The Biomass Energy Resource Center (BERC), a program of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), has launched a re-tooled web-based database for tracking the advancement of modern wood heating throughout North America. The newly revised searchable database houses key information on existing community-scale modern wood heating and combined heat and power systems across the U.S. and Canada, as well as an archive of links to case studies. Examples of community-scale facilities include schools, campuses, hospitals, prisons, multi-family or senior housing, government buildings, commercial buildings, and farms and greenhouses.
The database was originally created with funding from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities and further improvements were made with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy through the support of Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. The re-tooled database is a user-friendly, interactive tool that will help collect and track information on a continuing basis. “This resource will provide stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds with a better understanding of the current demand for wood fuels as an energy source and the success of modern wood heating projects throughout North America,” said Adam Sherman, Manager of BERC at VEIC.
The database already contains more than 500 entries, but to ensure that this publicly available resource is accurate and up to date, BERC is asking for user participation. “We are committed to maintaining and building this database over time to ensure it remains a useful and reliable too, but this is a rapidly growing sector, so we need users to help,” said Sherman. “We need people to engage with the database; add new entries for facilities that have been missed and as new facilities come online, and edit existing entries that are incomplete.” With regular contributions, the database will continue to improve and grow.
With tens of thousands of annual visits and top Google search ranking, the BERC website is a high-visibility home for this important tool. The BERC database is designed to provide vital information on a specific subset of biomass energy facilities; community-scale biomass heating projects. The BERC database complements the Wood2Energy.org database that covers a broader spectrum of biomass energy facilities including power plants, sawmills, and pellet mills. Not only will the BERC database provide wood heating systems vendors the exposure and recognition for their projects, it also helps demonstrate that modern wood heating is becoming mainstream throughout North America. To learn more about using and contributing to the database visit www.biomasscenter.org/database.
The Biomass Energy Resource Center (BERC) is a program of Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC). BERC works to advance the use of community-scale biomass energy throughout North America and beyond by providing technical consulting services, biomass energy program design and delivery, and education and outreach on benefits and best practices. BERC works with communities, federal, state and local governments, colleges and universities, businesses, utilities, and others to use local biomass resources, invest in local energy systems, and reduce the use of fossil heating fuels.
The Energy Action Network (EAN) is a community of a community of Green Mountain State stakeholders working to change the Vermont energy landscape “to end Vermont’s reliance on fossil fuels and to create clean, affordable energy and secure electric, heating, and transportation systems for the 21st century.” Their goals are consistent with the State of Vermont 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan, which aims to meet 90% of Vermont’s energy needs through efficiency and renewable sources by 2050.
EAN has identified a series of pathways for Vermont for Vermont to accomplish the paradigm shift of 90% renewables by 2050. Membership is structured into working groups focused on four “leverage points” capital mobilization, public engagement, technology innovation, and regulatory reform. Current projects include alterations to Act 250, changes in zoning laws, programs to promote bringing rental properties into efficiency standards, and assessing current land use for its potential for bioenergy and solar projects.
One notable awareness vehicle, Brighter Vermont, encourages Vermonters to change the way common energy use and think more about where energy comes from. Read more about how Brighter Vermont helps change energy behavior. EAN also works with municipalities and recently helped Montpelier plan for a 15 year track to become the first state capital to accomplish all of its energy needs with renewable energy. On February 12, 2015 the Montpelier City council accepted and endorsed the plan to make Montpelier a “net zero” city.
Currently, EAN is working with the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund to expand the Vermont Energy Atlas website into the Community Energy Dashboard. The Dashboard will enable communities to understand their energy use and make clean energy choices and investments across all energy sectors—heating, transportation, and electricity. The Dashboard will make energy use visible and understandable to consumers and communities by showing town-level progress toward Vermont’s 90% renewables by 2050 goal. The Dashboard will also shows existing and potential renewable energy sites (solar, wind, hydro, biomass). We will provide updates as they develop. Stay tuned into the Vermont Bioenergy Field Notes blog and visit the Energy Action Network website to learn more.
20 Apr 2015
Getting Smart About Vermont Energy
The State of Vermont 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan calls for 90% of Vermont energy needs to be met through efficiency and renewable sources by 2050. As Vermont residents witness continued high numbers in clean energy jobs, and advanced renewable energy legislation they will also need to take responsibility for Vermont to meet these goals, as every Vermonter will need to contribute in some way for Vermont to meet this ambitious goal. Enter Brighter Vermont, an action oriented program of the Energy Action Network, to help everyday Vermonters rethink where their energy comes from, how they use it in their daily lives, and what they can do to help the state reach its 90% by 2050 goal.
The Brighter Vermont website is packed with testimonials and videos shared by individuals who describe the financial decisions they are making to positively affect the environment, Vermont’s economy, and their wallets. A family in Rutland reports on small home improvement they have made to keep out the Northeast cold out and share a video about lowering energy costs, with the help of Green Mountain Power, by properly weatherizing their home, changing to energy efficient LED bulbs, electing for a heat pump, and adding solar panels. The overall transition has made them a more energy conscious family and was achievable with a ten year loan the family is pleased to see being offset by reduction in energy costs.
A family in Burlington’s journey towards reducing their carbon footprint is documented in a fun testimonial video where the family picks out their first electric vehicle. They were able to replace one of their family vehicles with a zero emission Nissan Leaf (hyperlink to video) that was available with an affordable two year lease. The switch from a classic Vermont staple vehicle, a Subaru, to the Leaf, has helped the family not only save money at the gas pump, but the, as the family reports, electricity used to charge the vehicle comes from renewable energy. They enjoy educating their friends and neighbors about this carbon footprint transition.
Brighter Vermont also hosts ways for businesses, schools, and towns to become more efficient and promote renewables in their community. Methods for how schools and businesses have become more efficient by transitioning to modern wood heating. A featured video produced by VEIC (hyperlink) features 54 schools from across Vermont currently heating with wood chips and pellets which provides heat for nearly one third of k-12 students across Vermont. Our own Vermont Bioenergy Initiative Vermont on-farm energy videos are also featured for farmers to learn more about the emerging areas of oilseed, grass, and algae biofuel.
There is much that needs to be done in the fight against climate change and moving Vermont away from its reliance on fossil fuels. While this road can be daunting, it is important to remember that we can all make small changes that will benefit us, our community, and our state. And the Brighter Vermont website provides a fun and interactive platform for individuals, families, businesses, and institutions to learn how to contribute and share these efforts with others so Vermont can take steps towards meeting our renewable energy goals for our future.
Jim Malloy, of Plainfield, Vermont, is being recognized for his contributions to reducing the use of petroleum fuel in the transportation sector. His business, TH Malloy and Sons in Newport, Rhode Island, is being recognized with the New England Northern Star Award as one of the top fleets for reducing their emissions through the use of biodiesel made from recycled restaurant oil.
The 75-year-old family business is a distributor for Newport Biodiesel, also of RI, who produces biodiesel from recycled restaurant oil. Both companies are being recognized with the award.
Each recipient of the award demonstrated a deep commitment to the goals of the Clean Cities program through use of alternative fuels, alternative fuel vehicle purchasing, and petroleum reduction practices. The designation as a Northern Star required that the fleets be a stakeholder in their local Clean Cities Coalitions and that they meet a list of criteria showing their commitment to Clean Cities’ initiatives.
Malloy introduced biodiesel fuel into his RI company’s distribution fleet and has helped 4,000 customers replace oil with biodiesel. His efforts have displaced nearly 4 million gallons of oil in the past seven years. Malloy is also being recognized for the impact he has had on reducing emissions statewide by working in the RI legislature to make biodiesel a more affordable fuel option.
Replacing petroleum fuel with biodiesel that is produced locally from recycled cooking oil has the benefits of increased energy security, stronger local economies, improved air quality, and reduced contributions to global climate change.
“I am honored to be recognized,” says Malloy. “I’m passionate about recycling waste and creating an outlet for less expensive and cleaner-burning domestically-made fuel that displaces petroleum.”
Malloy is also owner of Black Bear Biodiesel in Plainfield, Vermont, which is a two-year-old restaurant oil collection recycling service and biodiesel distributor serving northern and central Vermont. The company plans to have drive-up fill-up stations at their Plainfield location in late May.
“I look forward to bringing this same passion for recycling and emissions reduction and petroleum displacement to Vermont as well, while at the same time saving locals money by providing a more efficient, cleaner fuel and an affordable replacement for petroleum,” says Malloy.
The other four recipients of the award are the City of Boston Massachusetts, the City of Nashua New Hampshire, Oakhurst Dairy in Maine and New Hampshire, and the University of Vermont.
The Northern Stars of New England program
was funded through a U.S. Department of Energy grant that identified barriers to the proliferation of alternative fuels and how to remove them. There are nearly one hundred Clean Cities Coalitions around the country whose purpose is to help reduce the use of petroleum, cut emissions, and promote alternative fuel options. The Northern Stars program was developed by the five Northern New England Clean Cities Coalitions and is just one of the ways that these coalitions promote the use of alternative fuels in fleets.
This project is funded by a U.S. Department of Energy grant awarded to Maine Clean Communities, a program of the Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG), and other Northern New England Clean Cities Coalition grant partners.
More information on the Northern Stars program can be found on the Vermont Clean Cities Coalition website at www.uvm.edu/vtccc.
06 Apr 2015
Upcoming North American Bioenergy Events
Make sure to check on the Vermont Bioenergy Initiative website for more national bioenergy events as we will be updating this list!
- WasteExpo 2015 June 1-5, 2015 Las Vegas Convention Center
- 5th International Conference on Algal Biomass, Biofuels and Bioproducts. 7 – 10 June 2015. San Diego, USA
- BIO International Convention June 15-18, 2015. Philadelphia, PA
- Bioenergy 2015,June 23-25. Washington, DC
- GAI AgTech Week June 22-24, 2015 San Francisco, CA
- 19th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference (GC&E). July 14-16, 2015. N. Bethesda, MD
- BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology. July 19 – 22, 2015. Montreal, Canada
- EnergyPath 2015, July 20-24. Scranton, PA
- BioFuelNet Advanced Biofuels Symposium 2015. July 22 – 24, 2015. Montreal, Canada
- Switchgrass III. September 30 to October 2, 2015. Knoxville, TN
- 2nd International Conference on Past and Present Research Systems of Green Chemistry. September 14-16, 2015. Orlando, Florida
- Ag Innovation Showcase September 14-16, 2015 St. Louis, MO
- Algae Biomass Summit September 30-October 2, 2015 Washington, DC
23 Feb 2015
Two Vermont Companies Responsible for Design, Manufacturing and Installation of First Large-Scale Wind Turbine in New York City
Aegis Renewable Energy a Vermont based renewable energy company designed and installed the first commercial wind turbine in New York City at “Sunset Park” SIMS Municipal Recycling plant in Brooklyn. Aegis erected the 100kW wind turbine in December, 2014 and partnered with Vermont based wind turbine manufacturer, Northern Power Systems located in Barre, Vermont.
The project was recently featured in the New York Times: “In less than a month of operation, the first large-scale wind turbine to be installed in New York City, standing more than 160 feet tall, has produced enough energy to power two homes for over a year, or one 20-watt light bulb for over a century.”
The energy produced from the wind turbine “is expected to provide 4 percent of the energy used by the plant,” the Times article continues. Aegis’ CEO, Nils Behn, was also quoted in the article: “The Sunset Park waterfront’s wide-open nature makes it a prime spot for harvesting wind.”
Aegis won the project through a competitive bid process in 2011 and immediately began the electrical and foundation design process as well as completing various studies including sound and wildlife impact analyses, all of which were critical components in securing grants and permitting for the project.
Aegis has partnered with Northern Power Systems on 15 projects to date, “Northern’s undisputed position as the world leader in the 100kW wind turbine market, and their uncompromising commitment to quality, has been a key component to our success and theirs” said Nils Behn, CEO of Aegis.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony in New York, Northern Power CEO Troy Patton said “Northern Power leverages knowledge from over 400 wind turbine projects around the world to provide installers with training on the best practices for smooth and efficient installations”.
Aegis partners with other Vermont companies, including Green Mountain Credit Union which partnered with Aegis to create a community solar loan program, and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF)- Flexible Capital Fund which provided growth stage royalty financing to help Aegis expand its business operation and create more jobs in Vermont’s renewable energy sector.
About Aegis Renewable Energy
Aegis Renewable Energy offers full-service community-scale renewable energy solutions for farms, businesses, non-profits, and municipalities. Wind, Solar and Anaerobic digesters (cow manure and food waste) are included in Aegis’ services designed to help clients save money and the planet. Aegis Renewable Energy is located in Waitsfield, Vermont and provides cost evaluation, permitting, and financing support, installation, and maintenance services throughout Vermont and New England. To learn more about Aegis Renewable Energy, please visit www.aegis-re.com.
About Northern Power Systems
Northern Power Systems designs, manufactures, and sells wind turbines and power technology products, and provides engineering development services and technology licenses for energy applications, into the global marketplace from its US headquarters and European offices. Northern Power Systems has almost 40 years’ experience in technologies and products generating renewable energy. Northern Power Systems currently manufactures the NPS™ 60 and NPS™ 100 turbines. With over 6 million run time hours across its global fleet, Northern Power wind turbines provide customers with clean, cost effective, reliable renewable energy. To learn more about Northern Power Systems, please visit www.northernpower.com.
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact: Sonia Behn 802-496- 5155 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
02 Feb 2015
Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference 2015
The Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference, to be held on March 11th through the 13th in Washington D.C. serves as a great opportunity to for companies and individuals in the field of biofuels and bioenergy to educate themselves on the most recent advances in the field as well as network with some of its top experts and leaders. This event will open up with a welcome introduction from Jim Lane, Director and Editor of Biofuels Digest and the event’s momentum only promises to build from there. Among other big industry names in appearance, leaders from organizations such as the National Biodesiel Board, American Council on Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Algae Biomass Organization, and even the U.S. Navy will be speaking and presenting on a variety of policies, advances, and outlooks pertaining to their respective niches.
This conference offers the rare opportunity to receive first hand updates and future outlooks of U.S. bioenergy policies from those who can report best; both Jonathan Male, Director of the U.S. DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office and Harry Baumes, Director of USDA Energy Policy will be speaking on the subjects during the Thursday session of the conference. In addition, conference goers can expect the most up to date reports on current best practices and trends in the field during the ABLC Finance Summit from big investors such as Citiroup and the sessions such as “Due Diligence” in which experts David Dodds of Dodds & Associates and Ron Cascone of NEXANT look at new and emerging companies and technologies.
In addition to conventional biofuel operations and programs, the conference will feature some more advanced military and aviation biofuel related sessions with an appearance by the U.S. Navy’s operational energy director, Chris Tindal. These sessions are organized in partnership with the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI). Altogether, this conference is a great opportunity that can’t be missed for those working with bioenergy of all feedstocks and uses. A complete list of conference sponsors, speakers and events as well as information for registration and lodging can be found on the ABLC website.
10 Mar 2014
Montpelier Announces a Renewable Energy Future
City officials today joined with energy leaders to launch a major initiative focused on making Montpelier the first net zero capital city in the country. Achieving net zero means that Montpelier would meet all its power needs through renewable energy sources and efficiency by 2030. The City of Montpelier was joined by a coalition of organizations that are committed to making this goal a reality.
“This ambitious goal, endorsed by the city council, sets a new direction for Montpelier’s energy future that will provide the opportunity for every citizen to engage,” said Montpelier Mayor John Hollar.
Montpelier is uniquely positioned to move forward on the net zero by 2030 goal. More than 15% of Montpelier housing units have already completed comprehensive energy efficiency projects with Efficiency Vermont; in 2013, the city upgraded all streetlights to high efficiency LEDs; and the downtown biomass district heating project is currently nearing completion.
The Energy Action Network and Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee have worked closely with the city to set the net zero goal and bring together the group of stakeholders to map out a plan of action. “Montpelier’s commitment to creating a secure and affordable energy future is tremendously exciting,” said Andrea Colnes, executive director of the Energy Action Network. “Through this project Montpelier and Vermont will again lead by example and inspire other cities across the US to reach for a bright future and shift to clean, renewable energy.”
Dan Jones, Chair of the Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee, describes this project as “a unique approach for a city as a whole. By engaging the city government, businesses, and citizens around a common vision, we hope to change the conversation from piecemeal small reforms to a system-wide reimagining of our energy priorities. This project will require the collaboration of all Montpelier’s sectors to make it a reality.”
As part of today’s launch, Green Mountain Power and Efficiency Vermont announced a suite of initiatives designed to support the effort by driving down energy consumption and increasing the use of renewable energy in Montpelier. These include:
Green Mountain Power will work with the city to locate multiple electric vehicle charging stations in the City;
- Efficiency Vermont will convene a “Net Zero Montpelier” community conversation in September to help residents, businesses, and local partners set goals and take action on energy efficiency. Reducing energy consumption is a key first step towards net zero, since it enables a larger portion of energy needs to be met through renewable sources;
- Efficiency Vermont experts will offer guidance, incentives, and support to help homeowners reduce their energy usage and make their homes “net zero ready;”
- Green Mountain Power will extend to Montpelier its pilot heat pump program that saves customers money while reducing fossil fuel use for heating;
- Efficiency Vermont and the City of Montpelier will develop an energy road map for all municipal facilities, including exploring the opportunity to design the new downtown transit center to net zero standards, and kicking off a large scale energy saving project at the wastewater treatment facility;
- The Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services will collaborate with Efficiency Vermont on a large scale effort to reduce energy usage in Montpelier’s state buildings;
- GMP will work with AllEarth Renewables to install solar trackers in a group net metering project involving the Vermont Natural Resources Council and Vermont Land Trust, who have expressed interest in taking the power. The trackers will be on GMP property near the entrance of the city and will be a visual statement of Montpelier’s commitment to becoming net zero.
“This initiative signals a transformation in how Vermont’s cities and towns will use energy,” said Mary Powell, president and chief executive officer of Green Mountain Power. “Deploying new technologies in our cities and towns, as we are also doing in Rutland, will have economic and environmental benefits for all Vermonters. It makes perfect sense that Vermont would be the state where we can successfully make our capital net zero.”
“We are looking forward to helping turn the vision of Net Zero Montpelier into a reality,” said Jim Merriam, Director of Efficiency Vermont. “In driving progress toward the net zero goal, Efficiency Vermont experts will engage with partners and community members at every level to help them get the most value for their energy dollars, and set the stage for a clean energy future.”
Other partners in Net Zero Montpelier have so far included: Vermont State Employees Credit Union, National Life, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, SunCommon, IBM and the general membership of the Energy Action Network. As Net Zero Montpelier continues to engage the community, there will be numerous opportunities for additional organizations and stakeholders become actively involved in the effort.
For more information on Net Zero Montpelier, or to get involved, please visit www.eanvt.org/net-zero-montpelier. To learn more about GMP’s heat pump pilot project, email email@example.com.
Assistant City Manager
City of Montpelier
39 Main Street
Montpelier, VT 05602