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Green Energy Times Issue #61 Is Now Available

Hello, and Happy Solstice!

Green Energy Times issue #61 is going to press and will be available in hard copy at many locations throughout our region in coming days.

The entire issue can be downloaded HERE.

Individual articles are being uploaded and will be available soon.

June 26 Green Energy News

赤峰百姓网

  • “US Renewables Produce 27% More Power Than Coal, Outpace Nuclear Over Four Months” ? In the US, renewable energy sources produced significantly more electricity than coal during the first four months of 2020 and topped nuclear power as well, the SUN DAY Campaign shows, based on data from the Energy Information Administration. [Renewables Now]

Wind farm in Oklahoma (US Dept of Agriculture image)

  • “Renewable Energy Breaks UK Record In First Quarter Of 2020” ? The UK government’s official data has revealed that renewable energy made up 47% of the electricity generation in the first three months of 2020, smashing the previous quarterly record of 39% set last year. A surge in wind power helped to set a new record for clean energy. [The Guardian]
  • “Renewables Uptake ‘Driving Down’ EU Emissions” ? Lower EU greenhouse gas emissions today are largely due to the growth in renewable generation, an International Energy Agency energy policy review showed. EU greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 were 23% lower than in 1990. The EU has already met its target of a 20% decline by 2020. [reNEWS]
  • “Trump Administration Moves To Make Millions More Acres Available For Oil And Gas Leasing In Alaska Reserve” ? A federal agency has released a final management plan for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The plan proposes to make 7 million additional acres of land on the North Slope open to potential oil and gas development. [Anchorage Daily News]
  • “House Democrats Unveil Green Tax Package” ? US House Democrats unveiled a major green tax package, offering tax incentives for renewables, electric vehicles and a host of other environmentally friendly businesses. The legislation would extend several renewable energy tax breaks, and it would expand some incentives. [The Hill]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

SUN DAY Campaign: First Third 2020

U.S. Renewables Produced 27.1% More Electricity?Than Coal – and Also Outpaced Nuclear Power

Solar + Wind Now Provide One-Eight Of U.S. Electricity

Non-Hydro Renewables Grew 3.7% In April?Notwithstanding Covid-19

Washington DC – Renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) produced significantly more electricity than coal during the first four months of 2020 and topped nuclear power as well, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of just-released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” (with data through April 30, 2020) reveals that solar and wind both showed continued, strong growth, expanding faster than all other energy sources. During the first third of this year, solar-generated electricity – including distributed solar – expanded by 20.7% (compared to the same period in 2019) and provided almost 3.0% of the nation’s total. Wind grew by 12.2% and accounted for more than 9.3% of total generation.

Thus, wind and solar together provided 12.3% – or nearly one-eighth – of total U.S. electrical production during the first four months of 2020. Combined with hydropower, biomass, and geothermal, renewables provided 21.6% of total electrical output.

Moreover, renewables produced 27.1% more electricity than coal during the first third of 2020. Electrical generation by coal was 33.5% lower than a year earlier and accounted for just 17.0% of the nation’s total.

In addition, renewable energy sources produced 2.5% more electricity than did nuclear power during the same period. In April alone, renewables outperformed nuclear power by 14.9%.

EIA’s data for just the month of April also provide the first indication of the possible impacts of the coronavirus on competing renewable energy sources.

While hydropower’s output fell by 18.5%, non-hydro renewables provided 3.7% more electricity in April than a year earlier – driven primarily by 17.1% more generation by solar. Geothermal and biomass also increased by 9.5% and 0.7% respectively while wind dipped by 0.6%.

# # # # # # # # #

NOTE: The figures cited above include EIA’s “estimated small-scale solar photovoltaic” (e.g., rooftop solar systems) which account for about a third of total solar output.

The latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” was officially posted late on June 24, 2020.
For the data cited in this news update, see:

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.php?t=epmt_es1a
https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.php?t=epmt_es1b

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The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1992 to aggressively promote 100% reliance on sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels and as a strategy for addressing climate change.

June 25 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Facebook Creates Fact-Checking Exemption For Climate Deniers” ? Facebook is “aiding and abetting the spread of climate misinformation,” said environmental sociologist Robert Brulle. “They have become the vehicle for climate misinformation, and thus should be held partially responsible for a lack of action on climate change.” [PR Watch]

Earth (NASA Johnson Space Center)

  • “Nineteen times More Invested In EVs & EV Batteries In Europe Last Year Than In 2018” ? According to a Transport & Environment report, Europe poured €60 billion into EV production and EV battery production in 2019, 19 times as much as it did in 2018. Some of the results are clear. EV market share has been skyrocketing in Europe. [CleanTechnica]
  • “UK Offshore Wind Cheaper Than New Nuclear” ? Offshore wind farms being built in UK waters will produce electricity more cheaply than the next generation of nuclear power stations. Electricity from new nuclear plants is likely to cost ?60/MWh. But electricity from offshore wind plants will be delivered at a strike price as low as ?39.65/MWh. [reNEWS]
  • “Minnesota Sues Exxonmobil, Koch Industries, And Top Oil And Gas Trade Association For Climate-Related Consumer Fraud” ? The suit alleges that the two companies and the trade association violated state consumer protection laws as they misled Minnesotans about the role fossil fuels play in causing the climate crisis. [Union of Concerned Scientists]
  • “Many US Cities Turn To Renewables For Electricity Supply” ? The new Local Government Renewables Action Tracker resource showed that local governments across the US have signed a total of 335 deals to procure 8.28 GW of renewable energy over the last five years, according to a statement by the World Resources Institute. [OilPrice.com]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

CVSWD Offer: Composter Bulk Order

The Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District has teamed up with the?Composting Association of Vermont?to organize a bulk order of?Jora Composters?– just in time for Vermont’s July 1 landfill ban on food scraps (learn more about that?here),
If you have attended any of our?compost presentations or webinars, you’ve heard about these dual-chambered, insulated tumblers that are great on their own, or as part of a larger compost system.
By ordering in bulk, each person can save about 35% off the retail price.
If you’d like to join the bulk order check out our prices?here.
How To Order:
  1. Review the price list and COVID-19 safety precautions for curbside pick up?here.
  2. Email?Natasha Duarte?with your order at:?natasha@compostingvermont.org.
  3. Natasha will send you payment and pick up instructions.
  4. Date of pick up will be emailed to you after we place the order and know when they will arrive.
  5. Pick up will be at the CVSWMD facility at 540 North Main Street, Barre VT.
  6. Please plan ahead: CVSWMD staff will not be able to help load the Jora’s into your vehicle. You will need to:
  • Wear a face covering
  • Bring an extra person to help you load
  • Make sure you have adequate space in your vehicle.
  • Arrive in either a pick up truck or car with a hatchbabck similar to a Suburu wagon with seats down and any items in car cleared away.

Sustainability in the Days of Coronavirus Event

Communities and campuses are adjusting to the pandemic with sustainability and social justice in mind. Topics include:?leadership, food, diversity, health, and energy.
Friday, June 26, 9am-2pm?
Register Here? FREE. Limited to 100. ?Agenda

June 24 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Three Companies That Are Bigger Than The Entire Oil & Gas Industry” ? The US oil and gas sector was once worth a combined $3 trillion; now there are three companies with higher valuations than the entire sector. It is worth note that all three – Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft – are tech giants with sizable clean energy investments. [OilPrice.com]

Where it started: Apple I, Smithsonian Museum (Ed Uthman, Wikimedia Commons)
By the way, one of these is currently offered at eBay with an asking price of $1,500,000.

  • “Icebreaker Appeals Turbine Restrictions Decision” ? The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation appealed a ruling made by the Ohio Power Siting Board on the Icebreaker offshore wind farm on Lake Erie. LEEDCo said the ruling may be “fatal” for the 21-MW project. The company asked the OPSB for a rehearing to reconsider the decision. [reNEWS]
  • “Global Demise Of Coal-Fired Generation Driven By Idle And Unprofitable Plants” ? Baseload power just isn’t what it used to be. The demise of coal is now a global phenomenon that – rather like Covid-19 – is no respecter of borders or governments, with both China and the US grappling with the social and economic impacts of overcapacity. [pv magazine USA]
  • “30% Of Shale Oil Companies Could Go Belly Up If Crude Stays This Cheap” ? Muted crude prices, huge piles of debt and capital flight away from fossil fuels threaten a set of bankruptcies for US shale oil companies. About 30% of shale operators are technically insolvent at $35-a-barrel oil prices, according to a study released by Deloitte. [CNN]
  • “The Surprising Way Renewables Can Help Farmers Cope” ? It turns out that with solar panels, even the grass is greener during a drought. That’s the experience of one Australian grazier, who says condensation dripping off the panels arrayed across 55 hectares of his farm provided a moisture source that was the envy of neighbours. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

June 23 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Off-The-Charts Warm: Siberian Town Hits 100 Degrees” ? A Siberian town, nestled about 6 miles within the Arctic Circle, recorded a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C), likely setting a new record for the hottest temperature recorded that far north. The milestone comes as Siberia has experienced unusually warm conditions since the start of 2020. [NBCNews.com]

Siberian heat on June 22 (Climate Reanalyzer | University of Maine, Climate Change Institute)

  • “Taxpayers Are Footing The Bill For 100-Year Old Oil Wells” ? Plugging old oil and gas wells may cost as much as ten times what the industry routinely estimates, according to a Carbon Tracker report. As oil and gas companies walk away from their “stranded liabilities,” state and local governments may be left to pick up the tab. [OilPrice.com]
  • “Nevada Plans To Adopt California’s Fuel Economy Standards” ? Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has decided to side with California and Tesla, not Donald Trump and certain lagging automakers, on the need for cleaner cars. Governor Sisolak announced that Nevada would adopt California’s fuel economy regulations. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Central USA Set Several Wind Power Records In Spring” ? Earlier this year, the Southwest Power Pool, the regional transmission organization that manages the electric grid for much of the central US, set records for the highest share of electricity demand supplied by wind power in both a single-hour period (72%) and a full day (62%). [CleanTechnica]
  • “The Truth About The Future Of Gas: We Don’t Need To Build Anymore” ? A study from UC Berkeley shows it is technically and economically feasible to reach 90% clean electricity by 2035 without building any new gas plants and reducing generation from existing plants by 70%, all without any increase in wholesale power costs compared to today. [Utility Dive]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

So You’re Thinking About Riding a Bike?

These days, with limits on public transportation and daily protests, cyclists dominate cities around the country. Here’s how to become one.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/18/style/bike-buying-commute-exercise-questions.html?smid=em-share

June 22 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Santa Monica To Pilot Zero Emissions Delivery Zones” ? The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator chose Santa Monica’s main business district for the pilot for the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s new Neighborhood Zero Emissions Delivery Zone. LACI and Santa Monica are interested in assessing a broad range of technologies. [CleanTechnica]

Los Angeles traffic (Jeff Turner | flickr, CC BY 2.0)

  • “Your Home Battery Can Be Part Of A Virtual Power Plant In California” ? With solar power and batteries your house stays alive with power, even if the grid goes down, but there are other advantages of such systems. Sunrun and Southern California Edison are partnering to create one of the country’s largest virtual power plants. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Africa50 Joins Investors To Power The World’s Largest Solar Park” ? Thirty international infrastructure developers are to invest in Egypt’s 1.5-GW Benban solar park, which will be the largest in the world upon completion. The 37-square-kilometer solar park will have over seven million PV panels, with funding of $4 billion. [ESI Africa]
  • “Dutch Do Danish Deal To Hit Clean Power Target” ? The Netherlands agreed to pay Denmark €100 million as part of a deal to allow the Dutch government to declare at least 8 TWh of Danish surplus renewable power on its books, in an effort to meet its EU target. The Netherlands is one of the worst countries for hitting benchmarks for 2020. [EURACTIV]
  • “Europe’s Thinking Shifts On Supporting Renewables As Part Of Green Recovery Package” ? The EU’s plans for a €1.85 trillion ($2.08 trillion) coronavirus recovery package may not support big renewable energy projects in the way that was expected. The possibility of a 15-GW EU renewable tender has not survived pushback by vested interests. [Greentech Media]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

Spark Joy, Not Fires: Safe Battery Use and Storage

Cassandra Hemenway

Many common items in our lives have serious safety or toxicity problems. For example, we get lulled into a fantasy of its safety simply because a cell phone sits in every pocket and seems harmless. However, cell phones are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which, when improperly handled, spark fires –sometimes massive, hot, fires that decimate buildings and can burn for days (or even years in a landfill).

Lithium-ion batteries aren’t the only type of material that requires safe handling, but they are particularly volatile. To complicate matters, it’s not unusual for someone to “wish cycle” a cell phone by tossing it into their recycling bin. In January, a fire in a recycling center in Tioga County, NY was apparently caused by a crushed lithium-ion battery. Nobody got hurt, but the fire burned for days through bales of recyclable materials.

In February, a house burned to the ground in Greensboro, Vermont, after the homeowner used “knock-off batteries” without an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listing in a rapid charger, according to Dan Gauthier, Co-op Insurance investigator. “These batteries sell on eBay for $30-$35, and the name-brand batteries are $100,” Gauthier stated in his report.

Greensboro Fire Department Chief, Dave Brochu, explained that the combination of the off-brand batteries for charging a power tool and the “rapid charger” started the fire. A rapid charger, (also known as a “quick charge” or “fast charger”) can charge up a battery that normally might take a few hours, in a fraction of that time. It uses significantly more electricity and requires a battery and device designed to be used in the fast charging unit.

Neither of the above examples turned deadly, but such events have that potential, and both were avoidable with safe battery use, storage, and recycling. Recycling batteries properly (not in your blue bin) avoids fires; it also keeps batteries’ heavy metals and toxins out of the landfill, which ultimately means out of landfill leachate, and therefore out of our water systems.

The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, a federal public health agency, has found that cadmium and nickel, two common ingredients in batteries, are known human carcinogens. Other toxins found in batteries include lead and mercury. So, we have a real incentive to keep batteries from leaching those toxins in a landfill.

Start by finding the closest battery recycling outlet near you.

Call2Recycle manages state battery extended producer responsibility programs and has an information-rich website that includes a zip code-zoned map with drop-off locations. Often batteries can be recycled at the point of purchase, such as at a hardware store or a Home Depot. Go to https://www.call2recycle.org/locator/ to find the nearest battery recycling outlet to you.

Before drop off, you’ll need to save batteries at your home. Consider an entire cell phone a ‘battery” for this purpose. Call2Recycle drop-off sites accept both batteries and cell phones.

Scrapped mobile phones for recycling. Image: Wikipedia

Safe battery storage:

  • Place batteries back in their original packaging OR
  • Tape the terminal ends of each battery with duct tape or electric tape but don’t cover the battery label. This is key to getting it recycled properly. You can also put each battery into a plastic bag if taping is not an option.
  • Place cell phones into a plastic bag for safe storage.
  • Aim to get your batteries and cell phones to recycling within six months of storage.
  • Make sure your batteries are stored in a dedicated location (not loose in a drawer or mixed in with small metal objects) in a cool, dry location.

These few safety steps will minimize the risk of fire and environmental damage and help to get your batteries recycled appropriately.

Takeaway tips:

  • Make sure you are using the correct battery. Avoid off brands.
  • Make sure your battery is UL listed. Lack of a UL listing means the item doesn’t meet the safety standards of the Underwriters Laboratory. Look for the UL symbol.
  • Make sure rechargeable batteries are designed for the charger you’re using.
  • When ready to recycle, either tape or bag your batteries and cell phones.
  • Go to https://www.call2recycle.org/locator/ to find a nearby drop-off site.

Cassandra Hemenway is the Outreach Manager at the Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District. She writes and educates about composting, recycling, and how to avoid use of common household toxins.