General News

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 

Windustry Awarded USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant to develop a Small Wind Bulk-Buy program

USDA

Windustry was recently awarded a $275,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development office.

Windustry gained the support of the USDA in 2009 to launch a national Landowner Wind Energy Association Resource Center to technical support to rural communities seeking to develop community owned wind energy projects. The Center has been conducting feasibility studies to develop rural wind energy projects Montana, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

The new RBEG grant will expand our work to southern Minnesota.to work with the Region Nine Development Commission’s Renewable Energy Task Force to develop a Small Wind Bulk-Buy program across nine counties.

Windustry is honored to have received support from the USDA for two years in a row and looks forward to working with a dynamic consortium of partners to promote Community Wind and Small Wind across America.

Drexel University Commits to 100 Percent Clean, Renewable Wind Energy

(PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 7) Drexel University announced it will purchase Renewable Energy Certificates equal to 100 percent of its energy use, ensuring that 84,268 megawatt hours of electricity will be matched annually with wind energy entering the electricity grid.

This purchase will place Drexel among the top five university purchasers in the nation, according to the current Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Partnership rankings.

The Renewable Energy Credits will be supplied by renewable energy marketer and developer Community Energy.

Compared to the average generation mix in the national electric grid, the environmental benefit from this purchase is equal to offsetting approximately 60,518 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, the annual impact of which is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 12,904 acres of trees or removing 11,571 passenger vehicles from the road, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator.

Drexel was recently honored by PennFuture, a leading Pennsylvania environmental advocacy organization, with a Green Power Award for leadership in energy efficiency, including deploying an energy monitoring system at the main campus.www.drexel.edu

E3 2010

USDA Windustry is pleased to support E3 2010, a conference presented by The University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment.

Focus will be on research and innovative technologies in the renewable energy sector.

E3 2010: November 30 & December 1, 2010
Saint Paul RiverCentre
Registration now open!

Researchers, students, government officials, and nonprofit and business leaders from Minnesota and across the nation are expected to attend E3 2010. The goal of E3 is to share knowledge and discoveries in the areas of renewable energy and the environment while bringing together the world’s leading researchers and experts.

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.

Community Wind projects get a boost from Washington State

Washington State August 30, 2010 The State of Washington has awarded Cascade Community Wind Company (CCWC) one million dollars (30% grant 70% low interest loan) to help install up to eight community wind turbines before December 2011. According to CWCC, the funds will leverage approximately $10 million of private and federal funds.

The CCWC Blog says they were selected as one of the State’s best bets for spending the states allocation of ARRA stimulus money to further renewable energy in the state of Washington.

Of particular significance to the State Energy Program are CCWC’s ongoing efforts to remove barriers to distributed community renewable energy projects in general. Press Release

In related news, Cascade celebrated a groundbreaking, August 30, on the first Farmer Owned Community Wind turbines in Washington state.

Small Wind Conference 2010 draws large and engaged group

Windustry helped organize and produce the sixth annual Small Wind Conference, held this past June in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Nearly 400 small wind systems and business colleagues attended from across the United States, as well as Mexico, Canada, Europe, Japan, and South Korea.

A keynote address kicked off the two-day event, given by Larry Flowers, National Wind Technology Center Principal Project Leader at National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Guests then enjoyed networking opportunities and presentations covering relevant and timely topics for policy analysts, manufacturers, and installers.

The conference wrapped up in Pfiffner Park, on the beautiful Wisconsin Riverfront, at a barbeque sponsored by Bergey Windpower.

Small Wind Conference 2010 presentation highlights:

  • Administrators of three state public-benefits programs explained what they look for in grant applications.
  • Manufacturers gave updates on the status of their companies and products, including an in-depth look at midsized turbines (turbines above 100 kW and below 1000kW), a fast growing segment of community wind installations.
  • Presentations for installers discussed climbing safety, what installers need in order to make their businesses sustainable, and a brainstorming session to help organize a working group to craft a best practices and standards document.
  • National Standards, for both turbines and installers, was the subject of a panel discussion with representatives from the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC), the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), and Underwriters Laboratories. Topics included certification, safety codes, turbine testing and results, wind resource measurement, and siting.
  • Poster sessions included presentations on wind energy education, wind assessment techniques, turbine manufacturers, and regional small wind test centers at Department of Energy/NREL

Award presenters and recipients

Awards given during the conference recognized individual contributions, while also highlighting milestones, in the small wind field:

  • Robert Preus, of XZERES Wind, was presented with the Wind Powering America Small Wind Advocate Award for his leadership and dedication in championing the US small wind turbine market, and particularly for his advocacy work to remove small wind barriers in Texas, Idaho, and Oregon.
  • Dr. Robert Wills, PE, from Windmonitoring.com, was recognized along with Preus, for updating the National Electric Code to include comprehensive requirements for small wind turbines that will increase safety and validate the small wind industry.
  • Lisa and Joe DiFrancisco, of North Coast Energy Systems in Pennsylvania, received the Small Wind Conference Installer of the Year Award for their work in advancing the interests of small wind in the eastern United States.
  • Ken Starcher, of the Alternative Energy Institute in Texas, received The Small Wind Educator Award for his role in advocating for small wind technology and educating numerous university students, international interns, and consumers on small wind industry issues.

The annual conference is developed and coordinated by a Small Wind Conference Coordinating Committee. This year, it was supported by a record, 22 sponsors and 25 exhibitors. The seventh annual Small Wind Conference will take place on June 13 - 15 in Stevens Point at the Holiday Inn Conference Center.

Evening by the River at the Small Wind Conference

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.”

Department of Energy Seeks Input on Wind Energy Workforce Development Roadmap

U.S. Department of Energy

Washington DC — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Request For Information (RFI) to gain public input on the development of a Wind Energy Workforce Roadmap, which will provide details on the current workforce landscape in the wind industry as well as future steps necessary to train and develop a green workforce for the sector.

The purpose of the Roadmap is to establish the policy objectives and overall direction that workforce development efforts throughout the wind industry should assume as it moves forward. This RFI provides leaders from academia, industry, and government with the opportunity to provide insight and guidance to DOE as the nation ramps up its wind energy production. A draft Roadmap document has been developed, and the public may provide comments on the initial draft or may provide alternative or additional viewpoints.

This RFI does not constitute a request for specific project proposals. The information being sought under this RFI is intended to assist DOE and the wind industry in maximizing ongoing efforts to spark interest and skills development in the growing wind industry.

The information collected may be used for internal DOE planning and decision-making to align future activities under the Wind and Water Power Program with the Administration's goals for increased use of renewable energy and domestic job creation.

DOE will not reimburse costs associated with preparing any documents for this RFI, and there is no guarantee that a funding opportunity announcement will be issued subsequent to this RFI.

Comments must be provided by no later than July 30, 2010. View the full text of the RFI on the FedConnect website

 

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