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February 8 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Wind power provided almost half of Scotland’s entire energy needs last month, According to WWF Scotland. January had 22 days when the wind generated sufficient power for every home in the country. Wind turbines supplied a total of 1,125,544 MWh to the national grid. [Scotsman]
Whitelee windfarm in Eaglesham is the UK’s largest onshore windfarm. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

Whitelee windfarm in Eaglesham is the UK’s largest onshore windfarm. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

  • The combination of hydropower, wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy will generate more electricity than coal by 2030, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Of the renewables the agency predicts will grow, wind power is the largest segment. [Wheeling Intelligencer]
  • With two reports commissioned by the Repower Our Schools Coalition, the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center says Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools & Durham Public Schools would save millions of dollars with solar power, while improving basic education for students. [CleanTechnica]
  • Tapping into Canadian hydropower is hardly a new concept in energy-starved New England. But Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s proposal to authorize long-term contracts between utilities and hydropower producers is being viewed in some quarters as a potential game-changer. [Valley News]
  • An upstate New York town that repeatedly found itself without power for days during a string of storms is planning the dramatic step by pulling its municipal buildings entirely off the electric grid. Nassau will rely on solar, wind, landfill gas and battery storage to power a microgrid by 2020. [Press Herald]

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

February 7 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The ice cover across the Arctic hit a new low throughout January. The Colorado-based National Snow and Ice Data Center tracked the lowest ice extent ever for January. The record-low ice extent was driven by unusually high air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean – more than 6° C (10.8° F) above average. [Nunatsiaq News]
September Arctic sea extent compared to 1981-2000 average portrayed by yellow line (NASA)

2015 September Arctic sea extent compared to 1981-2000 average portrayed by yellow line (NASA)

  • Does shrinking ice in the Arctic lead to worse snow storms along the East Coast? It’s very possible says leading Arctic researcher Judah Cohen. In Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston, at least five of the top 10 snow storms on record have occurred since 1990. [Washington Post]
  • Croatia is unlikely to go ahead with plans to build a new coal-fired thermal plant in the northern Adriatic. The environment minister said, “We need a new energy strategy in line with the European Union plans on boosting renewable energy and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Such plants don’t fit in.” [Reuters]
  • The US now has nearly 503 million barrels of commercial crude oil stockpiled, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. It’s the highest level of supply for this time of the year in at least 80 years. Certain key storage locations are now “bumping up against storage and logistical constraints.” [CNN]
  • Illinois state regulators allow Peabody Energy to pledge it has adequate assets to pay for the estimated $92 million needed to reclaim three southern Illinois mines when they close. The Environmental Law and Policy Center says that arrangement puts Illinois taxpayers at risk should Peabody go bankrupt. [Peoria Public Radio]

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

February 6 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • US utility Georgia Power plans to add 525 MW of renewable generation by 2019. The proposal includes up to 425 MW of utility-scale solar, wind and biomass, according to the utility’s integrated resource plan filed with state regulators. The strategy also includes a carve-out for distributed solar resources. [reNews]
Linemen at work. Georgia Power image.

Linemen at work. Georgia Power image.

  • Global energy efficiency investment will reach $5.8 trillion by the year 2030, according to a report from the International Renewable Energy Authority. By 2030, yearly energy efficiency investment will total around $385 billion, the report says. The focus will be buildings, manufacturing, and transportation. [Sustainnovate]
  • A study from Oklahoma State University found that wind projects in the western part of the state are bringing revenues of hundreds of millions of dollars into local county coffers and school districts, while increasing the state’s energy independence. Some counties with small populations have had impressive windfalls. [Sustainnovate]
  • About 579 kW of low-income solar projects have been announced by the Colorado Energy Office and GRID Alternatives. Five projects will be built to help provide electricity to those most in need – people who spend more than 4% of their income on utility bills in rural areas, who could save about 50% on their energy bills. [CleanTechnica]
  • ISO New England’s chief operating officer reported that total capacity is projected to decrease by 396 MW in 2016, but then increase by almost 9.8 GW in the following three years. About 4.1 GW of that total is wind and other renewables. ISO New England’s peak load in January was 19,412 MW. [Platts]

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

February 5 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • In a stunning trend with broad implications, the economy has grown significantly since 2007, while electricity consumption has been flat, and total energy demand dropped. The economy has grown 10% since 2007, while primary energy consumption has fallen by 2.4%, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [ThinkProgress]
Credit BNEF

Our economy is growing; our energy consumption is not.
We can have a healthy economy and consume less at the same time. Credit BNEF

  • Opinion: Has the U.S. Really Reached an Epic Turning Point in Energy? • The amount of electricity from coal-fired power plants hit a record low while that from natural gas generators hit a record high. Renewable energy added the most new power in 2015, and annual carbon emissions reached a 20-year low. [National Geographic]
  • Opinion: Sharing Clean Energy With Our Neighbors Is Saving Us Millions • One key challenge for grid operators is upgrading so we don’t have to throw away clean energy. Production of clean renewable energy sometimes gets shut down because the grid cannot absorb all the clean energy we produce. [Natural Resources Defense Council]
  • County prosecutors filed a criminal misdemeanor charge against Southern California Gas Co. According to the District Attorney’s Office, SoCalGas is being charged because they allegedly failed to report the leak at Porter Ranch immediately. Meanwhile, the company now also faces a wrongful death lawsuit. [Lawyer Herald]
  • According to data just released in the 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook – a project of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, produced for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy – the shift to renewables may be happening a lot faster than the EPA thought that it would less than a year ago. [HeraldNet]

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

 

Report from Efficiency Vermont’s Better Buildings by Design Conference

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Burlington, Vermont – Day 1 • Feb. 3, 2016

Reporting on the Keynote address and three workshops, Jim Stiles was there, to represent Green Energy Times:

The keynote was good (hey, Bill McKibben is dynamite). I think the only news was that he was not thrilled with Paris. He pointed out: 

  • We already have 1C of global warming
  • In 2015, we had .1C of warming
  • At that rate, we exceed the max of 1.5C of warming (9 years to 2C, but since carbon emissions are still increasing…)
  • If we meet the emission goals from Paris, we will see 3.5C of warming
  • He thinks that there is a plausible argument that the 1 million refugees from Syria should be considered climate refugees (the political meltdown was preceded by a horrendous drought, which certainly contributed to a terrible economy, which contributed political mayhem. Welcome to what could well be a common pattern for what should likely be considered climate refugees

I really liked how Bill talked about how we all have our regular job but we also have our other job – which is all about being good citizens, and how one big piece of that is fixing climate change. He also suggested that the actual radicals out there these days tend to work at oil companies (for example Exxon, where they still systematically mislead, distort, etc), and the actual conservatives are people like us who are (dare I say it) into conservation and protecting a way of life that is fast disappearing.

Reporting on three workshops that were held on the first day of the event, Stiles said that he went to three talks:

1. Best Practice Designs for Cost Effective Approaches to Net Zero Energy Commercial Building Enclosures:

Presenter: Steve Easley, Steve Easley & Associates

This interactive session is designed to sort through the myriad of insulation choices in order to choose the best insulation system for various types of structure. It will focus on the performance characteristics of new building enclosure approaches and technologies to help you create enclosures that manage thermal and moisture loads to ensure building durability as well as energy efficiency. The presenter will use real-world examples to help you select the best insulation and air barrier system for a given application and write better specifications regarding fenestration, insulation, and air barriers.

Stiles comment:“The guy knew his stuff, and talked mostly about how to avoid moisture/water related problems with insulation which is important…

2. Balancing Resiliency Resilient River Apartment:

Presenter: Joseph Cincotta, LineSync Architecture

The resilient design movement is gaining momentum, but much is still open for discussion and experimentation. How do you weigh up-front cost against creating buildings that can withstand natural disasters? What are the overlaps and contradictions between resilient and sustainable design practices? How can rugged materials be utilized to create humane and beautiful spaces? This 90 minute session will explore resiliency through a case study of our award-winning project. The workshop will begin with a presentation of the ‘Resilient River Apartment , which was rehabilitated after being ravaged by flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene. The presentation will be followed by a discussion on how lessons learned can be applied to other projects.

Stiles comment: Basically the presenter, who is from Wilmington, Vermont, one of the many places that were devastated by hurricane, Irene. He did some innovative stuff to facilitate recovery after a building is flooded. Not bad stuff, but I not anything that looks like actual best practice (better to not build in or just up and leave places that frequently flood).

3. What we have learned about Mechanical Systems in Low Load Homes:

Presenter: Marc Rosenbaum, South Mountain Company

How are air source, inverter-driven heat pumps working in low-load homes? What about heat pump water heaters? And while were at it, how are those energy recovery ventilators performing in real installations? We will examine the performance and subtleties of all these technologies. The presenter is a compulsive measurer, and the data collected doesnt always match the hypothesis. Well also take a look at the cold climate heat pump specification. Finally, for amusement, well consider some data taken from some interesting outings in measuring existing fossil fuel systems!

Stiles comment: The presenter is a very competent guy, is a big fan of super insulation and mini-split heat pumps and can actually demonstrate that they can really work in real homes. Has lots of good info about how bad conventional systems can easily be.

TODAY Is another full day for the Better Buildings by Design Conference. The trade show is open to the public. Stop by and join builders, architects, homeowners, manufacturers … Learn about today’s standards that will lead us into an energy-efficient, resilient future: Passive House, Net-zero, Heat pumps, the latest for heating, insulation & sealing, windows, and ways to reduce your energy usage and consequential cost of living …

February 4 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • According to a statement released by the government-run Costa Rican Institute of Electricity, the country used renewable sources for 99% of its energy in 2015. The small Central American nation used a mix of geothermal, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and biomass energy. That’s fantastic news! [Unicorn Booty]
Image via Armando Maynez / Flickr

Image via Armando Maynez / Flickr

  • Seemingly unrelated events in the last few weeks suggest that coal’s role in India’s future may be far more tenuous than widely portrayed. Courts ruled on pollution, private power companies are dumping coal projects in favour of solar, and Coal India doesn’t know what to do about huge stockpiles of unwanted coal. [End Coal]
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City wants to increase the solar power capacity of city-owned buildings five-fold from what it is now, according to his aides, who spoke yesterday. The push comes as part of an ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the country’s most populous city by 80% by 2050. [The Rakyat Post]
  • A report from research and consulting firm Synapse Energy Economics examines state-by-state impacts of Clean Power Plan options and found that using strong energy efficiency policies in state plans can produce significant electricity bill savings for consumers while reducing carbon pollution. [Biomass Magazine]
  • The Georgia Mountain Community Wind farm announced that its annual energy production exceeded expectations by more than 22%, producing more than 33,000,000 kWh of Vermont-made renewable energy in 2015. This represents enough renewable energy to power more than 5,500 Vermont households. [vtdigger.org]

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

February 3 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The more people know about fracking, the more likely they are to oppose it, a survey for the Government shows. Of those who said they knew a lot about fracking, 53% were against it. This compares to 33% who said they were in favour of it, the poll tracking attitudes to energy policies has revealed. [The Guardian]
An anti-fracking march in Sussex. Photograph: Natasha Quarmby / REX / Shutterstock

An anti-fracking march in Sussex. Photograph: Natasha Quarmby / REX / Shutterstock

  • China solidified its standing as the world’s wind energy behemoth in 2015, adding almost as much wind power capacity in one year as the total installed capacity of the three largest US wind-producing states. Data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance show China installed just under 29 GW in 2015. [Scientific American]
  • Non-hydro renewable energy sources accounted for 63% of all new power generation capacity installed in the USA in 2015, the latest report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) shows. There were 7,977 MW of wind turbines installed in the country, which is 48.39% of the year’s total. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • An analysis conducted by investment adviser Advisor Partners has found that New York City’s biggest pension fund, the Teacher’s Retirement System of the City of New York, lost approximately $135 million from investments in oil and gas companies during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. [CleanTechnica]
  • More than 10,000 local jobs have been created in California as a result of the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, according to a new press release. The jobs are the result of the more than 50,000 home improvement projects completed via the HERO PACE program since 2011. [CleanTechnica]

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

Local Energy Solutions E-News

Turning Ideas into Action – Special Announcement

local energy solutions logo

Upcoming LES Webinar: Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

The How and Why of Using Proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to Reduce Your Town & School Energy Costs

February 10, 2016 

Register Today!

The state legislature saw to it that $2 million is allocated annually to town and school energy efficiency projects from the New Hampshire Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative proceeds. Changes may be in store for this allocation, meaning good news for local governments. Join this webinar to get a brief background on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative; legislation this year and what it might mean for local governments, and how to access the funding for your local government project.  As a bonus, while energy projects will reduce operations costs attendees will learn the connection your town may have to the climate agreement struck in Paris last December.

Presenters:

  • Jim O’Brien, The Nature Conservancy
  • Roger Stephenson, Environmental Defense Fund

Register Here!

____________________________________________________

About the Local Energy Solutions Work Group (LES Work Group)

Our mission is to provide collaborative guidance and technical support to Local Energy Committees & Commissions (LEC’s), municipalities, schools, and other political subdivisions* seeking to reduce energy use, minimize energy costs, and/or reduce fossil-fuel consumption.  Consider joining our efforts: contact Leigh Cameron for more information on the LES Work Group’s efforts and opportunities for participation

New England Grassroots Environment Fund
P.O Box 611
Newmarket, NH  03857
leigh@grassrootsfund.org
603-905-9915

75 National Contractor Scholarships Available

unnamedAs part of the Home Performance Coalition’s grant from E4TheFuture, HPC will award up to 75 scholarships for home performance contractors to attend the 2016 ACI National Home Performance Conference, April 4-7, in Austin, Texas.

Scholarship Objective

One of the primary goals of this scholarship program is to attract a more diverse group of home performance contractors to the national conference. New entrants to the industry, small businesses, minority and women owned businesses, as well as minority and female staff members from any home performance contracting company are encouraged to apply.

If awarded, this scholarship will include:

Conference Registration Fee – $775 value

Includes conference workshops, educational sessions, evening sessions, access to the trade show, and 2 networking receptions. Also included is continental breakfast on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, and lunch on Tuesday & Wednesday. Hotel accommodations, travel, additional meals, and personal expenses are not included. Subject to change.        

Please complete all sections of the application by clicking here.

Applications must be received by February 19, 2016.

 

February 2 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Collaborating with Ecotricity, the Royal Society For Protection Of Birds installed a new wind turbine at RSPB Headquarters at the Lodge. A 100-meter wind turbine will deliver 1.85 million kWh per annum. The Director of Conservation says research shows the turbine is not in an area where birds will be endangered. [CleanTechnica]
It's windpower for the Royal Society For the Protection of Birds

It’s windpower for the Royal Society For the Protection of Birds

  • The UK’s government has made it a “top priority” to ensure protections for national parks and sites of special scientific interest do not obstruct fracking across the country, according to a leaked letter from ministers. It appears they are trying to see that what limited protections exist do not get in the way of fracking. [The Guardian]
  • The US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, deciding that demand response should be regulated at the federal level and ensuring that the demand response industry can continue its impressive progress. Demand response was a $1.4 billion market in the US in 2015. [CleanTechnica]
  • Maine has New England’s biggest pipeline of wind projects in the works, and developers of nine projects have asked for long-term contracts with utilities in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The projects altogether would add another 2,140 MW, about 3.5 times Maine’s current capacity. [Bangor Daily News]
  • Collapsing oil prices, Japan’s return to nuclear power, and market uncertainty in China are among the short-term challenges for liquefied natural gas. But longer-term competition from renewable energy in Europe and Asia might pose the biggest challenge, according to a new Brattle Group analysis. [Business in Vancouver]

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