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July 2 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Solar Impulse 2 has been in the air, nonstop, for 2 days, 20 hours, and 21 minutes at the time that I write this. André Borschberg, cofounder, CEO, and pilot, is at the controls of the first solar-powered airplane to make this historical oceanic flight, which will last at least 5 days and 5 nights nonstop. [CleanTechnica]
Photo Credit: Solar Impulse

Photo Credit: Solar Impulse

  • Researchers from the University of Cambridge have developed a coating that can be applied to turbine blades to reduce the amount of sound they make. The material, which is made of 3-D printed plastic, can reduce the noise generated by a blade up to 10 decibels without affecting aerodynamic performance. [Buildings]
  • Dong Energy’s 210-MW Westermost Rough offshore wind plant was officially inaugurated off the east coast of England. The project is the first to use Siemens 6-MW wind turbines on a large scale in a commercial project. Each turbine will have an integrated helicopter-hoisting platform at the rear of the nacelle. [reNews]
  • Germany has agreed to mothball about five of the country’s largest brown coal power plants to meet its climate goals by 2020, retaining them as a “capacity reserve” system for power shortages. The decision means Germany could meet its goal of reducing German CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 compared to 1990. [The Guardian]
  • US renewables developer SunEdison Inc says it has obtained the $360 million of financing needed for the 185-MW Bingham Wind project in Maine, and construction is under way. The wind farm will bring the company’s wind portfolio in Main to 552 MW. It will provide power for over 65,000 households. [SeeNews Renewables]

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

The very sad news of Marilyn Strong’s death

Wife of Steven Strong and VP of Solar Design Associates

Marilyn Strong of Solar Design Associates

Marilyn Strong of Solar Design Associates

by Alex Wilson

Marilyn Strong, Steven Strong’s wife, passed away Tuesday evening (June 23rd) at U Mass Memorial Medical Center from heart failure.

I first got to know Marilyn and Steven when I arrived at NESEA as executive director in 1980. The organization, then the New England Solar Energy Association, was based in Brattleboro, Vermont, but I regularly drove into Boston for meetings, and I usually stayed with Steven and Marilyn, and their young son Hunter, in Lincoln, MA, where they were living at the time.

In 1983 or 84, a group of us from NESEA, including Marilyn, rode on a 600-mile solar energy “bike-a-thon” from Harrisburg, PA to a national Passive Solar Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee, camping along the way. (This was a joint fundraiser for NESEA and the Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Association–with which NESEA later merged.) It was wonderful to get to know Marilyn in that context, and we maintained a close friendship ever since.

Much more recently, Steven and Marilyn, along with my wife and I and two other couples, searched together for the right property in Vermont to create a small cohousing community. While we ended up not finding the right spot and we all moved ahead with our own projects, that process brought us back together, and we enjoyed many stories about the early years of Steven’s and Marilyn’s involvement in solar.

Steven Strong of Solar Design Associates, husband of Marilyn.

Steven Strong of Solar Design Associates, husband of Marilyn.

The two of them ended up buying a farm in Tunbridge, Vermont, and have been working for the past three years in creating their dream retirement home. It is so sad to realize that their dream of retiring together in Vermont will not be realized.

Robert Erb, one of the earliest employees at Solar Design Associates with Steven and Marilyn, asked me to share with the NESEA community the news about Marilyn’s passing. In keeping with Marilyn’s wishes, there will be no wake or funeral, but a celebration of her life will be scheduled when the time is right. Steven told Robert that he would prefer not to be contacted for a little while, so that he and family can grieve in private.

Steven has done so much over the past 40 years, not only for the NESEA community, but for the renewable energy movement nationally and internationally. With Marilyn at his side, he has been the leading pioneer in transitioning photovoltaics “from research to reality” (the title of a 1983 NESEA conference at MIT that Steven co-chaired). I know that he will need all of our support as he struggles to come to grips with this sudden tragedy.

We will miss you, Marilyn.

Alex Wilson served as executive director of NESEA from 1980 to 1985 and then served two terms on the Board of Directors. After leaving his position at NESEA, he founded BuildingGreen, Inc., the Brattleboro-based publisher (since 1992) of Environmental Building News, the nation’s oldest and most respected publication on green building. In 2012 he launched the nonprofit Resilient Design Institute.


July 1 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • China has submitted a United Nations climate Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). The Chinese greenhouse gas emitter’s contribution means plans from the 193 UN nations now cover over half the world’s GHG emissions. China’s plan is to cut the emissions relative to its GDP by 60% by 2030. [CleanTechnica]
Yangtze River, China (cc via

Yangtze River, China (cc via

  • Samsung researchers developed a technology that enables them to coat silicon battery cathodes with high crystal graphene. They can now virtually double the capacity of lithium-ion batteries! This energy density increase could almost double the range of electric vehicles without adding a single pound of weight. [CleanTechnica]
  • A statewide ban on fracking is now official in New York State, nearly a year after communities won the right to ban oil and gas development locally. This action concluded New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s comprehensive, seven-year review and completely prohibits fracking. [Environment News Service]
  • An Oklahoma woman who was injured by an earthquake can sue oil companies for damages, the state’s highest court has ruled. This opens the door to other potential lawsuits against the state’s energy companies. Researchers have blamed fracking for a dramatic spike in earthquakes in the state. [Columbus Dispatch]
  • Texas-based community-owned utility Austin Energy has received record-low, firm solar power bids of under $40 per MWh in a recent 600-MW request for proposals. Austin Energy has a goal to source from renewables 55% of its power by 2025, and it is retiring coal-fired and gas-fired power capacity. [SeeNews Renewables]

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

June 30 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • This morning, June 29th, 2015, at 3:03 am local time in Nagoya, Japan (6:03 pm GMT on June 28th), Swiss pilot André Borschberg took off in the single-seater aircraft from Nagoya endeavoring to reach Hawaii, in what will be the longest exploration leg of the Solar Impulse’s “Round-The-World” mission. [CleanTechnica]
Photo Credit: Solar Impulse

Photo Credit: Solar Impulse.

  • Neste, the world largest producer of renewable diesel, CLP Motorsports, and X-Games and Rallycross champion Tanner Foust made history, when CLP Motorsports’ Superlite Coupe crossed the finish line in Santa Monica, California, after driving across the USA on one tank (37.6 gallons) of renewable diesel oil. [AZoCleantech]
  • Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who has recently called for the United States to be using 100% clean energy by 2050, said over the weekend in Iowa that climate change is actually a business opportunity that can spur job growth. In fact, he says it is the biggest opportunity in a hundred years. [Washington Times]
  • Electricity industry representatives and consultants were divided Monday on how much impact the US Supreme Court’s remand of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards to a lower court is likely to have on power markets and investments. The court did not vacate the standard, but sent it back to the lower court. [Platts]
  • A new, peer-reviewed article published in the scientific journal Science estimates that 30,000 km² of land have been lost due to oil and gas well pads and associated operations in North America since the year 2000. The DOE says we could get 35% of our energy by using 3,400 km² for wind farms. [Clean Energy News]

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

New York Formalizes Ban on Fracking,

Ending 7-Year Review

By MARY ESCH Associated Press,

From ABC News (link below)

New York formalized its ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing for natural gas on Monday, concluding a seven-year environmental and health review that drew a record number of public comments.

“After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative,” Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said in announcing the decision. “High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated.”

In its decision, the DEC noted that more than 260,000 public comments were submitted on its environmental impact study and proposed regulations, an unprecedented number. The agency said most of the comments urged it to severely restrict or prohibit fracking.

Read more at ABC News.

Renewable Energy Vermont Expresses Sorrow at the Passing of John Warshow

June 29, 2015

It is with a heavy heart that the Renewable Energy Vermont community learns of the passing of John Warshow.  For more than thirty years, John worked to advance renewable energy and conservation in Vermont – as a developer and owner of several hydroelectric dams, a participant in the development of wind and landfill gas projects, as a leader of the Vermont Independent Power Producers Association and a selectboard member of Marshfield.  John was one of the first anti-nuclear protestors of Vermont Yankee and was one of the leaders of the Clamshell Alliance that stopped Seabrook 2.  John’s critical thinking and logical perspective will be sorely missed.  In a past New York Times article, John was quoted as saying: ”We are committed to showing that you can develop alternative energy without wrecking the environment.  Vermont has a very high environmental consciousness. That’s the reason I live here.”  A native of Port Washington, L.I., John leaves his wife and two sons in Marshfield.


We at Green Energy Times would like to add our sorrow and condolences to John Warshow’s family and friends.

June 29 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The first prototype wave power unit in the Australian state of Victoria is ready to be installed off its south-west coast later this year, with its builders saying it could be the start of a “new era” for renewable energy. The $21-million project is expected to provide 250 kWh of renewable energy annually. [ABC Online]
Victoria's first prototype wave power unit will be deployed in November. (BioPower Systems Pty Ltd)

Victoria’s first prototype wave power unit will be deployed in November. (BioPower Systems Pty Ltd)

  • In Ethiopia, the 153-MW Adama wind farm has opened its doors, making it the largest wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa to date, reports the AFP. The 102 70-metre high Chinese-built turbines are situated in a range of rocky hills in the Ethiopian highlands 100 kilometres southeast of the capital Addis Ababa. [ESI Africa]
  • Genesis Energy Corporation, based in London, and SHP Malthe Winje, based in Norway, have signed a memorandum of understanding for Modular Mini Hydro Power that could efficiently and effectively meet Nigerian and other African energy needs quickly and with no negative environmental impact. [THISDAY Live]
  • Thirteen miles off the coast of Rhode Island, Block Island boasts 17 miles of beaches, 365 freshwater ponds, 250-foot bluffs and 150 bird species. It also has electricity costing 50¢/kWh. Now the island is about to become well known for another reason. It will host the first offshore wind farm in the United States. [GreenBiz]
  • If the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations take effect as proposed, utilities will move quickly from coal to natural gas, with renewable energy picking up in a few years. The EIA analysis forecasts a decrease of more than 600 billion kilowatt-hours in coal generation by 2025 as a result of EPA’s Clean Power Plan. [Electric Co-op Today]

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

June 28 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Solar Power Pros And Cons: Is Solar Power Worth It?” – If it were a disease, we’d have a full-blown epidemic. From $0-down leases to $0-down solar loans, there are easy ways to go solar these days. Even your grandmother can do it. But what are the actual pros and cons of solar power these days? []

  • “Activism fomented by Koch brothers turns against them” – The Koch brothers’ political machine, Freedom Partners, says it will raise and spend $889 million pushing conservative causes in the 2016 presidential election. An emerging champion against the Koch brothers is Tea Party activist Debbie Dooley. [Sydney Morning Herald]
  • Wind energy in Mexico is expected to attract annual investment of $2 billion during the next 25 years, becoming the most important sector in the country’s energy industry by 2033. Mexican power sector investments are projected to total $159 billion by 2040, and almost a third of it will be spent on wind power. [Mexico News Daily]
  • The single largest rooftop solar power plant in the world is being set up at Amritsar in Punjab to generate 7.2 MW of power, the Punjab Energy Development Agency Director said. At a meeting of the Association of Renewable Energy Agencies States, he said the plant is spread over in an area of 30 acres. [Times of India]
  • Germany’s oldest remaining nuclear reactor has been shut down, part of a move initiated four years ago to switch off all its nuclear plants by 2022. Bavaria’s environment ministry said Sunday that the Grafenrheinfeld reactor in the southern German state was taken offline as scheduled overnight. [Chicago Daily Herald]

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

June 27 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an ambitious plan to curb New York state’s carbon emissions by 40% by doubling the amount of power it gets from renewable energy to 50%, by 2030. The pollution reduction and clean energy targets would be the nation’s most ambitious, matched only by California. [Long Island Exchange]
The NRG Power Plant, upper left, in Dunkirk. Photo by Ken Winters, US Army Corps of Engineers. Public Domain.

The NRG Power Plant, upper left, on Lake Erie, in Dunkirk, New York. Photo by Ken Winters, US Army Corps of Engineers. Public Domain. 

  • A post-2020 climate-control action plan, to be submitted by China to the United Nations by the end of this month, will be a powerful driving force on energy research and innovation, according to the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency. It will see investments estimated to total $6.6 trillion. [ecns]
  • Germany’s nuclear power phase out begins its final phase with the closing of the 1.3 GW Grafenrheinfeld nuclear power plant. The plant is the first of the final nine plants scheduled for decommissioning. E.ON is closing it earlier than scheduled for economic reasons. [Nuclear Street – Nuclear Power Plant News, Jobs, and Careers]
  • A report released by Environment America considers an ongoing battle between electric companies and customers over the value of solar energy. It shows that utilities’ assertions that net metering costs them more than it is worth are false; such systems actually provide benefits exceeding their costs. [CleanTechnica]
  • A law that could significantly expand access to renewable energy generation in Hawai’i through a new community-based renewable energy program was approved by Governor David Ing on June 8, 2015. The law permits utilities and third parties to own or operate a community-based renewable energy projects. [JD Supra]

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

June 26 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Google is planning its newest data center, and not only will Google be using renewable energy to power it, but it will do it reusing a retired coal power plant. Google announced the development on its Official Blog. The data center will be reusing the soon-to-be retired Widows Creek coal power plant, in Alabama. [CleanTechnica]
The Widows Creek coal power plant, Jackson County, Alabama, will become a renewably-powered Google data center.

The Widows Creek coal power plant, Jackson County, Alabama, will become a renewably-powered Google data center.

  • Scientific models supported by the UK’s Foreign Office show that if we don’t change course, in less than three decades industrial civilization will collapse due to catastrophic food shortages, triggered by climate change, water scarcity, energy crisis, and political instability. NOTE: “…if we don’t change course, …” [CleanTechnica]
  • Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son is indicating that he wants to invest $20 billion over the next 10 years, working with Bharti Enterprises Pvt and Foxconn Technology Group, to build about 20 GW of new solar capacity in the country in India. This investment alone could build 20% of India’s 100-GW solar target. [Treehugger]
  • US senators Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), and representatives Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Mike Thompson (D-California) reintroduced their MLP Parity Act. It would allow renewable energy developers to form master limited partnerships, now only available to fossil fuel projects. [Argus Media]
  • Microgrid capacity in the United States is set to double, exceeding 2,800 MW by 2020, Greentech Media reported in the kick off to its Grid Edge Live conference. The move toward microgrids is driven partly by the declining price of battery storage and renewable power, and partly by a need for energy security. [Utility Dive]

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