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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Enhancing energy independence and providing savings to Vermonters.

Mary Powell, CEO, will be on with us tomorrow.  Join us.

Vermont is a national leader in creating a model for our energy future. And here at Green Mountain Power we work day in and day out to find new innovative ways to help our customers save money and move to renewable energy sources, while also being an exemplary leader for the rest of the country by investing in a 21st century energy eco-system.
Through a new partnership with NRG Energy, we are able to offer a series of new clean energy products and services for Vermonters, helping customers manage energy use and save money. This partnership is part of our efforts to establish Rutland as the Energy City of the Future and helps position the state as a leader in the movement toward cost-effective sustainable energy solutions.


"Through this partnership, we hope to demonstrate that investing in a 21st century energy eco-system that is more sustainable, resilient, affordable and individually empowering for the people of Vermont is more sensible than pouring more investment into the creaky old grid infrastructure from the 20th century. In the course of doing so, we will also prove that the concepts of 'electric utility', 'renewables' and 'personal choice' are not mutually exclusive," said NGR President and CEO David Crane speaking alongside Green Mountain Power President and CEO Mary Powell announcing the new partnership. 

Beginning in 2015, Green Mountain Power will begin offering the following products and service offerings from the new project.

Personal Energy Management: GMP will offer Vermont customers a comprehensive personal energy management solution — a multilevel home control and convenience offering. Subscribing customers may be able to remotely manage energy consumption in their homes to increase comfort and save money. GMP may also offer NRG's web-based customer technology to provide Vermonters clear insight into electricity use, allowing them to make smarter choices.  Customers may also be able to participate in demand response, in which they voluntarily reduce their use of electricity for specific periods in return for payments or credits on their bill.   
      
NRG Portable Power: GMP will offer NRG’s Portable Power solution allowing customers to break free from the outlet and charge their smartphones with an NRG Power Pack. 

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure: GMP will work with NRG’s eVgo division to develop and roll out an expanded, interconnected network of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the state, including several charging package options.  Both “Level 2” and DC Fast Chargers will be installed in commercial and workplace locations.  


Community Solar: In 2013, NRG Home Solar (formerly Residential Solar Solutions) built one of the first third party financed community solar arrays in the country. This array, in Rutland, VT, provides 50 residents and businesses a credit on their GMP bill for their portion of the solar energy produced by the array.  Customers pay a small monthly fee and are covered by a power production guarantee. NRG is currently working on additional projects in Vermont as part of the partnership with GMP.

Micro-power: GMP is working with NRG to offer micro generation solutions to Vermonters, including NRG’s Beacon 10. These units generate up to 10 kilowatts of electricity, provide heat for water and space heating, and offer battery storage and solar integration capability with onsite solar systems.

Microgrid: GMP has an ambitious vision for an energy future that takes Rutland and ultimately Vermont beyond the legacy grid system, supported by solar energy and new technology systems that ensure reliable power. Leveraging NRG’s microgrid capabilities, the two companies intend to transform the distribution grid system to a market-based platform designed to create efficiencies and distributed energy solutions.
"This partnership is a really big deal for our customers and for Vermont," said GMP President and CEO, Mary Powell. "Our partner NRG Energy is a cutting edge leader in green energy solutions, and they see in Vermont the same potential that we at GMP have recognized for years. Our customers consistently tell us they want tools to save money and move to renewable energy sources, and we can show the rest of the country how to get there. This is what our energy future looks like."
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Friday, September 26, 2014

What small cities can do to fight climate change

Really good piece   One of the things mentioned here--and we'll give you the link below to GIST as it is a long article, but very worthwhile--is the possible adoption of the cap and trade here in the US.   We had a guest on this week pushing for such an initiative.   We agree it could bring financial clout to reducing emissions.

Get in touch if you work for a city that has pushed ahead with some of these much needed steps.

http://grist.org/climate-energy/what-can-small-cities-do-to-fight-climate-change

"Apple's Investment in Renewable Energy, Is It Justified?"

This radio show posted this week and has garnered lots of attention.   Please go to our main site to enjoy a great show and send us your comments:

Apple's Investment in Renewable Energy, 
Is It Justified?"

We love, as we know you do, democracy.  We love the right to disagree.  That is why we welcomed Justin Danhof and the National Center for Public Policy Research to this very different segment. 

Justin and his group garnered significant attention, including ours on a front page story and blog, when he challenged Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, on the merits of their extraordinary investments in clean energy.  Justin and his group demanded the data to support and demonstrate a reasonable ROI for shareholders.  Nothing wrong with that, in our view. 

How did Mr. Cook handle the exchange?  Has he provided the data? What other companies feel the sting and scrutiny of Mr. Danhof and his conservative group? 

Listen as our skilled co-host, Jack Greg, and I get deep into the role of CEO in guiding a company towards sustainability and whether that CEO can show shareholders the merits of that conviction

Jessica Alba opens a medical facility in LA

We strive to bring you positive stories as we profile leaders in every industry--including entertainment--doing great things.  Congratulations to Jessica and the team at MT. Sinai.

Send us your positive stories as well.

Jessica Alba is putting her money where her mouth is. The eco-friendly actress, who launched her clean-living brand, The Honest Company, in 2012, opened a new Los Angeles medical facility aimed at researching environmental chemicals on children’s health.
Dubbed The Honest Company Ultra Clean Room, the facility is located in L.A.’s Mount Sinai Hospital. The “Sin City” star was on hand to launch the facility at its ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 10.
The “room” (which is really a medical lab) will allow researchers to use state-of-the-art technology to learn more about how toxins in the environment affect children’s health.
Speaking at the launch, Alba, a mother of two daughters, said, “To be part of the next phase of research is a dream come true.”
Alba also shared an Instagram of the momentous occasion, adding, “We’re so honored to be part of the future of chemical research at #mtsinai #honestultraclean.” (Funnily enough, Alba’s daughter is named Honor).

Jessica Alba opens new Los Angeles medical facility.

Hospital boss, Dr. Kenneth L. Davis, said in statement, “The new clean room will be an integral part of our Laboratory for Molecular Environment Chemistry and further establishes Mount Sinai as the leader in the field of children’s environmental health.”
Congratulations, Jessica! And thanks for keeping us ‘honest.’
Photo: DFree / Shutterstock.com

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rockefellers to sell oil assets as part of $50B global warming fight

WOW, did you ever think you'd see this day come?   What a monumental shift for a behemoth industry player....one of the early giants of fossil fuel production.  

We've done many shows on ESG investing and major funds divesting of their holdings in fossil fuel related companies.  We've covered protest on campuses in which students are demanding that colleges, through their endowments, divest of their holdings as well.  One of our early co-host and partners on the radio side was Calvert Funds, the mother of ESG investing.   And today, we culminate this story with a world-changing announcement by The Rockefeller Fund that is staggering but filled with incredible potential to start the shift of fossil fuel money into clean energy.

Let us know what you think.   We will follow up on the radio side with a terrific show.  Go to renewablenow.biz for more information and to follow the story:

Our thanks to the CBC, a wonderful network out of Canada, for their great story.


 Rockefellers sell off part of oil fortune to fight global warming

Heirs of Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller say he would agree with moving out of fossil fuels

The Rockefellers, who made their vast fortune on oil, will on Monday join and other philanthropies and high-wealth individuals in a pledge to sell and get out of a total of $50 billion US worth of fossil fuel assets
The Global Divest-Invest coalition will announce Monday that the Rockefeller family and others have joined the global movement to divest fossil fuel investments, a day before 120 heads of state address the United Nations to discuss what efforts their countries are making to address a marked long-term increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
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Stephen Heintz, president of Rockefeller Brothers Fund, says of John D. Rockefeller: "We are quite convinced that if he were alive today … he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy." (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Since the movement began in 2011, some 650 individuals and 180 institutions which together own $50 billion in assets have pledged to divest from fossil fuels over five years using a variety of approaches.
One of the signatories is the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Stephen Heintz, an heir of Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, said the move to divest away from fossil fuels would be in line with his wishes.
"We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy," Heintz said in a statement.
At the end of July, the fund had $860 million in assets, although it is not known how much of that is specifically invested in fossil fuels.
The fund has committed to invest 10 per cent of its assets in what it deems sustainable development since 2010. Monday's announcement takes that commitment one step further.
Since January 2014, commitments by campuses, churches, cities, states, hospitals, pension funds, and others in the United States and abroad doubled, from 74 to 180, according to philanthropic giving consultancy Arabella Advisors.
One of the higher profile education institution divestments came in May, when Stanford University said it will no longer use any of its $18.7 billion endowment to invest in coal mining companies.
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South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu will call for a freeze on all new fossil fuel exploration. (CBC)
While some smaller liberal colleges have made divestment announcements, some larger institutions have been reluctant.
The University of California voted last week to maintain its investments in fossil fuels, frustrating a student-led effort to divest its portfolio in oil, natural gas and coal.
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an anti-Apartheid figure who has been a strong voice on the need for economic divestments, will add to Monday's announcements in a recorded video announcement in which he will call for a freeze on all new fossil fuel exploration.
"We can no longer continue feeding our addiction to fossil fuels as if there is no tomorrow, for there will be no tomorrow," he said.


Earth's ozone layer on track to recovery, scientists report/Part 2

This is great news.  Let's enjoy and celebrate this milestone this week.  Good work

We'll post this over two days


Date:
September 10, 2014
Source:
United Nations Environment Programme
Summary:
Earth's protective ozone layer is well on track to recovery in the next few decades thanks to concerted international action against ozone depleting substances, according to a new assessment by 300 scientists



...CO2, Nitrous Oxide and Methane will have an increasing influence on the ozone layer
  • What happens to the ozone layer in the second half of the 21st century will largely depend on concentrations of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide -- the three main long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Overall, CO2 and methane tend to increase global ozone levels. By contrast, nitrous oxide, a by-product of food production, is both a powerful greenhouse gas and an ozone depleting gas, and is likely to become more important in future ozone depletion.
The Scientific Assessment Panel is expected to present the key findings of the new report at the annual Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, to be held in Paris in November 2014. The full body of the report will be issued in early 2015.
Notes :
The Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2014 was prepared and reviewed by 282 scientists from 36 countries (Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, People's Republic of China, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Togo, United Kingdom, United States of America, Zimbabwe.)
Co-Chairs of the ozone assessment are: Prof. Ayité Lô Nohende Ajavon, Université de Lomé, Togo; Prof. John Pyle, University of Cambridge and National Centre for Atmospheric Science, UK; Dr. Paul Newman, NASA/ Goddard Space Flight Center, USA; Prof. A.R. (Ravi) Ravishankara, Colorado State University, USA.

Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by United Nations Environment ProgrammeNote: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:
United Nations Environment Programme. "Earth's ozone layer on track to recovery, scientists report." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140910162324.htm>.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Earth's ozone layer on track to recovery, scientists report/Part 1

This is great news.  Let's enjoy and celebrate this milestone this week.  Good work

We'll post this over two days


Date:
September 10, 2014
Source:
United Nations Environment Programme
Summary:
Earth's protective ozone layer is well on track to recovery in the next few decades thanks to concerted international action against ozone depleting substances, according to a new assessment by 300 scientists


The images above show the Antarctic ozone hole on September 16 (the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer) in the years 1979, 1987, 2006, and 2011. The first two maps are based on data from the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) on the Nimbus-7 satellite. The other two maps are made with data from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument on the Aura satellite. Though taken by different instruments, the data sets have all been cross-calibrated and reanalyzed by scientific models.

rth's protective ozone layer is well on track to recovery in the next few decades thanks to concerted international action against ozone depleting substances, according to a new assessment by 300 scientists.
The Assessment for Decision-Makers, a summary document of the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2014, is being published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and is the first comprehensive update in four years.
The stratospheric ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Without the Montreal Protocol and associated agreements, atmospheric levels of ozone depleting substances could have increased tenfold by 2050. According to global models, the Protocol will have prevented 2 million cases of skin cancer annually by 2030, averted damage to human eyes and immune systems, and protected wildlife and agriculture, according to UNEP.
The phase-out of ozone depleting substances has had a positive spin-off for the global climate because many of these substances are also potent greenhouse gases. However, the assessment report cautions that the rapid increase in certain substitutes, which are themselves also potent greenhouse gases, has the potential to undermine these gains. The assessment also notes that there are possible approaches to avoiding the harmful climate effects of these substitutes.
"There are positive indications that the ozone layer is on track to recovery towards the middle of the century. The Montreal Protocol -- one of the world's most successful environmental treaties -- has protected the stratospheric ozone layer and avoided enhanced UV radiation reaching the earth's surface," said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
"However, the challenges that we face are still huge. The success of the Montreal Protocol should encourage further action not only on the protection and recovery of the ozone layer but also on climate. On September 23, the UN Secretary General will host Heads of State in New York in an effort to catalyse global action on climate. The Montreal Protocol community, with its tangible achievements, is in a position to provide strong evidence that global cooperation and concerted action are the key ingredients to secure the protection of our global commons," he added.
"International action on the ozone layer is a major environmental success story," said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. "This should encourage us to display the same level of urgency and unity to tackle the even greater challenge of climate change. This latest assessment provides solid science to policy-makers about the intricate relationship between ozone and climate and the need for mutually-supportive measures to protect life on earth for future generations."
"Human activities will continue to change the composition of the atmosphere. WMO's Global Atmosphere Watch programme will therefore continue its crucial monitoring, research and assessment activities to provide scientific data needed to understand and ultimately predict environmental changes, as it has done for the past 25 years" said Mr Jarraud.
Key findings:
Actions taken under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer are enabling the return of the ozone layer to benchmark 1980 levels.
  • Under full compliance with the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is expected to recover to 1980 benchmark levels- the time before significant ozone layer depletion- before the middle of the century in mid-latitudes and the Arctic, and somewhat later in the Antarctic.
  • The Montreal Protocol and associated agreements have led to decreases in the atmospheric abundance of gases, such as CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and halons, once used in products such as refrigerators, spray cans, insulation foam and fire suppression.
  • Total column ozone declined over most of the globe during the 1980s and early 1990s. It has remained relatively unchanged since 2000, but there are recent indications of its future recovery.
  • The Antarctic ozone hole continues to occur each spring and it is expected to continue occurring for the better part of this century given that ozone depleting substances persist in the atmosphere, even though their emissions have ceased.
  • The Arctic stratosphere in winter/spring 2011 was particularly cold, which led to large ozone depletion as expected under these conditions.
The climate benefits of the Montreal Protocol could be significantly offset by projected emissions of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) used to replace ozone depleting substances.
  • The Montreal Protocol has made large contributions toward reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. In 1987, ozone-depleting substances contributed about 10 gigatonnes CO2-equivalent emissions per year. The Montreal Protocol has now reduced these emissions by more than 90 per cent. This decrease is about five times larger than the annual emissions reduction target for the first commitment period (2008-2012) of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) do not harm the ozone layer but many of them are potent greenhouse gases. They currently contribute about 0.5 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions per year. These emissions are growing at a rate of about 7 per cent per year. Left unabated, they can be expected to contribute very significantly to climate change in the next decades.
  • Replacements of the current mix of high-GWP HFCs with alternative compounds with low GWPs or not-in-kind technologies would limit this potential problem.
The annual Antarctic ozone hole has caused significant changes in Southern Hemisphere surface climate in the summer.
  • Ozone depletion has contributed to cooling of the lower stratosphere and this is very likely the dominant cause of observed changes in Southern Hemisphere summertime circulation over recent decades, with associated impacts on surface temperature, precipitation, and the oceans.
  • In the Northern Hemisphere, where the ozone depletion is smaller, there is no strong link between stratospheric ozone depletion and tropospheric climate...