply glut. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]
  • Investment bank Morgan Stanley has painted a bullish outlook for the home battery storage market in Australia, saying it could be worth $24 billion, with half of all households likely to install batteries to store the output from their solar panels. That will mean more than the doubling the number with solar. [RenewEconomy]
  • California has sealed a Memorandum of Understanding (“Under 2 MOU”) with 11 other states and provinces in the Americas and Europe to limit their greenhouse gas emissions to 80-95% by 2050 from 1990 levels. The tricontinental pledge, representing 100 million people, is without precedent and very forward-looking. [CleanTechnica]
  • In Vermont, Stowe Electric Department officials met last week with residents , hoping to assuage concerns over a solar project in their back yard. The project is up for a vote on May 28, as the town needs to get a bond to go ahead with the project. The immediate concerns of the residents may have been allayed. [Stowe Today]

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

Vermont Working to Redefine Bike Transportation Statewide

First Effort of its Kind in the Nation

vbike banner

Go! Vermont and VBike are collaborating to help propel Vermont forward in redefining bike transportation by positioning the Green Mountain State as a leader in bold approaches to bike design and technology. In addition, VSECU is helping to make these innovative bike solutions financially viable to as many Vermonters as possible.

Over the past ten years, an extraordinary bicycle transportation movement has been emerging nationwide, aiming to actively encourage livable communities, promote physical and mental health, and contend with climate change. One of the most notable signs of a significant bike boom occurring in the United States are the 38 major bike share programs that have been established since 2007, with plenty more on the way.  However, a significant piece of this bike transportation trend is being driven by recent innovations, including the latest electric-assist options and cargo bikes, which profoundly expand the range, carrying capacity (children and cargo), hill climbing ease, comfort and overall utility of biking.

Go! Vermont, the state’s alternative transportation agency, and VBike, an organization promoting cutting-edge cycling technology in Vermont, have teamed up to bring new ideas to the state’s bicycle culture. Together they revamped Go!Vermont’s biking webpage to reflect the most recent developments in bike designs and e-assist options that make negotiating Vermont’s challenging hilly terrain practical for nearly anyone, even with children on board a cargo bike! Go Vermont has also has contracted with VBike to provide free consultations with households, families, and businesses to help Vermonters choose between the right cargo bike and e-assist system that best fit their needs. And in a recent development, VSECU, a credit union for all Vermonters, has extended their innovative VGreen low-interest loan program to the purchase of bikes for transportation.  This will make the purchase of an electric-assist cargobike, which can replace a car for many local trips (school drop off, errands, commuting), a financially viable option.

Vermont Representative Mollie S. Burke, stated that “I am thrilled that Go Vermont and VBike are working together to promote a new generation of bike designs and technologies that expand the ability of Vermonters to use bicycles for every-day use. This transportation option offers a low-cost opportunity to help Vermont reduce carbon emissions from motor vehicles, one of my highest legislative priorities.”

The Go Vermont and VBike collaboration along with VSECU extending their VGreen loans to cargo bikes, e-bikes and other bike transportation options represent an unprecedented joint effort to rethink, reimagine, and reinterpret the bicycle towards a whole new era in Vermont. This may be the first effort of its kind in the nation to reconceptualize transportation biking at the state level and combine that with making the purchase of bike for transportation easier than ever before!

Contact Info:
VBike –  Dave Cohen 802-258-7013 dave@vbikesolutions.org   www.vbikesolutions.org
Go! Vermont – Ross.MacDonald@state.vt.us   www.connectingcommunter.org
VSECU – Laurie Fielder   LFielder@vsecu.com   www.vsecu.com

Resources:
Less Car More Go – Informative video about the emergence of the cargobike in the US
Families Ditch Cars for Cargo Bikes – New York Times 4/22/15

May 20 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The world’s first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which corresponds to three days use of electricity in a standard Norwegian household. The ferry is powered by lithium-ion batteries charged by hydropower. [The Maritime Executive]
Battery-powered ferry in Norway.

Battery-powered ferry in Norway.

  • German Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande jointly yesterday pledged to do their utmost to ensure an ambitious UN deal to combat climate change is reached this year. The EU’s two biggest economies also urged other countries to do their part in helping achieve a global push to cut emissions. [The Daily Star]
  • Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyzed the pre-approval of a record 34 GW of Chinese wind projects to be built over 2015-18 in an Analyst Reaction, looking at the investment involved, the developers and the geographical distribution of the approved projects. This will be windpower’s biggest year in China. [Business Spectator]
  • In Alaska, faced with climate change and high electricity costs, the 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 by wind and hydro. [Business Spectator]
  • The solar capacity in the US is forecast to grow to 40 GW by 2017, up from 20 GW in 2014, according to a new video report from the US Solar Energy Industries Association. Solar will be producing enough energy to power eight million homes by 2017, with all solar markets expected to grow 25-50% in this period. [PV-Tech]

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

May 19 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from installations covered by the EU emissions trading scheme fell by about 4.5% last year, in part, due to the impact of renewables, according to the European Wind Energy Association. It is of interest that power sector emissions fell substantially more than industrial emissions. [reNews]
European sunrise

European sunrise

  • A house in the hills above Stuttgart can theoretically generate enough energy to power itself and an electric car, with enough left over to feed back to into Germany’s national grid. The B10 house is designed to generate 200% energy, a target it hopes to hit within the next year. Almost the entire house is recyclable. [Wired.co.uk]
  • SaskPower’s 140-MW Boundary Dam coal plant has an operating carbon capture and storage system (CSS), which captures 90% of carbon dioxide it produces. It sells most of it to a nearby oilfield for “enhanced oil recovery” and buries the rest. CSS reduces power output by 17% to 18%. [The Australian Financial Review]
  • Unilever has saved 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions since 2008 in its manufacturing network. Energy consumption has been reduced by 20%, the same energy used to run 40 factories or the carbon of over 800,000 acres of forest per year. This has also resulted in significant cost savings of €244 million. [New Food]
  • The ravages of climate change could severely hurt the ability of utilities in the 11 Western states to generate power unless they “climate proof” their power grid using renewables, increased transmission capacity, and energy efficiency, something they are not prepared for, according to a new study. [Standard-Examiner]

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