• President Barack Obama & President Hu Jintao

    January 19, 2011

    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
    Washington, DC 20003

    Dear President Barack Obama & President Hu Jintao:

    It is time to publicly acknowledge that the continued burning of fossil fuels threatens the survival of civilization. The science is incontrovertible on this fact, yet the response from government is business as usual. Our two nations dominate world carbon emissions.

    No civilization has survived the ongoing destruction of its natural support systems, nor will ours.

    It is with a deepening sense of dread over the fate of future generations that we call on you to acknowledge the severity of the global climate emergency by placing climate stabilization at the top of your policy agendas.

    According to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, 2010 tied with 2005 as the hottest year in recorded history. Last year was also the wettest on record in terms of global average precipitation, according to the Global Historical Climatology Network, with devastating impacts felt across the globe. Estimates by the World Health Organization are that the Earth's warming climate contributes to more than 150,000 deaths each year. Here's what else we're facing:

    • Crop-withering heat waves
    • A melting Greenland ice sheet that threatens to raise sea level 23 feet
    • Fires transforming carbon-storing tropical rainforests into carbon emitters
    • Ocean acidification imperiling the base of the seafood chain
    • Melting glaciers in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau threatening the dry season irrigation water supplies - and food security - of hundreds of millions of people
    • Ever-deadlier storms creating growing numbers of climate refugees
    • Scientists predicting 1/5 of living species being driven toward extinction by mid-century

    This is just the beginning. Nature tells us time is running out, but we can't see the clock. As we blindly reach critical climate "tipping points," things promise to get worse, much worse. Central to the solution is a wartime-like mobilization by the governments of the United States and China to cut carbon emissions 80 percent (based on 2006 levels) by 2020. This is required if we are to reduce carbon emissions to 350 parts per million in the atmosphere, the level top climate scientists say is safe for humanity.

    There is no more important measure of presidential leadership than living up to the expectations of our children to protect their future. Every day our respective governments fail to act, their future grows more perilous. We await your response.

    Sincerely,

    Lester Brown, President, Earth Policy Institute
    Rev. Sally G. Bingham, President, The Regeneration Project & Interfaith Power & Light
    Brent Blackwelder, President Emeritus, Friends of the Earth
    David Blittersdorf, President/CEO, AllEarth Renewables, Inc.
    Jan Blittersdorf, President/CEO, NRG Systems, Inc.
    Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club
    Lisa Daniels, Executive Director, Windustry
    Brock Evans, President, Endangered Species Coalition
    Ross Gelbspan, Author
    Daryl Hannah, Actor & Activist
    Paul Hawken, Author
    Randy Hayes, Executive Director, Foundation Earth & Founder, Rainforest Action Network
    Courtney Hight, Co-Director, Energy Action Coalition
    Julia Butterfly Hill, Co-Founder, The Engage Network*
    Chuck Kutscher, Former Chair, American Solar Energy Society & Principal Engineer, National
    Renewable Energy Laboratory*
    Eric Lombardi, Executive Director, Eco-Cycle
    Bill McKibben, Founder, 350.org
    Erich Pica, President, Friends of the Earth
    Phil Radford, Executive Director, Greenpeace
    Kieran Suckling, Executive Director, Center for Biological Diversity
    Rebecca Tarbotton, Executive Director, Rainforest Action Network
    Mike Tidwell, Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
    James A. Walker, Former President, American Wind Energy Association
    Tom Weis, President, Climate Crisis Solutions

    *Institutional affiliation listed for identification purposes only

  • CERTs 2011 Clean Energy Convergence - Learn, Connect, ACT

    The CERTs 2011 Clean Energy Convergence will unite Minnesotans who are blazing the paths to a clean energy future by working on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in their communities. You can learn, connect, and act with CERTs and 600 engaged community members on February 2-3, 2011 in Saint Cloud, Minnesota.

    CERTs 2011 Clean Energy Convergence

    CERTs 2011 is a venue for both broad and in-depth learning opportunities, connecting and networking with engaged community members, and taking action on energy efficiency and clean energy projects. The event will begin with In-Depth Workshops and an Evening Reception on February 2nd, and continue with a Daylong Conference on the 3rd. 

    Learn: At CERTs 2011 you will learn from experts and community members alike on what it takes to get projects done. Find out how individuals and communities are partnering, planning, funding, and implementing projects. Hear success stories and models that demonstrate how to become more energy efficient and harness clean energy while strengthening local economies and protecting the environment. 

    Connect: CERTs 2011 will provide networking opportunities for you to connect with community leaders, energy experts, local government staff, teachers and students, utility representatives, business owners, homeowners, farmers, and more. All have the same goals: saving energy, saving money, creating jobs, and powering our future renewably. 

    Act: Whether you're looking to save energy in your home, business, school, or local government; passionate about installing a renewable energy system like solar, wind, or biomass; interested in educating your community about energy issues; or looking for good training opportunities in Minnesota, CERTs 2011 has what you're looking for.

    Learn more, see the full agenda, and register for CERTs 2011 at http://2011.MNCERTs.org 

  • USDA Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager to deliver keynote at Community Wind across America Rocky Mountain Conference

    Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager
    USDA Under Secretary
    Dallas Tonsager

    United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager will deliver the keynote address at the Community Wind across America conference in the Rocky Mountain Region on the opening morning of October 26, 2010. Tonsager has more than 35 years of dedicated work as a farmer, businessman, and community, state and national leader. He has been a vocal advocate for USDA Rural Development's continued investment in renewable-energy options, which he sees as "absolutely critical" to our future and the "greatest opportunity for economic growth in rural America today."

    Other conference highlights include Colorado's Governor Bill Ritter, Jr., as keynote speaker on Wednesday October 27; along with speakers John Stulp, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture; Bill Midcap, Director of Renewable Energy Development, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union; Larry Flowers, Principal Project Leader, National Wind Technology Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and Dan Juhl, Chairman and CEO, Juhl Wind Inc.

    Windustry is pleased and excited to have these visionary leaders for renewable energy join us along with many more leaders in Community and Small Wind. Community Wind across America offers a robust program that will make it easy to get involved with community wind networks and get good solid wind energy information.

    Attendees include rural landowners, community leaders, elected officials, clean energy advocates, state and federal agencies, zoning and permitting officials, wind developers, educators and academics and economic development professionals. Focus will be on public policy and project development specifics for Community and Small Wind, with an overall goal to grow this market nationally.

    2010 Conferences

    Rocky Mountain Region, October 26-27, 2010, Renaissance Denver Hotel, Denver, CO.
    Midwest Region, November 15-16 2010, Crowne Plaza Hotel, St. Paul, MN
    Mid Atlantic Region November 30 – December 1, 2010, Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA

    REGISTER online or phone Catherine O' Neill at 612-870-3477.

    Community Wind across America conferences are presented by Windustry, a national leader in helping communities develop and own wind energy. With support from U.S. Department of Energy funding and national sponsor, Nordic WindPower.

  • General Wesley Clark joins all-star roster for Midwest Wind Conference

    General Wesley Clark
    General Wesley Clark

    Special Guest General Wesley Clark joins an all-star roster of wind luminaries for the Community Wind across America conference for the Midwest Region on November 15-16 in St. Paul, Minnesota. General Clark opens Monday evening's reception (5:30 pm), the four star Army general has called for a Renewable Energy Standard for the country and extending tax credits for renewables, much the way the government encourages oil and gas development.

    Program speakers for the two-day event include Community Wind pioneer Dan Juhl and Small Wind guru Mick Sagrillo. Economics professor Arne Kildegaard, will speak to the regional economic impact of wind development with local ownership and Craig Lewis, of the FIT Coalition, will present on the benefits of Feed-In Tariffs.

    See the full two-day Agenda for the Community and Small Wind Energy event at the Crowne Plaza Hotel St. Paul, Minnesota on November 15-16. Discounted registration fees of $125 are available through November 11, so don't delay. 

    Get more information about the Community Wind across America conference series.

  • Community Wind across America Rocky Mountain Region conference report

    Community Wind across America

    Windustry presented the Community Wind across America Rocky Mountain Region conference on October 26 and 27 in Denver, Colorado.

    In the kick off to the regional conferences Windustry is presenting with support form the United States Department of Energy, people from the Colorado Eastern Plains, Wyoming, Kansas, Utah and New Mexico heard keynotes from national leaders, success stories from rural America, and a broad range of information on the distributed wind industry. The crowd numbered around 225.

  • DOE Workshop: Deployment Barriers to Distributed Wind Technology

    U.S. Department of Energy

    Attendees of the Community Wind Across America conference for the Rocky Mountain region in Denver, along with others, are invited to join the U.S. Department of Energy on Thursday October 28, 2010 to brainstorm and develop concepts for federal legislative involvement in the distributed wind landscape that you believe would accelerate distributed wind deployment.

    When: Thursday October 28th, 2010, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., following the Windustry Community Wind Across America conference

    Where: Renaissance Denver Hotel, Denver, CO, USA

    The ‘Deployment Barriers to Distributed Wind Energy' workshop is open to the public. Registration is free but required to attend. Breakfast and Lunch will be provided.

    The US DoE's Wind Power Program would like to develop a list of immediate high impact, top down solutions (federal policy, legislation, and actions) to streamline distributed wind (small and midsize) turbine deployment for policymakers and DoE upper management to consider. Specifically the Program is interested in the following deployment barriers: zoning, permitting, installation, site assessment, interconnection, net metering, standards, and certification.

    Download the Workshop Agenda



  • Counties Investing in Green Strategies according to NACo Survey

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Driven by finding ways to reduce the cost of running local government, the nation's counties are implementing innovative green government strategies and say they have seen cost‐savings as a result, according to a new survey from the National Association of Counties (NACo).

    LCSWMA - PPL Wind Turbines
    Wind turbine erected at Frey Farm Landfill, Conestoga, PA for Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority by PPL Renewable Energy, September 2010.

    The NACo Green Government Initiative surveyed all of America's 3,068 counties on their current and future sustainability strategies, priorities, and the challenges, with 18 percent of counties responding to the survey. The survey analyzed the responding counties' demographic and geographic characteristics, including a population analysis and regional and climate assessment. Among the key findings:

    • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Generation along with Waste Management are the most common sustainability efforts counties are pursuing.
    • 68 percent affirmed that their county has sustainability strategies underway.
    • 45 percent said the most important benefit counties are realizing from sustainability efforts is cost savings.
    • Overwhelmingly, funding is the most significant challenge inhibiting counties from accomplishing all sustainability strategies.
    • The majority of respondents would like to further invest in:
    1. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Generation
    2. Waste Management
    3. Green Building Construction/Renovation, and Water Conservation/Reuse
    4. Green Purchasing, Local Food Systems, and Green Economic Development

    “Counties are clearly national leaders in pursuing green government efforts to help protect the environment and save taxpayers' money,” said Green Government Initiative Chair Shannon Staub, Commissioner, Sarasota County, Fla. “This survey is just one more example of the work NACo's Green Government Initiative is doing to help us all better understand county sustainability strategies, what efforts are working, and where do we go from here.”

    The survey's findings are available in the NACo publication 2010 County Sustainability Strategies.

  • Americans Making Power Act Proposes National Net Metering

    July 2010, Washington, D.C. - Rep. Jay Inslee (WA) has introduced the Americans Making Power Act, or AMP Act, which would establish a national standard for net metering. The legislation would allow Americans to feed back into the grid excess renewable power they generate through their homes, small businesses and even places of worship. This legislation would also improve reliability of the nation's electric grid by encouraging a more diffuse means of energy production.

    “Our new clean energy economy can start right at home.”

    —  Rep. Jay Inslee

    The AMP Act (HR 5692) addresses two main issues associated with a robust net metering policy; namely the actual net metering standard and a policy component designed to allow for the connection of a renewable energy system to the electric grid, also known as "interconnection." The AMP Act would accomplish this by modifying section 113 of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) of 1978. While some 42 states have already adopted some form of net metering and/or interconnection standards, there are many variations in policy and some states have yet to adopt net metering language at all.

    The AMP Act would set a minimum in standards and procedures for net-metering including a limit on the size of machine at 2MW, but would allow states to enact their own regulations over and above this minimum. As written, the owner-generator keeps all renewable energy credits generated by the machine. Additionally, the requirement to offer this program does not apply once the utility has reached a total of 6% of its peak load in net-metered projects (or 4% of it's peak by any one qualifying net-metered technology). This is re-calculated every 12 months. Customer-generators will receive a kwh credit on their bill for any excess generation. At the end of 12 months, if there is a net excess of generation, the customer-generator recieves a payment equal to the average wholesale rate for the previous 12-month period per net excess kwh.

    “Our new clean energy economy can start right at home,” said Rep. Inslee. “By empowering Americans, this legislation can help build the clean energy economy of the 21st century while saving families money. Imagine getting a credit on your bill from your utility company every month because you generated more power than you use.”

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