Virginia Re-Opens Solar and Wind Rebate Program!

Posted on March 23, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , |

**UPDATE 3/24 The rebate reservation period closed only 2 days after it opened, a sign that Viriginians are hungry for clean energy rebates!

Great news, Virginia residents! Virginia announced yesterday that it was opening up a second round of reservations for solar and wind projects in the state. There is $10 million available for homeowners and small businesses to help finance projects. If you are considering a project, act quickly! The last round of reservations ran out within a matter of days. You do not not have to have a project installed in order to apply, so make sure you get a place in line if you are seriously considering a solar or wind install.

For more information on the program, see the press release from the Virginia Government here.

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MD, DE and VA Governors Sign Offshore Wind Agreement

Posted on November 12, 2009. Filed under: Events, News | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Back in September, Maryland announced that it was considering plans for offshore wind development. Now, it seems like the initiative is moving forward in cooperation with its neighbors. Tuesday, the Governors of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a partnership for offshore wind development off their coasts.

The Governor’s discussed the benefits of offshore wind from the environmental and economic points of view. Governor O’Malley commented,

“Our states share many common resources and opportunities.  This collaboration will allow us to take full advantage of these opportunities and pool our collective abilities for not only a Smart, Green and Growing Maryland, but a cleaner and more sustainable region as well.”

Governor Kaine of Virginia and Governor Markell emphasized the necesssity to create jobs in these tough economic times and highlighted the potential of offshore wind development to create these opportunities.

The MOU is a step towards harnessing offshore wind power to create sustainable energy supply and green jobs for the three states. The key priorities of the agreement are:

  • Identify common transmission options for offshore wind
  • Develop strategies to encourage market demand for offshore wind power
  • Seek federal resources to develop offshore wind by working together.

Other points of the agreement:

  • Coordinate regional supply chain facilities to secure supply, deployment, and operations and maintenance functions to support offshore wind energy facilities,
  • Work with academic institutions in all three states to build capacity for wind related jobs.
And on a related note (sort of)… here is Governor O’Malley with Clean Currents Solar Business Development Associate, Katherine. The picture is from CCAN’s Climate Leaders Award Ceremony where the Governor recieved the Climate Leadership Award for his support of the Maryland Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act, which passed earlier this year.
Governor O'Malley with Katherine from Clean Currents

Governor O'Malley with Katherine from Clean Currents

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MD Business Leaders Condemn the US Chamber of Commerce’s Climate Stance

Posted on October 15, 2009. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , |

We’ve been following the flood of resignations from the US Chamber of Commerce as a result of the organization’s climate policy, that started with a few utilities making the decision to not renew their memberships last month.  Most recently, consumer goods companies such as Apple, Nike and Levi Strauss and Company have also taken a stance.

Today, local business leaders in spoke out against the Chamber’s climate policy in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Gary Skulnik, President of Clean Currents, expressed his views about climate legislation and the Chamber’s policy:

“Every business talks ‘green’ these days, but the real test of a green commitment is where a business stands on supporting progressive environmental legislation at the state or national level…Clean Currents is proud to stand firmly in the true green camp in supporting serious legislation to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, as opposed to the U.S. Chamber and its head-in-the-sand approach.”

Representatives from groSolar, Biohabitats, and Sustainable Urban Infrastructures offered similar comments condeming the position of the US Chamber of Commerce and voicing their firm committment to climate legislation that would match the urgency and severity of the environmental problem at hand.

According to a Chesapeake Climate Action Network press release, the US Chamber of Commerce has opposed every piece of climate legislation proposed in Congress and has  spent $26 million on lobbying congress in the first half of 2009, which is double the amount spent by the next highest lobbyist, ExxonMobil.

Headlines from The Onion (Image from Climate Progress)

Headlines from The Onion (Image from Climate Progress)

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Get Inspired by Illinois’ Local Food Action

Posted on September 29, 2009. Filed under: News, Recommendations | Tags: , , , , |

Grist reported last week on a law recently passed in Illinois to promote local and regional food infrastructure. The law establishes a fresh farm council and encourages the state government to support local food by allowing state agencies to pay up to 10% above the lowest bid for purchases of local produce.  The goal is to have 20% of money spent on food by the state of Illinois be on purchases of food grown in the state.

According to Grist, only 4% of money spent by Illinois residents on food is spent on products grown in the state. In other words:

“Illinois has tens of thousands of farmers and only one half of one percent of them sell their products in their home state.”

As Grist points out, by encouraging local food consumption, Illinois is helping farmers diversify the crops they grow. Currently, Illinois is the number two commodity corn producing state in the country (behind Iowa). Corn is a safe crop for farmers to grow and they continue to grow it and sell to the national market if they have no incentives to do otherwise. By allowing state agencies to pay a premium for local crops, farmers will have the incentive to grow different crops (they are guaranteed a market, and they are guaranteed a higher price) as opposed to sticking with corn.

Local food consumption has numerous benefits (reduced greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, fresher produce, etc) From a strictly economic standpoint, buying local helps boost the local economy more than other consumption. Check out this graphic from Yes Magazine:

Benefits of Buying Local from Yes Magazine

Benefits of Buying Local from Yes Magazine

All this has implications for all those notorious subsidies to mid-western farmer. A 2001 report by Grist contibutor Ken Meter found that if consumers in the mid-west bought,

“15% of their food from local sources, it would generate as much income for the region as two-thirds of farm subsidies

Added to the recent support of the local food movement from Michelle Obama and the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, encouraging local food infrastructure, the Illinois law could be indication of a mindset shift on local eating.

Feeling inspired? Check out Edible Chesapeake’s latest issue for recipes featuring seasonal local ingredients from our area. The pasta with tomatoes and swiss chard and the gingerbread pears sound delicious!

Where can you find local ingredients? Check the Washington Post’s directory of DC area farmer’s markets. Also, look out for locally grown products at your grocery store.

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