Under a presidential administration that rejects science and ignores climate risks, the US Department of Defense has been slow to respond to them. That is raising concerns from both military think tanks and Congress' watchdog agency.
In its own report to Congress earlier this year, the Defense Department identified 77 of the 79 military bases assessed as facing significant threats from climate change, including recurrent flooding, drought, wildfires and desertification.
The report acknowledged climate change is a national security issue and said the department "must be able to adapt current and future operations" to this new reality.
Check out this instructive graphic on the vulnerability of military bases.
Thanks to Green Energy Times (2019 12 23) for alerting us to this item.
From City and State First Read newsletter 2019 12 23, NY-GEO makes the City & State's Energy & Environment Power 50 List:
As New York confronts a changing climate, the leaders of the energy industry and the environmental community are playing crucial roles in shaping state policy. The Energy & Environment Power 50 list identifies the executives, advocates, academics and others who are true power players in New York.
EIN Newsdesk reported on the Con Edison climate resiliency plan released on December 20th. The report predicted extreme heat, coastal storm surges, inland flooding, and more violent storms as the major climate-driven impacts to Con Edison.
To protect its electric, gas and steam delivery systems and customers from the impacts of climate change, it will need to invest between $1.8 billion and $5.2 billion by 2050.
Thanks to Green Energy Times (2019 12 21) for alerting us to this item.
Legally, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) cannot take effect until a companion Environmental Justice Working Group bill (A1564/S2385) is signed by Governor Cuomo. There has been concern that if he signed the legislation after the New Year, the effective date of the CLCPA would be delayed a year.
Last night, December 20th, the Environmental Justice bill was sent to the governor's desk for his signature. Having called it to his desk, by law he now has 10 days to take action. So that, hopefully positive, action will occur in 2019 and the CLCPA would then take effect January 1, 2020.
Thank you to Brian Eden of Solar Tompkins for this tip.
According to Ryan Dougherty of the GeoExchange Organization (GEO):
Unfortunately, extending the residential geothermal tax credit [as is] did not make it into the end of the year fiscal package. So, the residential geothermal credits do fall to 26% on Jan 1. However, pay attention to the last portions of the this article from Utility Dive. We are going into 2020 with a strong position, bipartisan support and solid odds for achieving success on an extension.
On December 19th, the Senate passed the bill that extends EPAct 179D retroactively back to January 1, 2018 and forward through December 31, 2020. The President signed it on the 20th.
EPAct 179D allows commercial building property owners to accelerate depreciation on the cost of qualified energy efficiency measures on their income taxes. In addition, the extension keeps the 2007 ASHRAE standard for this tax deduction on commercial energy efficiency projects, including heat pumps.
Geothermal stakeholders may want to start gathering project data for all energy efficiency projects completed since January 1st, 2018.
Thanks to Charles Goulding of Energy Tax Savers for this tip.
Beneficial electrification comes to Brooklyn! The residential portion of 100 Flatbush Avenue, the first tower of Alloy Development’s planned massive 80 Flatbush project in Downtown Brooklyn, will be 100% electric. This 38-story building combines passive house principles with heat pumps for heating, cooling and clothes drying and induction cooking.
"The recent moratorium from National Grid on new gas connections provides an opportunity: like steam and fuel oil before it, it’s time for gas to go,” said Alloy CEO Jared Della Valle. “We encourage others to move away from fossil fuel technologies and toward renewable, healthy environments, and to do it now."
Thanks to NY-GEO member Bob Wyman for this tip.
The New York Times posted an interactive video using a highly specialized infrared camera that shows methane escaping from the DCP Pegasus gas processing plant in West Texas.
Although not seen by the naked eye, immense amounts of methane gas are escaping from oil and gas sites nationwide and the Trump administration plans to weaken restrictions on offenders, even though the emissions, vastly underreported, are worsening global warming.
Speaking of gas leaks, the Times Union reported that in Albany workers and National Grid crews spent three hours Thursday trying to seal a massive gas leak that shut down parts of two main roads in the city and forced hundreds of workers to temporarily evacuate.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and environmental group Sane Energy Project urged the state to reject the plan, the Daily News reports. Stringer said that a proposed boost in Con Edison’s electric and gas prices would "dig us deeper into the climate crisis."
Here is an in-depth look at the press conference from artist, photographer and activist Erik McGregor. NY-GEO has signed onto the plan for its negotiated advances, while recognizing its limitations.
Thanks to Green Energy Times (2019 12 12) for alerting us to this item.
IGSHPA Trainer Peter Tavino with be teaching the 3-day IGSHPA Accredited Installer geothermal course in West Nyack January 21st to 23rd. NYSERDA funding will allow New York workers to attend this course for half price. Certification from this training is necessary for companies wishing to participate in the NYSERDA geothermal rebate program.
Click here for information about the training. To register, or seek more information, contact Peter Tavino at Pete@LitchfieldGeothermal.com or text him at 860-459-8279.
From Politico New York Energy (2019 12 02), an opinion piece in the Times-Union by Laura Shindell, an organizer with Food & Water Watch Action:
Regarding energy, we have to change what we think is possible. We need leaders who can see the future, not "experts" who are stuck in the past. While the dirty energy industry gives us two horrible options in pipelines or fracked gas trucks, New Yorkers choose option C: sensible efficiency policies and a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy so that we can finally get off fossil fuels.
From Politico New York Energy (2019 12 02) by Samantha Maldonado:
Williams Companies last week withdrew the final permit it had submitted to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for construction of a pipeline that would supply natural gas to New York City and Long Island. The freshwater wetlands permit was the only permit remaining with the DEP after the company withdrew three permit applications in October. Williams is awaiting approval from New York. The Department of Environmental Conservation has indicated it will make a decision on the new application by May 17. The project has been the subject of intense opposition from environmentalists and a public dispute between National Grid, the utility that will purchase the gas, and New York regulators.
The New England Journal of Medicine gives a physician’s perspective on natural gas in "The False Promise of Natural Gas." The article provides an in-depth look at the health impacts of this fossil fuel as well as some serious prescriptions for policy action. It says, in part: "But beneath this rosy narrative lies a more complex story. Gas is associated with health and environmental hazards and reduced social welfare at every stage of its life cycle."
Thanks to Barbara Sattler at the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments for this tip.
From Politico New York Energy's (2019 11 27) Marie J. French:
The New York Power Authority is moving to increase its budget for energy efficiency capital projects by $1.5 billion to avoid a financing shortfall as customers demand more, projects get more complex and state emissions goals accelerate. "In the last couple of years the pipeline has increased ... and that's predominantly due to our customers demanding more and the requirements that have been set out by the state," said Sarah Salati, NYPA's chief commercial officer and executive vice president, in an interview. As part of the state's 2025 efficiency goal to reduce energy consumption by 185 trillion British thermal units, NYPA has a goal of driving down energy usage by state entities by a total of 11 trillion BTUs, compared with 2014 levels. The Legislature and the Cuomo administration are also relying on the authority to secure additional reductions from its governmental customers downstate as part of an aggressive set of climate targets enacted this year.
... The Power Authority can use its low cost of borrowing and healthy cash flow to pay the upfront costs of energy-saving projects such as more efficient lighting, HVAC systems, boilers or more complex retrofits. Customers agree to pay NYPA back, with interest and an administrative fee, over several years or as a lump sum. NYPA has committed a total of $3.05 billion to energy efficiency projects since 1998 and spent $2.7 billion. Of the amount spent, $1.8 billion has been recovered, and $916 million is outstanding to be repaid by customers.
On November 23, the Harvard-Yale football game was delayed nearly 30 minutes at halftime after about two hundred climate activists flooded the field to protest against the schools' endowments from fossil fuel companies.
The crowd of students and alumni of @DivestHarvard and @FossilFreeYale amassed at the 50-yard line while John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" was playing over loudspeakers. A banner held by the students read "Nobody wins. Yale & Harvard are complicit in climate injustice." The game resumed after police arrived and started arresting the protesters.
This made worldwide news. See the videos found on the News.com.au and a Twitter video on Vox. For another take on the protest, see the Wall Street Journal video
Read a more complete account at The Guardian.
Thanks to Green Energy Times (2019 11 24) for alerting us to this item on CNN.
On November 25 Newsday reported:
National Grid agreed to lift a crippling moratorium on new gas hookups and pay a $36 million fine after negotiations with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo through the weekend in a move that rescinds, for now, the governor's threat to revoke the company's state operating certificate, while also addressing short- and long-term supply constraints.
…Of the $36 million, the bulk — about $20 million — will go to climate initiatives such as renewables and to fund startups in the green energy field, an administration official said, while about $8 million will go to getting customers to reduce their gas use, and about $7 million to mitigate customer impacts. The $36 million will be paid by National Grid shareholders, not ratepayers…
Thanks to NY-GEO member Billii Roberti for this tip.
"Ask This Old House" featured a geothermal installation in its latest episode, "Switch, Affordable Geothermal | Ask TOH."
The segment focuses on a compact sonic drill rig, which can cut a 7-hour drilling process to about 30 minutes! The rig employs 10-foot casing lengths that can be used over again from job to job. The rig also retains the drilling fluids and recycles the water to prevent messy slurry escaping onto the lawn.
View the 13-minute video on the ground source heat pump installation in Albany. The geothermal piece starts at 9:10.
On the evening of November 20th at a Brookline, Massachusetts town meeting, they voted 207 to 3 with 6 abstentions to ban new fossil fuel connections in new and significantly rehabilitated buildings. The by-law still needs approval by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office but the people have spoken.
Here is a link to the full text of Warrant Article 21 as passed. The town of Brookline has been maintaining a web site with lots of data concerning this provision, which would require non-fossil fuel systems in new construction and gut rehabilitation projects in Brookline. However, it allows waivers for
Projects sponsored by the Brookline Housing Authority (BHA) on property owned by the Brookline Housing Authority that includes 100% affordable housing units for low-income renters…[and] …Any housing or mixed use project in which 50 percent or more of the housing units will be affordable…
See the video of the Boston25 news video
and read more in the Boston Globe article
Thanks to NY-GEO members John Ciovacco and Bob Wyman for this tip.
GEO, the national GeoExchange Organization, spearheaded the largest consumer awareness campaign the geothermal industry has ever seen: "Energy We Can All Agree On."
On November 18, the "brand-agnostic, technology-centric" campaign was launched and is already generating increased consumer awareness and interest.
Please visit the campaign website at geothermalforall.com to view these humorous, but also serious, videos and read an article on the effort in ACHR The News.
For more information on the campaign and how you can be involved, please contact Ryan Dougherty of GEO.
Thanks to IGSHPA's newsletter "The Loop" for this tip.
Elizabeth Weise, of USA TODAY, writes in her article titled "No More Fire in the Kitchen: Cities are banning natural gas in homes to save the planet":
Fix global warming or cook dinner on a gas stove?
That's the choice for people in 13 cities and one county in California that have enacted new zoning codes encouraging or requiring all-electric new construction.
The codes, most of them passed since June, are meant to keep builders from running natural gas lines to new homes and apartments, with an eye toward creating fewer legacy gas hookups as the nation shifts to carbon-neutral energy sources.
The article includes a nice endorsement of induction stoves by a certified master chef from the Culinary Institute of America.
Thanks to NY-GEO member of the board Jens Ponikau for this tip.