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October 21 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Renewable Energy To Expand By 50% In Next Five Years – Report” • Renewable electricity is growing faster globally than expected and could expand by 50% in the next five years, powered by solar energy. The International Energy Agency found that solar, wind, and hydropower projects are growing at their fastest rate in four years. [The Guardian]

PVs on the Isle of May, Scotland (Mike Powles | FLPA | Rex | Shutterstock)

  • “Thanks, Tesla – Porsche Taycan EV Outperforms Fossil Panamera Sibling” • The Porsche Taycan offers much higher performance, compared to its gas-powered Panamera sedan sibling, and is less expensive. This applies for other Porsche models as well. Surely some mistake by Porsche? Perhaps not; it has to compete with Tesla. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Trading Coal For Clean Energy, BHP Takes $1 Billion Hit At Chilean Mines” • Australia’s biggest miner, BHP, is replacing coal-fired power supplying its two copper-mining operations in Chile with renewables, cutting costs 20%. BHP said it would take a $780 million (A$1.14 billion) charge for the cancellation of its coal contracts. [The Sydney Morning Herald]
  • “President’s Windmill Hatred Is A Worry For Booming Industry” • Land-based turbines are rising by the thousands from the remote Texas plains to farm towns of Iowa. And the wind boom is expanding offshore, as big corporations plan to invest $70 billion on offshore wind farms. But President Donald Trump hates wind turbines. [FOX 61]
  • “Coal Miners Facing Layoffs As Output Dips” • It is the clearest sign yet that America’s coal country is headed for widespread job cuts: The amount of coal being produced per US miner is at the lowest level in eight years. Despite actions by President Donald Trump, US production is expected to slide 10% this year, and jobs are at risk. [NWAOnline]

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

October 20 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “New NOAA Weather Prediction System Improves Severe Weather Forecasts” • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updated its weather prediction system this June with a climate model that will include data from updated oceanic science, allowing for more accurate climate-change-related severe weather forecasting. [Medill Reports: Chicago]

Tornado (NOAA image, Wikimedia Commons)

  • “New Jersey Reaches Renewable Energy Milestone With 3 GW Of Solar Installed In-State” • The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities announced that the state has surpassed 3 GW of solar power and 116,000 solar installations statewide. New Jersey ranks in the top ten in the number of residential and business solar installations among all states. [STL.News]
  • “Decarbonizing Economy Requires Lot More Electricity” • With broad consensus that we must decarbonize our economy, the question is how. A Brattle Group report found that cutting emissions by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050 means demand for electricity will actually need to grow to roughly twice its current levels. [CommonWealth magazine]
  • “‘Killer Fog’ And Bringing Science Back To The EPA, Whether The EPA Wants It Or Not” • We have long known air pollution is a killer. It may be why Clara Ford wouldn’t drive a Model T, but drove an electric car instead. The Trump administration’s lack of concern for public health puts the matter on the public. Caring citizens are working on solutions. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Investors Rejoice: US Renewables Could Top Coal by 2022” • According to the Energy Information Administration, coal-fired power plants will account for just 22% of the American electricity production in 2020. The EIA also says that renewable power sources will provide up to 19% of American electricity in 2020. That means investment opportunities. [Motley Fool]

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

October 19 Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Croissant-Making Method Leads To Breakthrough In Sustainable Energy Storage” • Inspired by croissant-making techniques, researchers came up with improved energy storage, according to a study. Having pressed and folded a capacitor covered with a plastic film, researchers were able to increase energy storage by a factor of thirty. [iNews]

Croissant (Public Domain Pictures)

  • “Commonwealth of VA Announces Largest Renewable Energy Contract in Nation” • The Commonwealth of Virginia announced a landmark agreement. It is the largest contract that any state has negotiated to buy renewable energy to power state government. Dominion Energy will supply the state with 420 MW of wind and solar power. [The Roanoke Star]
  • “South Africa Plans 22-GW Renewables Surge” • South Africa plans to build more than 22 GW of new wind, solar and storage capacity up to 2030, the government’s 2019 integrated resource plan says. The plan, which maps out the energy mix for the next 10 years, envisages 14.4 GW of new wind, 6 GW of new solar and 2,088 MW of storage. [reNEWS]
  • “The Single Biggest Threat To US Oil Jobs” • Reuters’ John Kemp reports, citing official data, that the oil and gas support segment had shed 14,000 jobs between October last year and August this year. That’s a 5% decline, and combined with other data from the industry, it does suggest that a slowdown is in motion. []
  • “Scientific Integrity Act Passes House Committee” • Legislation to protect scientific integrity in US federal agencies was approved by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in a 25 to 6 vote that included bipartisan support. The bill would require federal science agencies to adopt and enforce a scientific integrity policy. [Eos]

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

October 18 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Planting A Trillion Trees Will Not Halt Climate Change” • A group of 46 scientists from around the world, led by Dr Joseph Veldman, urge caution about plans to address climate change through massive tree planting. They published a message of concern in the journal Science, urging that care be used not to plant trees in the wrong areas. [Newswise]

Savanna in Bolivia (JW Veldman, Texas A&M)

  • “US Energy Secretary Quits Amid Trump Inquiry” • Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, who has been drawn into the Trump impeachment inquiry, will resign. President Trump confirmed the former Texas governor’s departure. Mr Perry’s exit had been rumored for months even before he became entangled in a controversy over Ukraine. [BBC]
  • “Climate Crisis Will Not Be Discussed At G7 Next Year, Says Trump Official” • The climate crisis will not be formally discussed at the G7 summit in June next year, Donald Trump’s acting White House chief of staff told reporters. He announced that the G7 summit would take place at a golf resort owned by Donald Trump. [The Guardian]
  • “Who Is Funding The Fossil Fuel Industry?” • Analysis by The Guardian shows that big banks have invested more than $700 billion in new coal, oil, and natural gas projects since the Paris climate accords of 2015. In all, 33 financial institutions provided about $1.9 trillion in funding to the fossil fuel sector in 2016 through 2018. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Consumers Energy Unveils Clean Energy Plan” • Patti Poppe, CEO of Consumers Energy, a Michigan public utility, didn’t always believe in climate change. That has changed. “The evidence is there,” she said. “You can’t avoid it.” Now, the utility has a clean energy plan that will replace coal-burning plants with wind and solar. [Battle Creek Enquirer]

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

Vermont Youth Rethink “Tiny” Housing

Tiny House Fest Vermont presenters connect the dots on housing and community across generations.

In experience-based educational programs around the state, Vermont youth are discovering that there’s more to a tiny house than the build. At Tiny House Fest Vermont on October 27th, 2019, three groups will report on their investigations into housing policy and people’s housing needs in Vermont and beyond.

Fest co-founder and producer Erin Maile O’Keefe is excited that presenters will include middle school, high school and college age youth groups. “When it comes to human habitation we’ve focused on narrow subject silos, and we are far from having what we need. We are also so far from having something viable to leave for future generations. Their activism is vital.”

It’s the fourth year of Tiny House Fest Vermont, founded in 2016 to explore creativity in housing and shared community spaces. After three years in Brattleboro, the festival is bringing its brand of celebration and inquiry to the Mad River Valley, home of co-presenter Yestermorrow Design/Build School.

They will be among 60 presenters presenting on three stages at the festival on Sunday, October 27, 2019 at Sugarbush Resort. Presentation topics range from the keynote, “Sustaining Sustainability: Regenerating the Practice of Life,” by Bill Reed of Regenesis, Inc., to “Designing the Next Generation of Tiny House Trailers: A Live Design Jam” with Steven Wright of Wright Trailers.

Starting with an engineering project that integrated math and science within a tiny house build, a Rutland middle school group discovered a city ordinance that did not allow tiny houses in Rutland City, opening a door for students to get involved in public policy debate. Laura MacLachlan collaborates with both teachers and students to embed academic standards into contextualized learning opportunities she calls “Education in Action.” She and students of the program will present “Rutland Youth Build Tiny for Climate Change” on the Story Stage at 2:30 pm.

Next up, an immersion journalism program involved six Vermont high school students in traveling across the country to see and learn about tiny house villages that are designed to create homes for people for whom housing security is a struggle. They listened and learned from residents and community members involved in making the villages happen. Mary Simons and the youth of Conversations from the Open Road will present on the Story Stage at 11:30 am.

Look up “802 Lab: Lift House” online.You’ll see a taste of how Norwich University’s Design Build Collaborative, with partners Downstreet Housing & Community Development and Washington County Mental Health Services integrated a design/build approach with processes that initiated from the perspective of vulnerable inhabitants to create Lift House. Project champions Tolya Stonorov (Stonorov Workshop) and Cara Armstrong (Director, Norwich University School of Architecture and Art) will present on the Community Vision Stage at 4:00 pm.

“When we talk about people, houses and the commons, we hope to encourage a sense of thoughtful re-inhabition, or a way of relating differently to our interactions and the environments we inhabit,” says fest co-founder Lisa Kuneman. “This year we get to listen to and meaningfully interact with young people as they explore their world and their views. Learning on this level is an incredible opportunity.”

Tiny House Fest Vermont is entry-level fun and learning for the public, as well as a resource for DIY makers, builders, designers, community builders and policy makers. To date, the Fest has drawn up to 8,000 people to downtown Brattleboro to view houses on site, see presentations and exhibitions, have a speed review of their own designs, create in a kids’ maker space, and attend a tour of small and tiny houses in Windham County.

The move to Warren is motivated by a presenting partnership with Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield, VT. Yestermorrow Director Charlotte Potter describes The Mad River Valley Area as home to an eclectic community of architects, makers and adventurers. “For almost 40 years Yestermorrow has helped empower individuals to build objects, homes and habitats that reflect their ideas and values. The festival is a fabulous tool to help the school expand this conversation to the greater region with an invitation to tour the area and experience its creative history.”

The first year, Tiny House Fest Vermont was to be a small event in downtown Brattleboro, organized by friends to highlight the local community of innovators. The response from presenters was enthusiastic, and thousands of inquisitive and motivated people showed up to get answers to questions and connect with the like-minded. According to Fest co-founder, Lisa Kuneman, “The nearby food coop cafe turned into an ad hoc meeting space for people from Massachusetts who wanted to talk about creating a tiny house community of their own.”

Each year, the range of tiny house demos on site has grown to include demos of a range of approaches to building tiny, from the high-performance Vermod to the romance of a “vardo”—a model of mobile living space originally fashioned to be drawn by horse. The number of presentation stages has grown from one to three, organized by theme: Community Vision, Design/Build, and Story (personal stories).

Yestermorrow presented the nation’s first Tiny House Fair in 2013, and it has pioneered coursework for the layperson since 1980 at its campus facility in Waitsfield, VT, and throughout the country. The school offers a variety of courses, including a 3-day Tiny House Design course in February and longer form Tiny House Design/Build courses during the summer months.

Tickets are available online with early bird pricing until midnight 10/26, the night before the fest. For more information about this and programming, visit the website:

Here comes TCI?!

Energy Independent Vermont has been advocating for carbon pricing for five years, and we are now seeing some progress. Coming up next week Senate president pro tem Tim Ashe and Deputy Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Peter Walke are hosting separate webinars to introduce and explain the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI).

Please take advantage of these opportunities!

Monday, October 21st, at 7:00 p.m. with Sen. Ashe (via gotowebinar)

Tuesday, October 22nd at 6:00 pm with Peter Walke (via Skype)

TCI is a multi-state collaboration attempting to put a price on carbon emissions from the transportation sector. States from Maryland to Maine have been working together for years to establish this policy, and earlier this month they released framework and pledges to release an initiate memorandum of understanding (MOU) this December. You can track TCI’s progress and review the framework here.

Sen. Ashe says that TCI, “is one of the single most important tools at Vermont’s disposal to meet our climate goals, so I think it’s important that Vermonters who care about the fate of the planet (and I know you all do) understand TCI and how it fits into our broader environmental efforts.”

Deputy secretary Walke is part of a team of administration officials working on TCI. But his boss, Gov. Phil Scott, has been sending mixed messages about the program, saying earlier this month, “I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel, I’m not looking to come out with something dramatic [on climate].”

Next week’s webinars are an important opportunity to learn more about an important climate initiative, and press for more. Sign up today!

Monday, October 21st, at 7:00 p.m. with Sen. Ashe

Tuesday, October 22nd at 6:00 pm with Peter Walke (or join in-person in the Pavilion Auditorium at 109 State St., Montpelier)

Thank you for all you do,

Energy Independent Vermont

P.S. Pollution from the transportation sector is the largest contributor to Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions, so TCI is a step in the right direction. It prices pollution and uses the proceeds on climate solutions. But, even if it is implemented immediately it won’t cover emissions from the heating and manufacturing sectors. In short, we need to price carbon across all sectors of the economy.


October 17 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Haliade-X Prototype Stands Tall In Rotterdam” • A 12-MW Haliade X wind turbine prototype has been installed in the Dutch Port of Rotterdam by GE Renewables. The 260-meter tall test turbine, which is next to Sif’s Maasvlakte yard, will be energised shortly. GE expects to complete type testing new platform by the end of next year. [reNEWS]

GE Haliade-X turbine (GE Renewables image)

  • “Another Insurer To Withdraw Coverage From Oil Sands” • Starting next year, Axis Capital Holdings Ltd will stop writing new insurance and facultative reinsurance for oil sands extraction and pipeline projects. The insurance industry has been warning for years about the consequences of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions. [Canadian Underwriter]
  • “Philadelphia Launches Regional Collaborative To Tackle Climate Change, Recycling, Renewable Energy” • The Climate Collaborative of Greater Philadelphia was to be a way for local organizations to coordinate efforts on climate change, energy, and recycling. The number of sign-ups was nearly double what was expected. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]
  • “Germany’s Largest Solar Farm Will Also Be Subsidy-Free” • German utility EnBW signed off on the investment for a 180-MW subsidy-free solar farm. It will be Germany’s largest solar farm, and EnBW says it will be the first major unsubsidized solar project in the country. The company expects commissioning to take place in 2020. [Greentech Media]
  • “Solar+Storage Killer App From DR Microgrid” • Start-up DR Microgrid, of Santa Ana, CA recently showed a plug-and-play solar+storage+nanogrid system. It is a residential or commercial-scale microgrid designed for a single home or building, which typically do not involve more than 100 kW of renewable generation. [CleanTechnica]

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

October 16 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Trump Administration Proposes New Logging In Nation’s Largest National Forest” • The Trump administration is proposing opening more than 180,000 acres of the country’s largest national forest for logging. The Agriculture Department proposal would allow road construction to log the huge Tongass National Forest. [CNN]

Tongass National Forest

  • “Getting Real Serious About Renewable Hydrogen In Real America” • Renewable energy critics used to complain that wind and solar were unreliable because they were intermittent. Now that very characteristic has created an opportunity for renewable hydrogen production, using excess renewable energy to produce hydrogen, which can be stored. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Record Melting Sees Swiss Glaciers Shrink 10% In Five Years” • Glaciers in Switzerland have shrunk 10% in the past five years, a rate that has never been seen before in over a century of observations, according to new research. The summer 2019 heatwave saw glacier melt rates break records, leading to huge losses in ice volume. [CNN]
  • “Renewable Capacity Additions Exceed New Coal In India” • Coal power station capacity addition is seeing a declining trend in India. Between financial years 2012 and 2016, 10-20 GW of new coal-power station capacity was added every year to the grid. But, in the last three years, this dropped to 5 GW and is further declining. [Down To Earth Magazine]
  • “Notre Dame Embraces Renewable Energy, Cuts Coal-Fired Plant” • The University of Notre Dame is shuttering its coal-fired power plant a year ahead of schedule thanks to a sustainable energy plan that’s seen the campus embrace renewable energy. The university had set a goal to reduce emissions 50% by 2030, but it has achieved that already. [Miami Herald]

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

October 15 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “An Arctic Expedition On Thin Ice” • The icebreaker Polarstern and its crew reached 85 degrees north on their Arctic voyage only to make a worrying discovery that threatens the success of the expedition. The problem is that they need to find ice that will support their activities, including a runway for aircraft, and the ice they are finding is not thick enough. [BBC]

Polarstern on thin ice

  • “‘I’m Standing Here In The Middle Of Climate Change’: How USDA Is Failing Farmers” • American farmers are being slammed by climate change, but the Agriculture Department is doing practically nothing to help them adapt to it. Experts are predict that this is the new norm: increasingly extreme weather across much of the US. [Politico]
  • “Rise Of Renewables May See Off Oil Firms Decades Earlier Than They Think” • The rising world reliance on fossil fuels may end decades earlier than the most polluting companies predict, offering early signs of hope on the climate crisis. Energy experts are adjusting their forecasts as clean energy develops far more quickly than expected. [The Guardian]
  • “Wind Energy Could Supply One Third Of Global Power By 2040, Says Siemens” • Wind energy could supply more than one third of global electric power demand by 2040, and this could save up to four million lives a year, according to a new study commissioned by wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. [RenewEconomy]
  • “Ban Air Miles To Combat Climate Crisis, UK Committee Recommends” • Air miles programs should be banned and a levy on frequent flyers put in place to reduce carbon emissions from aviation, the UK government’s climate advisory body said in a report. The measure is one of a number of recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change. [CNN]

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