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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Police Officer Buys Shoplifter Suit He Tried to Steal/RNN

What a great feel-good story.  Building a better world takes much more than just technology and money.  It takes unbelievable, almost historic levels of collaboration.  And, as you will see here, it takes heart.  More than just hear, in fact, it takes an unselfish attitude and a true concern for the planet and all its people.

We applaud the office profiled here.  God bless him.



The three pillars of sustainability are:  economicenvironmental and social.  So often when we talk about “social,” it comes back to CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility, but really it doesn’t take a corporation to make a difference in the world. We came across a recent story posted on the BBC that we wanted to share and illustrate that we, as individuals, can make a profound difference by helping others, and more importantly set an example for others to follow.
A shoplifter in Toronto who was caught stealing an outfit for a job interview was given a second chance by the police officer who came to arrest him.
Constable Niran Jeyanesan told CP24 that Walmart staff apprehended an 18-year-old for attempting to steal a dress shirt, tie and socks.
He said when he arrived at the scene he realized the offender had been stealing the items for a job interview.
He then decided to release him and purchase the items for him.
“This young person has been facing his own difficulties in life and he was looking to straighten out all that by providing for his family and trying to get a job,” Mr Jeyanesan said.
“This individual didn’t have any resources.
“He wanted to go get that job. That was in his mind. I think he truly made a mistake.”
Speaking to the BBC, his staff sergeant Paul Bois praised Mr Jeyanesan’s actions.
“Arresting him wouldn’t have been in the best interests of anyone,” he said.
“I reacted very positively to the news; all issues were resolved by the action the officer took.
“It reiterates our goal of being positive role models in the community.”
Inspector Javert could have learned something from Constable Jeyanesan.


President Trump Urged to Save 374,000 American Solar Jobs/RNN

This is the complicated part of government's policy shifts and their potential impact on commercial markets.  Certainly, no one in Washington wants to give up gained jobs within the renewable segment.  Yet, as you will see here, that is a possibility as Trump's administration looks at a trade case and pricing.

International trade, tariffs, dumping charges, etc, have crushed companies and put many employees out of work.  We hope this resolves more favorably.



GameChange Solar CEO Andrew Worden issued a statement voicing deep concern about the ITC 201 trade case which threatens the US solar industry and if passed by the Trump administration, could trigger the loss of 88,000 or more of the 374,000 American jobs in the industry.
Solar manufacturing is the fastest growing employment sector in the country over the last five years with jobs surging by 58%.  This is due to the rapidly dropping costs of solar power which created a surge in demand for the equipment that goes into building solar farms.
At GameChange Solar, we manufacture the steel racking for roof and ground mount systems as well as trackers for ground mount solar farms. Our structures are made primarily with 100% American made steel. Our steel comes mostly from steel mills in such states as Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Ohio before being fabricated into racking at factories in Alabama, Tennessee, Minnesota, Kansas, Utah, New Jersey, Indiana, Ohio and other states.

 The amount of American steel GameChange Solar alone uses for solar equipment has grown dramatically over the past few years and will reach 300 million pounds this year. We are now the second-leading manufacturer of fixed tilt ground mount racking in the United States and a leader in trackers as well. The companies in the manufacturing sector of our supply chain alone employ 44,000 Americans with 2,950 in the solar sector.
The surging growth in homegrown American manufacturing is threatened by the petition filed by Chinese-owned Suniva and German-owned SolarWorld at the International Trade Commission. These two failed foreign owned companies, after surviving only from US government subsidies, are now asking for the US government to step in and set the price of solar panels at more than double the current market price.
The data clearly shows that as the price of solar panels has fallen from over $1.50 per watt in 2011 down to $0.39 per watt near the end of 2016 and the number of Americans employed in factories manufacturing solar equipment has risen by 58%.
But, if Chinese-owned Suniva’s request is granted, trade publication gtmresearch estimates this would slash the installation of solar farms by more than 50% and cause a subsequent crash in the market for the steel racking and other solar equipment being manufactured here in America by successful US companies like GameChange Solar. The Solar Energy Industries Association predicts this would cause 88,000 Americans employed in the solar industry to lose their jobs, and it could threaten potentially most of the 374,000 total American jobs in the industry.
The story of solar manufacturing in America is strong and growing. Whereas, the story of this trade case is of two failed foreign owned companies with a few hundred employees and their foreign hedge fund investors trying to recoup their bad investments on the backs of successful American factory workers.
As a homegrown American company, GameChange Solar is proud of the success we’ve had and we’re committed to fabricating our racking and trackers for the dynamic American solar market primarily with American made and fabricated steel. But the jobs we support across the Midwest steel belt and into the deep South are at risk due to these failed foreign companies’ petition for a government bailout. We need President Trump to help us rally together to support American solar and steel manufacturing by denying panel price increases that may be sought by the ITC trade case and to ensure the continued dominance of the 374,000 Americans successfully employed in the solar industry.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Trump Administration’s False Promise to Rural America/Foodtank

As you know we started out with many promised benefits to genetically engineering seeds, crops.  Some made good sense--such as, as an example, an ability for that crop to survive droughts.

Yet, increasingly studies show we are falling short of the goals.  And, as seen in this story, there's clear ramifications to our environment.

We covered part of this in our radio show today.  We hope you caught it live.  If not it will be on our main network site--Renewable Now Network--soon.

Mounting problems caused by new GMO crops resistant to old herbicides like dicamba are just emerging, harming rural agricultural communities.

According to a recent article, the Trump Administration intends to increase pressure on Europe and China to accept food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). An Administration task force has been set up to advance these goals, despite a history of European resistance and caution in China.
The Administration claims that GMOs should be accepted on scientific grounds. And it says that its motivation for this policy is to provide large benefits to rural economies that grow these crops, and sustainability. This is undoubtedly aimed at currying favor with an important Trump constituency. But on balance, science does not support the value of GMOs for rural society or sustainability in the U.S.—just the opposite. Several recent research studies have added to the mounting record of GMOs contributing to harmful industrial agriculture in the U.S.
So far, GMOs have largely been the handmaiden of corporate seed and pesticide companies. The vast majority of acres are planted to herbicide-resistant and Bt insect-resistant crops like corn, soybeans, and cotton owned by these companies under patents that prevent seed saving by farmers. Engineered crops in the U.S. are used overwhelmingly in the predominant industrial agriculture system, which causes extensive environmental harm. Since the advent of engineered crops, this trend toward industrialization has only increased, with increasing monocultures of one or two crops that are more vulnerable to pests and other problems.
Engineered crops require less labor per acre, reducing the need for workers and jobs on farms. On the other hand, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) found in a major report last year that genetically engineered (GE) crops do not increase productivity or reduce tillage, which has often argued to be a major sustainability benefit of these crops. As pointed out by the NAS, most of the gains in conservation tillage preceded the introduction of herbicide-resistant GMOs.
The trend toward reduced labor and industrialization has not led to wellbeing in rural communities. Studies by sociologists have long found that by many measures, rural areas dominated by industrial agriculture faired poorly compared to areas with more diverse farming systems.
With increasing adoption of newer industrial farming technologies—corresponding to the growth and dominance of GMOs in major commodity crops—net farm profits are now as low as any time since 2000. In the meantime, the cost of growing these crops has risen dramatically over this same time period. In other words, proportionately more farm revenue is going to pay for land, increasingly expensive corporate seed and other industrial inputs, not to farmers. It is hard to see this as a formula for prosperity in farm country, as farmers are squeezed more and more by economically powerful corporate interests.
Less, Not More Sustainable     
GMOs have also facilitated the consolidation of the seed industry, through patents and contracts. This has led to bundled seed products like GMO traits and pesticide seed coatings. These increase exposure of the environment, farmers, and residents of rural communities to harmful pesticides, as well as increase costs to farmers.
The unsustainability of industrial agriculture is epitomized by increasingly dysfunctional weed control, aided and abetted by GMO herbicide-resistant crops. The skyrocketing increases in glyphosate herbicide use encouraged by these crops has resulted in an epidemic of weeds no longer controlled by this important herbicide. By now, this is widely known.
But mounting problems caused by industry’s “solution” of new GMO crops resistant to old herbicides like dicamba are just emerging. Harm to neighboring crops, especially non-GMO soybeans, from dicamba drift during and after spraying of the new engineered crops is pitting farmer against farmer. This led Arkansas to ban its use. By late July, reports of harm from dicamba drift topped 700 complaints, greatly exceeding previous years. High rates of crop damage are now reported by other states, with Missouri and Tennessee also restricting use. The result of dicamba harm is likely to be lower productivity for many damaged soybean fields. Actions by states to restrict the use of dicamba should be understood in the context of the desperation of many farmers to control glyphosate-resistant weeds, caused by the use of glyphosate-resistant GMO crops.
It is noteworthy that dicamba damage has occurred after EPA approved new forms of the herbicide intended to reduce its notorious volatilization and drift-damage potential. But as with glyphosate before it, large increases in the use of dicamba and 2,4-D are encouraged by these new GMO crops. And use later in the season when higher temperatures increase volatility at a time when susceptible crops are vulnerable, may overwhelm the reduced volatility of new forms of the herbicide.
Farmers may also have been blindsided due to restrictions on research by academic scientists on the volatilization and drift potential of the new herbicide formulations. Several academic weed scientists commented that they were not allowed to test these properties in a timely way. Alarming restrictions on the traditional roles of academic research, due to patents on GMO crops, were revealed several years ago. The industry and its supporters claimed that voluntary measures to allow research had addressed this problem. The current situation exposes the fallacy of those assurances.
It does not take a cynic to wonder whether Monsanto anticipates that many more soybean farmers will be forced to adopt this new menace simply to avoid harm from herbicide drift. That won’t save fruits and vegetables that are not engineered for herbicide resistance, harming thriving local food production.
And before long, these new crops will fail as have, increasingly, glyphosate-resistant crops. Weeds are already developing resistance to all of these herbicides, and many have resistance to multiple chemicals, making herbicides as a whole increasingly ineffective.
Meanwhile, agro-ecological methods that are not dependant on these herbicides are available for growing corn and soybeans and are practical, highly productive, as well as good for the environment.
Long-term research that demonstrates this also shows that these methods are as or more profitable than industrial farming but use far fewer synthetic chemicals. And, importantly, more profit goes to workers and farmers than to buy inputs like more expensive GMO seed, pesticides, and fertilizer. In other words, more of the profit stays with farmers and farm workers to spend in their own communities.
Insecticides That Harm Bees, Coupled with GMO Crops, Are Not Needed
A similar situation is unfolding with neonicotinoid insecticide seed coatings, which were supposedly safer than earlier insecticides. Years of research shows that “neonics” are harming bees and other helpful farm insects, and many other beneficial organisms. Pesticide and GMO companies have challenged this research by claiming that the evidence of harm from farm fields, rather than labs, is inadequate. This neglects the overall convincing weight of the evidence from many experiments, and also neglects convincing field data on harm of important wild pollinators like bumblebees.
But now, two research papers confirmed that neonics harm honeybees on the farm, including near crops such as corn. This is particularly important because corn is our most widely grown crop, at around 90 million acres.
I recently published, with Center for Food Safety, the most extensive analysis to date of the peer-reviewed science literature on neonic corn seed coating efficacy and alternatives. It documents dramatically increasing use of coated seed in parallel with Monsanto’s engineered gene to control rootworms.
Monopoly control allows corporations to apply the insecticide to corn seed without providing farmers a choice, so that now about 90 percent or more of this seed is coated with neonicotinoid insecticides. This contradicts the common claim that engineered Bt corn has dramatically reduced insecticide use on that crop. While the volume has decreased, the amount of land exposed has gone up dramatically. This allows many more pollinators and other beneficial organisms to be exposed—one of the basic measures of risk. Bt corn has been accompanied by an increase from about 30 percent of the corn cropland exposed to insecticide before the engineered trait to about 90 percent now—not a reduction to 18 percent of acres treated with insecticides due to Bt, as previously claimed.
The new report shows that harmful neonic insecticide seed coatings rarely increase productivity, are an unnecessary cost to farmers, and that alternatives using agro-ecology methods are productive and beneficial for the environment. This puts to rest the self-serving claims of the industry that these seed coatings are needed to protect corn productivity.
GMOs did not cause neonic seed coatings, and some of the remaining non-GMO corn may also be treated with neonics and other pesticides. But GMOs and neonics are part of the same industrial seed package. And as well, the use of neonics contradicts the claims that Bt has reduced insecticide use in corn as determined by the critically important measure of exposure, contrary to previous claims.
What About the Future? 
Advocates for GMO crops suggest that the dominance of current engineered traits like herbicide resistance, or the problems they cause, are mere anomalies or coincidence. They like to focus on possible future crops that they feel would be more beneficial. Or they like to point to the few traits like virus-resistant papaya, commercialized 20 years ago and grown on a tiny percentage of GMO acres, to demonstrate the potential for benefit. But the dominance of the current crops is a fact that has remained for the 20-plus years of commercial GMO use, and the reasons for this need to be understood, not dismissed offhand.
Advocates of GMOs, perhaps scientists especially, also complain that those that are critical of the technology ignore similar issues with conventionally bred crops. That criticism may have some merit for some GMO critics, although many others understand that conventional breeding for industrial agriculture also leads to harm. Still, even if GMOs are a leading edge of industrial agriculture, rather than its sole embodiment, this does not reduce the harm they are causing.
If future GMO crops are to have a possibility of playing positive environmental and social roles, on balance, it will require that they are developed and deployed under policies and other conditions that favor and value agro-ecology, rural society, food sovereignty, and the environment over corporate control and excessive profit. For the most part, those conditions do not currently exist. That does not mean that some GMO traits won’t be developed which provide some benefits. But until there is fundamental change in food and farming systems, the technologies will be dominated by GMO crops designed to foster industrial agriculture. This is hardly a formula for either rural benefit or sustainability.

Food Alliance/For Today's Show

We look forward to a great interview with their Director, Mathew Buck.  Here's more information.

Join us live today at 1p, ET and, while in our broadcast section, catch some of our past shows:

Food Alliance


Setting the Standard for Sustainability for Food and Agriculture



Food Alliance certifies agricultural operations, food processors and distributors that ensure:

•   Safe and fair working conditions.
•   The health and humane treatment of farm animals.
•   Reduced risk from pesticides and other toxic or hazardous materials.
•   Protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat and biodiversity.
•   Conservation of soil, water, and energy, and reduction and recycling of waste.
•   Transparent and traceable supply chains.
•   Food product integrity, with no genetically engineered or artificial ingredients.
•   Continual improvement of management practices.

Our Mission

Food Alliance works at the juncture of science, business and values to define and promote sustainability in agriculture and the food industry, and to ensure safe and fair working conditions, humane treatment of animals, and careful stewardship of ecosystems.
Our History
Food Alliance started as a project of Oregon State University, Washington State University, and the Washington State Department of Agriculture, and was incorporated as an independent non-profit organization in 1997. Food Alliance enjoys support from leaders in both organic and conventional agriculture, from retail and wholesale food businesses, government agencies, and organizations representing farm labor, animal welfare, and the environment.

Food Alliance Certification

Food Alliance operates a voluntary certification program based on standards that define sustainable agricultural practices. Farms, ranches and food handlers that meet Food Alliance’s standards, as determined by a third-party site inspection, use Food Alliance certification to differentiate their products, strengthen their brands, and support credible claims for social and environmental responsibility.

Impact

Food Alliance launched its certification program in 1998 with a single apple grower selling in three Portland grocery stores. In the years since, we have certified over 500 farms and ranches in Canada, Mexico, and 25 U.S. states that manage a total of over 6.8 million acres of range and farmland. The majority are mid-sized or smaller family owned and operated businesses. Food Alliance has also certified over 35 food processing and distribution facilities.
Businesses participating in Food Alliance’s program report a wide variety of benefits from certification, including positive customer feedback, increased customer loyalty, sales increases, new markets, access to contracts, and, in some cases, price premiums.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Utility company’s bee hives and solar garden produces sweet results

What a beautiful site--clean energy and habitat for pollinators.  Both investments--solar and restoration of natural terrain--bring balanced economic and environmental benefits.

As the prices drop for solar panels, solar has gained incredible popularity over the past few years. From home use to huge commercial arrays, solar has become a fixture in the American landscape for green energy.
Utility companies have jumped on the solar bandwagon. Solar is increasingly becoming a part of utility companies portfolio and strategic plan. Minnesota’s largest member-owned electric cooperative, Connexus Energy, has gone one further. It’s created a first-of-its-kind solar garden that not only produces energy but honey as well.
The company’s pollinator-friendly solar array encompasses wildflowers and features 15 beehives that have been managed and expanded during the summer. The flowers provide much-needed food for the pollinators who have been suffering from severe loss of habitat and pesticide use across the country.
“It’s a perfect pairing,” said Marla Spivak, a renowned bee researcher at the University of Minnesota. “You have the solar energy efficiency and then you have pollinator habitat. What could be better?”


Samantha Neral, a Connexus Energy spokesperson, said “following Minnesota’s adoption of a law and statewide standard for pollinator-friendly solar (the country’s first such statewide standards, passed in 2016), our array was evaluated and scored well above the level required to call it ‘exemplary pollinator habitat.’ To us, bee hives at a pollinator-friendly solar garden seem like the natural next step.”
Travis and Chiara Bolton of Bolton Bees, a first-generation business, breed Minnesota-hardy queen bees in addition to producing a line of distinct, location-specific honey that is sold to select restaurants and retailers.
“We carefully select properties throughout Minnesota for our apiaries. With its abundance of pollinator-friendly flowers, the Connexus solar garden is the perfect environment for a healthy bee location,” they said.
A Minnesota nonprofit made the initial introduction between Bolton Bees and Connexus Energy.
Fresh Energy’s Rob Davis said “Connexus Energy’s project is a shining example of what a solar site can and should be. Nationwide, many communities are interested in ensuring the productive use of farm and rural lands. Connexus Energy’s bird- and pollinator-friendly solar array shows that solar sites can be designed and managed in ways that have numerous agricultural and environmental benefits.”
Maryland recently passed standards modeled on Minnesota’s, and pollinator-friendly solar projects are now being pitched or built in states like Wisconsin, Iowa and Vermont.
This Fall the honey produced at Connexus Energy’s site will be harvested. ll. A portion of the honey will be named SolarWise Honey after Connexus Energy’s successful community solar garden program and will be given to solar garden subscribers and donated to local community fundraising events.
Bolton Bees, which is in the process of becoming a B Corp, has registered a Federal Trademark (Serial # 87406579) for Solar HoneyTM. to help establish an industry standard for honey produced on or adjacent to solar arrays, They intend for the trademark to be available to all honey producers, electric cooperatives, food companies, and solar businesses willing to agree to the production standard.

Why milk from the US is banned around the world

This short film is very worth watching.

Published on Jul 25, 2017
This film explains why milk from the US is banned in many countries and what the dangers are to Americans who drink it. For the full text please see my blog which also has links to source material :


http://www.motorhomefulltime.com/blog... 

Alan Heath


LINK TO VIDEO:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMchW8YO4eY

Monday, August 14, 2017

Government has the power to unlock effective energy efficiency/decentralized energy

This is a very important point, not to be lost on any public employee:  Government needs to set the playing field of change.  We then do the blocking and tackling.  That combination leads to rapid investment and market changes.

As stated here, government has the power to unlock sustainable changes.  The question is, will they use it?

Colin Calder of Passiv Systems

At a recent Westminster Energy Forums event in London, CEO of Passiv-Systems Colin Calder explained to the gathering of power professionals and policymakers in attendance the great loss of potential his company had uncovered in one particular district heating network.

His demand-response firm had, he said, found ‘staggering results’ in deploying its platform of smart home controls, automated readings and network load management to optimize the network.

“We worked with Parsons Brinckerhoff who independently assessed the project which found a 40 per cent improvement in operation efficiency on the district heat network in question. In customer response measured, 85 per cent said they would recommend our controls over previous controls.”

Calder spoke to Decentralized Energy about the massive gains to be had by installing up to date control systems on heat networks, and the role of government in facilitating technology companies that can bring about greater efficiency, not standing in their way.

Much of Passiv-Systems research was carried out in Denmark, the number one country in the world, in terms of district heating adoption. 65 per cent of Danish homes are connected to heat networks. The government there backed the networks in response to the 1970s-oil crisis

The UK, by contrast, reacted by developing North Sea gas, yet the Newbury-based company has impressed the Danes.

For three years, they performed research in Denmark, running pilot projects and collecting intel. They are now looking at taking their second-generation technology back to Denmark.

“DTU is the leading university in Denmark and probably the leading university in the world for research in to district heating. They were amazed at the knowledge and experience we have of thermodynamics and how it relates to buildings and networks. Denmark now recognizes what thermodynamics can do for optimising district heating networks but we’ve been doing this for eight years when we launched our smart thermostat. We have lots of acquired knowledge and thousands of homes in the UK using them.”

PassivLiving works by learning the thermodynamic model of a home or apartment, using that information in conjunction with a 24-hour weather forecast to manage Delta T, modulating a valve, and monitoring return flow temperature, effectively creating a known performance level.

For reference, Delta T is the difference in temperature between the flow and the return flow in a heating system. A low Delta T is a symptom of a system that is not using the heat energy in the water efficiently enough.


THE SMART THERMOSTAT


They were the first company in the world to launch a smart thermostat. The device has learning capability. It learns about the characteristics of a home, comfort levels, when people are in or out, or asleep. Ultimately it helps consumers to reduce the overall average temperature of their home or apartment.

The smart thermostat enables the modulation of a return valve and can gauge if the temperature outside is falling or rising. Monitoring that rate of fall or increase in temperature informs the thermal comfort of the building.

“The valve can be modulated in order to maximize the amount of heat we pull out of the energy source and retain in the building. That’s how we get very high Delta Ts because we are modulating a valve in every home.”

“In addition, at the network level, we can disaggregate the production of heat and hot water. At the moment, a huge peak occurs in the morning when everyone gets up and wants warmth and hot water for showers and cooking. By disaggregating the heat and water, it increases baseload our system increases use of the CHP plant which increases the revenue generated from electricity and reduces the use of the peaking plants. All that put together is how we get to those 30-40 percent improvements in operating efficiency – we take all the second guessing out of the network."

It begs the question, why isn’t such technology being deployed in making British heat networks more effective? The proven technology should on paper be playing its part in the much-needed modernisation of the existing network infrastructure.

A clue is offered in the approach of the Danish government.

“In Denmark there is a legal framework where the network operator has an incentive to achieve a Delta T of 30 degrees Celsius,” says Calder. “There’s a real incentive to achieve that in overall network performance, including network losses. “

Passiv’s offering looks an ideal fit for what the UK government is currently trying to do, reduce demand while making heat networks more effective. But, Calder says, the government’s attitude to enterprise in the area is frustrating that outcome.

“The government has a subsidy scheme aimed at the development of heat networks and I keep encouraging the government to look at ways of people making use of that subsidy in terms of having to achieve a certain minimum Delta T."

“In my view the subsidy money should be linked to the deployment of smart technology that will deliver known Delta T outcomes at the individual home level because only then when will you drive up the efficiency of district heating in the UK and give the consumer better value for money.”

“At the end of the day, being competitive is what really matters because district heating has got to find a way to compete with gas condensing boilers and that is a highly optimised supply chain with a very price-competitive fuel source.

Passiv Systems

FRUSTRATED BY GOVERNMENT APPROACH

 Despite the imperative to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions involved in meeting such international climate agreements as most recently seen through the Paris Accord, Calder believes the government is handicapping itself in terms of how it deals with entrepreneurial solutions that could see targets more easily met.

“The UK has a real focus on industrial strategy and it is very good in that I think there is £4.5bn going into research and development every year and the country has a phenomenal track record in that respect.”

“Where the government has consistently failed is in taking all that brilliant R&D and helping these companies like ours, which is still a small business, to be commercially successful.”

“Personally, I do not think the UK has a strong track record in that space. If I look at what happened in America two or three companies got very successful on the back of regulation in that energy market. In the UK the minute I sit down with civil servants and say we have this great technology that can save 30 to 40 per cent, the conversation very quickly turns to ‘you’re the only company that has this technology and we can’t be seen to be favouring any one company.’

“I find that a deeply frustrating mentality for the simple reason that we should be encouraging other companies to develop the same technology and compete in the market.”

“The government should make sure that the companies that come up with innovative technologies that are beneficial to society and consumers have a fast way of getting to market and everyone else can pile on the bandwagon. We shouldn’t be afraid of driving market opportunity for any company.”


THE SENSIBLE SUBSIDY-DRIVEN SOLUTION

So how then can that mentality be overcome if targets are to be met? With distributed energy resources and associated technologies of all kinds feeding into the system is the government capable of changing perspective, facilitating the best technologies, while meeting civic obligations to ensure fairness in the marketplace? Calder believes there is a way to achieve just that.

“Firstly the politicians and civil servants should be technology agnostic- I totally believe that. But it doesn’t mean that you don’t do anything."

"If, in the case of district heating, you are going to provide subsidies because you know the networks aren’t price competitive and you want them to become price competitive, what you should be doing is saying if you want use of the subsidy money you have also got to be deploying technologies that will make you price competitive.”

“Now I am not going to tell them to specify our product, but what I am saying is that technology like ours allows heat networks to be price competitive. So, the officials should be thinking about writing into the rules if you want that subsidy you need to tick these boxes – For example there should be a minimum Delta T standard set. Denmark already does that and there are financial penalties if a certain Delta T level isn’t achieved. That’s not saying you have to use Passiv’s technology but what it is saying is that you have to achieve a minimum performance level at the home and therefore you will have to source individual technologies that can help you deliver that.”

“That should be the approach rather than we have this great technology, the government actually funded its development, but no, we are not going to actually do anything about helping to get that technology to market.”

For more on Passiv-Systems click here

Saturday, August 12, 2017

http://www.bostongreenfest.org/

Enjoy Greenfest this year:



Boston GreenFest is a grassroots effort organized by the Foundation for a Green Future, Inc. and its dedicated team of community volunteers.  Our goal is to educate and empower people to create a more sustainable, healthier world. We are actively building an interconnected, ever expanding network throughout our neighborhoods, city and region.  From business to nonprofit, neighborhood association to academic institution, Boston GreenFest spans age, culture and industry.  

Celebrating our 10th anniversary, Boston GreenFest is excited to bring you this wonderful free three-day festival at Boston City Hall Plaza as it is transformed into a fun interactive community classroom.  This year Boston GreenFest will be a ZERO WASTE event thanks to the efforts of our friends at City Compost! Come join us for three live stages of dance and music along with a showcase of innovation, fashion, vendors, forums, films, cars, fitness classes, art, EcoKids Center, robots, Wine & Beer Garden, Casa Latina, and more!  

15 months after high court order, Massachusetts commits to slashing greenhouse gas emissions/Mass live.com

Sometimes, sustainability needs a little help and push from our friends.  Here we get a big one from the MA high court.  This is, in our view, a very big victory, one we'd like to see repeated throughout many states.

This is what makes MA a great state around transformation.  They've had good legislative, policy and legal changes around embracing a financially viable migration away from fossil fuels.  More than that, Mass have implemented many positive changes, and incentives, to drive improvements in farming, smart cities, waste reduction and efficiency.

Now they have met the demands of the courts to expedite higher clean air standards.  This is a milestone moment for their state and one, we hope, will be monumental for us as well.

A traffic jam on the Massachusetts Turnpike. The state's transportation and energy sectors must show annual emissions reductions under rules published by MassDEP on Aug. 11, 2017.

BOSTON -- Fifteen months after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a landmark climate change ruling, state regulators have finalized a package of rules designed to guarantee an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
The rules go into effect today, said Martin Suuberg, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection. They include new requirements for power generators, electric utilities, natural gas distributors, government and the transportation sector.
The 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act requires that, by 2020, Massachusetts emissions must be 25 percent below 1990 levels. An 80 percent reduction is required by 2050. In May of 2016, after a lengthy legal battle, the high court ruled that state environmental regulators failed to properly implement the law.
MassDEP was forced to write new regulations to ensure concrete, "volumetric reductions" in heat-trapping emissions over time. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker issued an executive order clarifying the requirement within an overall integrated climate change plan.
State officials on Thursday celebrated the regulatory milestone.
"Combating and preparing for the impact of climate change remains a top priority of our administration," said Baker.
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said the rules were "carefully crafted with significant stakeholder engagement" and represent a "balanced approach to combating climate change while continuing to grow our economy and build strong communities."
"Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in reducing harmful emissions and protecting the health of all our residents," said Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst.
The new climate change rules include the following:
* A technology-neutral Clean Energy Standard for the power sector. Utilities must procure increasing amounts of low-carbon energy, reaching an 80 percent level by 2050. Generation sources not already listed in the state's renewable portfolio must show life cycle emissions at least 50 percent below the most efficient natural gas plant. The sources must have begun commercial operation after 2010.
* A declining cap-and-trade program for 21 large fossil fuel power plants in Massachusetts. Carbon dioxide allowance auctions will begin in 2019. The goal is to reduce emissions by a factor of five: from 8.96 million metric tons in 2018 to 1.8 million in 2050.
* Declining emission limits for passenger vehicles owned and leased by state government executive offices.
* Annual reductions from the state's surface transportation system, including highways and transit networks. MassDOT and the MBTA must slash emissions in their mobile equipment and in heating their buildings.
* Natural gas utilities must tighten up leaks within their distribution systems to meet annual declining allowances for methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The companies are already under pipe-replacement schedules authorized by state utility regulators. For the first time, the gas distributors will also answer to MassDEP, said Suuberg.
* Emissions must be slashed from gas-insulated switch gear used by utilities such as Eversource and National Grid. The equipment emits sulfur hexafluoride, a greenhouse gas. Regulations were already in place, but they were amended.
Suuberg said the department fielded more than 300 comments and held public hearings and stakeholder meetings including environmentalists, utilities, power generators, government entities, ratepayer advocates and ISO New England, operator of the six-state power grid.
Massachusetts is now re-established "as a national leader in developing sensible, enforceable standards to transition our economy to a low-carbon future," said Brad Campbell, president of the Conservation Law Foundation.
The Boston-based environmental litigators, working with with Mass. Energy Consumer Alliance and four high school students, led the original complaint against MassDEP.