Posts Tagged ‘renewable energy’

Camden Homeowners Connect the Dots on Climate Change

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
Camden, Maine - Solar ElectricityAnita Brosius-Scott stands next to her PV array to help Connect the Dots on Climate Change. Her home is now a net-producer of electricity each year.

The road to a more sustainable future happens one home at a time, and for Anita Brosius-Scott and Geoff Scott, that meant installing a solar photovoltaic system that would allow them to eliminate their electric bill.

“We originally thought that this kind of system was out of our price range, but we kept bumping into [ReVision] at events and eventually decided we’d at least get a quote for our home,” says Anita, “After meeting with [System Designer] Hans Albee, we found that a solar array was within our reach, especially due to a generous suite of state and federal incentives.”

Those incentives include a 30% uncapped federal tax credit and $2,000 Maine state rebate. The cash rebate remains available for now but funding is a bit uncertain in the second half of 2013; we are hopeful the new legislature will enact new rebate funding to keep the program going in the years ahead. Solar electric arrays also benefit from record low prices – the cost of solar panels has dropped by more than 50% since 2009 and, while costs are no longer dropping precipitously, they are on track to remain at record low prices through 2013.

When Economics Help the Environment

Camden, Maine - Solar Electricity

The solar array is quite low-profile on the Brosius-Scott home, located just outside the heart of Camden.

The Brosius-Scott’s array turned on the spring of 2011, and since its installation they have done several energy efficiency upgrades in their home, resulting in an overall 25% drop in electric consumption. The effect of this conservation is that a system which was designed to produce 95% of their electric bill has actually led to them becoming a net producer of electricity – meaning that their solar array produces more electricity each year than they consume.

Geoff and Anita loved that they could make a solar investment that allowed them to “walk the walk” of their values. “We’re concerned about climate change and feel that local energy production is part of the solution,” Geoff says, “Now that it’s installed, we have a system that requires no maintenance, has lowered our electric bills, and makes me feel good every time I drive home and see sun hitting the roof.”


2012 the Hottest Year in U.S. History

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

2012 Hottest Year in United States History

The New York Times reports that “temperature differences between years are usually measured in fractions of a degree, but last year’s 55.3 degree average demolished the previous record, set in 1998, by a full degree Fahrenheit.” This staggering increase in average heat resulted in “34,008 daily high records.” This comes on the heels of the fact that 2000-2010 was the hottest decade ever recorded. A recent review of 14,000 peer-reviewed publications by National Science Board member James Lawrence Powell found that 99.9% of climate studies agreed that humans were responsible for climate change. If you believe the scientific facts above, then you would agree that the situation calls for serious action!

What Can We Do in Response?

Not all of us can be activists on the same level as Bill McKibben of www.350.org, but we can support his efforts while working to reduce fossil fuel consumption in our day-to-day lives. Maine and New Hampshire have the highest per capita CO2 emissions in New England due to our over-reliance on fossil fuels for transportation and home heating and we all need to own this problem and help solve it.

The good news is that Maine and New Hampshire enjoy abundant renewable energy resources in the form of solar, biomass, tidal and wind power. We also have many local organizations that are working hard to combat CO2 emissions and there are a number of ways to support the efforts. Here’s a short list of actions we encourage everyone to consider, from easiest to hardest:

  1. Volunteer or Donate to an Environmental Organization: www.350.org is 100% focused on eliminating CO2 emissions. Visit their website and get involved any way you can. The Natural Resources Council of Maine is fighting hard against Tar Sands Oil Extraction & Transportation, find them at www.nrcm.org and do what you can to help. The Conservation Law Foundation is also fighting Tar Sands and many other key battles at www.clf.org. Other frontline organizations include www.sierraclub.org and www.audubon.org.
  2. Simple Steps at Home: Adhere to the basics of reduce, re-use, and recycle; turn off lights and turn down the thermostat, shop and eat local, walk or bike whenever possible, turn off your car if it will be idle for 30 seconds or more, plant a garden and invite your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues to do the same.
  3. Bigger Ambitions at Home: Get a home energy audit to find inefficiencies. Update older appliances with modern, high-efficiency appliances. Get a 6% or better annual return on investment by taking advantage of today’s generous government financial incentives for solar hot water and/or solar electric systems. Cut your household CO2 emissions by more than 90% per year by switching from an oil boiler to a modern, fully automated pellet boiler that uses locally grown fuel and keeps your energy dollars in the local economy.
  4. Go Net Zero (most difficult): Eliminate fossil fuel completely by building or renovating with state-of-the-art materials, insulation and mechanical systems. Use solar energy to power hyper efficient airsource heat pumps, or use solar to power a geothermal system. See examples of our net zero work here:
  5. Stop Using Gasoline (also difficult): 50% of ME and NH’s CO2 emissions come from transportation. Modern plug-in electric vehicles can be powered with solar electricity, giving consumers all the technology they need to completely eliminate or significantly reduce gasoline consumption.

ReVision Energy is committed to helping people make the transition from finite, polluting fossil fuels to clean renewable energy. Big things start on the small level, and you can stay with us here throughout 2013 for stories on the people taking action to save money and reduce their carbon dependence, and how you can do so too.


Sun Shines at Lake Region Community College (LRCC) Ribbon Cutting

Friday, September 30th, 2011
Lake Region Community College Ribbon Cutting - Laconia, NH
Brett Humble, Project Officer, US Dept of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory, Bill Gabler, ARRA Project Manager, Joanne Morin, Director of the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning, Dr. Scott Kalicki, President of LRCC., Phil Coupe, co-founder, ReVision Energy, Scott Osgood, Director of Capital Planning at Community College System of New Hampshire gathered to a cut a power cord at LRCC’s new dual-axis tracking solar array.

Sun greeted a crowd of 10-20 attendees at Lake Region Community College‘s (LRCC) ribbon cutting ceremony for their new 3.7kw dual-axis tracker installed by ReVision Energy using equipment from Vermont-based AllEarth Renewables.
The event was MC’ed by LRCC President Dr. Scott Kalicki, and featured words from ReVision Energy co-founder Phil Coupe and Joanne Morin, Director of the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning.

The tracker moved right on cue as Phil took stage! His brief speech touched on the importance of solar in the transition to a renewable energy economy, energy independence, and the growth of green jobs:

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After the ceremony, attending guests asked questions to ReVision Staff and were taken on a tour by ReVision’s Fred Greenhalgh to see the 12.4kw rooftop solar photovoltaic array as well as the 43″ data monitoring display in the college lobby.

Lake Region Community College (LRCC) - Laconia, NH

Thanks again to LRCC for hosting the event, and for great support from Bill Gabler, ARRA Project Manager, and Laura Richardson, ARRA Coordinator for SEP.

More Photos from Our Solar Events Gallery:

Lake Region Community College Ribbon Cutting - Laconia, NH
Lake Region Community College Ribbon Cutting - Laconia, NH
Lake Region Community College Ribbon Cutting - Laconia, NH
Lake Region Community College Ribbon Cutting - Laconia, NH
Lake Region Community College Ribbon Cutting - Laconia, NH


Northern Pass Project powerlines bypass local solar energy in favor of massive infrastructure

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
Northern Pass Effect on Scenic View in NH
This rendering shows how the proposed Northern Pass tranmission line expansion project would affect the view of a stretch of Rte 125 that faces Clarksville, NH.

The road to a renewable grid is not always a pretty one. The northern pass transmission project, a brainchild of PSNH and HydroQuebec, is the latest example.

The current plan calls for building out a tall transmission line through New Hampshire’s north country, including 40 miles of wild, unspoiled terrain in Coös County, and roughly five miles in the White Mountain National Forest.  The idea is to transmit low-cost hydroelectric power to satisfy the growing requirement for renewable generation in southern New England.

Opposition to the project from residents and local businesses has been unequivocal. A blog titled Bury the Northern Pass contains interesting information about the claimed benefits and impacts of the project. The Town of Easton will be voting on full-on municipal opposition to the project in March.

Why are people opposed to the Northern Pass?

  • There is not demonstrable need for the project in the state, since New Hampshire is already a net exporter of electricity.  Benefits of this project would mostly go to residents of Massachusetts, Connecticut, etc. who’d see their peak grid supply increase, and to the energy provider (i.e. Hydro Quebec), who would gain access to the market through a widened conduit.
  • The regional economies of Grafton and Coös Counties largely rely on the wild natural character of the land, for example tourism, hospitality, and other outdoor pursuits.   Part of this character would be lost with the construction of 100-foot tall transmission towers over the 180-mile route.
  • There are alternatives to the project.  Distributed generation such as solar photovoltaic arrays represent a more rational and gradual way to build out grid capacity, and directly benefit the localities where it is installed by locking in electricity rates though decades of future production.  Although we agree that renewable resources should play a fatter role in the Northeast’s power supply, running Big Wires though pristine mountain passes in the north woods is not a good “plan A.”

A recent letter to the Union Leader provides a good summary of the arguments against the Northern Pass, and notes the amount and intensity of local opposition.  There was also a vigorous public debate about RPS, which dovetailed into a debate about Northern Pass, two weeks back.

As promoters of smart solutions to our energy problems, and lovers of the rugged outdoors which gives New England its character, we hope to see alternatives to the Northern Pass gain steam and a healthy debate in Concord follow.


ReVision Calls on New Hampshire Lawmakers to Continue Support for Renewable Energy Initiatives

Friday, February 11th, 2011
Coal power plant Datteln 2

New Hampshire currently burns over 37,000,000 pounds of coal each year, contributing to over 1,000,000 pounds of C02 emissions.
Photo By Arnold Paul, via Wikimedia Commons

We laud the activism of citizens who showed up in force on Tuesday to oppose Bill HB302, which would have dealt a severe blow to the burgeoning solar industry in New Hampshire. The bill has been filed as “Inexpedient to Legislate,” effectively killing it in committee.

On Thursday, a second bill, HB519, was brought before public hearing, which aims to withdraw New Hampshire’s support for RGGI, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative which has been an important tool in promotion New Hampshire’s transition away from unsustainable fossil fuel energy sources.

Opposition among residents and businesses is strong for this bill, as well, but it looks like it will go further than HB302, and will likely be voted on in the New Hampshire legislature. Governor John Lynch has come out to oppose the bill, on grounds that it will “cost ratepayers millions in higher electric costs” (from the Governor’s website).

Below is a letter from ReVision Energy co-founder Phil Coupe urging lawmakers to continue support of RGGI and RPS, two important, economy boosting and environment preserving pieces of legislation:

There are currently 26 states with renewable portfolio standards. New Hampshire joined this group of forward-thinking states in 2007 with strong bipartisan support, evidenced by the passing vote of 253-37.

In the three years since, the renewable energy industry in New Hampshire has grown exponentially. Based on the state’s commitment to clean energy, ReVision Energy has leased a 7,000-square-foot building in Exeter and we have opened what will become a carbon neutral facility to house our growing business. We have begun hiring New Hampshire residents to help us launch this enterprise and expect to add many more jobs in the months/years ahead, assuming that the renewable energy market remains viable in NH.

The RGGI legislation is critical to the state’s future on many different levels. Currently, NH is the second most oil dependent state in New England—14,000,000 gallons of oil are burned annually statewide for electricity generation, along with 2,500,000 lbs. of coal and 38,000,000 cubic feet of natural gas. These activities generate more than 5,500,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually (or 12,141,000,000 lbs. per year). As a result, NH has the second highest per capita CO2 emissions in New England.

This level of fossil fuel consumption and emissions is wholly unsustainable, regardless of the impact on climate.

The good news is that New Hampshire’s current RGGI legislation is helping to reduce the state’s over-reliance on finite, polluting fossil fuel energy. In the past year, ReVision Energy has installed more than 1,000,000 watts of clean, renewable solar energy generation capacity in northern New England, while reducing annual regional oil consumption by more than 200,000 gallons per year. I cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of the RPS legislation in helping just one renewable energy company achieve these worthy results.

Please take a moment to reflect on the long-term benefits of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative because the future depends on what we do today as leaders. It is irresponsible to inflict continued dependence on fossil fuel energy, and the associated emissions, upon present and future generations.

Sincerely,

Phil Coupe
Co-founder

If you’d like to add your voice to the mix, or read up on the latest happenings in New Hampshire renewable energy legislation, a great summary of the is available at: http://www.nhsea.org/public-policy.php


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