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One Week After US Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord, Twelve NH Cities and Towns Lead the Way on Clean Energy

PORTSMOUTH, NH – One week after President Donald Trump announced the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, local leaders in the New Hampshire seacoast are rapidly expanding a community clean energy initiative to save money and help save the planet, one home at a time.

Energize 360 brings together twelve New Hampshire cities and towns in a first-of-its-kind campaign to help residents take control of their energy future by leveraging the power of group discounts and funding clean energy projects in the local communities. The program combines public education with personalized site visits by local clean energy professionals to help people in the participating towns lower their energy use, drive down energy costs, and transition to clean energy in their homes, businesses, and public institutions.

“People are really concerned about the high cost of energy in New Hampshire and our continued reliance on imported fossil fuels,” said Charles Forcey, chair of the Durham Energy Committee and a volunteer coordinator of Energize 360. “While Washington politicians refuse to address the climate crisis, Energize 360 is giving folks the tools they need to lower their carbon footprint and save money through energy efficiency and renewables.”

Every participant in Energize 360 receives a free site visit, a Home Heating Index score, and a comprehensive analysis of their energy use. Depending on the results, they can then choose to install insulation, solar systems, heat pumps, or all of the above at special Energize 360 discounts, and receive help qualifying for available rebates and incentives. The program is open to any resident or business/organization in the participating towns.

Launched in March 2017 by local energy leaders in Durham, Dover, Lee, Northwood, and Portsmouth, Energize 360 this week announced the addition of seven more towns in response to high demand from citizens concerned about the cost of both energy and climate change. The newly-confirmed towns include Exeter, Hampton, Newmarket, Madbury, Rye, and Strafford, and Stratham.

“This program is about educating and empowering communities to bring about the energy transition from the bottom up,” added Energize 360 coordinator Henry Herndon of Dover. “It has been so inspiring to see the groundswell of leadership at the community level.”

In order to encourage widespread participation, Energize 360 provides tiered discounts for consumers and pledges to fund clean energy projects in each community. The discounts and funds available for community projects both increase as participation in the campaign increases. Program participants will have the opportunity to select the free clean energy projects in their towns. Residents of the original five towns must complete their project agreements by July 31st while those in the second seven towns have until August 31st.

Energize 360 is a partnership between Seacoast Regional Energy Hub, Seacoast Area Renewable Energy Initiative (SEAREI), ReVision Energy, and Yankee Thermal Imaging. The participating program vendors were selected by an independent committee through a competitive bidding process that took into consideration competence and cost. Energize 360 discounts cannot be combined with other discounts.

“With the cost of solar panels down 75 percent over the last decade, anyone with a roof or lawn and a clear view to the sun has the potential to generate their own electricity,” said Dan Clapp, General Manager at ReVision Energy. “And thanks to complementary technologies offered by Energize 360, you can now use that power to heat and cool your home, provide hot water, charge your vehicle, and power your daily life.”

Tori Martin of Yankee Thermal Imaging added, “Energy efficiency is by far the cheapest energy resource. Every dollar we invest in energy savings helps to stem the economic drain of energy dollars leaving our state to pay for imported fossil fuels. Energy efficiency is about stimulating our local economy and making New Hampshire more energy independent.”

Energize 360 was not the only local response to President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord. Portsmouth Mayor Jim Blalock, a champion of Energize 360, this week joined 278 other US Climate Mayors, including the mayors of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Boston, and Nashua, NH in pledging to adopt, honor and uphold the Paris Climate Agreement goals.

Residents can learn more about Energize 360 or sign up for a free consultation at www.Energize360.org.

Senator Hassan Highlights Cuts To EPA At NH Based ReVision Energy

At ReVision Energy, Senator Hassan Highlights Harmful Impact of President Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts on New Hampshire’s Renewable Energy Industry

Senator Hassan speaking with employees at ReVision Energy in Brentwood.

BRENTWOOD – Today, building on her efforts to create a more innovative and affordable clean energy future for New Hampshire’s people and businesses, Senator Maggie Hassan visited ReVision Energy, a solar energy company that is helping to create jobs and reduce New Hampshire’s carbon footprint while cutting energy costs for consumers.

The Senator toured the facility, met with employees, and emphasized how President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal programs that promote local renewable energy efforts would hurt New Hampshire’s people, businesses, and economy.

“ReVision Energy is helping to protect our environment while creating jobs and building a more innovative and affordable clean energy future for our people and businesses in the Granite State,” Senator Hassan said.  “Unfortunately, President Trump’s proposed budget undermines the important work of businesses like ReVision Energy, drastically cutting research programs at the EPA and the Department of Energy that focus on promoting energy efficiency and reducing our carbon footprint. I will continue to fight against these reckless cuts and work to achieve a cleaner environment and stronger energy future that will help our citizens, businesses, and economy thrive.”

ReVision Energy is working to build a cleaner, more innovative energy future in New Hampshire by leading the way in solar design, installation, and service for homes, businesses, municipal buildings, and nonprofits throughout the state and region. ReVision Energy is also a partner in the community-led effort, Energize 360, which encourages residents to measure, reduce, and renew energy use.

Senator Hassan has been a vocal opponent of President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the EPA. Senator Hassan joined Senator Shaheen and others in sending a letter to the President expressing extreme concern over the cuts and the threat they pose to the EPA’s ability to protect public health and ensure that citizens have clean air and clean water.

Climate Change Thought Leaders Gather at Alnoba to Discuss Renewable Energy

Kensington, NH,   – Alnoba, the premier destination for Retreats, Leadership, and Wellness, is hosting a panel discussion entitled “New England’s Energy Future: The Opportunities and Challenges of Renewable Energy Technologies” on Wednesday, April 12 from 5:3-7 p.m. It will be held in the Great Room at Alnoba, located at 24 Cottage Road, Kensington, NH.
Attendees will learn about New Hampshire’s powerful solar resource, the technology advancements that make it practical to harvest that sunshine, and to learn about the integration of renewable energy with electric appliances that enable consumers to replace oil, gas and propane with zero emissions clean technology, while having the investment paid for through fuel savings.

The expert panel will include:

  • Dr. Cameron Wake, UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space & Josephine A. Lamprey Professor in Climate and Sustainability at the UNH Sustainability Institute
  • Phil Coupe, Co-Founder, ReVision Energy
  • Joe Harrison, Director of Clean Energy Finance at Community Development Finance Authority
  • Bradley Campbell, President of the Conservation Law Foundation
  • Dr. Clay Mitchell, Lecturer at UNH Dept. of Natural Resources and the Environment, Community and Environmental Planning, and Environmental Conservation and Sustainability
  • With Moderator Charles Forcey, Senior Software Architect at Advanced Energy Economy 

The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with light refreshments and networking, followed by brief presentations, a panel discussion and question and answer session.

The event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. Sign up on Event Brite at https://AlnobaClimateChangePanel.Eventbrite.com or call 603-418-7409. 

This topic is very near and dear to us so we are happy to host these thought leaders,” explained Jan Byrnes, Director of Social Mission and Conservation at Lewis Family Foundation North. The Lewis Family has long been involved in conservation, sustainability and preservation. “Alnoba, designed by master architect Matthew O’Malia at GO Logic in Belfast, ME, was built with restored New England timber frames and is the first mixed use building to achieve Passive House standard in the Northeast. In addition, sustainability is integral with the design and operation of the buildings, property and programs at The Farm at Eastman’s Corner. In addition to LED and solar-sourced energy from solar panels, there are electric car charging stations around the property. We are working toward a net zero energy goal.” 

“Climate change is now a risk we ignore at our peril. Not only does the burning of fossil fuels result in the emission of heat-trapping gases that drive our changing climate, but every year New Hampshire exports approximately $4 billion from the local economy to import fossil fuels from away,” said Dr. Wake. “The good news is that renewable energy technology now makes it possible for individuals and organizations to cost-effectively reduce the use of fossil fuels and recycle more energy dollars in our state and region,” he added. 

According to ReVision Energy’s Coupe, solar electricity costs have plunged 75% and complementary technologies like heat pumps, batteries and electric vehicles have progressed to the point where people can transition to clean energy while deriving an excellent economic and environmental return on investment. The presentations will discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with this transition to clean energy. 

Attendees will get the opportunity to tour the facility and enjoy light bites from by The Farm at Eastman’s Corner, which is the exclusive caterer for Alnoba.

For more information about this and future Alnoba events, please contact Julie Cook at 603-418-7409 or email her at jcook@alnoba.org

About Alnoba

Alnoba was built by the Lewis Family Foundation (LFF) North with the goal of creating a special place for the community, organizations and families to gather, share, learn and be inspired to change people’s lives and save the earth we share. At Alnoba, individuals, groups and organizations come to continue their lifelong journey of learning and transformation. It is a place where we connect with our higher selves and each other to create a way of being in the world that is sustainable, nourishing and bold. Alnoba is located in Kensington, NH, convenient to Boston, Concord, NH, and Portland, ME. It is available for meetings, retreats, and special events. When you hold your meeting or event at Alnoba, you support conservation, community and the development of future leaders. For more information, visit www.alnoba.org.

Dan Weeks lauds Durham solar array and urges Executive Council to support clean energy economy

Dan Weeks Durham SolarDURHAM, NH – Executive Council candidate and government reformer Dan Weeks attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $2.1 million, 651-kilowatt Oyster River Forest Solar Array, the second-largest solar project in New Hampshire. Weeks praised the project developers, ReVision Energy, IGS Solar, and the Town of Durham, and urged his opponent to allow New Hampshire municipalities to follow Durham’s lead in building the state’s clean energy economy.

Weeks is challenging District 5 incumbent Councilor David Wheeler, who opposed the Durham array and has consistently voted to block municipal solar systems as recommended to the Executive Council by the Public Utilities Commission. Funding for such projects is provided, in part, by the NH Renewable Energy Fund, which receives payments from private utilities for non-compliance with the state’s clean energy requirements. No tax funds are included in the fund.

“New Hampshire is on the verge of a new clean energy economy, with the potential to generate thousands more middle-class jobs and put our environment on a more sustainable course for future generations,” Weeks said. “It is time for Executive Councilors to stop their senseless denial of climate science and allow the New Hampshire Renewable Energy Fund to do its job.”

The Oyster River Solar Array was made possible through a $500,000 grant from the Renewable Energy Fund after Republican Councilor Joe Kenney switched sides and joined the two Democratic Councilors in approving the project last June. Councilor David Wheeler, who is backed by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity which rejects climate science, was one of two Republicans who voted to block the project. Republican Councilors have succeeded in blocking similar municipal clean energy projects in the past.

According to project developer Revision Energy, the Durham solar field will generate over 850,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year for an annual CO2 reduction of nearly 1.5 million pounds. With an estimated payback period of 5-10 years and minimal maintenance, the system is expected to generate free energy and considerable cost savings for the town of Durham for the next 30-50 years.

New Hampshire currently ranks near the bottom of northeastern states in adoption of renewable energy and second highest in per-capita carbon consumption, despite the fact that the state’s nascent renewable energy sector has already seen over 70 startup companies and thousands of jobs created to meet the burgeoning demand from residential and business consumers. Weeks and his family generate the bulk of their energy from a 17-panel rooftop solar array.

“As New Hampshire’s highest elected body charged with approving state spending and appointments, it is the Executive Council’s job to make smart investments for the good of future generations,” Weeks concluded. “I respectfully urge my opponent to rethink his ideological opposition to renewables and support the clean energy economy for the good of our citizens and the natural environment.”

Union, Legislators And Community Group Praises Manchester’s Rise In Solar Energy

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Manchester ranks 31st for solar power and is poised to rise

Manchester, N.H.- Manchester is stuck in the middle of the pack when it comes to solar, ranking 31st out of 64 major U.S. cities for solar installed per person, according to a new analysis.  Manchester could improve its ranking by adopting a bold goal for solar power installations, advocates said today. 

“With both the Clean Power Plan and more forward-thinking policies like community solar programs,” said Sharon Solomon, Global Warming Solutions Organizer with Environment New Hampshire, “Manchester could really start to shine when it comes to solar power.”

“We do know as the report indicates that state policies are very important,” said State Representative Robert Backus (Manchester Ward 12). 

In the Northeast, Newark and Burlington topped the list for most solar power per capita in the Environment New Hampshire Research & Policy Center analysis, Shining Cities 2016: How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar Power in America.

Plummeting costs, increasing public concern over global warming, technological innovation and the Clean Power Plan have all played a role in spurring the growth of solar energy, which last year was enough to power 5.4 million American homes.

The report found cities at the vanguard of the nation’s solar boom, with the top 20 solar cities – representing just 0.1 percent of U.S. land area – accounting for 6 percent of U.S. solar photovoltaic capacity at the end of 2015.

As population centers, cities are home to ample rooftop space and large electricity markets. Through power purchase agreements, promoting community solar programs, and installing solar on government property, city governments can play a leading role in developing solar energy.

Its very exciting to see the extent to which solar has come to New Hampshire,” said Representative Backus.  “It is an important part of meeting our state policy goal of 25% renewables by the year 2025- probably the most important part. We need to continue to have strong state support”

According to researchers who examined solar power installations in 64 American cities in nearly every state, Manchester had enough solar capacity at the end of last year to power about 320 homes, but the state is ready to go further.  “IBEW 490 has a large skilled labor force ready and over ¼ of these skilled electricians have already worked or are currently working on such solar projects” said IBEW Local 490 Business Manager Denis Beaudoin. “Our skilled labor force is trained, ready and available.”

While solar power is growing in New Hampshire and throughout the nation, utility companies are campaigning intensely to increase fees for rooftop solar, which they see as a direct threat to their business model.

“New Hampshire has high electricity rates and an ample solar resource” stated John Lawrence, Design Specialist at ReVision Energy. “Clean, distributed energy is the natural choice in terms of economic viability, fossil fuel emission reduction and adding value to the centralized electric grid.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court has also stalled the Clean Power Plan, an Obama administration initiative to cap carbon pollution from power plants and provide incentives for clean energy like solar.

Environment New Hampshire and other advocates urged cities to move forward with solar power development in spite of these attacks. 

“Cities have been at the forefront of environmental change for decades,” said Solomon. “And there’s no reason for them to stop now. The polluters can’t change the fact that solar power makes sense for our climate, our health, and our wallets.”

The State of Our Climate: Why We Must Build a Clean Energy Economy

ngc_lead-vertical_R-01In the wake of President Obama’s final State of the Union address, our country has had the opportunity to reflect upon the tremendous strides toward combating climate change that the United States has made over these past seven years.  From increased fuel efficiency standards on automobiles to the historic UN climate deal reached in Paris, America has made significant progress—both at home and abroad—to ensure that the state of our union remains strong. 

But our union will never truly be secure until we tackle climate change, which threatens our economy, our health, and our national security. That’s why NextGen Climate is calling for America to be powered with more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030, putting us on the path to a completely clean energy economy by 2050. It’s up to the American people to ensure that our next president is prepared—on day one—to help solve this crisis by accelerating our country’s transition to a clean energy future.  

We know that transitioning to clean energy is an economic growth opportunity for our country creating jobs, lowering energy costs for families and businesses, and driving our country’s economic growth. In fact, according to a recent report from ICF International, this transition will create up to 2 million jobs by 2050 and increase disposable incomes by as much as $650 per household.

At the same time, the cost of climate inaction would be disastrous. Leading researchers predict that inaction on climate change will lower America’s GDP by 5 percent through 2050 and 36 percent by the end of this century—dramatically expanding income inequality as these impacts disproportionately affect low-income households. 

As President Obama begins his final year in office and the race for his successor is underway, one thing is clear—addressing climate change is essential to ensuring America remains strong and secure, our economy continues to lead the world, our society becomes more just, and our children have access to brighter, better future.  

There is too much at stake to ignore the greatest challenge our country faces.

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