Articles in the August 15, 2014 edition of Green Energy Times have been posted and can be read online here:
August 15, 2014 Table of Contents
Science and Technology:
- Under the right scenario, exporting US coal to power plants in South Korea could lead to a 21% drop in greenhouse gas emissions compared to burning it at less energy-efficient US plants. This depends on which fuel is used to replace the coal in the US. [ScienceDaily]
- The study from the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory demonstrates a concept that provides opportunities for the successful conversion of lignin into a variety of renewable fuels, chemicals, and materials for a sustainable energy economy. [EIN News]
- India’s plans for setting up the world’s largest solar power station has been hit by political wrangling. A newly-elected local state government says the area is only to be used for salt-making. The salt lake is home to migratory birds. [Wall Street Journal]
- The European Commission now expects final power demand in 2020 to be 11% lower than it did in 2009. The commission has prepared three growth scenarios for wind power, with growth projections ranging from 41% to 85.9% by 2020. [Maritime Journal]
- World energy markets will soon enter a period of “extreme flux,” according to a new report out from Citigroup. The report paints a bleak picture for the future of the oil industry, while predicting massive growth in the renewable sector. [OilPrice.com]
- In India, 306 million people don’t have access to electricity. An Australian company is helping to address this issue via solar power. One of the products they offer is the Sunking light, which comes with a small detachable solar panel. [Energy Matters]
- The British government is currently lobbying the European Commission for a legal exemption to keep a south-Wales power station open, despite the fact its nitrogen oxide emissions exceed EU legal limits by 500%. [RT]
- A public poll conducted by ComRes quizzed all three major UK political parties over their support for various renewables. More than four out of five MPs said that they supported the deployment of renewables in order to decrease dependence on oil and gas. [Solar Power Portal]
- Researchers have developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window. It is a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and can be used on anything that has a flat, clear surface. [ScienceDaily]
- Greenhouse gas regulations recently proposed by the EPA could make it virtually impossible to build a 895-MW coal-fired facility next to an existing plant outside Holcomb, Kansas. Carbon emissions from the new unit may exceed the limits by about 50%. [hays Post]
- During July, 100% of US utility-scale power installations were renewables. So far this year, 25.8% of installations were utility scale solar, 25.1% wind, combined with biomass, geothermal and hydropower, the total is 53.8%. The rest was nearly all natural gas. [CleanTechnica]
- In many places, anti-wind activists fight wind turbines. In Iowa, the state which produces the greatest portion of its power from wind, it’s more that people are fighting to get wind turbines on their land, according to Iowa Wind Energy Association Executive Director Mike Prior. [Breaking Energy]
- In just three years, new numbers tell us, more than half of the states in the US may have rooftop solar available at the same price as the local grid’s electric rates. And that’s even without considering state and local incentives! [CleanTechnica]
Science and Technology:
- Algae Systems LLC demonstrated a process that combines wastewater with algae to produce the world’s first energy-generating wastewater treatment process, using carbon-negative technologies. This process will yield both bio-fuel and drinking water. [Your Renewable News]
- According to analysis produced by Lauri Myllyvirta and Greenpeace International in the first half of this year, China’s coal use dropped for the first time this century – while the country’s gross domestic product actually grew. [Energy Collective]
- In Australia, Queensland businesses with their own renewable resources are being hit with service charges of up to $500 a day on their electricity bills, in a move the solar industry says is designed to kill the roll-out of commercial-scale rooftop solar across the state. [CleanTechnica]
- JinkoSolar, a solar cells and photovoltaic manufacturer, has announced that is has signed an agreement with the administration of Lishui, Zhejiang province, to set up 500 MW of solar power capacity over the next five years. [CleanTechnica]
- Demand for renewable electricity and power generation capacity is growing at an unprecedented rate in the Asia Pacific region. Cumulative investment in microgrids across the region will total $30.8 billion from 2014 to 2023, according to a Navigant Research report. [PennEnergy]
- Last month, twelve major corporations announced a combined goal of buying 8.4 million MWh of renewable energy each year, and called for market changes to make these large-scale purchases possible. Demand for renewables has reached the big time. [Energy Collective]
- US Wind Inc bid a record $8.7 million to win the 1.45 GW Maryland offshore wind lease auction in the third competitive sale off the US east coast. Following a 19-round auction process, the developer claimed both the 670 MW, 32,737-acre north lease area and the 760 MW, 46,970-acre south area. [reNews]
- Plains and Eastern Clean Line LLC has obtained approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for its up to 3.5 GW transmission project that will deliver wind power from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to communities in Arkansas, Tennessee, and other states. [reNews]
- A 10-year energy strategy for New Hampshire is due to be completed. The draft report envisions that by 2025 consumers will be empowered statewide to make choices that will help lower energy bills through self-reliance. This will make the state cleaner and more sustainable. [WMUR Manchester]
Science and Technology:
- A new battery electrode that combines liquid-state sodium and cesium to significantly improve the safety, efficiency and life span of sodium-beta batteries has been developed by researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. [Chinatopix]
- The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century says the world now gets 22% of its energy from renewable sources. And renewables accounted for more than 56% of last year’s investments for additions to global power capacity, beating fossil fuels for the fourth year in a row. [reNews]
- Saudi Arabia is gearing up to generate approximately 30% of its power needs from solar power within the next 20 years. The kingdom hopes to install as much as 41 GW of PV solar energy capacity by 2032, and has enlisted the help of solar world-leader China to reach that goal. [pv magazine]
- Tony Abbott’s attacks on the renewable energy industry have effectively killed the wind energy and large-scale solar market in Australia – at least for the next few years. But it could spark another rush to solar for households and small businesses before remaining incentives are closed. [RenewEconomy]
- Clean Energy Finance Corporation says it still plans to build Australia’s largest solar power station in Alice Springs, despite similar projects losing momentum. In July, they announced a $13 million loan to triple the project’s capacity. [ABC Online]
- The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region plans to use electricity created by offshore wind farms by 2017. Huadian Heavy Industries will introduce ocean-energy technologies to build an industrial base for ocean wind power in Hebei province. [China.org.cn]
- Eco Energy World Ltd has connected five solar-energy farms totalling 70 MW to the grid in the UK in the past few weeks. The renewable energy developer’s new solar projects are located in Essex, Devon and Wiltshire. [Renewable Energy Magazine]
- A new record 22% of UK electricity was generated by wind power on August 17, according to industry body RenewableUK. The 22% meant wind outshone coal’s 13% share and nudged close to nuclear (24%) and gas (26%). [Recharge]
- A new report released by the Alberta government reveals a concerning trend with declining air quality as a result of tar sands operations. The data the report is based on are two years old, and there is no indication what the government’s management actions will be. [Energy Collective]
- Minnesota’s solar power industry is in a growth spurt that’s about to accelerate. The industry, once focused largely on installing solar photovoltaic panels for homes, businesses and government, now is seeing a surge in investment by electric utilities. [RenewablesBiz]
- Solar power, apparently, is working out just fine in Frederick County, Maryland. Vivint Solar has installed solar panels on more than 160 Frederick County homes since the company opened its Frederick office in April, and they say they have enough jobs to keep them busy for a long time. [RenewablesBiz]
- A just-released Department of Energy and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report pegs utility-scale wind power-purchase agreement pricing as averaging $25 per MWh for projects that negotiated contracts in 2013. That’s cheap power. [Greentech Media]
- The US ranks second in installed wind power capacity in the world with 61 GW of total capacity following modest growth in 2013, according to a Department of Energy report. Wind power additions stalled last year with only 1,087 MW of new capacity added. [reNews]
- Apel Steel Corporation, based in Cullman, Alabama is having a 340 kWh PV system designed to generate 470,213 kWh of AC solar power a year – meeting 98% of the firm’s energy needs in the process and all but taking the company off the state grid. [pv magazine]
- Leading investment bank Citigroup has painted an incredibly bright future for solar energy across the globe, arguing that its rapid expansion will be driven by “pure economics” and the growing need for diversity. [CleanTechnica]
- Tropikwood Industries Limited and a Korean company Gimco have formed a joint venture to launch a $35 million Biomass plant in Fiji. Renewable energy developments like the Biomass plant help towards Fiji’s electricity target of achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030. [Fiji Broadcasting Corporation]
- Australian coal and gas generators will reap $10 billion in extra profits over the next 15 years if the Abbott government pares back the renewable energy target, and the nation’s electricity bills will not fall, according to new research. [The Guardian]
- A group from Cornwall is visiting to Germany to learn about a technology that could supply 150,000 Cornish homes with renewable electricity from deep in the earth. They toured the plant and met with BESTEC GmbH to discuss the deep geothermal plants planned for Cornwall. [Cornishman]
- The big three energy retailers and other large companies are being targeted by a shame campaign from a combination of environmental advocacy groups because of their attempts to have the Renewable Energy Target reduced in Australia. [Business Spectator]
- Solar Systems Pty Ltd. suspended plans for a 100-MW plant in the Australian state of Victoria amid growing uncertainty about the government’s commitment to develop clean-energy sources. The government is considering doing away with Australia’s clean-energy targets. [Businessweek]
- The global aviation industry, led by The Boeing Company and major airlines such as American Airlines Group , has set ambitious goals to reduce its environmental footprint and increase its use of drop-in fuels such as renewable jet and renewable diesel. [NASDAQ]
- The 1,000-turbine Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind farm will have no significant impact on the human environment, according to a preliminary assessment released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The facility got a state permit just last week. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]
- The largest proposed onshore wind project in the United States does not need a recently expired federal tax credit to be commercially viable, the head of the company planning to build 1,000 turbines in Carbon County said this week. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]
- The Michigan International Speedway made a high-profile pitch for renewable energy in partnership with the utility Consumers Energy, using its Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup event as the springboard for announcing a raft of new green energy programs. [Triple Pundit]
- “EPA’s State-by-State Carbon Limits Indicate Smart Policy, Not Arbitrary Rulemaking” Since this announcement, the usual suspects have attacked the CPP, calling its proposed state-by-state reduction standards arbitrary. Their claims couldn’t be further from reality. [Energy Collective]
- Renewable electricity sources generated 38% of the electricity consumed in Spain last month. Almost 30% of the total electricity consumed last month was generated by wind energy projects, while about 4% each was generated by solar photovoltaic and concentrated solar power projects. [CleanTechnica]
- Samsung SDI, the battery-making affiliate of Samsung, said Sunday that it has agreed with China’s Sungrow Power Supply to establish a joint venture to produce energy storage systems in China. Sungrow is China’s biggest manufacturer in energy equipment. [Korea Times]
- It could soon be mandatory in Gurgaon, India to install rooftop solar panels in all new homes, housing societies and commercial buildings. A new proposal would require all new houses and office buildings in the city to include a solar system as part of the permitting process. [Times of India]
- Kuwait is embarking a number of ambitious projects to expand use of alternative energy sources to meet the growing demand for electricity and secure sustainable development. The efforts are spearheaded by Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research. [MENAFN.COM]
- A tender for the generation of 496 MW of electricity by solar power was recently issued by the Russian government. Russia’s allocation for power generation by alternative energy sources is still small, but growing. [RIA Novosti]
- The current Japanese central government considers nuclear power an important baseload power source and pins hopes on it. Nevertheless, at the local level things look very different. Many communities have begun adding renewable power to their energy supplies. [The Japan Times]
- The US Department of Agriculture’s road map details the benefits installing 11,000 new anaerobic digestion plants across the US. They could be used to produce energy or transport fuels and also have major positive effects in the fight to reduce carbon emissions. [Energy Digital]
- The EPA has now formally proposed to limit certain super-potent greenhouse gases from use in air conditioners, refrigerators, aerosols and foams in favor of safer, more climate-friendly alternatives. [Energy Collective]
- Tesla has announced what they call the “Infinite Mile Warranty.” The infinite mile warranty is for the drive units of 85 kWh Model S’s, and it isn’t just for the first owner, but for anyone a Model S might be sold to. It also applies retroactively. [CleanTechnica]
- Good solar policies in California helped triple solar energy nationwide between 2011 and 2013. Last year, solar capacity in California grew an impressive 48%, bringing total installed capacity in the state to 5661 MW. [Energy Collective]
Science and Technology:
- It is now generally recognised that rooftop solar is comparable or cheaper than grid prices in many countries over the last few years. The big question now is about the combination of solar and battery storage. Some large organizations say it could arrive in four to six years, or even sooner. [CleanTechnica]
- Sharp has launched an energy storage system aimed at large individual consumers that could “dramatically cut utility demand charges.” The SmartStorage energy solution stores a large amount of electricity stored in reserve and releases it selectively. [CleanTechnica]
- Chile has made available $796,480 to finance small-scale renewable energy projects in rural, isolated and vulnerable regions of the country. Individuals and cooperatives can apply for up to $51,000 to help finance power projects, research and development, and training workshops. [Recharge]
- Swedish wave power developer Seabased has installed 10 linear point generators at its Sotenas project off the country’s south-west coast. The company said this week that the 30 kW wave energy converters were lifted into place earlier this summer outside Smogen/Kungshamn. [reNews]
- The US IRS has finally clarified rules regarding how wind projects qualify for federal tax incentives, leading analysts to believe that the industry can finally extract itself from the uncertain log-jam it has been in since the end of 2013. [CleanTechnica]
- The best chance for ending the brutal California drought, a big El Niño, seems to be disappearing. Earlier this week NOAA said that the chance of El Niño has decreased to about 65% during fall and early winter.” And if we do see one, it’s likely to be either weak or moderate. [Energy Collective]
- The California Public Utilities Commission plans to open a new proceeding to decide how to create a process for maintaining and growing the distribution grid that takes all the distributed energy resources coming onto the grid into account. [Energy Collective]
- In Maine, the Skowhegan State Fair, which wraps up its 196th year Saturday with truck pulls and a country rock performance by the band Bad Penny, is being powered solely on wind energy this year after a donation by two wind advocacy groups. [Press Herald]
- A proposal calls for a 280-MW photovoltaic solar power facility on about 3,000 acres of the 72,000-acre Jack Ranch owned by the Hearst Corp. in the Chalome Valley near the borders of Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Fresno and Kings counties, California. [Monterey County Herald]
- Empower Energies, Inc., a leading Clean Energy Portfolio Solutions company, announced the completion and commissioning of a 3.7 MW solar array in the Town of Shirley, MA. The ground-mounted installation features 13,047 PV solar panels on 27 acres of Shirley Water District land. [Power Engineering International]
- A federal appeals court ruled that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was within its rights to require electric utilities to make regional transmission plans. The plans mandate that regional planning for new transmission infrastructure account for renewable energy integration. [The Hill]
- DVO announced the first anaerobic digester installation in California. Each day, the digester will receive 55,000 gallons of solid and liquid waste from a nearby dairy farm with approximately 2,000 head of cattle. It will reduce the farm’s greenhouse gas emissions by 90% and provide power. [Renewable Energy Focus]
- The US Energy Information Administration projects that natural gas-fired electric power generation in the contiguous US will increase to 1600 million MWh by 2040, a 1.3% average annual increase. [Energy Global]
Harlow Farm, in Westminster, Vermont, is one of the oldest organic farms in the area. It received its organic certification in 1985. Today, it is still going strong, growing the same sorts of healthy products. These are sold in the farm’s own farm stand, farmers’ markets, through the farm’s Customer Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, and through the Putney, Brattleboro, and Monadnock food cooperatives. Harlow Farm also has its dining spot, Café Loco.
Farm products include vegetables, fruits, berries, poultry, eggs, beef, lamb, and pork. Harlow Farm also has its own kitchen producing its own line of jams, pickles, salsas, pestos, and fresh baked goods. These are sold at the farm stand, farmers’ markets, and winter CSA. Also sold at the stand are frozen vegetables from the farm, along with some foods that are not locally produced, such as olive oil and spices.
The farm stand and CSA also sell products of other farms, both organic and conventional, and other food-producing organizations, such as cheese makers, orchards, and an apiary. By inviting other producers into the market, it supports local agriculture and localvore customers from area communities.
Winter may seem far off, perhaps, but it is not too soon to prepare for it. Registrations have opened for the 2014-2015 winter market. Fresh Vermont-grown greenhouse vegetables, storage vegetables, meat, eggs, and a variety of quality products from a variety of nearby producers will be available throughout the coming winter to CSA members. Somehow, the idea of locally grown greens fresh from the farm in the middle of winter is very enticing. CSA goods are delivered to many locations, and new locations can be arranged for by groups of ten or more customers.
Harlow Farm is based on a philosophy of environmental sustainability. That being the case, it is hardly surprising that the farm has had a solar array installed. It is a 60 kW ground-mounted photovoltaic array, big enough to supply power for refrigeration, greenhouses, washing, food preparation, housing, the café, and the farm stand. It was installed by Soveren Solar of Putney, Vermont.
Learn more about Harlow Farm at harlowfarm.com or 802-722-3515 (The farm stand) or 802-376-9626 (Café Loco).
More about Soveren Solar can be found at soverensolar.com or at 802-869-2500.
By-Ways & Waterways are
Pathways to the Environment
Summer is a wonderful time for water fun, if you know where to go and what to do there. There are literally hundreds of sites with various activities in New Hampshire and Vermont, far to many to print in this publication. What we can do for our readers instead is to provide a list of on-line resources for swimming, boating, and other water-related fun in New Hampshire and Vermont.
Both New Hampshire and Vermont have great parks, and many allow water activities. A list of New Hampshire’s 23 state parks, 41 state forests, one national forest, and one national wildlife refuge can be found at bit.ly/get-nh-parks. It has links to web pages on each park, giving information on what resources are there, along with location and contact information. (Please note that bitly links have to be entered exactly as given, including capitalization. We have made things as easy as we could by putting everything in lower case.)
A web resource for state parks in Vermont, with links to information on specific lakes and more links relating to different types of boating can be found at bit.ly/get-vt-parks. Special information on swimming in Vermont’s state parks can be found at bit.ly/get-vt-parks-swimming. It has links to pages on various parks, along with links to sites telling where to go for special purposes, such as places where you can bring your pet with you.
The sites on parks do not cover all lakes and rivers. Information telling the size, locations, and other information about specific lakes can be found online. A tour guide list of lakes in New Hampshire can be accessed at bit.ly/get-nh-lakes. Two resources for Vermont’s lakes, with links to pages on specific lakes, are at bit.ly/get-vt-lakes-1 and bit.ly/get-vt-lakes-2. Again, these have links to pages on the specific lakes.
Good resources for rivers in Vermont and New Hampshire are articles in Wikipedia. These have extensive list of rivers in the two states, organized in some cases by watershed. Many of the rivers and streams listed have their own separate articles in Wikipedia. Also, there are links provided to other resources at many Wikipedia articles. The article for rivers in New Hampshire can be found at bit.ly/get-nh-rivers. The article for Vermont’s rivers is at bit.ly/get-vt-rivers-1. A second resource for Vermont’s rivers is at bit.ly/get-vt-rivers-2.
We want to remind people that while fishing is a great outdoor activity in New Hampshire and Vermont, most of the water in these states has been polluted by mercury and other toxins from industrial plants and vehicles in the states and provinces to the west of us. It is very important to check the levels of pollution in the individual lakes, rivers, ponds, or streams that you want to fish in, if you intend to eat the fish. Some waters, even pristine-looking streams and ponds, are polluted so badly that the fish really should not be eaten at all. Others are safe, if the amount of fish from them is limited. Information on fishing in New Hampshire can be found at bit.ly/get-nh-fish-safety. Information of fishing in Vermont can be found at bit.ly/get-vt-fish-safety.
Hiking and swimming in a naturally beautiful setting is popular in the Northeast … plus it’s free! Photo by inbetweenblog.
Summer is here, and with temperatures rising, many Vermonters will be seeking out the sweet relief of a cooling dip at their local swimming hole. While there are many managed beaches and swimming areas throughout Vermont (including at many state parks), others will invariably look to the respite of hidden falls, quiet ponds, river shallows and potholes like the one pictured at right.
While swimming holes offer wonderful recreational opportunities, swimming at an unmanaged location comes with risks. Good decision-making, and a little bit of planning, can often avert a tragedy. Here are nine tips for everyone swimming in natural bodies of water this summer:
- Remember that water is wild: Complacency is the enemy of preparedness, and it is easy to be lulled into a sense of safety by all the good times had, and happy memories made, at your local swimming hole. Remember that water is wild, and always changing. Heavy rains, floating or lodged debris, or even extended periods of heat and drought can change currents, affect depths and alter the underwater structure of a wild body of water. ALWAYS exercise caution when swimming in natural water bodies.
- Don’t swim alone: One of the most basic safety tips is to bring someone with you. If one of you gets into trouble, there will be someone there to assist. Drowning only takes a few minutes, and emergency responders may be 15 to 20 minutes away. Swimming alone is never a good idea, but especially not in natural water bodies.
- Know the conditions: Has it rained heavily in the last several days? Swollen rivers and fast-moving currents can create dangerous conditions for days after a heavy rain. Make a habit of checking the weather. If there have been recent heavy rains, conditions may be dangerous, even if it is a clear, sunny, calm day. Be smart, and make alternative plans if there have been heavy rains or recent flooding.
- Observe your surroundings: When you arrive at the swimming hole, take a look at the currents. Listen for the sound of unusually loud rushing water. Observe the path that debris takes as it floats downstream. Swimming in natural water bodies means that you must use good judgment. Observe conditions and don’t take unnecessary chances.
- Swim sober: Drugs and alcohol can dull your senses, impair your judgment and slow response time. Safe swimming is sober swimming.
- Bring a rope: Most natural swimming holes are not equipped with safety or rescue equipment. Saving a life could be as simple as adding a long, sturdy rope to your beach bag for the day. If conditions are bad and someone is struggling, don’t get into the water with them. Instead, throw them a rope and pull them in from shore.
- Beware of slippery rocks: Many deaths at swimming holes in Vermont are caused by falls from wet, slippery rocks. Exercise extreme caution when climbing or maneuvering on wet rocks.
- Don’t swim above, or under, waterfalls: Heavy currents can wash people over falls, and undertows can trap swimmers underwater. Avoid swimming above, or directly beneath waterfalls.
- Be realistic about your own abilities: A part of responsible outdoor recreation is understanding your own limits, and not putting yourself or others in danger by taking risks recklessly. Be honest with yourself about your own strength, abilities and shortcomings. Don’t over-extend yourself, and don’t assume that rescue is always an option.
Outdoor recreation may well be the sweetest fruit of summer, but it always comes with inherent risks. “G.E.T.” outside, but be responsible, be safe, and take care of yourself and your friends and neighbors. Respect nature, use good judgment, and understand that water is wild and ever-changing. If you follow the guidelines above, you will have a better chance of avoiding tragedy and enjoying an uneventful summer of fun and great memories at your favorite swimming hole.
A Swimming Hole Safety Committee has been working with Vermont State and private partners, including the National Weather Service and the media, to provide advanced warnings when swimming conditions may be unsafe. http://healthvermont.gov/news/2014/070314_swim_safety.aspx