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The October issue of Green Energy Times is Here!

The October, 2017 issue of Green Energy Times is now being distributed.

It is available as a pdf file HERE (12 MB).

Individual articles will soon be posted as web pages.

October 22 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Trump’s moves to ease regulations, revive coal industry bring little relief” • As the Trump administration dismantles programs dealing with climate change, it invokes the suffering of those whose livelihoods depend on coal. But with the end to what has been called the “war on coal,” Homer City, Pennsylvania, is not any less under siege. [Tribune-Review]
Playing football for an aerobic workout under the stacks

Playing football for an aerobic workout under the stacks

  • Researchers from Stanford University have developed a cheap alternative to lithium-ion batteries. They created a sodium-based battery that can store the same amount of energy as a lithium-based battery at less than 80% of the cost. There have been sodium-based batteries in the past, but this new approach may be more cost-effective. [Futurism]
  • With the government of Rwanda seeking to increase access to electricity to 100% by 2024, sector players say that subsidization of off-grid power will go a long way in reaching energy targets. A system with three lights, a 100-watt panel, and 55-amp hour battery goes for Rwf400,000 ($474) or Rwf12,000 ($14.22) monthly. [The New Times]
  • The Rockefeller Foundation, which committed $50 million for mini-grids in India, is looking for public private partnerships to facilitate setting up projects, according to a senior official. The foundation has already facilitated setting up mini power grids in 106 villages and aims to have 1,000 such projects within three years. [ETEnergyworld.com]
  • Evolution and climate change are returning to New Mexico’s education standards. The Public Education Department announced they would use uncensored Next Generation Science Standards for science, technology, engineering, and math. Their earlier proposed censored version created an uproar from the scientific community. [DeathRattleSports.com]

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

October 21 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The sun will be the source of electricity for about 70% of the government complex in Madison County, New York, from now on. Tucked between some cornfields and brush on a rural Madison County road, are more than 7,500 ground-mounted solar panels. They will save the county $3 million over the next 25 years. [WRVO Public Media]
Madison County's solar array (Photo: Ellen Abbot | WRVO News)

Madison County’s solar array (Photo: Ellen Abbot | WRVO News)

  • Nissan will roll out its vehicle-to-grid energy program promising the average customer will enjoy virtually free home electricity. The scheme, announced at an event in Oslo, was tested in Denmark and is to begin its European rollout next year. The trial involving a fleet of e-NV200 vans resulted in weekly revenue of €40 ($47) per vehicle. [Ward’s Auto]
  • Distributed energy specialist Arensis has delivered an off-grid energy system to aid Puerto Rico and help with recovery from Hurricane Maria. A combined 50 kW of electricity and 120 kW of thermal energy will be powering the Sports Complex in the City of Fajardo, a refugee shelter and distribution center, as soon as it can be installed. [Decentralized Energy]
  • Although the Trump administration announced that the so-called “war against coal” is over, Michigan’s largest utility believes there is no future left for such a dirty, carbon-dense fuel and is making plans to phase out all of its coal-based energy production within 23 years, including a massive coal-fired power plant in Monroe. [Toledo Blade]
  • Facebook is building a massive data center to Papillion, Nebraska. The Omaha Public Power District played a key role in attracting Facebook to the area by providing access to 100% renewable energy, which will come from the resurrected Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project in Dixon County, Nebraska [Renewable Energy Magazine]

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

Last Chance for Input: NH State Energy Strategy

 

Did you miss the public comment sessions on potential updates to NH’s 10 Year State Energy Strategy?

You’re in luck –we’ll be hosting a facilitated public comment session during lunch at the upcoming Local Energy Solutions Conference on October 28 in Concord! This is your chance to let the Governor and his staff know that you want a state energy strategy that prioritizes renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other policies that help keep our energy dollars local.

2017 Local Energy Solutions Conference

October 28, 2017

8:30am-4:15pm (registration begins at 8:00am)

Grappone Center, Concord, NH

Learn more about the conference, view the draft agenda, and register here!

NHSEA members can attend the conference for FREE! Become a member here, or if you’re already a member, e-mail Brianna for the registration access code.

Tesla wins contract to supply Powerpacks at world’s first solar+wind+storage project

re-posted from https://electrek.co. article by Fred Blambert

Last month, it was revealed that Tesla is working with world’s largest wind-turbine maker, Vestas, to deploy batteries at their wind farms.

Now Tesla won its first contract with the company and as it turns out, it’s not only for a wind farm but actually the first solar+wind+energy storage project in the world.

Australia’s Windlab is managing the $160 million project at the Kennedy Energy Park hybrid renewable energy site in North Queensland.

They announced today that they secured financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and they selected Vestas, Tesla, and Quanta for the project. They describe the new contract:

“Kennedy will consist of 43.2MW Wind, 15MW AC, single axis tracking Solar and 4MWh of Li Ion battery storage. The project will use twelve Vestas V136, 3.6MW turbines at a hub height of 132metres; the largest wind turbines yet to be deployed in Australia. The Li Ion storage will be provided by Tesla. The project will be constructed under a joint construction contract managed by Vestas and Quanta. The project will take a little over 12 months to construct and is expected to be fully operational before the end of 2018. The project will create more than 100 local jobs during construction.”

They believe this system will supply energy for more than 35,000 average Australian homes and it will serve as a demonstration of combining wind, solar and energy storage at the local level.

Roger Price, Windlab’s Executive Chairman and CEO, commented:

“We believe Kennedy Energy Park will demonstrate how effectively wind, solar and storage can be combined to provide low cost, reliable and clean energy for Australia’s future. The broader adoption of projects like Kennedy can address the recommendations of the Finkel review and ensure that Australia can more than meet its Paris Commitments while putting downward pressure on energy prices”.

It’s actually only one of several phases for what they hope will be 1,200MW of capacity at the Kennedy Energy Park.

4 MWh of batteries is actually a relatively small project for Tesla, especially when considering the massive new 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack system that they are currently installing in Australia.

But the combination of solar and wind is the interesting part here. If successful, they could end up scaling the energy storage capacity with the wind and solar capacity, which is expected to be quite significant at this site.

Queensland has strong winds, but wind generation in the region is biased towards the late afternoon, which is why it makes sense to add storage and solar to the mix.

 

October 20 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Pollution’s Annual Price Tag? $4.6 Trillion and 9 Million Dead” Pollution in all its forms killed 9 million people in 2015 and, by one measure, led to economic damage of $4.6 trillion, according to a new estimate by medical researchers who hope to put the health costs of toxic air, water and soil higher on the global agenda. [Yahoo News]
Inner Mongolian landscape (Photo: Kevin Frayer | Getty Images)

Inner Mongolian landscape (Photo: Kevin Frayer | Getty Images)

  • Assembly of the ITER reactor, a nuclear fusion project costing €20 billion ($24 billion), will begin in France in May of 2018. But with wind-farm developers starting to promise subsidy-free power by 2025 and electricity demand stagnating, even the project’s supporters are asking whether ITER will ever make sense. [The Edge Markets MY]
  • Green Mountain Power wants to build Vermont’s second commercial renewable energy storage battery near its solar array in Panton. The $3 million Tesla battery will store about 1 MW of power which will come off of the solar array nearby. The new battery will allow GMP to store renewable energy for helping meet peak grid demand. [Vermont Public Radio]
  • An ambitious renewable energy target of 40% by 2025 has been given the green light by Victoria’s parliament. The legislation, which also locks in a 25% target by 2020, passed the state’s upper house on Friday afternoon. Government modelling shows the target will cut the average Victorian household power bill by $30 a year. [SBS]
  • Eight former members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, including five former chairmen, have filed a bluntly worded letter with the commission opposing Perry’s proposal that would give coal and nuclear plants credit for resilience to improve their chance of beating solar, wind and natural gas competitors. [The Columbian]

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

October 19 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “A more climate-resilient Puerto Rico?” • As Puerto Rico faces a devastating humanitarian crisis, an emerging viewpoint is that the island should think twice about restoring its electrical system as it’s existed in the past. Instead, this reasoning goes, Puerto Rico should plan for more resilient, distributed infrastructure. [Yale Climate Connections]
Trees and power lines downed by Hurricane Maria (Photo: SSgt.Michelle Y Alvarez-Rea, USAF)

Trees and power lines downed by Hurricane Maria (Photo: SSgt Michelle Y Alvarez-Rea, USAF)

  • “What is electricity resilience worth to you?” • Power outages are a nuisance to some, an economic burden to others, and even lethal in some cases. It is impossible to place a price on electric resilience that could be applied to everyone. So it is crucial that customers know what power loss could cost them as they weigh needs for microgrids. [Microgrid Knowledge]
  • It’s known as the windscreen phenomenon. When you stop your car after a drive, there seem to be far fewer squashed insects than there used to be. Scientists have long suspected that insects are in dramatic decline, but new evidence confirms this. German research suggests flying insects have declined by more than 75% over almost 30 years. [BBC News]
  • About 1 million Americans are without running water. There are 3 million without power. “You wake up and it’s this mess as far as the eye can see,” one man said. One month after Hurricane Maria, these realities are starting to feel less like an emergency and more like the new way of life – a nightmarish loop that resets each day the sun rises. [CNN]
  • Target announced a new climate policy and goals to further environmental progress. Target’s new policy and goals align with those of the Science-Based Targets Initiative, as it aims to cut back on carbon emissions, minimize water use, produce more eco-friendly products and foster a more sustainable supply chain. [Sourcing Journal Online]

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

The Way Home to Love – A Guide to Peace in Turbulent Times

the way home smallBy Maresha Ducharme, Balboa Pres, August 1, 2017, 138 pages, $13

Book Review by George Plumb

We are certainly living in turbulent times with global warming, extreme political divisiveness, mass killings, and tremendous suffering going on around the world for a variety of reasons. How we personally deal with all the conflict that is going on around us is a very challenging question. Maresha Ducharme fully recognizes the impacts of climate change, and she and her husband do all that they can to reduce their carbon footprint including living off the grid at the Snow Dragon Sanctuary in Meredith, N.H. She founded the sanctuary in 2000 and continues to be the resident teacher there.

In her recently published book, Ducharme combines and expands on the teachings from several spiritual traditions including Christianity, Buddhism, and others into practices that will transform our personal lives. She states, “The practice of meditation, prayer, and self-reflection can bring us into direct communication with the soul and allow us to feel the sweetness of life and tread the path of love.” She stresses working towards a higher level of consciousness. She says that we should take the blame off of others and take responsibility for our own emotions. We should respond to situations and not react to them.

Her main emphasis is on choosing love. To be kind and compassionate to yourself and to others should be our ultimate life purpose. We should see and feel everything but hold nothing. “We take what is heavy—fear, anger, and self-pity—and transform it into self-awareness and finally into love.” She says that the best way to choose love is through the breath. One of my favorite quotes from the book is that, “In the morning, instead of saying to my husband, Have a nice day Honey,I say, ‘Remember to breathe’.

Although a book of only 138 pages, it is not an easy read. It is the kind of book that needs to be read repeatedly in order to fully understand and appreciate what she is saying and then put it into practice. Ducharme stresses that, “The breath is the entry point to a higher level of consciousness.”

In these difficult times, personal transformation for the benefit of ourselves and others is extremely important. This book provides a good starting place to make the changes we all need to make, if we are going to truly address global warming and all the other challenges the Earth and its inhabitants face. To learn more about the book, go to www.mareshaducharmebooks.com. You can also read several positive reviews at www.amazon.com.

To learn more about the sanctuary, go to www.snowdragonsanctuary.com. The author is also the co-owner and account manager for Snow Dragon Solar LLC. (See ad on page 12.)

George Plumb is a long-time environmental activist, an Unitarian Universalist and member of the Vermont Chapter of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and organizer of the groundbreaking report, “What is an Optimal/Sustainable Population for Vermont.” He also voluntarily delivers the Green Energy Times in central Vermont by driving his all-electric 2014 Nissan Leaf.

Energy efficiency as a Key Driver of Successful Business Outcomes

From The Energy Alliance Group of Michigan

When the relationship of a strong energy strategy and successful business outcome is clearly understood, energy will never be ignored or overlooked as “just another cost of doing business.

“..a small group of leading edge companies report they now see energy as a key business value driver, and are deploying new technologies and strategies to turn energy into competitive advantage.” — Harvard Business Review

An awareness of the benefits associated with a business energy strategy is on the rise as noted by Harvard Business Review. Listed below is a small sample of the many benefits:

1. Productivity increase – a small increase in overall staff productivity from improved comfort, reduced noise or better lighting often generates revenue that dwarfs the marginal benefit of efficiency upgrades.

2. Reduced maintenance – accounting benchmarks often take into consideration only the “first costs” of efficiency projects. A reduction in maintenance is ignored even though it yields dramatic dividends via a long term expense reduction and increased production uptime.

3. Building value – According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “The average commercial building wastes 30% of the energy it consumes.” Reducing waste increases Net Operating Income (NOI) which drives a building’s market value.

4. Increased occupancy – “Environmentally friendly office buildings have higher rents and occupancy rates as well as more satisfied tenants.” Professor Avis Devine

5. Competitive advantage – anything a business can do to reduce costs and improve efficiency typically builds a competitive advantage. “The choices a company makes about its energy sourcing and consumption can profoundly influence its cost structure.” Harvard Business Review

6. Improved cash flow – wasted energy represents money that is already being spent. Reducing wasted energy improves cash flow and the savings, along with energy specific financing, can then be used to pay for the upgrades with no additional expense. Since in many cases the energy savings are greater than the entire cost of the project, essentially it is a “free” upgrade.

Read the complete article at http://bit.ly/EAG_SavingEnergy

No Is Not Enough

by Naomi Klein, Haymarket Books, June 13, 2017, 288 pages, $13

No Is Not Enough Cover pic_BWBook review by Roger Lohr

Naomi Kleins newest publication, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trumps Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need is a culmination of her previous work and a call to heed the document called “Leap Manifesto: Caring for the Earth and One Another.”

Klein documents trends that impact average peoples lives such as the power of private wealth over the political system, global imposition of neoliberalism that uses racism and fear of others as a potent tool, the rise of Superbrands, the damaging impacts of corporate free trade, and the deep hold by conservatives on climate change denial. Factors such as these have led to the election of Donald Trump.

But the results of the election and much of the major political parties (including Clinton and Obama) were to be expected, since the collective mind has been clouded with “crush the other guy” and “win at all costs” exemplified by popular TV shows such as Survivor, the Amazing Race, Big Brother, and yes, Trumps Apprentice.

Three quarters of No Is Not Enough is focused on revelations about the corrosive value system that places profit above the well-being of people and the planet, but Klein says that there is an overwhelming need to not just worry about the world we dont want, but to consider the world we do want instead. We need a captivating vision of the world beyond just saying “no.” We need to chart a credible and inspiring path to a different future…one that will require building as we go. Many interest groups say no to imminent threats, but we also need to work on building the “yes” that is the world we want and need.

In the past a cooperative commonwealth was developed, where work was but one element of a well-balanced life that left plenty of time for family, leisure, recreation, and art. While it seems that the utopian imagination has atrophied, we should remember that our ancestors forged a great democratic experimental government, and they did it with very little…we now have so much more, and we must do the same. One cannot read the last chapters of No Is Not Enough without reflecting on the 1770s and the American creators of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the U.S. Constitution.

Capitalism had its run but without controls it seems to result in unwanted outcomes for the planet and humanity. The need is to shift from a system based on endless taking from the Earth and from one another (extraction to feed perpetual growth rooted in ever-increasing consumption) to a culture based on caretaking – the principle that when we take, we also take care and give back. This is a shift in values and morality.

The Leap Manifesto is gaining momentum in Canada and around the world. It includes stated values such as respect for indigenous rights, internationalism, human rights, diversity, and environmental stewardship. Small steps are not what are needed – it will take a leap to:

  • Respect inherent rights and title of original caretakers of the land;

  • No new infrastructure projects that lock us into increased use of fossil fuels into the future (if you dont want it in your backyard, it doesnt belong in anyones backyard;

  • Universal program to build energy-efficient homes and retrofit existing housing (lowest income communities to benefit first);

  • Training for workers in carbon-intensive jobs to take part in the clean energy economy;

  • High speed rail powered by renewables and affordable public transit to unite every community;

  • Invest in decaying public infrastructure;

  • Moving to a far more localized and ecologically-based agricultural system;

  • An end to all trade deals that interfere with attempts to build local economies, regulate corporations and stop damaging extractive fossil fuel projects;

  • Immigration status and full protections for all workers;

  • Expanding the sectors of the economy that are already low-carbon: caregiving, teaching, social work, the arts, and public-interest media;

  • End to fossil fuel subsidies. Financial transaction taxes. Increased resource royalties. Higher income taxes on corporations and wealthy people. A progressive carbon tax. Cuts to military spending.

These examples of the Leap Manifesto are based on a simple “polluter pays” principle. It calls for town hall-type local meetings across our countries and the renewal of democracy at every level of government working toward a system in which every vote counts and corporate money is removed from political campaigns.

Klein closes No Is Not Enough saying now is the time for boldness. Now is the time to leap.

Roger Lohr is the founder and editor of XCSkiResorts.com and prolific national writer on cross country skiing. He lives in Lebanon, NH.