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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

For tomorrow's Show: Waterkeeper Alliance

Looking forward to a great interview with their Executive Director, Marc Yaggi.  Tune in at Renewable Now.biz:



Waterkeeper Alliance strengthens and grows a global network of grassroots leaders protecting everyone’s right to clean water.

Waterkeeper Alliance holds polluters accountable. We’re the largest and fastest growing nonprofit solely focused on clean water. We preserve and protect water by connecting local Waterkeeper organizations worldwide. Our goal is swimmable, drinkable and fishable water everywhere.
Our story started in 1966 when commercial and recreational fishermen, many of them veterans, united to save their river and formed the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association. These fishermen recognized that outspoken, citizen-led advocacy was the only way to ensure that laws were enforced and their river, livelihood and the health of their families were protected. They took on many of the nation’s biggest industrial polluters and won.
In 1983, they hired the first full-time Hudson Riverkeeper to patrol the river, to restore its abundant fisheries and to lead citizen-based enforcement of environmental laws. Since those early days, Hudson Riverkeeper has brought hundreds of polluters to justice and forced them to spend hundreds of millions of dollars restoring the Hudson to health. Their success spurred an explosive growth of similar grassroots programs across the globe, and in 1999 Waterkeeper Alliance was founded to support these programs.
Today, Waterkeeper Alliance is made up of over 280 Waterkeeper Organizations protecting rivers, lakes and coastal waterways on 6 continents. Our proudest accomplishment is the depth and breadth of our member organizations and the unity of their vision for clean water and strong communities.

Airport First To Become 100 Percent Solar-Powered

We are seeing more airports around the world investing in renewables and sustainable improvements.  On a small scale here is a significant achievement.

With virtual net metering in place, many other airports could offest their full facility carbon load and buy local energy.  We think that is a huge plus for them and the communities they serve.

Airport First To Become 100 Percent Solar-Powered


Following the inauguration of a 45-acre, 12 MWp solar power plant, India's Cochin International Airport is the world's first fully solar-powered airport.

Dignitaries were on hand as airport authorities flipped the switch on more than 46,150 newly installed solar panels, which will produce an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 units of electricity daily. Each year, the airport could produce up to 18 million units of electricity, enough to power 10,000 homes.

Cochin first dabbled in solar power in March 2013, when authorities installed a 100 kWp solar power plant on the roof of the airport's terminal building; another 1 MWp installation atop a maintenance hangar followed shortly thereafter. Together, the two plants are estimated to have already cut carbon dioxide emissions by 550MT.

With the addition of the newest plant, authorities say that the facility will be completely "power neutral."

"Over the next 25 years, this green power project will avoid carbon dioxide emissions from coal fired power plants by more than 3 lakh metric tons, which is equivalent to planting 3 million trees," authorities said in a statement.

Any surplus power produced will be pushed back into the local grid, Engadget reports.
Cochin is the seventh busiest airport in India by passenger load, ferrying almost 7 million people in the past year.

Report says EPA , USDA must do more to protect wild bees

Go to the broadcast section of our main site at Renewable Now. biz to find great segments on this.  Protecting bees is a huge environmental/economic issue for the world.  Yes, each agency, and we, the people, need to fully support their safe keeping and habitat.

Report says EPA, USDA must do more to protect wild bees

Bad for bees, bad for people? @bberwyn photo.
GAO report says EPA can do more to protect native bees from pesticides.
Government Accountability Office highlights needs for more research on pesticide impacts

Staff Report
U.S. government investigators said the EPA and the Department of Agriculture need to take more steps to address threats to wild bee populations, starting with a better monitoring program to assess the impacts of agricultural pesticides.

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According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, the USDA has failed to live up to a May 2015 mandate from the White House to monitor the health of native bee colonies. North America is home to more than 4,000 species of native bees.


“Native bees pollinate about 80 percent of flowering plants around the world, including valuable food crops like blueberries,” said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity, a watchdog group that’s been highly critical of the federal government’s failure to adequately address the impacts of pesticides on pollinators. “This report sends a clear signal that the agency has to buckle down right away and start to do the important work of protecting our native bees,” Burd said.

Pesticides are suspected to be one of the primary causes of pollinator population declines. The GAO report said the EPA should be a better job of working with other agencies to assess how pesticide cocktails are affecting bees, considering that fields are sometimes treated with dozens of different pesticides at any given time.

“By identifying the pesticide mixtures that farmers most commonly use on crops, EPA would have greater assurance that it could assess those mixtures to determine whether they pose greater risks than the sum of the risks posed by individual pesticides,” the GAO wrote in its report.

“For far too long, the EPA has turned a blind eye to the impacts of pesticide mixtures,” said Burd. “I hope this report will force the agency to finally take the common-sense measure of studying the effects of pesticides in real-world conditions, where multiple pesticides are present, rather than just in sterile laboratories, where only one pesticide is tested at a time.”

Mixed together pesticides can act synergistically to kill or severely harm bees and other nontarget animals like fish and birds.

In formal comments on the report, the USDA and the EPA said they agreed in large part with the recommendations and explained that the agencies have already been working on addressing some of the issues identified by the GAO.

The USDA said that implementing many of the suggestions would require additional funding.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Spotlight Solar Trees Stand

This is a great way to promote renewables.  Kudos to Orlando.  Disney, of course, has a very ambitious, and successful, commitment to sustainability.  

Spotlight Solar Trees Stand Tall at Orlando Convention Center

Project puts solar energy in the public eye, showcases high-level commitment to clean energy and sustainability


Orlando’s Orange Country Convention Center (OCCC), America’s second largest conference and exhibition venue, is the latest location featuring Spotlight Solar’s distinctive solar trees. Two pairs of Spotlight’s Lift solar structures will uniquely showcase the commitment to clean energy and sustainability shared by the convention center, the city of Orlando, and the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC). Participants in the DistribuTECH conference and exhibition taking place this week will be the first to see the new systems.

Spotlight Solar’s portfolio of solar structures are carefully engineered, solar-powered systems designed to echo other, less-visible clean energy investments, to catalyze conversation and awareness around solar energy and sustainability.  

In the case of the Orlando project, the quartet of 22-foot-tall Spotlight trees will bring attention to the 1-megawatt solar power plant operating on the roof of the convention center installed in 2009, as well as add several kilowatts of additional power to the complex’s solar generation capacity. The clean energy generated by the four Lift structures will offset 12 tons of carbon emissions annually and will produce enough sun juice to fully charge the equivalent of more than 1.75 million smartphones over the course of a year.

“More than 1.3 million people visit the Orlando Convention Center each year, and when they arrive, the Spotlight Solar structures will provide a strikingly visual symbol of our city’s environmental stewardship,” said Linda Ferrone, president of OUC, which invested in the Spotlight installation. “OUC is deploying these architectural solar energy structures in high visibility places around the city, as part of an effort to bring solar energy into public view and complement other renewable energy projects people can’t see.”

“Studies have shown that visibility is one of the most important factors accelerating the adoption of solar energy, and Spotlight installations like the one at the Orlando Convention Center get people thinking and talking about solar,” said Craig Merrigan, CEO and co-founder of Spotlight Solar. “Our partners at OUC understand this, and are working with us to educate people that renewables are an important part of our energy future.”

Spotlight Solar’s installation at the Orlando Convention Center is the latest project showing the diverse potential for the deployment of publicly visible solar trees. In 2015, the company installed 40 solar structures across the United States, including a system at Austin City Limits Music Festival showcasing clean energy to 450,000 event attendees over two consecutive weekends. Spotlight has several projects in its 2016 pipeline, including installations slated for educational, public transportation, sports, and utility facilities.

To locate the pair of Spotlight Solar installations at the Orlando Convention Center campus, click here for a map link.

About Spotlight Solar
Spotlight Solar makes customers’ properties distinctive with great looking solar energy structures. These novel structures complement other environmental measures and authentically remind people of those investments. By making solar more visible and attractive, Spotlight Solar hopes to accelerate the adoption of solar energy. Spotlight is a certified B Corporation, which means the company is out to do something good. For more information, visit www.spotlightsolar.com.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Vermont Utility Opens Collaborative Space for Energy Businesses, Seeks Applicants

We've done some great radio shows with Green Mountain Power.  In so many ways they are the model of a smart grid (in addition to being a leading investor in renewable sources of power).  Today we see them stepping up again to support the New England green economy.  What a smart idea to open its doors to entrepreneurs who will create the next, great solutions for balancing the economy with the environment.

We expect to be up there this year to broadcast live from their offices.  It will be great to meet and interview the people behind the start ups.  Our thanks to Seth Handy, one of our terrific co-hosts, for sending this to us:

 energy

Green Mountain Power (GMP) has launched a contest to find energy companies and entrepreneurs to colocate at the utility’s headquarters in Colchester, Vt., and work to develop innovative energy products for consumers.

"This exciting initiative is our way of encouraging businesses to locate here in Vermont by supporting energy entrepreneurs who will deliver the latest in new technology and clean energy for customers," GMP President and CEO Mary Powell said in a statement. "Innovation is the key to cost-effective, clean energy and making the world a more sustainable place. Working together is the best way to achieve this energy vision."

GMP is accepting applications for the contest through May 15, and will announce the winners at the end of May.

The winning companies will be invited to work alongside GMP staff and leadership in the utility’s new Inspire Space — an approximately 3,000-square-foot open work space located inside the utility’s headquarters. Outfitted from reclaimed materials, such as a table inlaid with a solar panel, and featuring hubs for each of the winning teams, the Inspire Space mimics the open floor plan of the facility that houses all of GMP’s working groups.
“The idea for the contest stemmed from the fact that we had some extra room because at GMP, we have been moving toward a more and more open concept working close together, and we find that that breeds better collaboration, better ideas, and better innovation,” Kristin Carlson, GMP’s director of media and chief corporate spokesperson, told Renewable Energy World.

Powell decided to renovate the extra space into an innovation center and attract companies to Vermont to build on GMP’s goal of delivering a new energy future for customers, Carlson said.


GMP will select up to five companies and will offer a small financial support package to help those companies move to Vermont. The companies will work in the Inspire Space for a year to develop their energy product offerings.
energy

Carlson said the contest winners will have free access to the Inspire Space and the facilities at the headquarters, such as internet and conference rooms. More importantly, she added, they will be able to tap into the knowledge base of GMP’s employees and executive team as well as their connections in the energy industry.
 
Carlson said that, since GMP launched the contest, Vermont organizations have expressed an interest in providing the contest winners with mentorships and partnerships as well as access to capital.
 
According to Carlson, the primary qualifying factors for the contest are that the applicants be passionate and a have a great idea for the energy space.
 
“GMP is committed to transforming our energy future, one that moves away from the bulk grid to one where energy is generated closer to where it’s needed; where you’re making the home or the town the center, where you’re pairing it will energy storage and microgrids,” Carlson said. “We just see a lot of excitement around that, but there’s so much that still needs to be developed from a technology standpoint, and we want to help connect those businesses to our customers to deliver real-world solutions, but to have us also help in that process.”
 
Companies or entrepreneurs interested in applying for the contest can visit gmpinspire.com
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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Investing Better from Green America

From our friends at Better World Club.  Something to look at:



From urging companies to address a wide range of climate change issues to reporting on female pay disparity, from addressing deforestation to linking executive pay to progress on sustainability goals, shareholders are using their economic power to encourage corporate responsibility.

The 2016 shareholder season is underway! More than 400 shareholder resolutions have been filed on a wide range of social, environmental, and corporate governance issues. If you own direct company stock, be sure to vote your proxy ballots to let corporate management know you want corporate practices that support people and the planet.

http://www.greenamerica.org/socialinvesting/shareholderaction/index.c
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Carbon Dioxide in Earth's Atmosphere Hit Highest-Recorded Level Last Year; Will 2016 be Better?

This is a great question.  What do you think?

If not in 2016, then soon.  All data points to reduced carbon levels across all continents.  Let the world breath just a little easier and enjoy an amazing milestone and journey to a cleaner, brighter future.

Carbon Dioxide in Earth's Atmosphere Hit Highest-Recorded Level Last Year; Will 2016 be Better?


Carbon Dioxide in Earth's Atmosphere Hit Highest-Recorded Level Last Year; Will 2016 be Better?
The earth is showing the effects of climate change. Recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that the atmosphere's carbon dioxide levels hit a peak in 2015. 
The earth is showing the effects of climate change. Recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that the atmosphere's carbon dioxide levels hit a peak in 2015.

Carbon dioxide levels measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii show that the concentration of gas increased to 3.05 parts per million (ppm) in 2015. It is considered to be the highest year-to-year increase in the last 50 years.

Carbon Dioxide Levels Soaring

The burning of fossil fuels are said to be behind the increase in Earth's temperature. Discovery News notes that since the use of fossil fuels for energy, carbon dioxide levels have risen to more than 400 ppm. Additionally, the increase rate of the gas is 200 times faster than in the previous thousands of years.

"Carbon dioxide levels are increasing faster than they have in hundreds of thousands of years," said NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network lead scientist Pieter Tans, in a statement. "It's explosive compared to natural processes."

Last month, the recorded CO2 concentration in the earth's atmosphere is now 402.6 ppm. Before the 1800's, the atmospheric carbon dioxide had an average of 280 ppm.

CO2 Levels Increase Due to Climate Change

The increase is carbon dioxide levels over the past years is due to El Niño and human activities. BBC notes that this has caused forest fires in some parts of the world. The fires, eventually, resulted in more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Emissions caused by activities of men such as the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas may be controlled; we can make changes to reduce the increase of greenhouse gases.

"The impact of El Niño on CO2 concentrations is a natural and relatively short-lived phenomenon," Petteri Taalas of the World Meteorological Organization said. "But the main long-term driver is greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. We have the power and responsibility to cut these."

An article posted on the journal Nature reported that with China's trying to cope with air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions are supposedly going down.

"China is trying to deal massively with its air pollution problem," study author Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, said. "And its renewables are growing very fast."

However, Headlines and Global News notes that the reports are unsure that a slight reduction in gas emissions will make a difference in the CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

Will 2016 be better? Part of the answer may be up to us, as there are simple ways for everyone to contribute to help prevent further global warming.