Ice Cores, Climate, and Your Wallet

Live Streaming at 7 PM, April 30, 2015

Event sponsored by the Sierra Club Upper Valley Group and SERG.

Live feed provided by Bob the Green Guy

Mary Albert, Executive Director, the U.S. Ice Drilling program, will speak about her research on ice cores from the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets and temperate glaciers. These ice cores provide evidence of past climate that allow us to view the present in the context of times before human influence on the planet.

Ice cores also provide evidence of the impact of economics and policy on the environment since the start of industrialization.  Human influence on the climate system now is clear, and is extremely likely the dominant cause of warming since the mid-20th century. A look around reveals that hope for mitigation may arise from economics, in this time of opportunity!

Please join us for an informative update on climate science, a lively post-presentation discussion and some virtual tasty refreshments!

Personal Divestment Seminar – Panel of experts discuss the merits of divestment

For immediate release by 350VT

April 23, 2015

Contact 350VT: Jillian Mayer 350VT Divestment Organizer, 941-321-9430, Jillian@350vt.org or divestor.org: Dan Quinlan, 802-760-7400, dan@divestor.org

Burlington: On May 2nd, 350 Vermont and divestor.org will host “Your Investments Matter: Personal Divestment Seminar.” The event brings together a panel of experts to explain how individuals can make a bold statement against climate change, safeguard their investments from risky fossil fuel holdings, and invest in the new energy economy. This event is open to the public. Panelists include Dan Quinlan of divestor.org, Harris Roen of the Roen Report, Jake Ide of the Vermont Community Loan Fund, Karin Chamberlain of Clean Yield Asset Management, and Tom Francis of Fossil Free Indexes, LLC.

Global consensus is growing: 70-80% of fossil fuel reserves must stay underground if we are going to keep global warming below a catastrophic 2*C. At the same time, fossil fuel investors may soon be left with stranded assets – investments unable to make an economic return – as social pressure builds and carbon regulation increases. The divestment movement has gained traction in recent years, as concerned individuals push for their institutions and endowments to consider the societal and financial risks of fossil fuels.

Individuals also have an important part to play in the divestment movement.

More and more of us are taking matters into our own hands and, rather than allowing our money to contribute to climate change, are choosing to divest from fossil fuel companies,” states Deborah Messing, a Montpelier resident and co-organizer of the Seminar.

Dan Quinlan of divestor.org adds “the personal divestment movement also presents the opportunity for more people to learn about and invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency – the heart of the new energy economy.”

The Personal Divestment Seminar is co-hosted by 350 Vermont and divestor.org, and will take place at Main Street Landing, 60 Lake Street, Burlington on Saturday, May 2. The panel will speak from 3:30-5 PM, including a question-and-answer session. Panelists and the public are invited to join our reception with refreshments from 5–6PM. Progressive Asset Management, Bob the Green Guy, The Skinny Pancake, and Main Street Landing have co-sponsored this event. The organizers ask for a $10 donation, though no one will be turned away.

For more information about the Personal Divestment Seminar and to RSVP, visit
http://350vt.nationbuilder.com/personal

If you can’t make it in person, watch the event streamed live – http://bobthegreenguy.com/personal-investment-seminar/

Public invited to tour Kingdom Community Wind this Summer

For Immediate Release

Date April 27, 2015

Contact Dorothy Schnure, 802-655-8418

Free Tours by Green Mountain Power Back for Third Season

Kingdom Community Wind

Colchester, VT…Green Mountain Power is offering free public tours of the 21 turbine Kingdom Community Wind project in Lowell, Vermont, during June, July and August.  This is an opportunity for Vermonters and out-of-state visitors alike to experience a working wind farm, and learn how GMP is harnessing the power of wind.  Kingdom Community Wind continues to meet strict state standards, while also exceeding power expectations, generating more than five percent above the forecast for the fiscal year, which began October 1, 2014.

Green Mountain Power is thrilled to once again offer these free tours to the public,” said GMP CEO and President Mary Powell. “Not only are these tours an exciting and one-of-a-kind experience for visitors, they are also good for the local economy. The tours have boosted business for several local businesses on tour days. Also, Kingdom Community Wind is a very successful, cost-effective project that helped us lower rates for customers.”

Each tour lasts approximately 90 minutes, and includes a visit to two of the turbines.  The tours are free, but advance registration is required.

More than 2,400 people have visited the site over the past two summers. Many responded to a survey with comments like: “Superbly done. Congrats and thanks. Fantastic and communicative tour,” “The true meaning of awesome,” “Your people were very informed about wind power. We came away knowing a great deal more,” and “A great investment in our future!”

To register for a tour, please sign up on the Green Mountain Power website at http://bit.ly/gmp-wind-tours or call Gert Tetreault at 802-744-6664.

2015 tour dates:

Wednesday, June 3, 10 am

Wednesday June 10, 10 am

Saturday, June 2010 am and 12:30 pm

Wednesday June 24, 10 am

Wednesday July 1, 10 am

Wednesday July 8, 10 am

Saturday, July 18, 10 am and 12:30 pm

Wednesday July 22, 10 am

Wednesday July 29, 10 am

Wednesday August 5, 10 am

Wednesday August 12, 10 am

Saturday, August 22, 10 am and 12:30 pm

Wednesday, August 26, 10 am

About Green Mountain Power

Green Mountain Power (GMP) serves approximately 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and has a vision to be the best small company in America by partnering with Vermonters to improve lives and transform communities.  GMP is focused on a new way of doing business to meet the needs of customers with integrated energy services that help people use less energy and save money, while continuing to generate clean, cost-effective and reliable power in Vermont. GMP is the first utility in the world to get a B Corp certification, meeting rigorous social, environmental, accountability and transparency standards and committing to use business as a force for good. In 2014, Vote Solar named GMP a Solar Champion. More information at: www.greenmountainpower.com. Connect with GMP on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GreenMtnPower.

Dan Jones: It’s Time to Revolt Against the Empire of the Auto

This commentary is by Dan Jones. Dan is an energy activist in Montpelier, and former chair of the Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee.

Dan Jones
Dan Jones is an energy activist in Montpelier, and former chair of the Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee.

For the past 100 years, Montpelier’s and central Vermont’s land use and economics have been determined by one overwhelming factor: the primacy of the automobile.  When you include such items as road maintenance, plowing, traffic police, rainwater sewage control, lost property tax opportunities etc; one might argue that every year a very large portion of our municipal budget is committed solely to the demands of the auto .

Even more astounding is the portion of our downtown real estate exclusively devoted to asphalt parking lots; yet another demand of the automobile. This hard fact is  well hidden because Montpelier presents such a pretty face to the world, when seen from State and Main. But behind that postcard view, there is another reality:  a town overrun with cars. As the attached graphic map makes clear, over half of Montpelier’s quaint downtown real estate is actually dedicated to off street parking. In fact, the only actual green space in downtown is the state house lawn..

Over a half of our state’s consumption of climate-changing fossil fuels goes to feeding autos and light trucks.  For Montpelier communters, these vehicles then spend their days baking in the Summer sun, collecting ice in the winter storms while providing toxic run off in the rain.  Next, they demand a massive road network dedicated to their use, and their use alone.  Such unquestioned allocation of our resources and real estate indicates an obedience to a force beyond our control. Its almost like we have embraced a conquering alien army, which now, demands allegiance, constant care and feeding from all of us.  We have allowed ourselves to become slaves to an empire of the automobile.

Vermont's capital city, Montpelier, allocates a lot of space for cars.
Vermont’s capital city, Montpelier, allocates a lot of space for cars.

As small cities, such as Montpelier, struggle with their governing priorities, it is becoming evident that we can only see a future under continued domination by the demands of the personal car.  This was highlighted last week in a report of the Montpelier city council’s deliberations as to the coming year’s priorities.  The story clearly showed that Montpelier decision system is paralyzed by two factors: diminishing revenues and the absolute authority of the automobile. So, in response, the city will propose the massive construction of a downtown parking garage.

This strange turn of  affairs least me to ask; how does Montpelier’s identity as the green capital of the greenest state, and its commitment to become Net Zero by 2030 square with the continued enablement of carbon-spewing vehicles and the spread of more asphalt? Maybe it is time to seriously talk about our subjugation to the demands of the auto and perhaps even look at ways of fighting back?

Is this massive allocation of our city to the needs of the car really the best use of our limited downtown land? Do we need to authorize more debt to build a garage for even more cars?  Is this really what the citizens of Montpelier want?

At the recent public discussion of the Taylor St. development, one theme was clear; for the developers the most important element in any new downtown building is the availability of parking. City zoning rules demand it, and investors won’t put up money unless there is excess parking available. However, it sounded to me like this parking priority was in conflict with a palpable sense among the citizens, that what Montpelier really needed was some public green space by the river.   With this proposal for the planned garage leads me to ask if we really need to block off even more riverfront for the sake of more parking?

By now it should be evident to all of us that adaptation to the growing problems of global warming and oil dependence must move front and center in our public discourse.  Concerning our dependence on the car, it’s time to recognize the size of the elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss.  How can our city provide a model of energy efficiency to anyone if one of our top priorities is allocating even more resources to the ever growing demands of the car?

Some will argue that we will always have personal cars and trucks, but they will be electric.  However GM may soon be ending production of the Volt, and a Tesla is merely a green status symbol only millionaires can afford.  Moreover, thousands of public charging stations will, in turn, require a lot of rural real estate allocated to extra solar and wind generation.  So perhaps this idea of a fleet swap shouldn’t be happening soon.

Rather, lets use our imaginations to come up with something better. We can create local transportation options that are cheaper and more in keeping with what the public wants and  our identity as green Vermonters.  I would like to create a fleet of vans that would offer the same convenience of the car but with less cost?  Maybe we could replace all the 2nd cars in town.   Or, how about wider use of the state’s Go Vermont program so many commuters could get into town with much less parking demand. We could even envision a time when we close downtown to the automobile altogether and convert the present sea of hard surface parking to sustainable housing and business space, with a beautiful greenway system to walk, bike and shuttle folks 24 hours a day.

We need to be thoughtful and honest, and start to imagine smarter goals. Given all our reliance on the auto, this is an uncomfortable conversation, but its time to start it. Frankly, this could be a first step in organizing a Revolution to overthrow the Empire of the Automobile.

Green Mountain Power Hosts 3rd Open House at Rutland Energy Innovation Center

For immediate release: April 23, 2015

Learn about Heat Pumps, eHomes, and more

Green Mountain Power Energy Innovation Center

Rutland, VT – Green Mountain Power is pleased to invite customers to an open house at its Energy Innovation Center (EIC) in Downtown Rutland (see map) on Saturday, May 2, 2015 beginning at 9:00 a.m. Come and learn about GMP’s exciting line of comprehensive energy efficient products and services that will empower customers to take control of their energy use and save money. This is the third open house GMP has offered in partnership with Efficiency Vermont and Neighborworks of Western Vermont to feature  new products and services. With spring finally here, now is the time to consider home improvements like heat pumps, water heaters and more.

We’ve had a great response from customers who attended the first two open houses,” said GMP spokesperson Kristin Carlson. “They came to learn about how to save money and make their homes more comfortable, and our experts were able to show them firsthand how our products work and what might be best for them.”

Carlson continued, “GMP is dedicated to partnering with customers on a new energy future where customers have more control, can save money and increase comfort in cold and warm months.”

At the EIC open house, customers can find out about water heaters and heat pumps and how to get one installed with no upfront costs. Heat pumps can help you save money, improve the comfort of your home, and help the environment. Heat pumps use 50% less energy than traditional oil or propane systems and they offer efficient heating and cooling.

GMP also offers eHome, a comprehensive home energy makeover. It can include weatherization, heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, solar, LED lighting and technology to track and control your usage.  Sara and Mark Borkowski were the first eHome family and will be offering tours of their Baxter Street home.

Becoming an eHome was a great decision for our family and I would encourage everyone to get more information and find out how to start saving money,” said Mark Borkowski. “It’s great that GMP and other local partners are stepping up to make energy changes less confusing for homeowners and more affordable for working families.”

The open house is Saturday, May 2, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at GMP’s Energy Innovation Center in Downtown Rutland.  You can RSVP at bonnie.orourke@greenmountainpower.com or by calling 802-747-6881. There will be local snacks and electric vehicles to shuttle customers to and from the Borkowski’s eHome. Representatives from Neighborworks of Western Vermont and Efficiency Vermont will also be available to answer questions.

To learn more about GMP’s energy saving products and services visit : http://www.greenmountainpower.com/products-services/


About Green Mountain Power

Green Mountain Power (GMP) serves approximately 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and has a vision to be the best small company in America by partnering with Vermonters to improve lives and transform communities.  GMP is focused on a new way of doing business to meet the needs of customers with integrated energy services that help people use less energy and save money, while continuing to generate clean, cost-effective and reliable power in Vermont. GMP is the first utility in the world to get a B Corp certification, meeting rigorous social, environmental, accountability and transparency standards and committing to use business as a force for good. In 2014, Vote Solar named GMP a Solar Champion. More information at: www.greenmountainpower.com. Connect with GMP on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GreenMtnPower.