Help Puerto Rico Recover with Solar Power!

Arnaaz Khwaja, New Haven/León Sister City Project

The Elm Energy Efficiency Project and New Haven/León Sister City Project are launching a new project called the Solar Solidarity Project. Its aim is to raise money to build and install solar panels in Puerto Rico using home energy savings from the New Haven area. We would like people to lower their energy usage and redirect their energy bill savings to help give Puerto Rico clean, renewable energy.

This project also addresses the ever pressing issue of climate change and helps Puerto Rico become less dependent on a power grid, in prepar-ation for future natural disasters.

You can learn more about the project, how to get involved, and how to donate at our website: http://www.elmenergyproject.org/solidarity-solar-project. If you are a teacher or student interested in having your school involved in this project, please email us at solarsolidarityproject@gmail.com.

Thank you!

 

Green Fund Now Accepting Applications for 2018 Funding

The Greater New Haven Green Fund solicits small and large grant applications once a year.

An electronic version of the cover letter, application, budget, and attachments should be sent to grants@gnhgreenfund.org.

You may download the request for applications (RFA) for the Green Fund or the Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc (PSEG) by going to http://www.gnhgreenfund.org. Deadline is 5 p.m. Jan. 12, 2018.

They’ve changed the RFA this year so be sure to review the initial pages, especially if you have applied for grants in previous years.

The PSEG RFA is separate from the regular grants because the money came from a Community Benefit Agreement between the City of New Haven and PSEG, Inc. to provide small grants to help educate citizens about air pollution. You may apply for the 2018 RFA or the 2018 PSEG RFA but not both. Go to http://www.gnhgreenfund.org to download the RFA.

BFA Workshop: Principles of Biological Systems – January 6 & 7

This two-day workshop (Jan. 6 & 7, 2018), presented by the Bionutrient Food Association in partnership with CT NOFA & NOFA Organic Land Care Program, is designed for farmers, growers, and gardeners to learn current research and proven methods that will lead to optimum crop health and sustained yield. The in-depth workshop will go step-by-step through the processes and foundations of biological farming for higher quality crops — better taste, pest & disease resilience, longer shelf life, and higher levels of nutrients beneficial to our health and well-being.
Topics to be covered:

  • Interpreting soil tests
  • Mineral balancing and amendments
  • Strategies for soil health improvement
  • Biological seed inoculation
  • Conductivity, refractometers and brix.
  • In-season crop monitoring and feeding with nutrient drenches & foliar sprays

    Grow better food. Help heal our environment. Nourish humanity. Middletown Community Health Center, 675 Main St.,, Middletown, CT.Learn more at: http://www.bionutrient.org/site/workshops.

People’s Action for Clean Energy Annual Meeting

by Mark Scully, Director

Please join PACE for a celebration among friends of the good work being done to advance local clean energy across the state at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Unitarian Society of Hartford, 50 Bloomfield Rd.

PACE will recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of two inspiring environmental leaders: Jamie Wolf of Wolfworks, Inc. will receive a lifetime achievement award for his career of designing sustainable homes, and Craig Lewis of Clean Coalition will be honored for his bold and creative leadership in promoting local clean energy and a modern electric grid.

The evening will be informative, featuring a keynote address from Craig Lewis on “Renewables-Driven Community Microgrids” and updates on a range of good work being done in the state, including PACE’s own 100PercentCT Project, led by Bernie Pelletier.
To make it a real celebration, State Troubadour Kate Callahan will open and close the evening with her musical gifts.

Elm Energy Efficiency Project

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven/ León Sister City Project

The Elm Energy Efficiency Project and New Haven/León Sister City Project are launching a new project called the Solar Solidarity Project. The Project will help families save more on home energy, and have them donate those savings to install solar panels in Puerto Rico (Cool It Here – Build It There!). This project will help reduce your carbon footprint, and help Puerto Rico become less dependent on a vulnerable power grid. All donations will go to Resilient Power Puerto Rico, a project of the Coastal Management Resource Center (a 501c3 organization). For more information, call (203) 562-1607 or go to elmenergyproject.org/solidarity-solar-project.

On Bill McKibben’s Climate Address at Yale Oct. 10

by Julia Berger, New Haven Activist

On Oct. 10, 2017, Bill McKibben, the environmentalist and founder of 350.org, spoke to a large crowd at Woolsey Hall, New Haven, on “Simply Too Hot—The Desperate Science and Politics of Climate.” (See video link below.)

He began his talk declaring that there is almost universal consensus on climate change and global warming. Recent earthquakes, flooding and large-scale fires attest to the dangers caused by global warming. The U.S., Europe and Asia, among the major creators of climate change, are downsizing their use of fossil fuels—just not fast enough.

Scientists and others have known and warned for 30-40 years about the dangers of the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer due to fossil fuel extraction and use. In the 1970s Shell Oil scientists confirmed the dangers of a looming global warming disaster, but Shell, instead of acting on their own scientists’ warnings, publicly went the opposite way, denying climate change. President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s put solar panels on the White House; Reagan tore them down.

McKibben concluded that we’ve lost 40 years in our struggle against fossil fuel industries.

Are we past the point of no return? No one knows.

The Paris Accords definitely don’t go far enough—fast enough. When Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Accords stating he was the President of Pittsburgh, not Paris, the mayor of Pittsburgh phoned Trump that Pittsburgh was going 100% renewable as fast as possible.

Individuals can also fight the giants to get alternate renewable energy sources. While not everyone can get solar panels (they are now way down in cost), each of us can pressure local governments to acquire community solar panels, wind turbines, etc., to meet community energy needs. We can individually divest our money from banks and stocks and bonds that fund the fossil fuel industries.

We can protest by marching and rallying to push our cause. Already protesters all over the world are putting their bodies on the line to interfere with fossil fuel extraction and pipelines.

As part of a nation majorly responsible for creating this problem, we should be creative and more active in this fight to preserve the planet.

At his alma mater, Harvard, McKibben tried in vain to get the wealthy university to divest from fossil fuels. The Yale Corporation also refuses to divest even as several colleges work on information to counteract global warming and even when the stock value of fossil fuel industries decline. Members of universities can protest by getting arrested. (McKibben recommended that older and financially secure individuals, such as tenured professors, might go this route.)

The task, the challenge for us all, is to speed up this anti-fossil fuel trend. Make it a priority. Write to your local newspapers. Publicize, publicize, publicize. Note: there was very little coverage of McKibben’s talk in the Yale Daily News and none in the New Haven Register as far as this writer could determine.

This Chubb Fellowship Lecture featured Bill McKibben, an author and environmentalist who, in 2014, was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the “alternative Nobel.” He is a founder of 350.org. More about Bill McKibben and the Chubb Fellowship at: http://chubbfellowship.org.

Watch the full lecture here:

Money Talks, and So Does Solidarity!

by Melinda Tuhus, New Haven Stands with Standing Rock

[As this issue of the PAR newsletter went to press, we received notice about the following event. We are printing it so people can be aware of the various local banks that are funding fossil fuel projects in the U.S. and other countries. For more information about this rally and future plans for New Haven Stands with Standing Rock, please e-mail nhswsr@gmail.com.]

Rally Wednesday, Oct. 25, 4:30-5:30 p.m., beginning on the New Haven Green, corner of College and Chapel streets. Then walk 3 blocks to visit 3 banks. The reason is that next week, 92 of the world’s largest banks are meeting in São Paulo, Brazil, to discuss environmental and social risk management policies regarding the climate and indigenous people’s rights to “free, prior and informed consent.”

Mazaska Talks (“Money Talks” in Lakota) is calling for global actions on October 23-25 focusing on banks that are funding fossil fuel projects that are endangering indigenous lands, water and cultures, and our global climate. Indigenous groups and the Fossil Free divestment movement started by 350.org have led individuals, organizations and local governments to withdraw billions of dollars from these banks. In the most recent success, in early October, BNP Paribas — Europe’s second largest bank — announced it is cutting funding to tar sands, all tar sands pipelines, fracking, LNG (liquefied natural gas), and Arctic oil projects. This kind of pressure works.

Join New Haven Stands with Standing Rock (NHSwSR) as we focus on banks in our community that are making these destructive investments. We will meet on the Green at the corner of College and Chapel streets, then pay a visit to TD Bank, Bank of America and Wells Fargo Bank, where we will highlight our campaign asking the city to move its $3 million a day operating budget out of Wells Fargo to a bank that prioritizes investments in our community. Wells Fargo just announced a drastic 18 percent drop in its third quarter earnings related to penalties it’s had to pay for its many unethical practices, putting taxpayers’ money even more in jeopardy.

Questions? Email us at nhswsr@gmail.com.

Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs needs your calls to the governor today

by John Humphries, Organizer

[On Oct. 26, the House of Representatives voted in favor of Dominion/Millstone. This bill now goes to Gov. Malloy. Call (800) 406-1527 and Demand that he not sign it. Call your legislators! (Find their number on this website in the sidebar.) Let them know what you think of their preferential treatment to the demands of the Dominion.]

Two current energy questions—Millstone and offshore wind —are linked, and how CT responds in the coming months will impact the state’s workers and communities, as well as the region’s electric grid, for decades to come.

Tell legislators: Protect Millstone’s workers, not its shareholders. Recently we published an op-ed that lays out a vision for resolving the ongoing “debate” about the Millstone nuclear plant with a long-term strategy to protect the plant’s workers and communities and to replace it with renewables (including offshore wind) when it does eventually retire.

Last month, the Senate passed a bill designed to give Dominion Energy (Millstone’s owner) a special deal, even though the out-of-state corporation has produced no evidence of economic hardship and has made no commitment to remaining open even if they get such a deal. The House may take up the measure in the coming week.

Tell them to REJECT any special deal for Dominion Energy that doesn’t require a long-term commitment to Millstone’s workers and communities.

Offshore Wind: Clean Energy & Jobs for CT

On September 20, more than 60 labor, religious, environmental and business leaders gathered at IBEW Local 90’s union hall to learn about the potential for local jobs and eco-nomic development from the regional push for offshore wind.

As neighboring states aggressively pursue development of offshore wind resources in federal waters off the coast of New England, CT must act quickly to catch up and secure a share of the economic benefits for our ports and coastal communities.

More than 130 people from 60+ towns across the state endorsed our statement about the need for offshore wind to be included in the Comprehensive Energy Strategy. We look forward to working with all these allies to build a broad-based offshore wind campaign in the coming months.

CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, ctclimateandjobs.org.

People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) Annual Meeting Dec. 2

PACE’s Annual Meeting will be held Saturday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Society of Hartford, 55 Bloomfield Rd., Hartford. The keynote address, “Renewables-Driven Community Micro-grids,” will be given by Craig Lewis, Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit Clean Coalition. Music will be provided by State Troubadour Kate Callahan.

People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) is an all-volunteer non-profit that has been educating the public and advocating for clean energy since 1973. PACE conducts annual tours of energy-efficient homes and electric vehicles, and urges participants to “try this at home!” PACE’s 100PercentCT Project is working with individual towns across the state to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. For more information, go online at www.pace-cleanenergy.org or contact PACE President Mark Scully at mwscully29@gmail.com.

New Haven Resolution on Shared Solar to be Voted on Sept. 5

Paula Panzarella, New Haven Energy Task Force

The New Haven Energy Task Force and the New Haven Environmental Advisory Council have worked on a resolution to encourage the state politicians to push forward shared solar projects so that more people can benefit from lower electric rates and use renewable energy which is not polluting our atmosphere and will not accelerate climate change.

Below are excerpts of the resolution that will be presented to the Board of Alders (City Hall, 165 Church St., second fl.) on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. From 6-7 p.m. people who are interested can lobby their alders.

We are hoping that other cities and towns will enact similar resolutions so the State of CT will hear that throughout Connecticut the residents want the State to stop holding back the development of shared solar projects.

RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF ALDERS urging the CT General Assembly, Governor Malloy, the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, and the electric distribution companies to support “community shared solar” legislation.

Whereas: the City of New Haven understands the dangers of climate change, pollution and the need to reduce our carbon footprint; and…

Whereas: it is the policy of the State of Connecticut to, in part, “… develop and utilize alternative energy resources, such as solar and wind energy, to the maximum practical extent …” (Energy Policy Act, CGS 16a-35k); and

Whereas: Connecticut residents, and particularly residents of United Illuminating’s service territory, continue to pay some of the highest electricity rates on the continent; and…

Whereas: the development of “community shared solar” installations in New Haven will create well-paying jobs and enhance the city’s overall economic development efforts; and…

Whereas: The Connecticut General Assembly has to date only approved a small pilot program that has continuously been delayed, and has not authorized a full-scale state-wide shared solar program;…

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

The City of New Haven calls on its elected representatives in the Connecticut General Assembly, Governor Malloy, the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, and the electric distribution companies to support comprehensive, long-term “community shared solar” legislation, and encourages its residents to become informed about the issue and communicate their views to their representatives.

Take a stand for Connecticut’s environment

Do you care about our climate? Do you care about breathing polluted air? Do you care about energy costs?

Then you need to care about Connecticut’s proposed energy strategy. Ready to take a stand for our energy and environment?

Tell the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Connecticut should be a climate champion. Tell the DEEP the proposed energy strategy falls short. The DEEP issued its draft 2017 Comprehensive Energy Strategy, which will shape state energy policy for the next three years.
BUT, the draft CES plan does not put us on a path to meet our 2020 climate goals and DEEP needs to hear from you!

Here are three key messages you need to tell DEEP:

  1. Ask DEEP to expand the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) to 50% by 2030. We need a stronger RPS that requires electric providers to buy a certain percentage of the energy they sell from renewable sources (solar, wind, etc.).
  2. Ask DEEP to establish a better solar market and a statewide, shared solar program.  More rooftop solar and a vibrant shared solar program (for those who can’t put solar on their roof) are vital to help reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, create a resilient electric grid, and strengthen our local economy.
  3. Ask DEEP to speed up adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs), and clean up our transportation pollution.
    Connecticut must meet its promise of 154,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2025. Cars and trucks cause nearly 40% of our GHG emissions so we must establish stronger incentives for EVs and add more charging stations.

Comments are due by September 25, 2017, at 4 p.m. Email your comments to: DEEP.EnergyBureau@ct.gov.

You can also mail a hard copy to: Debra Morrell, DEEP – Bureau of Energy and Technology Policy, 10 Franklin Sq., New Britain, CT 06051.

You can also get more information and speak up at one of DEEP’s public meetings:

Wednesday, Sept. 6, 4 p.m., CT DEEP, 79 Elm St., Hartford.
Thursday, Sept. 7, 6:30 p.m. Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), Jones Auditorium, Britton Building, 2nd Floor, 123 Huntington St., New Haven.

More information is available at ctenvironment.org.

PACE to Host House Tour and Electric Vehicle Show on Saturday, June 10

People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) will host a tour of a beautiful, award-winning, energy-efficient home in East Haddam, CT at noon and 2:30 p.m. on June 10. In addition, the tour will include an electric vehicle show featuring EVs from the New England Electric Automobile Association. The home, a winner of the 2015 Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge, is an example of how energy efficient homes can also be beautiful and comfortable to live in. It features a dramatic, open floor-plan, passive solar design, an extremely tight building envelope, close attention to air quality and state-of-the-art HVAC and solar technologies. Come experience this house in person.

For tickets, go online to www.pace-cleanenergy.org and click on EVENTS. For additional information, call (860) 217-3686.

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