Archive for April, 2010

Green Activist Spotlight

Posted on April 29, 2010. Filed under: News, Uncategorized |

CC Green Activist Spotlight

We’d like to highlight one of Clean Currents most active residential customers, Mr. Fred Teal from Brookeville MD.

CC:  What Kind of Green Issues Are You Involved In?

FT:  I volunteered as a Legacy Leader in the Maryland House of Delegates in the 2009 session to assist in the office of Del. Doyle Niemann, a member of the Environmental Matters Committee.

I am working with staff of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) to plan and develop a Montgomery County wide activity for October 10th.  Activities to reduce carbon emissions will take place world-wide on this day under the broader umbrella of 350.org.

I am encouraging the members of my Brookeville community to sign up for wind energy through the Clean Currents Green Neighborhood Effect program. So far, my friend Debbie Wagner and I have signed up about 16 families out of about 55 homes in the community.

I am also in the process of getting the Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church (PBUUC), registered so that its members may sign-up for the Green Neighborhood Effect program and the church can fund a green project.  There are about 200 members there.

Last summer, I helped develop and present a service at PBUUC summarizing some of the ideas discussed in Tom Friedman’s recent book, Hot, Flat and Crowded. He describes the causes for our present dilemma:  Population Growth, Climate Change and Unsustainable Lifestyles. These problems result from: (1) an unwillingness to help educate women and provide family planning information, (2) the unrestricted use of fossil fuels to power our economies and (3) the excessive consumption of our natural resources – trees, water, minerals, soil and fisheries. He recommends solutions.  His book is a call for immediate action to begin a “Green Revolution” if we are to avoid a future world or unspeakable hardship and deprivation caused by climate change and resource depletion.

CC:  What Makes Environmental Issues Important to You?

FT: I must confess that, until several years ago, I was not very active on social issues.  After working 45 years in government service, I retired to help my elderly parents deal with the problems of aging. I was also needed to help my youngest son survive adolescence. Eventually, my parents moved to a nursing home and my son enrolled in college.

My wife is still working and I had time on my hands.  I began to look for something meaningful to do.  I saw Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth and, after viewing the film, I understood that there was nothing else that could possibly matter more than providing a livable world for my children and grandchildren.  I also realized that we are all one human family and that all children are my children — are our children.  Since that moment of insight, I have tried to become better informed about the problems we face and how we can address them.

CC:  What Makes Your Home Green?

FT: Of all the things we do to power our homes, burning coal is without a doubt the worst.  In Maryland, about 40% of our electricity is generated by burning coal.  Not only does it release huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, but it sickens us all through the mercury, sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrous oxides (NOX) and fine particulates it creates.

The sulfur causes acid rain.  The mercury gets into our food chain and ruins our health.  The CO2 generated represents about 30% of all our global warming gasses and is drastically changing our planet. SO2, nitrous oxides and particulate matter cause asthma and numerous other human illnesses.  The current and future cost to society of burning coal is enormous. This price of this is never included in the cost.  Working in the mines is very dangerous.  How do we measure the value of the 29 miners recently killed in West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch Mine?  Anything we can to reduce the burning of coal will stabilize the climate and improve human health.

I realized that buying wind power would allow me to play a part in this reduction.  I don’t want to be responsible for that.  I signed-up for 100% wind power.  I am trying to get my neighbors and my friends at church to do the same.

I also decided to install solar panels on my property because the cost at present is much lower and there is a much shorter payback time now. I also want to “free-up” some of the wind energy I am currently using so that it can be available for others.

Clean Currents has an excellent business model.  Save the planet and save your money.  Create good green jobs.  Nothing could be better!

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2010 MD General Assembly Wrapup

Posted on April 15, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

The 427th MD General Assembly has wrapped for the year.  Several important renewable energy bills were heard (and voted on) this year.

Clean Currents would like to thank those elected officials who remained committed to green issues.  We would also like to offer a “spanks” to those officials who continued to deny the urgency of pressing for greater renewable goals.

***

Thanks and Spanks for the 2010 Maryland General Assembly Session

The Maryland General Assembly has wrapped up for the year and now the politicians are about to enter full campaign mode. Who was good for clean energy, and deserves a “thanks” from us and who was bad and deserves a “spanks” from us? The number one priority of Clean Currents and the environmental plus solar business community was Governor Martin O’Malley’s solar RPS improvement. Thanks to the hard work of Governor O’Malley and his people at the Maryland Energy Administration, plus our staff here at Clean Currents and hundreds of likeminded supporters, the bill passed. This is a huge accomplishment in an election year session. Big Thanks to Governor O’Malley! The bill increases the value of Solar Renewable Energy Credits and requires more solar installations in the state. This means more money for homeowners and businesses that want to go green with solar panels.

In all, Clean Currents supported nine bills and opposed one as our top priorities for the session. Our record on these bills was pretty good. Of the nine we supported, four passed and will be signed into law, one passed the House but died in the Senate on Sine Die, and four were killed. The one bill we opposed was killed.

The bills that passed include the above-mentioned solar RPS bill (SB 277), as well as a bill to force the utilities to pay consumers for excess green power they generate via net metering (SB 355) and a bill to make it easier to install solar on master metered properties (SB 538).

BIG THANKS These are our big champions for the 2010 session:
Governor O’Malley, Senator Rob Garagiola (Potomac), Delegate Sue Hecht (Frederick)

THANKS These folks were consistent supporters of Clean Currents legislation, rock solid on solar and green energy.
Del. McHale came up with the amendment that saved the Governor’s solar RPS bill in House Economic Matters. Sen. Catherine Pugh (Baltimore) Sen. Kathy Klausemeier (Baltimore) Del. Herman Taylor (Silver Spring) Del. Roger Manno (Silver Spring) Del. Brian McHale (Baltimore)

BIG SPANKS There’s really one “superstar” of the anti-solar, anti-green energy side of the equation: Sen. EJ Pipkin (Eastern Shore)

SPANKS These folks voted against the Solar RPS bill and/or were not supportive of green electricity bills:
Sen. Delores Kelley (Baltimore) Sen. Alan Kittleman (Howard) Sen. Norman Stone (Baltimore County)Sen. Roy Dyson (Southern Md)Del. D Stifler

Finally, I want to give a big thanks to all who wrote letters, emailed, or called about the vital pieces of legislation we supported for a cleaner, greener future.

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MD General Assembly Passes Bill to Boost Solar RPS

Posted on April 14, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , |

Early this week, the Maryland General Assembly passed the bill supported by Governor O’Malley to ramp up the state’s  Solar Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). Under the renewable portfolio standard law that was passed in Maryland in 2007, utilities have to supply a certain amount of their energy from solar and other renewables or pay an Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP). The bill that passed earlier this week will increase the solar carve out of the RPS to .5% by 2016. It will also maintain a $400 ACP through 2014 (in the original legislation the ACP decline gradually to $250 by 2014).

The higher ACP is good news for those considering solar installations as they will be able to recieve more money for their Solar Renewable Energy Credits and reduce the payback time on this investment!

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Wind Turbines in Maryland

Posted on April 12, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

This past week, some of the Clean Currents team to a field trip to visit Maryland’s wind expert and owner of Potomac Wind Energy, Carlos Fernandez. We learned a lot about different small wind options that are feasible in this area.

Here are a few pictures from our visit:

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