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January 12 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Renewable power met about 44% of Portugal’s electricity demand in 2017, data from the Portuguese Association of Renewable Energy shows. In 2017, thanks to renewable power plants, the average price of electricity in the wholesale market fell to €18.3/MWh (US 2.18¢/kWh), for savings to the consumer of €727 million. [Renewables Now]
Wind farm in Portugal (StockPhotosArt | Shutterstock.com)

Wind farm in Portugal (StockPhotosArt | Shutterstock.com)

  • A report released by the National Institute of Building Sciences, found that every $1 the federal government spends on so-called mitigation projects, such as elevating homes at risk of flooding, improving stormwater management systems, or strengthening buildings against earthquakes, reduces future costs by an average of $6. [Insurance Journal]
  • The Trump administration’s proposal to open vast portions of US coastline to oil drilling was met with ferocious opposition from a number of the coastal governors it would affect. At least one governor, Florida’s Rick Scott, a Republican, asked for and received a waiver from the administration. The waiver drew accusations of favoritism. [CNN]
  • Superstorm Sandy caused more than $71 billion in economic damage, according to the National Hurricane Center. New York City has spent billions on repairs. Now, the city wants the five largest oil companies to reimburse it for its losses and pay for the infrastructure improvements needed to protect the city for the future. [CleanTechnica]
  • Diablo Canyon, the last nuclear plant in California, will begin shutting down operations in six years. State regulators approved a plan outlining details of the closure unanimously. The decision comes after the nuclear plant’s operator made an agreement with a collection of environmental and labor groups to shutter the plant. [Thegardenisland.com]

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

Farm & Food Economy Report to VT Legislature

Workforce development critical to sustain local food economy

2017 Farm to Plate Annual Report shows successful implementation of Vermont’s food system plan has created need for more farm and food workers to meet food business expansion goals due to increased consumer demand

Montpelier, Vt. – Representatives of the Vermont Farm to Plate Network and staff at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund presented the 2017 Farm to Plate Annual Report to the Vermont Legislature House and Senate Agriculture Committees today, identifying a critical need to improve Vermont’s workforce development system in order to continue to grow the local food economy.

Signed into law by the Vermont Legislature in 2009, the creation of Vermont’s Farm to Plate food system plan calls for increased economic development in Vermont’s farm and food sector, new jobs in the farm and food economy, and improved access to healthy local food for all Vermonters. Implementation of Vermont’s ten year food system plan began in 2011 by the Farm to Plate Network—over 350 nonprofits, businesses, and government officials all working together to reach the goals of the plan. The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, a nonprofit organization committed to sustainable economic development, coordinates the Farm to Plate Network and is responsible for reporting the progress and challenges back to the Vermont Legislature in the Farm to Plate Annual Report.

Impacts of Success

Vermont has seen significant economic growth and development in Vermont’s food system since implementation of the Farm to Plate food system plan began in 2011:

· Economic Development: Vermonters spend an estimated $189 million (approx. 7%) on local food products annually (2014 data, next data release in 2018).

· New Jobs: Vermont’s farm and food economic sector employs more than 64,000 Vermonters and added 6,400 new jobs from 2009-2016.

· Food Access: The percentage of Vermont households that are food insecure has dropped from 13.6% in 2009 to 11.4% (29,754 households) in 2015 and charitable food organizations have significantly improved availability of local food for Vermonters.

Food and beverage manufacturing has been one of the few growing manufacturing sectors in Vermont with sales and wholesale distribution totaling $9.1 billion in 2012 (next data release in 2019). Continued growth is due, in part, to increased consumer demand—93% of 2017 Vermonter Poll respondents said it was important to choose products and services from Vermont companies and 80.6% said they are interested in buying more local food than they currently do.

However, many Vermont food businesses report a shortage of workers is inhibiting expansion plans and limiting their ability to fill existing jobs in the farm and food sector. The Farm to Plate Annual Report recognizes that statewide workforce development and training system redesign is critical in order for economic growth, new job creation, and local food availability to continue in Vermont’s local food economy.

Workforce Development Approach

“As the farm and food economy grows, more jobs are created which in turn creates workforce opportunities and challenges for both employers and employees. The Farm to Plate Network is collectively addressing the education, workforce, and training needs of Vermont’s farm and food businesses and organizations. Network members are providing training and skill building most needed by employers, improving local business’ ability to find labor, and positively changing the perception of food system careers, all aimed at helping to alleviate the shortage of workers,” says Jake Claro, Farm to Plate Director at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.

The Farm to Plate Network approach to addressing farm and food sector workforce challenges can serve as a model for responding to workforce development challenges in other Vermont economic sectors. By bringing together diverse stakeholders from across the farm and food economy, the Farm to Plate Network allows for constructive dialogue, networking, and professional development informed by multiple perspectives to create systematic change that no one organization can do alone.

Additional Farm to Plate Network Priorities

The Farm to Plate Annual Report also details progress and challenges in four other areas central to reaching the legislative goals of Vermont’s Farm to Plate food system plan.

· Improving Viability and Financial Profitability of Farms and Food Businesses

· Increasing Local Food Availability in All Market Channels while Balancing Farm Viability and Local Food Affordability

· Increasing Consumer Engagement and Demand for Local Food with the Rooted in Vermont Movement and Ensuring Vermont Product Sales and Labeling at Retail Stores

· Protecting and Expanding Affordable and Environmentally Sustainable Farmland in Agricultural Production

Click here to review the 2017 Farm to Plate Annual Report prepared by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund for the Vermont Legislature:

January 11 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • China is seeing signs of success in its fight against smog as pollution levels slump dramatically in the capital region Beijing. Concentrations of PM2.5 plunged 33% from a year earlier in the fourth quarter in 26 cities around Beijing, according to a Greenpeace East Asia report. Levels in the capital alone tumbled 54%. [Bloomberg]
Beijing, December 4, 2017 (Photo: VCG via Getty Images)

Beijing region, December 4, 2017 (Photo: VCG via Getty Images)

  • Scientist at the National University of Singapore report they have discovered a new way to cool air to as low as 65° F without using any chemical refrigerants or compressors. The system depends on a membrane that removes water from the air, which it then cools by evaporation. It could reduce the amount of average global warming appreciably. [CleanTechnica]
  • In a short press conference after meeting with Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg for just over an hour, President Trump said the US could consider reentering the Paris Climate Accord that he pulled out of last summer, and spoke wistfully about Norway’s hydroelectric capacity. “So, we can conceivably go back in,” Trump said. [Quartz]
  • Nevada’s NV Energy issued a request for proposals that could add up to 330-MW of new renewable energy projects to be built in Nevada. The RFP includes the potential integration of battery energy storage systems. It will provide enough carbon-free electricity to power approximately 200,000 Nevada homes. [Renewable Energy Magazine]
  • The Trump administration is ruling out plans to sell new drilling rights off the coast of Florida after pressure came from Republican Governor Rick Scott. The about-face came just five days after the Interior Department said it was considering selling oil and gas leases in more than 90% of US coastal waters. [Bloomberg]

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

January 10 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • An Xcel Energy solicitation for 238 projects of renewable energy resources with battery storage drew 430 proposals with record low median prices. Wind with storage drew 5,700 MW of bids priced at 2.1¢/kWh ($21/MWh). Wind and solar with storage drew 4,048 MW at 3.06¢/kWh. Solar with storage drew 16,725 MW, at 3.6¢/kWh. [Energy Storage News]
    (The least expensive fossil fuel listed in Lazard’s LCOE analysis, combined cycle natural gas, produces electricity at 4.2¢/kWh to 7.8¢/kWh. Coal, nuclear, and other listed sources are higher than that.)
Wind farm in Idaho (From energy.gov, Wikimedia Commons)

Wind farm in Idaho (From energy.gov, Wikimedia Commons)

  • Over 116 GW of new wind and solar capacity is expected to be installed in the US through the end of 2020, according to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission projection. That total includes 72.5 GW of wind in 465 units and 43.5 GW of solar in 1,913 units. However, coal is expected to keep shrinking, losing 20.7 GW. [Power Engineering Magazine]
  • New York will be the first major city to be remapped by FEMA with climate change in mind, according to a report in the New York Times. Cartographers will take into account the new normal of rising sea levels and increasingly frequent 100-year (and 500-year) storms. FEMA’s maps represent the agency’s flood plain estimates. [Next City]
  • “How Much Longer Does South Florida Have Until The Real Estate Apocalypse Begins?” • At some point the reality that the region is not long for this world will have to sink in, and when it does, demand for homes in the region will crater to a degree that not many living there now probably fully comprehend … so, when will that be? [CleanTechnica]
  • “How Blockchain Can Democratize Green Power” • The certification process for Renewable Energy Credits is expensive and cumbersome, and Power Purchase Agreements can only be negotiated by large green generators. But mom-and-pop green generators can enter the market effectively by using blockchain. [EcoWatch]

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

Local Western New York businesses join forces to provide affordable Geothermal Heating and Cooling options for all homeowners

BUFFALO, NY – January 9, 2018 – ACES Energy, Buffalo Geothermal, Dailey Electric, GeoTherm, Van Hee Mechanical, Phoenix Energy Supply, Waterfurnace and Earth Sensitive Solutions have teamed up to make Geothermal energy heating and cooling available to every homeowner in Western New York. Together these businesses have created a revolutionary concept; GroundUp: Geothermal Alliance of Western New York, to help homeowners easily transition to 100% clean energy.

“Our mission is to bring the highest quality and most affordable Geothermal heating & cooling systems to the people of Western New York, from the GroundUp,” boasted Todd Schmiegel of Buffalo Geothermal. “Our goal is to inform the public about Geothermal benefits and savings, ensure highest quality Geothermal system installation and design, and provide affordable Geosystems to the consumer.”

GroundUp allows qualified homeowners, who are eligible to receive a rebate from New York State, to install Geothermal energy heating and cooling HVAC systems in their home for a total cost of only $24,000, which is thousands of dollars cheaper than currently offered. Geothermal systems with dedicated geothermal heat pumps for domestic hot water are being offered for a total cost of $26,000 to qualified homeowners. The offer is available immediately and typically covers single family homes up to 4000 sqf with good insulation.

Installing Geothermal systems in WNY homes will also aid in reaching the state mandate to have a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority said, “Using clean energy technologies such as geothermal is critical to meeting Governor Cuomo’s nation leading clean energy goals. GroundUp’s ability to provide geothermal systems at a reduced price, together with the state’s rebate, will enable even more consumers to adopt this clean energy and help New York reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has up to $15 million available in rebates for the installation of ground source heat pump systems for residences, businesses and institutions. Rebates are available to qualified installers for two years or until all funds have been exhausted. The total amount of the rebate will be deducted from the total cost of the system, thereby passing the savings along directly to consumers.

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said “I am very excited about the GroundUp program. This is great news for homeowners across Western New York. New York has been a leader in advancing the use of clean renewable energy, and cutting carbon emissions. Geothermal energy systems are a great way for homes and businesses to lower their energy costs, and lower their reliance on fossil fuels. I was pleased to recently announce a change in New York State law that will allow homeowners, small businesses, and not-for-profits to install geothermal systems as part of the On-Bill financing program. It is great to see that the state and private sector are working together to expand the use of this clean, energy efficient technology.”

Geothermal energy heating and cooling systems also allow homeowners to have more control over their energy bills. .

“New York’s over-dependence on natural gas for both heating buildings and generating electricity means that consumers are hostage to budget busting price spikes when cold spells hit,” said Bill Nowak, Executive Director of New York Geothermal Energy Organization. “It’s great to see geothermal companies pooling their buying power on behalf of consumers and helping to break the monopoly grip that fossil fuels have on our energy bills.”

GroundUp: Geothermal Alliance of Western New York is an initiative of the New York Geothermal Foundation and the first of its kind in the area to bring the revolutionary design of Geothermal to every homeowner at a discounted, affordable price. Interested homeowners can find more information and contact approved installers to set up installation at www.groundupgeo.org

If you would like more information about this topic, please visit www.groundupgeo.com

January 9 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • 2017 was the costliest year ever for weather and climate disasters in the United States, NOAA announced, totaling $306 billion. The previous record year, 2005, saw $215 billion in disasters. Last year saw 16 weather events that each topped a billion dollars in damage, including three record-breaking hurricanes. [CNN]
Minnesota hail storm (David Joles | Minneapolis Star Tribune | TNS)

Minnesota hail storm (David Joles | Minneapolis Star Tribune | TNS)

  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously rejected Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s plan to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants by raising consumer energy bills. This was a major blow to the Trump administration’s effort to bring back coal power, especially since 3 of the 5 commissioners are Trump appointees. [ThinkProgress]
  • Since the sexes of sea turtles are determined by the heat of sand incubating their eggs, scientists doing a survey expected that with climate change there would be slightly more females. But instead, they found female sea turtles from the Pacific Ocean’s largest green sea turtle rookery now outnumber males by at least 116 to 1. [National Geographic]
  • Wind power developers are building new onshore projects in the UK, despite the cancellation of government subsidies in 2015. This is highlighted by the news that renewables developer Dulas has won agreements for British met mast installations from four major firms: SSE, Innogy, E.ON, and Brookfield Renewable UK. [Power Engineering International]
  • Attorneys seeking customer refunds from SCE&G for its failed multi-billion-dollar nuclear power plant accused the utility of breaking its promises to its ratepayers. They maintained that the utility had promised its customers that if they paid higher rates while two nuclear reactors were being built, they would get lower rates later. [The State]

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

January 8 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Anchorage has yet to see an official temperature below zero for this winter; this makes it the fourth latest date for that to occur. In the winter of 2000-2001, no below zero temperatures were recorded at all. Including that year, all of the five latest dates for sub-zero temperatures in Anchorage have happened since 2000. [KTUU.com]
Anchorage in Springtime (Wikipedia)

Anchorage in Springtime (Wikipedia)

  • 2017 was the second hottest year on record with regard to global average temperatures, after only 2016, according to a report from the Copernicus Climate Change Service. It was a year of extremes, with many wildfires, very low sea ice extent, and lots of drought. Now, of the 17 hottest years on record, 16 were in this century. [CleanTechnica]
  • There are fears of an environmental disaster in the East China Sea as a tanker continues to leak oil two days after colliding with a cargo ship. Chinese officials have told state media the Sanchi is in danger of exploding and sinking. Rescuers attempting to reach the site were being beaten back by toxic clouds, according to the transportation ministry. [BBC]
  • The North Sea Wind Power Hub, an artificial island in the North Sea that could supply renewable energy to 80 million people in six European countries, is set to open in 2027. TenneT thinks the project could handle windfarms with a capacity of 30 GW, more than twice the amount of offshore wind power Europe currently has installed. [Digital Journal]
  • The US State Department is taking steps toward signing a US-Saudi nuclear umbrella agreement required by United States law as a preliminary to selling the country nuclear power reactors. The White House is hinting it would not insist that Saudi Arabia promise not to reprocess irradiated fuel to extract plutonium or enrich uranium. [The Hill]

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

January 7 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Global warming is making the world’s oceans sicker, depleting them of oxygen and harming delicate coral reefs more often. In coastal water bodies, including estuaries and seas, low-oxygen sites have increased more than 10-fold since 1950. Scientists expect oxygen to continue dropping even outside these zones as Earth warms. [India Today]
Ocean

Ocean

  • “‘Bomb cyclone’ appears to stymie Perry’s argument for coal” • The winter storm was just the type of scenario Energy Secretary Rick Perry cited as a reason to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants. But so far, the region’s electricity grid has responded with little disruption, aside from a shutdown of the Pilgrim nuclear plant. [The Keene Sentinel]
  • It’s fair to say that China is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to pollution and climate change. Now China has announced a reforestation program that will plant enough trees in 2018 to cover an area the size of Ireland. Forests already cover 21.7% of the country. That figure is set to increase to 23% by 2020 and 26% by 2035. [CleanTechnica]
  • Duke Energy is sending more than 200 of its employees along with trucks, equipment and supplies to Puerto Rico to support the effort to rebuild the power grid and restore electric service to areas hit hard by storms. Personnel from Duke Energy operations in the Midwest, Carolinas and Florida will take part in the effort. [satPRnews]
  • If Dominion Energy buys South Carolina Electric & Gas, its customers will get a one-time shot of cash to make up for some of the years they spent financing an abandoned nuclear power plant. Then over the next two decades, SCE&G customers would pay about $2.2 billion for the project, plus a 10.3% return for investors. [Charleston Post Courier]

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

January 6 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The winter storm moved out from the Northeast, and the winter cold moved in. A combination of winds, high tide, and a super moon produced the highest tide the area around Boston has ever seen. But the Boston area wasn’t alone in the misery. Up and down the East Coast, tens of thousands spent a frigid night without power. [CBS News]
Wave crashing over a home in Scituate, Massachusetts  (Photo: Scott Eisen | Getty Images)

Wave crashing over a home in Scituate, Massachusetts (Photo: Scott Eisen | Getty Images)

  • Germany crossed a symbolic milestone in its energy transition by briefly covering about 100% of electricity use with renewable energy sources for the first time ever on 1 January. In the whole of last year, the world’s fourth largest economy produced a record 36.1% of its total power needs with renewable energy sources. [Clean Energy Wire]
  • “3 Questions Worth Answering in the Wake of Winter Storm Grayson” • My colleagues and I think about coastal flooding a lot, but the footage from yesterday had our brains buzzing with new unknowns and threats never considered. It is not simply how do we prepare for storms like this. It’s how do we prepare for a future. [Union of Concerned Scientists]
  • CleanTechnica has published a couple of articles recently on Shenzhen’s 16,000 electric buses. But those stories should not be taken to imply that this is an isolated case of Chinese electric bus leadership. To do so would miss the much bigger and broader story. Here is a roundup of two months of electric bus stories from China. [CleanTechnica]
  • If President Donald Trump is actually serious about bringing coal back, he has his work cut out for him. The President’s first year in office was marked by a slew of coal power plant closings, and his second year is already off to a bad start. Mepco Inc announced that it will close a Pennsylvania mine, eliminating 370 coal jobs. [Triple Pundit]

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

January 5 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Enel Green Power North America, Inc, a subsidiary of Enel SpA, started operations of two new wind farms in Oklahoma: the Thunder Ranch wind farm, which has a capacity of around 298 MW, and of the Red Dirt wind facility, which has a capacity of around 300 MW. They are Oklahoma’s first incentive-free wind farms. [Windpower Engineering]
Red Dirt wind farm

Red Dirt wind farm

  • A subsidiary of Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management Inc plans to buy Westinghouse, the bankrupt nuclear services company, from Toshiba Corp, for $4.6 billion. Brookfield Business Partners LP and institutional partners plan to use $1 billion of equity and $3 billion of long-term debt financing to buy Westinghouse. [The Japan News]
  • The Trump administration announced plans to end a ban on new offshore drilling off the coasts of Florida and California and is considering over 40 sites for leases. Interior had just issued a stop-work order on a National Academy of Sciences study reviewing the offshore oil and gas operations inspection program to enhance safety. [CNN]
  • The latest Energy Infrastructure Update from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is packed full of good news for natural gas and renewables, but not for coal. FERC anticipates 20,650 MW of retirements of coal-fired power plants, with only 1,927 MW of new units planned. But natural gas and renewables are still growing fast. [CleanTechnica]
  • As the New Hampshire legislature gears up for the 2018 session, over 50 New Hampshire businesses are calling for lawmakers to support clean energy policies. Dartmouth Hitchcock, Hannaford Supermarkets, Hypertherm, Velcro Cos., Timberland, Worthen Industries, and Wire Belt Co of America are among them. [North American Windpower]

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