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Friday, October 24, 2014

Audubon Society of RI Names Arpin Sustainable Business of The Year

Lots of great things going on for us these last two weeks.  We'll post some updates here, but you can find much more at renewablenow.biz.  You will be hearing multiple stories on the radio side as well.



The Audubon Society of Rhode Island, founded in 1897, is one of the country's oldest nature and wildlife non-profit organizations that focuses on preservation. With 17,000 members and supporters, the Audubon Society of Rhode Island is dedicated to education, land conservation, and advocacy.

This past weekend at their annual meeting that took place in Providence, the  Audubon Society of
 
Peter Arpin interviewing Candace Powell, Pres., Audubon Society RI 
Rhode Island took some time to recognize the outstanding achievements of a number of individuals and organizations for their efforts and their achievements. One person and company that was recognized wasReNewable Now's very own Peter Arpin, and the Arpin Group, as the "2014 Audubon Society of Rhode Island Sustainable Company of The Year." This award recognizes everything Arpin has been doing when it comes to sustainability, from creating a positive work environment, their community outreach, to education and investment when it comes to sustainability. The totality of Arpin's efforts were reflected by Eugenia Marks, Senior Director of Policy, who said, "So how many ways could you count that a moving company could be an environmental leader?" Eugenia went on to describe the many initiatives and really help to reinforce the importance of corporate social responsibility.

Peter Arpin was more than gracious in accepting the award, and he referenced two common traits that both the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, and Arpin Group have in common, and the were;"perseverance and resilience." "With Arpin being founded in 1900, and the Audubon Society of Rhode Island in 1897 both organization have shown true sustainability, in the good times and the bad times, and both have been able to change to meet today's goals. " MORE

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Quiz: Is an Electric Car Right for You? Huffington Post

We are happy to share this post from Gina at Sierra Club.  They do a great job of pushing consumer adaptation of EV's.  We agree this would be very positive for our environment and economy.   Please read and put EV's and hybrids on your radar:

A lot of people have heard the buzz around electric vehicles (EVs), but they don't know if an EV would be right for them. In fact, many don't even know what would be the right questions to ask themselves to figure out whether cars like the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, or Ford C-Max Energi would fit their lifestyles -not to mention their budgets.
I'm happy to report that we at the Sierra Club have launched a 'pick-a-plug-in' web tool to help people figure out which electric cars, if any, are right for them. I hope you'll check it out and share it with your friends who may be curious about EVs.
A poll last year found that nearly half of American households could purchase an EV for their next car; it would be a great fit for their driving needs, and they would have a place to charge it with electricity. We're talking about many millions of people. Are you one of them?
There are a lot of compelling reasons why more than a quarter million Americans have already bought EVs since they first came on the mass market a few years ago. They are cool high-tech wonders (imagine driving an iPhone!), there is little or no need to ever visit a gas station (depending on whether you purchase a full battery electric or a plug-in hybrid car), they are much cheaper to fuel (the equivalent of about $1 a gallon), and they are much better for the environment (even when considering the emissions from the electricity to charge them up).
Also, there is a $2,500-7,500 federal tax credit that comes with the purchase of an EV. And many people live in cities and states where they can take advantage of additional incentives, like a purchase/lease rebate (in some places get a check in the mail for thousands of dollars -I am not kidding!), carpool lane access, and special utility rates for EV drivers. Linked to our new 'pick-a-plug-in' web tool is our online EV Guide that has all of this information if you enter your zip code. If you click on a specific EV, we'll even tell you how much you'll avoid in carbon emissions and fueling costs compared to the average conventional car.
But are EVs currently the right fit for everyone? No. For example, some people don't have a place to charge them with electricity. For many, though, it's simpler than they think. I had a basic 110 volt outlet installed on the side of my house, so I can charge up my car in our driveway. Easy peasy.
Many people ask me, "What's the best electric car to get?" My answer is always, "it depends." How many miles do you drive in a typical day? Do you take a lot of long-distance trips? How much money are you willing to spend? There are nearly 20 great models available in the US and more coming out every year.
So, what are you waiting for? Check out 'pick-a-plug-in,' and start your EV journey. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sustainability audit today at Arpin Group

We are really excited about the audit today which will be conducted by the Ex-Dir of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals, Maureen Hart.  We talked to Maureen on the radio side--which you can find at: http://www.renewablenow.biz/peter-arpin-remewable-now.html--and will interview her on-camera today as well.

Here's background on Maureen and ISSP.  If you are a sustainability professional, or have interest in developing that skill and certification, get in touch with them.  We will be broadcasting from their convention in Denver in Nov.

Maureen Hart

Executive Director at International Society of Sustainability Professionals
Current
  1. International Society of Sustainability Professionals,
  2. Sustainable Measures
Previous
  1. Community Indicators Consortium
  2. Hart Environmental Data,
  3. VisiCorp
Education
  1. Tufts University


Making Sustainability Standard Practice

As a professional association, ISSP improves the skills of sustainability practitioners through education, knowledge sharing and research.
Learn more about the benefits of membership below.  Download a two-page ISSP overview here. See also the history of ISSP , FAQs and Founders & Management.
Mission
2012-2013 ISSP Annual Report - This report documents the changes and achievements of our fiscal year which ran from September 1, 2012 through August 31, 2013. View a copy here, or click here for more information.
Community - ISSP uses web technology to help you search for and connect with people who share certain interests or fit certain criteria. Search for people in your geographic area, within a specific organization, or find people who are working on specific types of projects or have certain skills.
Resource Sharing - Stop reinventing the wheel!  Start working together and building on expertise! The ISSP site allows members to post and evaluate content. Search for a tool, policy, case study, book or other resource and be able to see at a glance which ones were deemed most worthwhile by other professionals. Also, similar to Wikipedia, the ISSP site allows members to co-create documents or resources. We’ve started a glossary of terms but this feature could also be used to write documents with others.
Advancements in the Field - Engage in discussions through topic-centered forums to get answers to difficult challenges from experienced professionals.
Professional Development - ISSP provides virtual professional development.  You take classes with a cohort of peers, accessing the best instructors from all over the world.
Conferences - More than 200 sustainability professionals from around the world came together for ISSP Conference 2013, which was held in Chicago in May 2013.  See a summary of our most recent conference in Chicago here.
Plans are currently underway for ISSP's next conference, to be held November 13-14, 2014 in Denver, CO. To read more about the Denver conference and to register, click here.
Career Assistance - Our web site has a special section devoted to career advancement with job postings, job descriptions, salary studies and other useful information.
Professional Journal - ISSP produces an e-Journal Digest that goes out monthly to all members and interested parties. It points you toward the latest articles, book reviews, or events that have been postebd on the site. Sign up for a free subscription here.
Professional Standards - Many members are expressing an interest in moving toward some form of professional accreditation. ISSP hopes to be the nexus where exploration about accreditation can take place.

Hillsboro is the greenest of any 'Green Power Community' in the nation, EPA says

We hope to follow up with officials from Hillsboro to get behind the story of their ascent to the "Green Power Community" king in the nation.  We'd like their story to be an inspiration for all political leaders.  More on that later.  In the meantime congratulations to Hillsboro for a great job.



By Luke Hammill | lhammill@oregonian.com 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter 

SolarWorld solar panels

Hillsboro uses a higher percentage of sustainable power than any other "Green Power Community" in the nation, according to the results of an Environmental Protection Agency competition announced Monday.

The city took first place in one of two categories in the EPA's fourth-annual Green Power Community Challenge because just over 50 percent of its total electricity use comes from green power. That's a far higher share than the second-place town – Brookeville, Md., which came in at just over 40 percent.

Fifty-three communities nationwide competed in the challenge. To qualify, a municipality had to be certified as an EPA "Green Power Community" for meeting the agency's minimum standards for power usage. Green power is electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar or low-impact hydropower.

Hillsboro also took second place in the other category, which ranked communities for their total green power usage. Hillsboro used over 1 billion kilowatt-hours of green power in 2013-14. Only Washington, D.C. used more – almost 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours. But only 12.7 percent of the electricity used in the nation's capital came from green sources, ranking it 21st in the category Hillsboro won.

Portland ranked third in the total usage category, with 610 million kilowatt-hours of green power in 2013-14, and took 33rd in the other ranking – 8 percent of its power is green, according to the EPA.

Beaverton, Gresham, Bend, Salem, Medford, Corvallis, Hood River, Cannon Beach and Milwaukie also competed in the challenge. The rankings are available at the EPA's website.

Hillsboro's use of over 1 billion kilowatt-hours of green power is equal to avoiding the carbon emissions of more than 150,000 passenger vehicles per year, the city said in a news release. It's also enough to power over 98,000 homes per year.
"This is a great achievement for the City of Hillsboro and a testament to our community's commitment to voluntarily seek out ways to become more sustainable," said Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey in a written statement. "My family knows the value of green power firsthand from our experience installing solar power panels on our roof, and our purchase of green power through our electricity supplier, Portland General Electric."
-- Luke Hammill

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Can renewables supply 100% of world's power by 2050?

Great story full of positive possibilities:  

From: Tim Radford, The EcologistMore from this Affiliate 
Published October 16, 2014



A global low-carbon energy economy is not only feasible - it could actually double electricity supply by 2050, while also reducing air and water pollution, according to new research.
Even though photovoltaic power requires up to 40 times more copper than conventional power plants, and wind power uses up to 14 times more iron, the world wins on a switch to low-carbon energy.


These positive findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Edgar Hertwich and Thomas Gibon, of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology Department of Energy and Process Engineering.
Whole-life costs of key energy sources
They and international research colleagues report that they have made - as far as they know - the first global life-cycle assessment of the economic and environmental costs of renewable and other clean sources of energy in a world that responds to the threat of climate change.
Other studies have looked at the costs in terms of health, pollutant emissions, land use change or the consumption of metals. The Norwegian team set out to consider the lot.
There were some things they had to leave out. These include bioenergy: the conversion of corn, sugar cane or other crops to ethanol for fuel, because that would also require a comprehensive assessment of the food system; and nuclear energy, because they could not reconcile what they called "conflicting results of competing assessment approaches."
But they tried to consider the whole-life costs of solar power, wind power, hydropower and gas and coal generators that used carbon capture and storage to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
They took into account the demand for aluminium, copper, nickel and steel, metallurgical grade silicon, flat glass, zinc and clinker. They thought about the comparative costs of 'clean' and 'dirty' power generation.
And they considered the impact of greenhouse gases, particulate matter, toxicity in ecosystems, and the eutrophication- the overwhelming blooms of plankton - of the rivers and lakes.
They also assessed the impact of such future power plants on the use of land, and they made allowances for the economic benefits of increasing amounts of renewable power in the extraction and refinement of minerals needed to make yet more renewable power.
Then they contemplated two scenarios: one in which global electricity production rose by 134% by 2050, with fossil fuels accounting for two-thirds of the total; and one in which electricity demand in 2050 rises by 13% less because energy use becomes more efficient.
Continue reading at ENN affiliate, The Ecologist.

Renewable energy collage image via Shutterstock.



Monday, October 20, 2014

7 Renewable Energy Lessons from Germany

Great article sent in by Seth Handy, one of our co-host.  Thanks, Seth.

Jennifer Runyon 
October 03, 2014

Jennifer Runyon is chief editor of RenewableEnergyWorld.com and Renewable Energy World magazine, coordinating, writing and/or editing columns, features, news stories and blogs for the publications. 

Here's the intro: " On the occasion of Germany’s re-unification day, I thought it would be fitting to review some of the lessons I learned from Germany about renewable energy on a recent trip to the country. 
It would be hard to argue that Germany is NOT the renewable energy capital of the world in terms of developing a thriving industry that contributed more than 27 percent of renewable energy generation to the grid in the first nine months of 2014.  The industry also supports more than 378,000 jobs in the country and billions in economic activity.  Germany dedicated itself to clean energy in 2000 with the passage of the EEG – the renewable energies act, which kicked off the Energiewende energy transition.  The law has been continuously tweaked over the past 14 years with a key component coming in 2011 after fukushima when it decided that it would shut down all nuclear power by 2022. 
During the last week in September, I was invited to travel around eastern Germany to see renewable energy projects, interview entrepreneurs in the industry, visit companies, and enjoy a small taste of Berlin, the capital. From what I gathered there are very specific reasons that Germany has been successful at developing this thriving industry.  Our November/December issue will feature a more in-depth look at renewable energy in Germany but I wanted to share some of my initial impressions with you today.
Click through the following pages to see what I believe are important lessons that other countries can learn from Germany’s renewable energy example."
LINK TO THE PAGES:  http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2014/10/7-renewable-energy-lessons-from-germany?page=all
SOME HIGHLIGHTS:   1. Think Big, No Think Huge
On a drive through eastern Germany, you would have to be blind to not see wind turbines.  They dot the horizon of the relatively flat country in every direction and are clearly visible from every major road in the part of the country where I was traveling (the northeast). But driving between Altentreptow and Stralsund on the north shore you’ll see Enercon’s massive 7.5 MW-turbines, enormous structures almost 200 meters high (650 feet), with a rotor diameter of 127 meters (416 feet).  The blades seem to dance in the wind at speeds of up to 34 meters per second and capture more wind energy than any other onshore wind turbine on the market today.  These behemoth onshore structures serve as constant reminders to the people of the region that they are committed to a renewable energy future and their environment is cleaner because of it.

2. Take Advantage of Knowledge Transfer
When Gicon was commissioned to develop a floating wind turbine, it turned to the oil and gas offshore drilling industry for inspiration.  The first prototype that it developed weighed 1,500 tons, the second came in at 1,200 tons and the third, which is plans to deploy next summer, is down to 670 tons – less than half its first iteration.  The company employs 300 engineers and has taken over a portion of the Straslund-based Werft Nordic Yards shipyard, a fabrication facility that at its peak had employed more than 1200 welders before it went bankrupt in 2009.  Today, welders are literally breathing new life into the shipyard as they put together the prototype.  Gicon estimates that it could build one floating offshore wind platform per week and employ up to 1000 steelworkers doing it. Once the prototype is in place and the concept is proven, the company hopes it will partner with a major turbine supplier and deploy its cheaper and easier to install floating turbine in Japan, the U.S. and all over Europe...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Arpin is winning an award from Audubon tomorrow for our sustainable accomplishments, including creating Renewable Now

Back from CA (wait till you see some of the great shows, reports from the West Coast trip), and  proud tomorrow to accept Audubon's business of the year here in RI.  We are honored, humbled, inspired to do much more.

Here's a reminder of the great work they do on behalf of us all:



About Us

Audubon's Mission: To conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity.
For more than a century, Audubon has built a legacy of conservation success by mobilizing the strength of its network of members, Chapters, Audubon Centers, state offices and dedicated professional staff to connect people with nature and the power to protect it.
A powerful combination of science, education and policy expertise combine in efforts ranging from protection and restoration of local habitats to the implementation of policies that safeguard birds, other wildlife and the resources that sustain us all--in the U.S. and Across the Americas.  
Successes include:
  • Protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other fragile habitats;
  • The ongoing recovery of the imperiled California condor and brown pelican;
  •  Adoption of innovative policies that balance habitat protection with green energy development on millions of acres;
  • Continuing restoration of the Everglades and Long Island Sound
How we do it:
  • Nearly 500 local Chapters nationwide engage members in grassroots conservation action;
  • Audubon environmental policy, education and science experts guide lawmakers, agencies, and our grassroots in shaping effective conservation plans, actions and the policies to support them;
  • More than 2,500 Audubon-designated Important Bird Areas identify, prioritize and protect vital bird habitat from coast to coast--in partnership with BirdLife International, our IBA conservation efforts support species and their habitats across the Western Hemisphere;
  • "Citizen Scientists" collect vital data, through Audubon's annual Christmas Bird Count, the new Coastal Bird Survey, and other initiatives, generating groundbreaking analyses and guiding scientists and policy makers in addressing the needs of birds and other wildlife;
  • Special ecosystem-wide conservation initiatives focus on protection and restoration of the nation's most special places from Alaska's Tongass to Sagebrush country and the Louisiana Coast;
  • Audubon Centers and sanctuaries are hubs of conservation exploration, research, and action, allowing millions to discover and defend the natural world;
  • Educational programs and materials combine with Audubon, the nation's most acclaimed conservation magazine to introduce schoolchildren, families and nature-lovers of all ages to the wonders of nature and the power of conservation at home and around the world.
Join Us--Together we are making a difference.