Tuesday, July 31, 2012

More material from Seth Handy at Handy Law

Thanks to Seth Handy for this excellent post, which we will do over two days.  We encourage you to send us material for the blog as well.

Also, we'll follow up with a story on this.  Clearly, the costs of not changing how power gets to the grid, then to us, is staggering.  We applaud the Rocky Mountain Institute for this excellent post:

We will finish this tomorrow, but you can read the entire article here: http://blog.rmi.org/blog_A_Crisis_Terrible_Thing_Waste

A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste

"Beginning on June 29th, a brief but violent storm swept from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic, disabling electricity to the masses. The storm toppled trees and branches into power lines and knocked out transmission towers and electrical substations, leaving more than 3.8 million people without power, some for more than a week.
The recent heat wave compounded the issue. The sweltering 100+ F temperatures made the loss of electricity almost unbearable. Pepco, the utility serving Maryland and the District of Columbia, alone spent an estimated 300,000 man-hours to restore power to all of its customers.
But if indications from climate models are correct, increasingly extreme weather events may become the new normal, forcing us to reevaluate the ability of the electric grid to keep the lights on and the ice cream frozen.

Hot Temps and Wild Storms: Recipe for Outages

Heat waves and storms have always existed, and to date, the grid has survived more or less intact. Moreover, very few scientists would go so far as to say that climate change had caused a specific storm or a specific temperature record.
However, not recognizing that temperatures are increasing is a dangerous proposition. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration recently released its state of the climate report, noting that the 12-month stretch between July of 2011 and June of 2012 was the warmest year in the contiguous United States since recordkeeping began in 1895.
Not surprisingly, since January 1st, wildfires fires have incinerated more than 2.7 million acres across the U.S., threatening lives and property. In RMI’s home state of Colorado, the Waldo Canyon blaze near Colorado Springs destroyed more than 340 homes, and is on record as the most destructive fire in the state’s history.
As temperatures rise, so do the risks of electricity outages. To support the growing demand for cooling requirements, grids will become increasingly congested and prone to failure. Stopgap solutions (building more gas plants to power the increased demand) are possible, but may only worsen the effects of climate change, creating a vicious cycle fueled by our reliance on fossil fuels to power our lives.
To make matters worse, the grid is aging and vulnerable even without natural disasters. Last year, the entire Southwestern United States experienced a 1.6 million-person blackout when a single worker accidentally tripped a transmission line. (Yet the University of California San Diego’s microgrid was able to keep many lights on; watchvideo to find out how.)

Identifying the Opportunity

It’s time to kill two birds with one stone. The grid needs to be upgraded and powered with cleaner sources of power. Fortunately, we can simultaneously adapt to a more flexible and reliable grid while also reducing electricity’s contribution to climate change. The National Renewable Energy Lab recently concluded that it is entirely possible for renewable technologies to supply more than 80 percent of total U.S. electricity in 2050. NREL is not alone. InReinventing Fire, RMI outlines how a highly renewable and reliable grid is not only possible, but also cost competitive.
However, to achieve these visions of the future, significant investments in the control and management systems in the distribution grid are needed. Luckily, emerging technologies are opening up a world of possibilities..."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Listen to Positive Energy Moving Forward WARL  - 1320 AM Providence, RI

Here's the link to this week's show which is now posted 24/7 on Blog Talk Radio, as our all of our most recent shows:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/renewable-now/2012/07/25/sustainable-communities

Also, we are very impressed with this new program in Michigan we just read about.  This would be a worthy program in any state, and we are going to work to expand the clean energy fund that we created recently in RI to cover the State in a similar fashion.  Hat's off to all involved, leading with the State of Michigan, for showing excellent leadership:

Energi Partners in Lean & Green Michigan PACE Initiative

PEABODY, Mass.--()--Energi, a Massachusetts based Industrial Reinsurance Company, is pleased to announce that they have joined Lean & Green Michigan™. The public and private partnership is one of America’s first statewide PACE initiatives and a marketplace for energy efficiency and renewable energy financing. This initiative is a collaborative effort that is led by Andy Levin of Levin Energy Partners and the law firm Miller Canfield.
Southfield, Michigan earlier this month became the first jurisdiction to join Lean & Green Michigan™. This joint venture has in turn, enabled property owners to take on a voluntary tax assessment in order to finance energy efficiency or renewable energy projects. Advantages of this program include no down payment, payback periods that are longer than traditional bank loans, and for additional protection, many of the projects facilitated by Lean & Green Michigan will require performance guarantees.
“Lean and Green Michigan  effectively helps to create jobs, save companies money, increase property values, and drive economic development. By helping counties and cities collaborate in the state of Michigan, the universally understandable approach to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy projects will drive a shared services, economic gardening agenda for Michigan.” Andy Levin, President Lean & Green Michigan
Energi, through its Energy Savings Warranty (ESW) Program, allows for contractors to backstop the performance guarantees they must make in order to perform PACE projects through Lean & Green Michigan. This warranty program allows contractors to transfer the risks of the performance guarantee, to the insurer.
“Energi is strongly supportive of incentives that aim to create standardization and streamline approval for PACE initiatives and retrofit projects, such as the Lean & Green Michigan™ state-wide program and the PACE Commercial Consortium. We believe that these efforts will effectively drive market traction and allow the energy efficiency industry to reach a larger scale.” Brian McCarthy, CEO Energi.
Notes to the Editor:
About Energi
Energi is an Industrial Reinsurance Company that provides specialized risk management and insurance programs to targeted sectors of the North American Energy industry. Energi is a leading developer and underwriter of innovative insurance products to deliver critical protections for alternative energy and energy efficiency warranties. These covers mitigate the performance risk inherent in energy efficiency retrofits, commercial solar projects, and alternative energy product manufacturing.


Ed Scott, 978-531-1822 x. 318

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Helping Companies Find New Customers

Below is my article that will be published in the latest edition of Natural Awakenings, and posted on their main site.

Renewable Now reaches across every medium and platform.  Our audience is global with a thirst for change.  For those of you looking to transform your companies, or promote and advertise within the growing green economy, contact us.  We offer consulting services on every level (reducing waste, use of energy, alternative fuels, creating green teams, etc), and we are happy to help you succeed in your branding, marketing and remodeling of your company as well.

Helping Companies Find New Customers

by Peter Arpin

At Renewable Now, we study and report on all things sustainable—from energy use to reductions in waste to technology that can drive a cleaner future. One of the ways individuals can help get us to a better world is to investigate alternatives on where their consumer dollars get spent. That includes cars (electric vehicles), heating and air conditioning systems, food (organic, local), the efficiency of the homes they purchase, and, of course, investing in renewable energy—whether that is solar, geothermal or even a simple solar hot water system.

Part of our job, and the job of Natural Awakenings, is to positively profile those companies and organizations who are growing smart while preserving our Earth’s resources. We love helping these companies find new customers. We know many of the loyal readers to Natural Awakenings—now eclipsing 50,000 per month—are business owners. Our partnership expands that number—using radio, TV, web TV and social media—to about 200,000 per month.

One of the ways companies can find new customers is by working with a business development expert. The job of a business development expert is to help companies build market position by locating, developing, defining, negotiating and closing business relationships; to broaden a company’s reach and even help them to better establish their brand.

Ann Marie Fiske is a business development expert for both Natural Awakenings and Renewable Now. She can tell businesses about the great partner/sponsor packages we offer that give companies (or sole proprietors) the best pricing on their investment, and help them get an even better return on their advertising.

Contact Fiske at FiscalRecordings@cox.net or call her directly at 401-603-3439.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thanks to Seth Handy

For a terrific report on greening up sports.  As we've pointed out before, sports is such a lightening rod for setting trends in society.  Seeing teams get eco-conscious, and start to make positive changes, bodes well for an overall movement in the right direction.

Greening Up the Sports World

How could 35 professional sports teams and 20 million square feet of sports facilities improve their energy efficiency and be more environmentally friendly?
That’s the question the Energy Department is answering through its Better Buildings Challenge. In order to illustrate the Department’s strategy for greening professional sports facilities, we are highlighting several green sports initiatives aiming to change the way our nation does athletics.
At a White House event today, the Obama Administration is celebrating the sports industry’s successes in saving energy, reducing waste and adopting sustainable practices at sports facilities as part of the Better Buildings Challenge. The Better Buildings Challenge was created by President Obama to encourage major corporations, universities, and state and local governments to pledge and lead the way to saving energy, money, and showcasing the best energy saving strategies for buildings and their results. Better Buildings has teamed up with the Green Sports Alliance, an organization whose mission is to help sports teams, venues and leagues be more environmentally friendly.
In partnership with Green Sports Alliance, Better Buildings is hitting a home run in helping to green sports facilities for one of America’s favorite pastimes. Here are some highlights of projects from a few of the many baseball teams (some of which began prior to the Alliance):
  • The Los Angeles Staples Center most recently completed a lighting overhaul by replacing over 3,000 halogen fixtures with LEDs, thereby reducing energy consumption by 12 percent and energy costs by over $80,000 per year.
  • Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field has reduced its carbon footprint via the installation of a 32.76-kW rooftop solar array. Since installing 168 solar panels on its elevator canopy of the parking garage and roof of the skybridge last April, the Mariners have been generating electricity for its internal televisions and monitors. The system generates 40,000 kWh of electricity annually. The project also installed high efficiency lighting and EV charging stations for the public.
  • St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium installed 106 new solar panels on its home turf last April, producing 37,000 kWh of electricity annually since last April.
The Department’s Better Buildings Challenge and Alliance aims to reduce the energy use of its member facilities by at least 20 percent by 2020 in aggregate. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Town drops plan for wind power project

WESTERLY — The people of Bradford spoke loudly and the Town Council listened, dropping plans to erect two wind turbines on town-owned property in the rural village.
About 80 Bradford residents gathered at the Bradford Citizens Club to learn about the proposal for two 450-foot-tall turbines, one at the Bradford Preserve and one off of Old Carriage Road. The vast majority of residents in attendance said they did not want the turbines in their village.

Some of the residents accused proponents of the project of trying to stick it in Bradford after plans for the Town Forest and other sites lost momentum. Bradford resident Peter Bonk said proponents were trying to “shoehorn” the wind turbines in when there were no good sites anywhere in the town.
“You’re trying to finesse what is really not a very good location. This is not West Texas,” Bonk said.
Councilor Christopher Duhamel, one of the primary proponents of the plan, disagreed, saying an additional yearlong study period would reveal whether Westerly was suitable for wind turbines. By the end of the night Duhamel acknowledged that wind energy currently lacked sufficient resident support.
Wind Energy Development LLC of North Kingstown was selected in December as the council’s energy partner for wind energy. The company promised to save the town $14 million or more over the course of a 20-year lease through electricity it sought to generate with the two turbines. The project was intended to meet the town’s municipal electricity needs excluding power used by the school system.
Bradford residents questioned the motives behind the project, the noise gegenerated by wind turbines, and possible health hazards. Others complained that the turbines would cause a reduction in property values.
Councilor Caswell Cooke Jr. said the council had studied various alternative energy methods for eight years in a quest to move the town off its reliance on fossil fuels and in the direction of using renewable energy sources. He shook off accusations of living on the beach and said he was open to conducting further study after hearing the concerns raised by Bradford residents.
“No one is trying to shove this down anybody’s throat,” Cooke said.
Councilor Kenneth Parrilla repeated an earlier theme, saying his research revealed a number of studies suggesting various health problems associated with wind turbines. He also noted that there were no definitive results from the studies.
Councilor Richard Anthony questioned the economic feasibility of the project as proposed by Wind Energy Development. He praised the dozens of residents who attended for getting involved.
“It is your land and it is your responsibility. You better participate. Far be it from me to make a decision on a proposal like this. We need to hear from you,” Anthony said.
After the meeting in Bradford, the Town Council drove to Town Hall to consider a proposed power purchase agreement. Wind Energy asked the council to approve the agreement, saying it was necessary for the company to perform the next round of testing to determine wind and other atmospheric conditions.
Seth Handy, a lawyer hired by the council to review the agreement, delivered a report on changes made to the proposed agreement and negotiations he conducted with the company. Based on the projections of industry analysts, Handy said the proposed agreement and rates “should be a good deal for the town.”
Ultimately councilors remained unswayed or were moved by the loud statement from Bradford residents. When it came time to seek a consensus on the issue, council President Diana Serra found there was no resolve to continue discussing or studying wind.
Anthony said he would prefer to focus on ways to reduce the town’s energy expenses with less risk and a more immediate payoff.
As the evening wore on Cooke suggested dropping the wind proposal but said he was glad an alternative energy proposal was discussed and considered.

Last week's radio show

Is now available 24/7 at the below link.  Interesting show as we looked at some terrific, very safe cleaning products to you, and had a wonderful, informative discussion--reinforcing what we are doing on the TV side, on sustainable investing and, how, with a little research, your money can make a big difference in the world.

Listen and pass on.

Thanks.  More later today.

BlogTalkRadio Logo

Friday, July 20, 2012

Carnage and sadness descend again on Colorado

Today, it is hard to think about anything but the terror that struck at midnight last night in a jammed packed Showcase Cinema.  It will certainly go down as one our nation's saddest moments and days.

It has been a difficult summer for the great State of CO.  Already singed by roaring fires, the area now struggles with a second senseless, random bloody attack on its people.  In a beautiful State, full of wondrous, glorious natural resources, towered by majestic mountain tops, it is hard to fathom this type of human tragedy.

Our mission is to find and help to a cleaner, brighter future.  That does not exist if there is no respect for human life.  Sustainability depends on hope, dreams of a better world. Days like this rip the heart our of hope.

We, like the rest of the world, pray for the darkness to lift off that beautiful State.  We pray positive answers come out of the countless questions that will be asked.   We pray hope finds its way back into the souls that were emptied in the early morning hours of this tragic day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More on Action of New England

Last night we introduced you to Action of New England, a leading network of clean tech incubators, and today we want to tell you more about them.

Let's take a look at the range of start ups they support:  Keep in mind we've done shows on all of these types of companies, representing many of these industries, and have reported on some fantastic success stories.  With Action's help, we'll be reporting on many more.

There's a contact button for them below if you are a potential investor or start-up company.  Good luck

Our ACTION incubator members are engaged in supporting early stage cleantech entrepreneurs. These startup organizations are typically involved in developing technologies and services for:

Renewable or Clean Energy Generation or Production
Infrastructure, SmartGrid, and Storage
Energy Efficiency and Building Systems
Transportation and Bio-Fuels
Sustainable Management of Environmental Resources: Materials, Agriculture, Land, and Water
And many others ...

ACTION’s collaborative network of incubator organizations provide cleantech entrepreneurs with business mentoring, access to R&D personnel and facilities, administrative resources, access to clean technology leaders in government, Universities, and private industry, and introductions to potential partners and investors. Our goal is to accelerate the commercialization and growth of cleantech startups, and support the future visionaries and leaders of a cleaner, sustainable world.

If you are a cleantech entrepreneur that is interested in meeting one of our incubator member organizations, please contact us.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Welcome to ACTION!

We came across the Association of Cleantech Incubators, and liked it a lot.  It fits very nicely with our mission--the business side of green.

Here's more about them:  "The Association of Cleantech Incubators of New England (ACTION) is New England’s leading network of cleantech incubators sharing the common goals of accelerating the growth and success of early-stage companies, strengthening the regional cleantech cluster, and creating more green jobs in New England. 

ACTION is a nonprofit organization. Our network of incubators provides diverse resources and a highly- supportive hub in which entrepreneurs, business leaders, government agencies, community leaders, investors, universities, and other interested organizations can collaborate toward the successful commercialization of enterprises that will build a prosperous green economy, improve the quality of our lives and sustain the health of our environment."

Here's a link to their site:  http://actionnewengland.org/

Monday, July 16, 2012

Good Report from VOA

On an updated report on damage and prospect for the Australian Reef.  One of the somber statements is this:  "Marine scientists are also warning that the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia's Queensland state will degenerate if the oceans continue to acidify"

Here's the link::let us know what you think:  http://www.voanews.com/content/scientists-warnreef-peril-australian-summit/1404283.html

Part of the story:  Phil Mercer
SYDNEY — A document signed by more than 2,500 scientists at the International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns, Australia said that climate change is a greater threat to coral reefs than pollution and overfishing. Marine scientists are also warning that the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia's Queensland state will degenerate if the oceans continue to acidify.

The repeated warning from delegates is that manmade climate change is posing a serious risk to coral expanses across the planet. Marine scientists say other factors, such as pollution and increased shipping, also present risks.

The head of the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, said Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is facing particular threats.

A diver inspects damage caused by a Chinese bulk coal carrier that ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef, east of Great Keppel Island, April 13, 2010.
​​“The Great Barrier Reef is a obviously spectacular place and thanks to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, it has been relatively well managed. It's really a model that has been emulated elsewhere," said Lubchenco. "Part of what makes a healthy reef is not only paying attention to activities on the water and under the water, but land, what's happening on the land, and how much sedimentation, how much pollution is washing into the reef and of course that's an ongoing concern for the Great Barrier Reef.”

Researchers warn that the Great Barrier Reef that stretches down Australia’s northeast coast will not be the spectacular underwater paradise it is now if the oceans continue to acidify."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thanks to Bloomberg Business News

For a great story on the gas stations of the future.

We've talked here about the chicken and egg dilemma facing consumers looking to drive alternatively-fueled vehicles--do they wait for more fueling spots to open, or do they buy now and the share demand starts to push investor to open more fueling facilities?

In CA, as you'll see here, the answer is to start retrofitting existing gas stations.  Looks like a smart answer to us.

Also, in answer to a comment posted on this blog (thanks so much), we do have a 175,000 kw solar array up on our facility, and our building (Arpin Group) is one of the most efficient in the State,   We, in fact, just finished a remodeling of our corporate offices that reduced our energy usage by 50%, and 40% of the remaining energy we burn comes from renewable energy.

How about you?

Now, to the story:

The Gas Station of the Future Just Opened

"Matt Horton wants to solve a problem that makes alternative-fuel vehicles unappealing to would-be buyers: lack of convenient places to refuel. Last month, the chief executive officer of Propel Fuels opened the country’s first station where drivers can pump gasoline, ethanol, and biodiesel, cyclists can get tune-ups, and commuters can find public transit schedules. Backed by more than $19 million in venture capital and nearly $12 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission, the 23-person Redwood City (Calif.) startup received yesterday an additional, $10.1 million grant from the commission to help build 100 stations around the state in the next four years.
With its alternative-fuel pumps at about two dozen other stations, Propel is laying the foundation for what the 37-year-old Horton calls the “slow, but exciting” transformation of the U.S. automotive industry. Despite increased consciousness about their benefits, roughly only 3,100 of the 160,000 filling stations across the country sell alternative fuels, according to the Department of Energy. “The gasoline stations don’t want a competitor but the alternative fuels industry is dependent on its largest competitor as a pathway to the market,” says Geoff Cooper, vice president of research and analysis at the Renewable Fuels Association. “In many cases, you aren’t going to see a retailer take a gasoline pump out of commission to put in a product that competes with gasoline.”
Four-year-old Propel, which Horton says had more than $10 million in revenue last year and has been averaging 300 percent growth since 2010, is removing that obstacle by selling directly to drivers. It’s using its experience pioneering the model across California and software it built to choose locations. The new filling station, near Anaheim, is in “one of the top 10 trade areas [in California] for alternative fuels, based on the customer demographics, vehicle counts, and traffic patterns,” Horton says. “In this business, the vehicle drives everything. You can have all the infrastructure in the world, but if there aren’t any vehicles around that use it, it’s not going to make any difference.”
Propel provides information about alternative fuels at its pumps, since studies have shown that more than one-third of drivers of flex-fuel cars don’t realize their cars can run on something other than gasoline. And it encourages customers to sign up for a system that tracks their carbon emissions. They can then log on to Propel’s website for customized reports about the benefits they’re getting from avoiding imported fuel.
Propel is “a remarkable company, like the Apple Store of the alternative energy market,” says Jim Lane, editor and publisher of BiofuelsDigest, a daily online publication. “We have these transformative fuel products that are being sold as commodities, like computers used to be sold. But Apple (AAPL) really showed that if you start thinking about customer experience you can change people’s minds and get them thinking about something in a whole new way.” Being first to market is a risk, Lane acknowledges. “There are not a lot of companies that are trying this. But 10 years ago, they called them crazy in Cupertino, too.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Working to open Providence's only cooperative food market

On today's radio show, I am joined by Sheila Brush, Grow Smart RI filling in for John Flaherty who is studying in Boston this month, but will be back with us in August.

Sheila will help me introduce you to the Urban Green Coop Market as look at local agriculture, and compare RI's booming local food industry to other state's and countries.  In preparation for the show, here's a link to the Urban Green site: http://urbangreens.com/

Here's some of what you will find there:  Don't forget to listen from 12-1p, EST, on WARL 1320 AM and Blog Talk Radio, Renewable Now channel.  You will find the show available, on a recorded basis, 24/7 starting tomorrow:

Urban Greens Food Co-op is...

  • ...a community of members who believe in establishing a full-scale, cooperatively owned market to expand access to healthy foods throughout our community.
  • ...developing a business plan and securing financing.
  • ...committed to opening a market on the west side of Providence.
  • ...counting on your membership to open its doors. Join now!


Urban Greens is a food cooperative on the west side of Providence with a mission to provide simple, direct access to affordable, local, natural products through a full-scale, community-owned grocery store.


Equal Access: Every person, regardless of economic or social status, deserves access to healthy, affordable food produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.
Local Agriculture: Our health is dependent upon responsible stewardship of the planet's resources. Supporting local agriculture is an important part of this stewardship. Happily, local food also tastes better.
Local Economy: Small businesses, as opposed to national retail chains, keep a higher percentage of every dollar spent within the community. The co-op will help create and support jobs for local farmers, food producers, and staff.
Cooperative Principles, Cooperative Values: Cooperatives are based on the values of democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. As a cooperative, we believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
Community Partnerships: Building and sharing strength requires actively seeking collaboration with neighbors, community members, local community groups, small businesses, non-profits, members and non-members.
Social Entrepreneurship: We can affect social change in our food systems through entrepreneurship. The cooperative measures success in terms of both social change and economic viability.
We also will join with the broader cooperative community in following the 7 Cooperative Principles as defined by the International Cooperative Alliance. Learn more about cooperatives.

Monday, July 9, 2012

New Report Shows Tremendous Job Potential of More Efficient Cars

This is a great report from Sierra Club combining the environmental and economic value of EV's.  It perfectly hits our sweet spot on the business side of green.

We hope you consider all of these elements as you look at new cars and your next purchase:

"Half-a-million jobs!  That's the good news from a new report released today by  the Sierra Club, the Blue Green Alliance, United Auto Workers and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
The report, called "Gearing Up" (PDF),confirms what many Americans – especially those in Michigan – already know. It tells a story about what happens when we act not just to protect our planet and save families money at the pump, but to ensure our auto industry is as competitive as possible.
Take political posturing out of the equation and we all know that the only way to deal with high gas prices is to use less gas. Americans know it – that's why fuel efficient vehicles are among the top sellers in the country and why efficiency is now a top consideration for consumers looking to buy a new car.
In just three and half years, the Obama Administration has undone nearly 30 years of stagnation when it comes to raising the bar on fuel efficiency standards.  When the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation issue final carbon pollution and fuel efficiency standards for vehicles that will be sold in 2017-2025, this administration will have put our new cars on the path to being twice as efficient as the fleet of vehicles sold last year. These huge steps forward would not have happened without the ability of the Administration to bring together the auto industry, auto workers, Sierra Club, and others to work on progress. 
These fuel economy standards are already paying off. Consumers have better choices – including a growing variety of electric vehicles.  In Detroit and around the U.S., thousands and thousands of Americans are at work helping to build the world's most advanced efficient cars and trucks.  More efficient and less polluting cars will redirect billions of dollars away from Big Oil’s coffers and into our pockets while also creating jobs.
And here’s our good news big number: "Gearing Up" shows that the standards for 2017-2025 vehicles will create 570,000 jobs across our economy, including 50,000 jobs in the auto industry. 
But the benefits don't stop there. By 2030 we will be saving at least 3.5 million barrels of oil per day, keeping more than 600 million metric tons of global warming pollution out of the atmosphere and saving us a net of $150 billion dollars. 
"Gearing Up" is great news for those of us who are looking forward to a stronger economy and a healthier future."
-- Ann Mesnikoff, Director of the Sierra Club Green Transportation Campaign

Listen to last week's radio show

Now archived on Blog Talk Radio at:   http://www.blogtalkradio.com/renewable-now/2012/07/04/waste-segregation

We'd love to have your comments after you listen.

More stories later today.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Finishing up on Friday's blog

There's lots of troubling weather events going on, including the floods in Russia (and we send our best to our loyal viewers and readers that have lost homes and lost relatives; we pray for you).  Parts of the US are baking and scorching into uncontrolled fires, wrecking havoc on the environment and the economy as people lost homes, time at work and huge money is spent in the aftermath of the destruction.  

Here's part 2.  Again, we think this reinforces the many fears of an overheated Earth that is being to crumble on the edges.  We hope the right changes to our use of natural resources and controlling our waste and emissions will help bring us back in balance.

Thank you to The Guardian for a great editorial:

"In the markets, all this news was taking its toll: prices for corn and wheat were spiking upwards, rising almost a third on global markets as forecasters suggested grain stockpiles could shrink by as much as 50% as the summer wears on. But in the political world, there wasn't much reaction at all.

The Obama administration said it would grant Shell leases to drill for more oil in the Arctic, and they auctioned off a vast new tract of federal coal land at giveaway prices – even though it's the carbon in that coal and oil that drives the droughts and fires. Even that didn't satisfy the GOP, as Mitt Romney demanded yet more pipelines and wells.
Amid it all, the CEO of the biggest oil company in the world, Exxon, gave what may go down in the annals as the most poorly timed – not to mention, arrogant – speech in the firm's history: Rex Tillerson, speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations, admitted what his company spent many years denying, that humans were heating the planet. But then he added:
"We have spent our entire existence adapting, OK? So we will adapt to this. Changes to weather patterns that move crop production areas around – we'll adapt to that. It's an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions. And so I don't … the fear factor that people want to throw out there and say, 'We just have to stop this,' I do not accept."
Against the backdrop of the burning Rockies, it's pretty clear this is not an engineering problem. Engineers, in fact, have performed admirably. One day last month, Germany generated more than half its electricity from solar panels. We've got the technical chops to solve our troubles.
No, this is a greed problem. In the last five years, Exxon has made more money than any company in history. For the moment, Exxon and other's desire to keep minting money – and our politicians' desire for a share of that cash – has conspired to keep our government, and most others, from doing anything to head off the crisis.
And unlike the healthcare predicament, this crisis comes with a time limit. If we play politics for a generation, then weeks like the one we've just come through will be normal, and all we'll be doing as a nation is responding to emergencies. As one scientist put it at week's end, the current heatwave is "bad by our current definition of bad, but our definition of bad changes."
Another way of saying that is: there are disaster areas declared across the country right now, but the biggest one is in DC."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Thanks to Seth Handy, Environmental lawyer and co-host

For sending us a stark reminder of what climate changes can look like as they wreck havoc on our environment. We need, as we've written, to get back in balance on sustaining a global economy, with 7 billion people feeding on that, with sustaining Mother Earth.

Will run this in two parts:  This is from The Guardian:

The Waldo Canyon wildfire burns as it moved into subdivisions and destroyed homes in Colorado Springs. Photograph: Galon Wampler/AP
"In the political world, this was the week of the healthcare ruling: reporters hovered around the supreme court, pundits pundited, politicians "braced" for the ruling, "reeled" in its aftermath. It provoked a "firestorm" of interest, according to one magazine; it was, said another, a "category 10 hurricane".
But in the world world, there was news at least as big, but without the cliched metaphors. News that can be boiled down to a sentence or two:
You ever wonder what global warming is going to look like? In its early stages, exactly like this.
Global warming is underway. Are we waiting for someone to hold up a sign that says "Here's climate change"? Because, this week, we got everything but that:
• In the Gulf, tropical storm Debby dropped what one meteorologist described as "unthinkable amounts" of rain on Florida. Debby marked the first time in history that we'd reached the fourth-named storm of the year in June; normally it takes till August to reach that mark.
• In the west, of course, firestorms raged: the biggest fire in New Mexicohistory, and the most destructive in Colorado's annals. (That would be the Colorado Springs blaze: the old record had been set the week before, in Fort Collins.) One resident described escaping across suburban soccer fields in his car, with "hell in the rearview mirror".
• The record-setting temperatures (it had never been warmer in Colorado) that fueled those blazes drifted east across the continent as the week wore on: across the Plains, there were places where the mercury reached levels it hadn't touched even in the Dust Bowl years, America's previous all-time highs.
• That heatwave was coming at just the wrong time, as farmers were watching their corn crops get ready to pollinate, a task that gets much harder at temperatures outside the norms with which those crops evolved. "You only get one chance to pollinate over 1 quadrillion kernels," said Bill Lapp, president of Advanced Economic Solutions, a Omaha-based commodity consulting firm:
"There's always some level of angst at this time of year, but it's significantly greater now and with good reason. We've had extended periods of drought."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Thanks to the Daily Green

For a very a very good article and reminder.  

Renewable Now is the business side of green; the place where economics and the environment come happily together.  Commerce is not the enemy of Mother Earth.  Jobs can co-exists with clean air and oceans.  We've found, and reported, on many such great stories of smart growth.  We'll find and report on many more.

The question is, will one of those stories be yours?  We hope so.  We'd be happy to tell it to the world.

Happy 4th for America and a world transforming into green.

The Next Revolution Starts Now

"Revolution is sometimes necessary, if never comfortable. Thomas Jefferson knew this when he and his revolutionary colleagues laid out their grievances before dissolving the bands that connected them with the King of England. We celebrate the success of that revolution every year, and for good reason.

This Fourth of July, a couple hundred years later, there's another revolution afoot, with the potential to shake up the way America does business, interacts with other nations and pursues happiness. "Green" is more than a buzzword. It's a path forward for a great nation seeking to produce its own energy, shore up its security and provide sustainable prosperity for its people.
Jefferson didn't spend a lot of ink on energy policy in the Declaration of Independence, but a selective reading of his "indictments" against the King almost sound like a treatise on sustainability. (At least, the whole argument for untangling ourselves from that rotten King of England is framed as aligning human behavior with natural law and the "powers of the earth.")

So, this Fourth of July, start participating in the next revolution, one that embraces good-old American ingenuity and hard work on the path toward a brighter future for our great nation."

Read more: http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/declare-independence-47062306#ixzz1zgL82Joz

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Listen today on WARL 1320AM and Blog Talk Radio

We'll be live today, 12-1p EST, with tomorrow being the 4th, with a great show on recycling in cities, and looking at the struggles a new company has had in Newport this summer getting full acceptance of their very visible, very usable recycle bins.

Our guests include Karen Weber from Boston Green Fest (which will be a focus of the show in August), Krystal Noiseux, Recycling Program coordinator from RI Resource Recovery, and Mike Debroisse, who will be talking about his city's planned program with Recylebank--something all cities should be looking at.

The show will be repeated in its entirety tomorrow at its regular, weekly time:  Weds, 12-1p.

Also, my co-host today is Seth Handy, environmental lawyer and consultant, and he sent a great update to us on Boston's newest investor in renewable's...take a look:

Bowles' new firm WindSail Capital plans series of cleantech investments

Boston Business Journal by Kyle Alspach, VC Editor

WindSail Capital Group, a year-old Boston firm co-managed by former state energy and environmental secretary Ian Bowles, expects to fund a dozen cleantech services companies in the next two years, Bowles said in an interview.
The firm has funded one company so far, Boston's Next Step Living, with a $2.75 million credit facility a year ago. The company provides efficiency audits and retrofits and employs 300, Bowles said.
WindSail is targeting $1 million to $5 million loans to cleantech companies that have some sort of asset the firm can lend against, he said. That could include solar power installers, LED installers, developers of electric vehicle charging stations and energy efficiency firms.
"Cleantech is making the transition from tech development — lab coats, advanced solar cells— into deployment," Bowles noted. But many of the cleantech services firms don't fit the criteria for venture capital investment or a loan from typical financial institutions, he said.
"Our aspiration is to become a major source of credit for earlier stage cleantech deployment businesses," Bowles said. "As far as I know, no one else is doing this."
Bowles' partner on WindSail is Michael Rand, a veteran of private equity and finance who most recently was a managing director of GB Merchant Partners in Boston.
Bowles, who said the firm is now "actively looking" for new investments, declined to say how much WindSail has raised or plans to raise, or who the firm's investors are (other than himself and Rand).
Other efforts by Bowles include working with NeighborPower, which allows consumers to pay their utility bill using reward points (see Mass High Tech's recent coverage of NeighborPower). Bowles served as energy and environmental affairs secretary through Gov. Deval Patrick's first term, departing the administration at the end of 2010.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Australia Prepares for Carbon Tax

Interesting piece from Voice of America on Australia's new carbon tax.  

The link is:  http://www.voanews.com/content/australia-prepares-for-carbon-tax/1263172.html

We love the two-sided argument on whether this pushes too hard on the environment at the expense of the economy.  It is finding that balance that is the essence of our focus--the business side of green.

We believe the long-term benefits of the new tax will outweigh the short-term drag on their economy, but we'd like to hear from you, too:

Part of the article:  "Phil Mercer
SYDNEY - Australia is preparing to introduce a carbon tax July 1. The levy would force about 300 of the country's biggest polluters to pay roughly $23 for each ton of carbon dioxide they emit. The aim is to encourage heavy polluters to invest in cleaner technology to reduce their tax liability and help the environment.

Australia is the world's largest coal exporter and one of the biggest per capita greenhouse gas emitters.

"The question is how we can get dangerous pollution in Australia cut, at the same time as making sure that jobs continue to grow and the economy continues to grow," said Mark Dreyfus, the Australian government's parliament secretary for climate change.  "And, the advice we have from expert economists, expert scientists is that the best way to do that is by putting a price on carbon."

There has been a vociferous campaign against the new levy by industry groups and conservative politicians. They argue it will push up costs for businesses, erode Australia's economic competitiveness and cost thousands of jobs, while pushing up food and electricity bills for households..."