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Green Energy Times January Issue

The January, 2019 issue of Green Energy Times is now available online. You can download it HERE.

Individual articles will be posted over the next few days.

January 19 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Keene, NH, Commits To 100% Renewable Energy Goal” • The city council of Keene, NH, voted 14-1 to adopt a goal of moving to 100% renewable energy, the Sierra Club has announced. Keene joins four other New Hampshire communities, Concord, Cornish, Hanover, and Plainfield, that have established the 100% renewable goal. [North American Windpower]

Fall foliage

  • “Idaho’s New Governor: ‘Climate Change Is Real’” • Idaho Gov Brad Little has broken with Republican Party leaders on climate change, declaring unequivocally that the phenomenon is real. He said, “I’m old enough that I remember feeding cows all winter long in deep snow … boy, back in the old days when I was a kid, we had winters.” [High Country News]
  • “Vermont’s Largest Solar Canopy Comes Online” • Vermont’s largest solar canopy, Encore Renewable Energy’s 156-kW solar carport in Burlington, has begun producing electricity at the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain. Built in 2003, the science and nature center was the first LEED-certified building in Vermont. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Coal Ash Is Contaminating Groundwater In At Least 22 States, Utility Reports Show” • A clear picture of coal ash contamination in the US is emerging, as utilities report serious groundwater contamination in at least 22 states. In many cases, immediate environmental action has been required, and several states are moving on this. [InsideClimate News]
  • “DC Mayor Signs Historic Climate Legislation For 100% Renewables” • DC Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the “Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act of 2018,” which the DC Council had passed unanimously in December. The District is leading on climate action by requiring a 100% renewable electricity supply by 2032. [Windpower Engineering]

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

January 18 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “UK Signals Shift From Nuclear To Renewables” • The UK’s government has signalled a big shift away from nuclear energy and towards renewables after Hitachi announced it was scrapping work on a new reactor because of the plummeting costs of offshore wind and solar power. Only one nuclear plant is still being developed in the UK. [The Week UK]

Wind turbine (Christopher Furlong | Getty Images)

  • “Reason Australian Households Are Paying An Extra $200 A Year For Electricity” • Privatisation of the electricity industry has not delivered what it promised, a report has found. A report, from the Australia Institute, says customers now pay $100 to $200 per year extra to cover the costs of things like advertising, sales, and marketing. [NEWS.com.au]
  • “Energy Dept Tackles Challenge Of Rooftop Solar & Income Inequality” • Economic justice advocates are taking note that rooftop solar power deployment in the US has a taken on a racial tinge, with significantly more penetration in predominantly white neighborhoods. The DOE is acting to take on part, though not all, of that issue. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Ford Says An Electric F-150 Is Coming” • Speaking to the press at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Ford’s president of global markets, said, “Here’s what’s going to happen next to future-proof that global juggernaut of commercial vehicles. We’re going to be electrifying the F-Series, both battery-electric and hybrid.” [CleanTechnica]
  • “AG Healey Endorses Version Of ‘Green New Deal’ – 100% ‘Renewable’ Energy” • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey committed herself to an ambitious new clean energy goal as part of a broader plan included a promise to fight gun violence and reduce barriers to mental health treatment, among other issues. [NewBostonPost]

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

BRIEF NEWS UPDATE: FERC Data Suggest New Renewable Capacity Could Be 4x Greater Than Fossil Fuels by 2021

SUN DAY CAMPAIGN

NOTWITHSTANDING A STRONG SHOWING  BY NATURAL GAS IN 2018, 

FERC REPORTS NEW RENEWABLE ENERGY CAPACITY  COULD QUADRUPLE THAT OF FOSSIL FUELS

OVER NEXT THREE YEARS

Contact:         Ken Bossong, 301-270-6477 x.6            

Washington DC – According to an analysis by the SUN DAY Campaign of the latest data released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), natural gas dominated new electrical generating capacity in 2018. However, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) may be poised to swamp fossil fuels as new generating capacity is added over the next three years.

FERC’s “Energy Infrastructure Update” report (with data through November 30, 2018) notes that new natural gas generation placed in service during the first 11 months of 2018 totaled 16,687 MW or 68.46% of the total (24,376 MW). Renewable sources accounted for only 30.12% led by wind (3,772 MW) and solar (3,449MW).*

However, the same report indicates that proposed generation and retirements by December 2021 include net capacity additions by renewable sources of 169,914 MW. That is 4.3 times greater than the net new additions listed for coal, oil, and natural gas combined (39,414 MW).

Net proposed generation additions from wind alone total 90,268 MW while those from solar are 64,066 MW — each greater than that listed for natural gas (56,881 MW). FERC lists only a single new 17-MW coal unit for the three-year period but 16,122 MW in retirements. Oil will also decline by 1,362 MW while nuclear power is depicted as remaining largely unchanged (i.e., a net increase of 69 MW).

FERC’s data also reveal that renewable sources now account for 20.8% of total available installed U.S. generating capacity.** Utility-scale solar is nearly 3% (i.e., 2.94%) while hydropower and wind account for 8.42% and 7.77% respectively.

# # # # # # # # #

* FERC only reports data for utility-scale facilities (i.e., those rated 1-MW or greater) and therefore its data does not reflect the capacity of distributed renewables, notably rooftop solar PV which accounts for approximately 30% of the nation’s installed solar capacity.

** Capacity is not the same as actual generation. Capacity factors for nuclear power and fossil fuels tend to be higher than those for most renewables. For the first ten months of 2018, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that renewables accounted for 17.6% of the nation’s total electrical generation – that is, a bit less than their share of installed generating capacity (20.8%).

Source:

FERC’s 6-page “Energy Infrastructure Update for November 2018” was released in early January 2019. In a seeming departure from its norm, FERC did not announce the release of this report on its web page and a specific release date does not appear on the report itself. However, it is assumed the report was issued within the past week. It can be found at: https://www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/2018/nov-energy-infrastructure.pdf.  For the information cited in this update, see the tables entitled “New Generation In-Service (New Build and Expansion),” “Total Available Installed Generating Capacity,” and “Proposed Generation Additions and Retirements by October 2021.”

View the Session Lineup for BuildingEnergy Boston

Register Now!

View this Year’s Conference Sessions!

You won’t want to miss the content at this year’s BuildingEnergy BostonConference + Trade Show, March 14–15 at the Westin Boston Waterfront.

This is our most diverse and envelope-pushing session lineup to date (with topics like prefabricated & offsite construction, carbon-neutral cities, and healthy building materials). View all 45 of this year’s accredited sessions here.

Thursday Session 1 (10:30am–12pm)

Thursday Session 2 (1:30pm–3pm)

Thursday Session 3 (3:30pm–5pm)

Friday Session 1 (8:30am–9:30am)

Friday Session 2 (10am–11:30am)

Friday Session 3 (1pm–2pm)

Friday Session 4 (2:30pm–3:30pm)

Register Now!

Book a Room & Offset Your Carbon Footprint!

We are partnering with TripZero to offer you the best hotel rates while helping to offset the carbon footprint created by conference travel. NESEA’s room block at the Westin expires February 20, but it may sell out sooner, so make your reservation now through our secure portal.

Book a Room

New Report on Community Solar Programs for Low- and Moderate-Income Customers

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) have released a new report, Design and Implementation of Community Solar Programs for Low- and Moderate-Income Customers.

The report reviews existing and emerging low- and moderate-income (LMI) community solar programs, discusses key questions related to program design, outlines how states can leverage incentives and finance structures to lower the cost of LMI community solar, and examines marketing and outreach considerations.
Community solar has the potential to vastly increase access to solar for low- and moderate-income communities, especially for renters, but programs need to be specifically designed with those customers in mind in order to have the maximum benefit. This report can help state program officials to design effective programs.
Read the report here.
CESA hosted a webinar with report authors Jenny Heeter and Lori Bird from NREL in August 2018 to discuss the report’s findings – watch it here.
This report was produced for CESA by NREL and was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.
This report is one of several resources prepared for CESA members participating in the State Energy Strategies project, led by CESA Project Director Diana Chace. Through this three-year effort, CESA is helping the states of Connecticut, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, and Rhode Island and the District of Columbia to develop and implement low- and moderate-income solar programs. Webinars and case studies highlighting the work the states are doing through this project will be forthcoming later this year.

Documentary Film – “Modified” will be screened in Wilton, NH

The Souhegan Sustainability Fair is hosting an intriguing and thought-provoking film – “Modified – a food lover journey into GMOs”.
 
Date: Sunday, Feb 3rd at 4:30 pm
Location: Wilton Town Hall Theatre
Q & A following with the policy chair person from NOFA-NH (New England Organic Farmers’ Association – NH) 
Admission is free
 
To see more about the event look here: www.facebook.com/events/231852631046646/
 
Hope to see you all there!

January 17 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “World’s Coffee Under Threat, Say Experts” • The first full assessment of risks to the world’s coffee plants shows that 60% of 124 known species are on the edge of extinction. Though only two species are used for the coffee we drink, scientists say the figure is “worrying”, because wild coffee is critical for sustaining the global coffee crop. [CNN]

Coffee harvest (Getty Images)

  • “New York Governor Cuomo Announces Mammoth Offshore Wind And Distributed Solar Increases” • In his annual State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to significantly upgrade the state’s renewable energy targets, including quadrupling its offshore wind target to 9 GW by 2035. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Climate Is The Biggest Risk To Business (And The World)” • Companies and investors are waking up to the dangers of climate change. Business leaders and experts surveyed by the World Economic Forum said extreme weather, migration caused by climate change, and natural disasters are the three risks they are most likely to face in 2019. [CNN]
  • “Renewables Now Most Competitive Form Of Power Generation In GCC Countries” • The most competitive forms of power generation in Gulf Cooperation Council countries (all Arab countries on the Persian Gulf except Iraq) are renewable, according to a report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency. [Windpower Engineering]
  • “EPA Nominee Calls Climate Change ‘A Huge Issue,’ But Not ‘The Greatest Crisis'” • Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator of the EPA and nominee to lead it, said he gives climate change an “eight or nine” on a one-to-ten scale of concern but thinks it is not the greatest crisis. He is still reviewing the EPA’s climate change report of two months ago. [CNN]

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

Ice Harvest Festival at Hanford Mills Museum: Winter’s Coolest Tradition

Ice Harvest Festival
February 2, 2019 10 am – 3 pm
Hanford Mills Museum
51 County Hwy 12, East Meredith, NY
607/278-5744
Take part in a traditional ice harvest, just as communities did a century ago. Festival also features ice carving, ice fishing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowman village, hot soup buffet, food trucks, blacksmithing and cooking demonstrations, and exhibits by local businesses and farmers. Kids 12 and under get in free; Adults and Teens, $9; Seniors, $7
Hanford Mills Museum in the Catskills’ East Meredith will hold the 30th anniversary Ice Harvest Festival on Saturday, February 2, 2019. Visitors can take part in a traditional ice harvest using historic tools and techniques. Each year seven to eight tons of ice are harvested.
“We call Ice Harvest the region’s coolest tradition; it’s a day of winter fun and hands-on history,” says Hanford Mills executive director Liz Callahan. “There were 75 people at the first Ice Harvest in 1989, and now we regularly welcome 1,200 or more to the Ice Harvest Festival. It’s an opportunity to embrace winter, enjoy the outdoors, and learn about the past in a unique way.”The popular winter event celebrates an activity that was essential before mechanical refrigeration. People would cut ice from frozen ponds and rivers and then store it in ice houses. In the warmer months, the ice would be used to keep food and agricultural products cold. “Ice was viewed as a winter crop by area farmers,” explains Callahan. The ice harvested at the festival will be used to make ice cream at Hanford Mills Museum’s Independence Day Celebration on July 4.

Festival features a range of activities

The SUNY Delhi Hospitality Center Ice Team will be transforming blocks of ice into works of art. The Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited will offer children the chance to ice fish. Visitors can enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh rides around the Museum site. The Hot Soup Buffet features soup and chili made by area restaurants. There will be blacksmith and historic cooking demonstrations. The Catskill Interpretive Center will have art supplies for visitors to sketch on site, and information on the new Catskill Art Club. Local vendors include Byebrook Farm Farmstead Gouda, Catharina’s Hats and Mittens, Cabana Coffee, and the Cooperstown Distillery.  Heat Smart Otsego will offer tours of the Museum’s advanced pellet boiler and district heating system and provide information on clean heating and cooling technologies.

The hot soup buffet will feature chili and soup from Alfresco’s Italian Bistro, the Autumn Café, Brooks House of BBQ, Cross Roads Café, Fiesta Mexican Grill & Cantina, the Green Earth Café, Mel’s at 22, Morey’s Family Restaurant, Oneonta Bagel Company, the Otesaga, Signatures Restaurant, Simply Thai, and the SUNY Delhi Hospitality Program. The College Association of Delhi, Inc. will make rolls, and Junkyard Bakehaus provides cookies. Sales from soup and cookies benefit the Museum’s educational programs.

See hanfordmills.org for more information and updates. If the ice is 8 or more inches deep, the public can fully participate in the ice harvest. Because snow acts as an insulator, during the weeks leading up to the Ice Harvest Festival, Museum staff members shovel the pond. “Our staff works hard to ensure a good crop of strong clear ice,” says Callahan. “With the recent single digit temperatures, it’s certainly good ice-making weather.” In recent years, the depth of the ice has ranged from 7 inches to more than 18 inches.

Admission and Information

Children 12 and under receive free admission. Admission for adults and teens is $9; senior admission is $7. Discounts available for teachers, first responders, veterans, members of the military, EBT cardholders, and AAA members. Hanford Mills Museum members receive free admission.

January 16 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “New York Gov Launches ‘Green New Deal’ with Accelerated Clean Energy Targets” • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of a “Green New Deal” initiative. Cuomo’s 2019 Justice Agenda calls for a ramp-up in renewable energy deployments as New York seeks to have 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040. [Greentech Media]

New York City

  • “One Simple – But Really Hard – Solution to Stop Climate Change” • The time to act on climate change and limit its human causes is now, as many studies have shown. A report in the journal Nature Communications maps out what it may take to get there. It is to phase out its “carbon-intensive infrastructure” at the end of its design lifetime. [CNN]
  • “US Coal Retirements in 2018 Could Be as High as 15.4 GW” • A total of 16.9 GW of US power capacity was retired in 2018, including 11.8 GW worth of coal-fired power capacity, figures from S&P Global Market Intelligence say. But data from other analyst figures suggest US coal retirements in 2018 could have been as high as 15.4 GW. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Green Energy Could Be a Casualty as PG&E Enters Bankruptcy” • Gas and electricity consumers will see no changes right away when PG&E files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the face of liability problems from two historic fires. But both consumers and environmentalists might be in for rocky rides as PG&E tries to weather the storm. [UC Berkeley]
  • “EDF Powers Up in New York” • EDF Renewables North America has commissioned the 80-MW Copenhagen Wind project in Lewis County and Jefferson County, New York. The wind farm will supply electricity to National Grid subsidiary Narragansett Electric Company. Vestas supplied the 40 turbines for the project. [reNEWS]

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

Is the shutdown an impeachable offense? Time for McConnell to call Trump’s bluff

From Carl Pope

A version of this article appeared earlier in Salon

Is the shutdown an impeachable offense? Time for McConnell to call Trump’s bluff
One of Washington’s favorite parlor games of late has been debating what constitutes an “impeachable” offense, and whether President Trump has committed one. An obvious candidate has gone unnoticed: the government shutdown itself.

Unlike previous presidents during shutdowns, Trump is not vetoing bills he objects to — an action clearly within his purview. He is promising to veto bills he does not object to because Congress has not given him an appropriation he seeks — $5.7 billion for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. He wants to shut down parts of the government — for “months or years” — until he gets his wall money.

Under the Constitution, he has no right to demand such an appropriation — much less to hold vital government functions hostage to obtain it. The president is not coequal with Congress when it comes to appropriations — the power of the purse belongs to the legislative branch, not the executive.

James Madison makes this clear in Federalist 58: “the legislative department alone has access to the pockets of the people.” Trump’s claim that he can build the wall anyway is even more flagrantly unconstitutional. Article I of the Constitution is clear that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”

Trump’s demand for an appropriation from Congress because of a security crisis on the border was anticipated by the drafters of the Constitution; they specifically refused to combine the power of the purse with the role of commander in chief. (This after all, was the specific grievance against the king of England that sparked the American Revolution itself.)

Worse, in shutting down the government to extort an appropriation he is not entitled to, Trump is violating his oath of office and breaching one of his core fiduciary duties: to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” (Emphasis added.) Obviously, a shutdown of one-third of the government for “months or even years” will make the execution of many laws utterly impossible – particularly since the Department of Justice is one of the shuttered agencies. Trump cannot assert that he must shut down the DOJ. The Democrats have passed an appropriation for that department, to which he concedes he has no objection. He is merely trying to use the shutdown as blackmail to force Congress to fund the wall (or at least however much of it can be built for $5 billion).

Taking as our source the very Federalist Society from which Trump gets his judicial appointee punch list, breach of fiduciary duty is the key standard for the “misdemeanors” the Constitution cites, along with criminal acts, as grounds for impeachment.

Nor does the alleged national security crisis on the border offer a justification – even an extraconstitutional one – for Trump’s hostage-taking. In fact, it makes his fiduciary breach even broader, given his willingness to shut down the Department of Homeland Security. The administration says the border, in its present state, is an unacceptable risk, because immigration officials have apprehended 3,000 “special interest” immigrants at that border. (Note – apprehended. The system apparently works.)

None of these people, let’s note, were terrorists. In fact no terrorist is ever known to have sought to cross the Mexican border.  On the other hand the Department of Homeland Security did apprehend 3,700 terrorist suspects at airports and other legal points of entry not on the Mexican  border. Refusing to fund the Department of Homeland Security for months or years, as the president has threatened to do, in order to stop a nonexistent threat on the border would thus greatly increase the risk of terrorists crossing into the U.S. in the way they have historically done so – that is, through other ports of entry.

So we are faced with a president who is seeking to overturn the congressional power of the purse. To achieve this unconstitutional end, he says he is ready to shut down the Justice Department — perhaps even for years. He is also willing to shut down the very agency that, since 9/11, has successfully protected the United States from terrorists entering the country – the Department of Homeland Security. This is abuse of power and fiduciary breach at its most definitive — with one important caveat.

Were the House to move articles of impeachment against Trump based on a prolonged shutdown, the president has, as of today, one powerful defense. He has not actually vetoed any bill to reopen the government, because the Senate has failed to place one before him. Since government can be funded only by legislation passed by both Houses and then signed by the president (or passed over his veto) Trump actually lacks the power to reopen the government – as long as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell persists in not allowing the Senate to vote on any bill Trump says he won’t sign.

This collusion by the Senate majority with Trump is fundamental, since the heart of Trump’s fiduciary breach lies in his usurpation of the congressional power of the purse. McConnell, the leader of one chamber of Congress, is thus far fully complicit in this effort.

So solving the shutdown – without having to impeach the president – is quite simple. Enough senators – of both parties – must compel McConnell to bring bills to reopen the government before the Senate for a vote. Then, if President Trump holds the government hostage by vetoing those bills after they pass, those who wish to impeach him will have their ironclad impeachable offense. Meanwhile Congress can override the veto and restore law enforcement and other vital federal funding.

If McConnell calls Trump’s bluff, he could not only end the shutdown but also make a prolonged impeachment crisis much less likely.

Continue reading Is the shutdown an impeachable offense? Time for McConnell to call Trump’s bluff