Tell National Grid: No Rate Hikes for Dirty Energy Investments in NY

People and Planet over Profits – Public Hearings Start this Week

National Grid wants to raise electricity and gas rates in upstate New York, starting next year. If the request is granted, the average residential customer’s bill would go up by $17.63. (Customers who receive electricity service only from National Grid would see their bills rise by $8.93.) The rate hike will help pay for a $2.7 billion investment into the electricity and gas infrastructure owned by the company, to pay workers and executives, to carry out all of the utility’s activities including customer service, and to earn profit for its investors.

It’s Your Money, You Can Have a Say
National Grid is a regulated monopoly, so it cannot simply set its own prices. Instead, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) will determine whether the company’s request for a rate hike is reasonable. The PSC will make this decision as part of a rate case that is happening right now. In the rate case, the company has filed a proposal for the rate increases and an explanation for how it will spend the money it receives from customers. Organizations and individuals have the right to intervene in this case and challenge the company’s plans.

The National Grid rate case is about more than just the cost of energy. It’s also about what infrastructure and programs the utility company will invest our money in over the next several years. The outcome of this case will have implications for energy affordability as well as air and water pollution, economic development, and climate change. Rate cases offer a rare opportunity for the utility’s customers to comment on these important issues.

Join Us at a Public Hearing
At a time when tens of thousands of customers already cannot pay their bills and the future of our ecosystems depends on reducing greenhouse gases, we cannot afford to allow this rate hike to go forward. We will band together to fight for affordable bills and investments in our clean energy future, not fossil fuel infrastructure.

Join us at an upcoming public hearing to make your voice heard.

Schenectady – County Community College

Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 1:00 p.m.
Stockade 101, 78 Washington Avenue
Schenectady, NY 12305

Troy – Hilton Garden Inn
Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 6:00 p.m.
Sage II Conference Room, 235 Hoosick Street
Troy, NY 12180

Lake Placid – Olympic Conference Center
Thursday, July 27, 2017, 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
2608 Main Street, Lake Placid, NY 12946

Syracuse – Nottingham High School
Monday, July 31, 2017, 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
3100 East Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY 13224

Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
Tuesday, August 1, 2017, 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Gallery Conference Room, 1 Lafayette Square
Buffalo, NY 14203

See all the rate case documents and file written comments at this link. You can also join as a formal intervenor in the case, which gives you the right to ask discovery questions of the company, file expert testimony, cross examine witnesses, and negotiate with the company over the outcome of the case. For updates to this document and more information, visit the Alliance for a Green Economy website.

National Grid Rate Case Facts and Talking Points 

Affordability
Over 200,000 customers are at least 60 days behind on their bill payments to National Grid, and in June almost 10,000 customers were shut off by the company for non-payment. As this energy affordability crisis continues to grip our communities, the requested rate hike will make it even more difficult for customers to afford their bills.

Don’t raise the rates. The rate plan needs to be scrutinized and all waste needs to be eliminated (including exorbitant salaries for executives). National Grid has an incentive to spend money on infrastructure and to sell more energy because the company earns a profit on its investments. The company’s rate plan includes many programs and investments that might not be worth it for the customers but will help the company’s bottom line.

Reduce the fixed customer fees. Our energy bills have some charges that are fixed regardless of how much energy we use and some charges that depend on the amount of energy consumed. National Grid’s fixed charge for electricity is $17/month, Regardless of how little energy is used by the customer, the fixed charge never decreases, meaning that customers who use the lowest amounts of electricity end up subsidizing those who use the most. This regressive rate structure disproportionately hurts low-income consumers, who generally use less energy. In other states National Grid charges a fixed fee of approximately $5. Lowering the fixed fees would reduce bills for most customers, even if the costs for each unit of energy consumed is raised to compensate for the utility’s lost revenue. Lowering the fixed fees creates a more progressive rate structure, gives customers more control over their bills, and makes energy efficiency and solar energy investments more cost effective. (Read more about the fixed charges and solutions here.)

Expand energy affordability programs. In 2015, consumers won a landmark energy affordability policy in New York, which requires utility companies to expand access to discounts and to increase the amount discounted for the most vulnerable customers. Accordingly, National Grid’s rate plan includes an increase of $50 million for low-income discounts and an expansion of eligibility to an additional 55,000 customers. However, the requested rate hike will cancel out most of the affordability gains created by this program.

Gas Expansion
The use of natural gas and other fossil fuels for heating buildings in New York accounts for a large portion of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions from energy (second-only to transportation). To achieve New York’s climate goal of 40% greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2030, we must dramatically decrease in the use of fossil fuels for heating buildings. Yet, National Grid is planning to expand the number of gas customers and to invest millions of dollars in repairing, reinforcing, and expanding gas pipelines, rather than planning to move customers to renewable-ready geothermal and air-source heat pumps. (For more information about these technologies, visit www.RenewableHeatNow.org). It’s time to end investments in gas infrastructure and go all in on heat pump technologies. Aside from fixing leaking pipes that pose a danger to the public and the environment, the utility should put all of its home heating investments into transitioning to heat pumps. This requires the utility to rethink its gas business and plan for a decarbonized future. The time is now to start this process.

Efficiency
Despite the fact that energy efficiency is the lowest cost way to address greenhouse gas emissions and energy affordability, the New York Public Service Commission is not currently requiring utilities to meet the gold standard for efficiency savings. Leading states are achieving 3% electricity efficiency savings each year, while in New York, the average has been just over 1%. This rate case is an opportunity to require that National Grid achieve high levels of energy efficiency through utility rebates and other programs that encourage and incentivize efficient light bulbs, efficiency appliances, weatherization, and energy conservation.

Tell National Grid: No Rate Hikes for Dirty Energy Investments in NY posted first on Green Energy Times

Help to Promote a Federal Geothermal Tax Credit

There is an opening to restore the federal 30% geothermal tax credit and it is important that to contact our senators and congressional delegation for their support.  This credit is key to our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by replacing the burning of fossil fuels to heat our buildings.
On the Senate side, Tom Carper (D-DE) and Dean Heller (R-NV) have introduced S1409 (which tracks the House tax credit bill HR 1090).  Senator Schumer of NY is the Senate Minority leader and has been pushing hard for the geo tax credits to be part of an energy bill that is being negotiated and may be voted on soon.
It is crucial that Senator Schumer knows just how important this bill is to his constituents, and that he’s not acting in a vacuum.  Please ask Senator Schumer to become a sponsor of S1409 and to be sure the federal tax credit for geothermal gets restored.    General comments to his office can be made to (202) 224-6542.  They’ll just listen and mark down your input.  If you’d like to reach one of his policy staff, try Rob Gardner at 202-224-0526 or robert_gardner@schumer.senate.gov
More information from the national GeoExchange Organization can be found at https://www.geoexchange.org/hr-1090-grassroots-advocacy-materials/

Help to Promote a Federal Geothermal Tax Credit posted first on Green Energy Times

2017 RENEWABLE ENERGY & SUSTAINABLE LIVING FAIR – Rensselaer, NY

Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline (SNYFGP) the People of Albany United for Sustainable Energy (PAUSE/350.org) and the Sierra Club Hudson-Mohawk Group are organizing the largest indoor/outdoor Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Fair ever held in the Capital Region. The Fair will occur on Saturday, October 28 from 104 pm at Doane Stuart School 199 Washington Ave. Rensselaer, NY.

Building off its success last year, the 2017 Renewable Energy will expand to include a Bike Expo and exhibits about how we can break free from fossil fuel dependency and live sustainably.

SNYFGP, PAUSE and the SIERRA CLUB are seeking exhibitors and displays for residential, commercial or community solar, wind and geothermal energy, insulation and other energy efficiency products and services. Earth-friendly and sustainably sourced products and crafts are desired too, as are cycling and energy-related vendors.  To register for this Fair, go to: http://stopnypipeline.org/ events/2017-renewable-energy-fair/

The sponsors expect to have at least forty exhibitors, both for profit and non-profit, along with Fair door prizes, and special offers for attendees. Food and drink will also be available. Admission and parking are free.

Some of the exhibits the sponsors anticipate include electric vehicles you can ride in… a solar boat… cell phone chargers powered by the sun… solar heat pumps… NYS climate change info… a color printout of actual property wind production… ways to pay electric bills via renewable energy… a workshop about investing in green energy funds… information on conservation, sustainability and how to lower your carbon footprint…  details about a SUNY Renewable Energy Degree Program… and more!

There will also be a children’s “Break Free From Fossil Fuels” Project Fair, a tour of Doane Stuart’s gorgeous “green roof”, exhibits on composting, hydro-farming and permaculture, sustainably sourced products and crafts, educational exhibits and storytelling.

Register for the fair at: http://stopnypipeline.org/ events/2017-renewable-energy-f air/. The charge for an exhibitor is $125 per table and $20 for a table for non-profits. Applicants should apply and pay by October 1.

Fair sponsors will be acknowledged in the Fair Program Booklet that will be given to attendees and to the public afterwards. This booklet will have links to many renewable energy and environmentally friendly resources.

Sponsors will be acknowledged in SNYFGP, PAUSE and SIERRA CLUB public communications, the Renewable Energy Fair Facebook Event Page, the SNYFGP, PAUSE and SIERRA CLUB Hudson-Mohawk Group Facebook and web pages.

In addition, if one wishes to assist the sponsors by selling booklet advertisements, posting flyers, handing out flyers, planting lawn signs and/or working on the day of the Fair, contact Bob Connors or Becky Meier at: 518-781-4686, or becky@stopnypipeline.org or Tina Lieberman at: tlieberm1@gmail.com

2017 RENEWABLE ENERGY & SUSTAINABLE LIVING FAIR – Rensselaer, NY posted first on Green Energy Times

July 28 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Vermont Governor Phil Scott issued a statement in support of proposals to supply Massachusetts with 1,000 MW of clean power via the TDI New England Clean Power Link. The TDI project would run from the Canadian border and under Lake Champlain for nearly a hundred miles before connecting to the New England grid in Ludlow. [Vermont Biz]
Lake Champlain (Aaron danielg, Wikimedia Commons)

Lake Champlain (Aaron danielg, Wikimedia Commons)

  • Royal Dutch Shell is bracing for a peak in oil demand. Shell boss Ben Van Beurden said the oil major had changed its company mindset to a “lower forever” oil price environment and is focusing on being “fit for the forties,” in reference to the faltering oil price, which has struggled to remain above the $50 a barrel mark. [Telegraph.co.uk]
  • With climate change, water scarcity and warmth could begin impacting European electricity generation as soon as 2030, causing production to decrease or to stop altogether, according to a study, published in the journal Nature. It concludes that traditional generation sources such as coal, gas, and nuclear will be increasingly vulnerable. [CleanTechnica]
  • Kansas is the fifth state to have at least 5000 MW of wind power capacity installed. The state is behind California, Oklahoma, Iowa and Texas, which has a capacity of a whopping 21,000 MW. Kansans get 30% of their power from wind and solar. The state now has enough wind power capacity to supply 1.5 million average homes. [KMUW]
  • US wind-power projects under construction or in advanced development in the second quarter are up 40% from the same quarter last year, according to the American Wind Energy Association. In April through June, 29 wind projects, for a total capacity of 3,841 MW, either began construction or entered advanced development. [Windpower Engineering]

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

July 28 Green Energy News posted first on Green Energy Times

Electric Vehicle Chargers Are Next Step for Colebrook’s Green Grocer

A large swath of New Hampshire’s North Country just became more accessible for drivers of Electric Vehicles (EV) with the opening this month of two new EV chargers at LaPerle’s IGA in Colebrook.

The chargers are the northernmost, publicly-available recharging point in the state and fill a critical gap in the EV charging infrastructure between the White Mountains and southern Quebec.

For Guy LaPerle, owner of LaPerle’s IGA, the chargers are just the latest in a long list of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects he’s undertaken at the supermarket. With guidance and incentives from New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC), LaPerle has installed a 35 kilowatt (kW) solar electric array and installed LED lighting that is saving the business over $1,000 per month in electric costs.

LaPerle was among the first to take advantage of a new NHEC program that offers incentives of 50% of the installed cost up to $5,000 to commercial and municipal members who install EV chargers. LaPerle said he will not charge users for electricity consumed at the charging stations but will install a donation box, the proceeds of which will be given to North Country charities.

“We’re always looking to use renewable energy and make energy efficient choices as a way to use less fossil fuel, protect the environment and preserve our great nation,” said LaPerle.

Installed in the market parking lot, the Level 2 chargers supply 240 volts, similar to what an electric dryer or oven uses. Power goes through the EV charger and a cord that improves safety by waiting to send power to the plug until it’s plugged into an EV. Level 2 chargers allow for a wide range of charging speeds, all the way up to 19.2 kilowatts (kW), or about 70 miles of range per hour of charging.

The number of EV chargers installed in southern and central parts of the state is growing quickly, according to PlugShare.com, a website that maps the state’s charging locations. But publicly available Level 2 chargers are few and far between in the North Country, especially ones that remain open year-round. The installation of LaPerle’s chargers will go a long way towards relieving the “range anxiety” of EV drivers who would otherwise avoid the North Country for fear of being stranded without a place to recharge. Recent advances in battery storage technology have significantly increased the range of most new EVs as well. The new Chevrolet Bolt, for instance, will go an average of 238 miles on a single charge. To encourage more widespread adoption of EV use, NHEC offers incentives up to $1,000 to residential members who purchase an EV in 2017, and up to $2,500 per charger to commercial members who install up to two Level 2 EV chargers. Pre-approval for incentives is required prior to installing the charging station. To learn more, please visit www.nhec.com, or call an EV specialist at 1-800-698-2007.

Learn more on this in the upcoming August issue of Green Energy Times.

Electric Vehicle Chargers Are Next Step for Colebrook’s Green Grocer posted first on Green Energy Times

Opportunity to be part of the 2017 Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Fair in Albany, NY

Two years ago a coalition of local environmental and cycling groups hosted a marvelous Earth Day Expo and Bicycle Parade in Albany’s Washington Park.  Last November, Becky Meier and Bob Connors of Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline organized a bustling Renewable Energy Fair complete with live Alpacas!  This year we are looking to work together to build a multi-faceted “Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Fair” in the Capital District and we’d love your group’s participation and co-sponsorship.
Come to our organizing meeting: Wednesday August 9 at 6:30 pm at the Citizen Action office on 94 Central Avenue in Albany, NY.  Bring your ideas for this year’s fair and let us know what your group could help organize. 
 
If you can’t make it, email tlieberm1@gmail.com and let her know you’re interested, what your ideas might be and how you’d like to participate.
 
The Fair will take place on Saturday Oct. 28 from 10 am to 4 pm at the Doane Stuart School in Rensselaer – overlooking the scenic Hudson.  Becky and Bob have many alternative energy vendors/exhibitors from last year who will be returning, and there will also be electric vehicles to ride in.  Plus they are looking to broaden the Fair’s focus this year to include anything that has to do with sustainable living and breaking free from fossil fuels, for example:
 
-Earth-friendly and sustainably-sourced products and crafts
-Cycling-related vendors and activities
– A children’s “Break Free From Fossil Fuels” Project Fair
-A “Reusable Trash Fashion” show by students
-Exhibits on climate change and conservation
-Exhibits on composting, urban farming, hydro-farming and permaculture
-Hands on, interactive education
-Storytelling
and as a bonus, tours of Doane Stuart’s beautiful “Green Roof”.
Hope to see you on Wed. August 9th!  Please RSVP if you’re coming: tlieberm1@gmail.com
 
Tina Lieberman
Education Chair, Sierra Club Hudson-Mohawk Group
Member, PAUSE/350.org

Opportunity to be part of the 2017 Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Fair in Albany, NY posted first on Green Energy Times

July 27 Green Energy News

Headline News:

Power development company Invenergy LLC and General Electric Co announced plans to build the largest wind farm in the United States in Oklahoma, part of a $4.5 billion project to provide electricity to 1.1 million utility customers in the region. The 2-GW Wind Catcher wind farm is scheduled to come online in 2020. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind turbines in Oklahoma (US Geological Survey photo, Wikimedia Commons)

Wind turbines in Oklahoma (US Geological Survey photo, Wikimedia Commons)

  • According to a new report by Environment America Research and Policy Center, the US generates nearly eight times as much electricity from the sun and the wind as it did in 2007. This is enough to power more than 25 million homes. The average American uses 10% less energy than he or she did 10 years ago. [North American Windpower]
  • Around 3,516 MW of solar projects were selected in Spain’s renewable energy auction for large-scale solar and wind power plants held by the Spanish Ministry of Energy, Tourism, and the Digital Agenda. Provisional data provided by the spokeswoman of Spanish solar association UNEF, the share of wind power was just 720 MW. [pv magazine]
  • A total of 6.1 GW of new wind power capacity was installed in Europe in the first half of 2017, according to WindEurope. Some 4.8 GW of onshore wind capacity was installed in the first six months of the year, with the majority in Germany, the UK, and France. A total of 1.3 GW of new offshore capacity was installed in 18 projects. [reNews]
  • Renewables and battery storage will replace gas as South Australia’s main source of electricity within eight years, according to industry analysts. The state’s energy transition could be a “leading case study on managing a power system in transition for other mature markets to follow”, says a report by Wood Mackenzie. [The Guardian]

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

July 27 Green Energy News posted first on Green Energy Times