From Ground-Source to Rooftops, From Blower Doors to Net-Zero: The 2019 Clean Energy Tour in Chester County

By Jim Wylie & Paula Kline, The Sylvanian, Winter 2019 Southeastern PA Sierra Club Newsletter, December 13, 2019

On October 19, 2019, Ready for 100/Chester County hosted a tour on the National Solar Tour. We visited 35 sites, covering the better part of the whole county, and welcomed over 200 participants at installed and operation examples of:

  •  Rooftop residential solar systems
  •  Battery storage systems
  • Large commercial solar operations – including a 1.1 MW array at a mushroom farm
  • Green roofs
  • Ground-source heat pumps
  • Air-source heat pumps (owner installed)
  • Net-zero, passive solar homes
  • Solar powered robotic lawnmowers
  • Renewable gas producing digesters
  • Home energy efficiency measures – including an in-progress blower door test by PECO Home Energy Assessments program
  • Electric vehicles and charging stations
  • And much more

The post-tour celebration

The Chester County Clean Energy Tour of 2019 was the culmination of a vision by Paula Kline, Ready For 100/Chester County team leader. Paula committed to joining the national solar tour in the spring of 2019 and spent eight months lining up volunteers (about 15), endorsements from elected officials and energy related organizations and sponsors (commercial) and co-sponsors (env orgs). A huge undertaking that ultimately included four kickoff sites with hosts and presenters and visual materials that can be used for future renewable energy related events….

read more in The Sylvanian

When will Verizon make progress on clean energy?

A 12/22/19 email from GreenAmerica begins:

A lot can happen in a year…except at Verizon.

One year ago, the telecom giant quietly released its first major commitment to clean energy: to reach 50 percent clean energy by 2025.

Unfortunately, Verizon hasn’t announced any progress, meanwhile its competitors have made strides in clean energy.

Urge Verizon to make clean energy a priority for 2020!

This year, T-Mobile announced new wind and solar purchases that will bring the company to 95 percent of its 100 percent clean energy goal. AT&T announced two new deals and stated that its clean energy usage is equal to removing 690,000 cars off the road each year. Sprint also announced its first clean energy project this year, which will provide 30 percent of the company’s energy.

But renewables were a mere 1 percent of Verizon’s total energy use in 2018. Since it hasn’t announced any new contracts, it doesn’t seem promising that Verizon will reach its goal anytime soon.

Read more and sign the petition here.

Looking for a presentation on climate paths forward?

Are you interested in organizing a presentation on paths forward to reverse and protect against climate change? Your civic group or municipality could be a good audience.

Bill Haaf, who lives in Pocopson township and belongs to Chester Citizens for Climate Protection (one of the 4 component groups of the West Chester Green Team), is kindly willing to speak for free.

Bill, retired from DuPont after 38 yrs. was a scientist and Corporate Manager of Product Stewardship. He has been closely involved with the science and risks of climate crisis for 25 yrs.

His 50 min power point presentation on “Climate Crisis: Paths Forward, realistic numbers & solutions” to be followed by questions and discussion.

I you might be interested please contact Bill at 610-675-7131 or billhaaf@verizon.net

The outline of his talk follows

Climate Crisis: Paths Forward, realistic numbers & solutions

• Climate  Change is an existential threat  to  America

• Brief overview: Scientific consensus & biggest  impacts

* Barriers: It’s a cultural war

– Roles of oil & gas: No fossil fuel by 2050                

– America lacks goals & strategy!

•  Harsh data:  Progress is too slow

– How many options? 

– Solar & wind  & electrolysis  & renewable H2 & methane net power; nuclear                

– What  about trees & soils & steel & cement & beef ?       

•  What about Carbon Capture ?

EQAT Action at PECO December 11, 2019

Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) protested simultaneously at three PECO locations in Chester County: Phoenixville, Coatesville and Warminster early on Wednesday December 11. Protesters’ demands were simple “PECO, get a plan to combat climate change.”

About a hundred people divided over the three locations delivered the message by songs, banners, signs, and speeches.

PECO has been seriously lacking in its response to climate change by not purchasing nearly enough of its electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind. PECO is not thinking long term and climate change is already causing deadly droughts, floods, and other extreme weather. If we do not take immediate action, the results could be catastrophic.

At the same time, income inequality is reaching historic heights. Working class communities and communities of color are facing staggering levels of unemployment as businesses and the wealthy profit. We believe that there are better ways of doing business that reduce climate change and produce good jobs.

PECO must become part of the solution by increasing the purchases of locally produced sustainable energy.

We demand that PECO derive 20% of the total energy production from sustainable sources produced locally while prioritizing community-owned solar power, ownership by low-income communities in PECO’s service area, and installation by local workers paid livable wages, especially from high unemployment areas in its service area.

So far the response of PECO has been words but no action and we demand immediate action to get to the 20% sustainable power by 2025. Europe just signed their Green New Deal so it’s not like the rest of the world is not moving forward. It’s companies like PECO that need to get with the times and if it takes more protests, then we will up our protests to a level that PECO can not turn away from.

Since 2015 our campaign has grown with actions like the PECO Runaround where 100 runners, walkers, and wheelers circled company headquarters at the “PECO Runaround” (because PECO is giving Philadelphia the runaround on solar). The event raised $10,000 to Power Local Green Jobs.

We will not sit still until PECO comes up with a plan and executes that plan with tangible results.

— Jakob

See also Donna Rovins, “Group continues to push PECO on solar power, green jobs,” Daily Local News, 12/15/19

West Chester Green Team hosts annual auction

Daily Local News, 12/16/19

WEST CHESTER—The West Chester Green Team hosted their second annual live and silent auction in West Chester recently at the Unitarian Congregation on High Street.

The West Chester Green Team formed in 2019 as an alliance of four local environment-related interest groups: Don’t Spray Me!, Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection (4CP), Ready for 100 and Plastic-Free Please Action Group (PFP). These civic groups work together to work towards a sustainable West Chester area….

read more at Daily Local News

Green Team fundraiser dinner a great success!

On December 7, the West Chester Green Team hosted their second annual live and silent auction in West Chester, PA at the Unitarian Congregation on High Street. Proceeds will support the Green Team’s 2020 student interns and many projects enhancing environment and sustainability .

Highlights were a French music box played by Philip Jamison, spirits chosen by Andiario’s vintner Eric Schraedley, ratatouille and salad by Trinity Caterers, bread from La Baguette Magique, coffee by Horn and Hardart, an impressive assortment of desserts by local pastry chef Kim Stack, and of course the many donated raffle and auction items including 4 raffled live by auctioneer Greg Erskine. Photos below thanks to Kelly Baker.

The crowd inspecting auction items, conversing and preparing to dine
Event co-leader Megan Schraedley takes the stage
Auctioneer Greg Erskine exhorts the crowd to bid up.