Category Archives: Energy

Sites Posted on Chester County Clean Tour 2021

See the CCEA calendar for details of the tour, Oct. 2-3, and how to take it virtually.

Name of SiteName of SubmitterFeatures
Hillside Elementary School Green Roof
Berwyn, PA
Jennifer Cox/ Conestoga High School studentsSustainable Features: Green Roof Site Type School Organization: Hillside Elementary School, in the Tredyffrin-Eastown School District
West Chester University Geothermal Exchange System
West Chester, PA
Brad Flamm, Director, Office of Sustainability, WCU
Sustainable Features Geothermal Site Type University Organization: West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Haaf Home Energy Tour
Kennett Square, PA
Bill Haaf
Sustainable Features Composting, Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Geothermal, Heat Pump(s), Passive Solar, Other Other Sustainable Features: • Advanced lighting (LEDs), programmable thermostats, native plants/water-retentive plantings, spray PU foam insulation, strategies for energy efficiency in existing home. System Size (in kW): 6.7 Solar Site Type Home
Energy Efficiency Beats S&P
West Chester, PA
Bryan Hutchinson
Sustainable Features Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Heat Pump(s), Solar PV – Rooftop System Size (in kW): 7.14 Solar Site Type Home
Solar Stone Barn
Chadds Ford, PA
Richard Leff
Sustainable Features Battery Storage, Electric Vehicle(s), Geothermal System Size (in kW): 10 Solar Site Type Home
Central Baptist Church, Wayne, Gets to Zero Net Emissions
Wayne, {A
Chuck Marshall
Sustainable Features Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Net zero, Solar PV – Rooftop Solar Site Type Religious Institution
Rooftop Made for Solar
Chester Springs, PA
Kathy McDevitt
Sustainable Features Electric Vehicle(s), Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Solar PV – Rooftop System Size (in kW): 13.26 kW Solar Site Type Home
The McGowan Home
Coatesville, PA
Brian McGowan
Sustainable Features Battery Storage, Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Solar Thermal, Wind Turbine(s) System Size (in kW): 3.96 kW Solar Site Type : Home
Stroud Water Research Center’s Moorhead Environmental Complex

Avondale, PA
Jessica Provinski, Stroud Development Department
Sustainable Features Composting, Electric Vehicle(s), Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Geothermal, Grey Water System, Heat Pump(s), Integrated Systems System Size (in kW): 17.860 kW Solar Site Type Nonprofit Organization
Geothermal Township Building /West Bradford
Downingtown, PA
Cheryl Wanko

Sustainable Features Geothermal Solar Site Type Government Building Organization: West Bradford Township
Geothermal Home
West Bradford, PA
Cheryl Wanko
Sustainable Features Geothermal Site Type Home
Nature Farm Solar Home
Chester Springs, PA
Dave Weber
Sustainable Features Composting, Electric Vehicle(s), Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Heat Pump(s), Passive Solar, Solar PV – Rooftop, Other Other Sustainable Features: Electric mower, on-demand electric hot water heater System Size (in kW): 10+ Solar Site Type Home
West Chester Borough Chestnut Street Garage Solar Canopy (drone video)
West Chester, PA
Jim Wylie,  the chair of the Southeastern PA Group, Sierra ClubSustainable Features Solar PV – Rooftop Other Sustainable Features: System Size (in kW): 79 Solar Site Type Government Building Organization: Solarize Greater West Chester
Strategies for a More Sustainable Home
Wayne, PA
Rutger Boerema
Sustainable Features Battery Storage, Composting, Electric Vehicle(s), Heat Pump(s) System Size (in kW): 8.16 Solar Site Type Home
Speksnijder Solar Site
West Chester, PA
Will ClaudioSustainable Features Battery Storage, Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Net zero, Solar PV – Rooftop Solar Site Type Home

It’s time for 100% clean energy for, of, and by the people

from Sierra Club, 7/18/21

The Ready For 100 Activist Toolkit is a one-stop shop for any team or activist who wants to move their community to 100% clean, renewable energy for all. It is a living, values-driven, action-oriented blueprint for building a local campaign and gaining skills needed to score grassroots wins. With an extensive Campaign Roadmap and various skill modules, this toolkit is meant for everyone who wants to help achieve a just and equitable transition and a future where everyone can thrive. 

Our communities are our strength, but right now, many are struggling. From high unemployment to racial injustice to public health emergencies to droughts and floods — interlocking crises are impacting communities now. And time and time again, the most vulnerable are affected first and worst.

This summer, we have a historic chance to build back bolder by addressing climate change, racial injustice, and unemployment all at once through a transition to 100% clean energy. But the Biden Administration can’t achieve this vision on its own. We need to build power on the ground, and demonstrate our support for a just clean energy transition locally — city by city, block by block, and person by person.

To date, 183 cities from Atlanta to Cleveland to Boise and beyond have already set 100% clean energy goals. Many of those commitments were supported by local Ready For 100 activists, volunteers, and allies who over the years have learned a thing or two about grassroots organizing. Rooted in our values, this toolkit brings together many of those learnings to provide a roadmap on how to build a team, reach your decision-makers, and win local, equitable clean energy victories.

Local clean energy solutions will cut pollution, create family-sustaining jobs, lower energy bills, and repair harms to vulnerable communities who suffer from local environmental injustices. We believe everybody has a right to this vision — and we know that no two cities will have the same path to meeting their communities’ needs. That’s why we’re calling on you.

Our solutions need to be transformational, democratic, and accessible. When it comes to climate action, it’s time to equitably power our communities forward. It’s time for 100% clean energy for, of, and by the people. It’s time for a just clean energy transition that doesn’t leave anyone behind.

Clean energy is key to powering towards a better, brighter future for all. Let’s work together to make sure 100% clean energy is for everyone — starting in your community.

Transition Inspiration from Port Washington NY

Transition Town Port Washington (on the northern shore of Long Island NY) is hard at work educating its community and collaborating with like-minded organizations to carry out so many things that we too believe in: climate action as a member of Communities United to Reduce Emissions 100% (CURE); plastics reduction (with a recent very informative article on “Plastics: The Everlasting Epidemic“; divesting from fossil fuel investments (which the the $226 billion NY state pension fund is actually doing); and much more. We thank them for the inspiration!

Refuting climate change denial: renewable energy is the only hope

by Bill Haaf

Bill Haaf retired from DuPont after 38 yrs, after working as a chemist, Certified Industrial Hygienist, leader of site audits and the first corporate environmental audit, and global manager of Product Stewardship for 15 yrs. He is a Board member of Chester County Citizens 4 Climate Protection and has installed significant energy efficiency upgrades to his home to “walk the talk.”

I offer feedback on the Feb. 24 Daily Local News guest column by H. Sterling Burnett, a Heartland Institute senior fellow.

Both he and the Heartland Institute have a long history of climate change denial. However, he is a lone voice, as the world’s climate scientists disagree with him. NASA, NOAA, IPCC, WMO, UCS and 100 more worldwide scientific organizations all agree that burning fossil fuels is overheating the world.

It appears that Mr Burnett’s goal is to distort facts while attacking one solution to climate change. His goal of course is to try and help save the declining oil and natural gas industry. Mr Burnett, the oil and gas companies and lobby groups should become part of the solution, not contribute to overheating and its impacts. The crisis in Texas was a failure of natural gas and coal and only to a smaller degree of wind power.

Climate risk is the real issue here.

The very first issue that must be addressed whenever you discuss the value of various energy sources is risk. Are the risks managed? Are any unacceptable?

The worldwide scientific community has been in consensus for at least 25 yrs: burning fossil fuels is causing the planet to overheat with huge terrible impacts. I have put several well-documented significant risks below.

These risks are unacceptable both to humans and every life form (see references below):

– Sea levels will rise, forcing millions to evacuate coastal areas; storm surges will be larger and more damaging; storm strength will increase greatly;

– Huge areas of the world will be too hot to live or work in, forcing hundreds of millions to flee;

– Most global forest areas will become carbon emitters not carbon sinks, or die off.

– All insects and mammal will be impacted and risk extinction;

– Coral reefs and sea life that live there will die;

– All polar bears will die;

– Food crop yields will drop;

– Fish stocks will move and decrease;

– Oceans will warm and turn more acidic; ocean currents may weaken or relocate;

– Wildfires will increase greatly

However, the biggest concern is warming of the permafrost. Permafrost already is releasing much carbon dioxide and methane into the air. This feedback system is irreversible and threatens all human civilization.

Every person now 20 yrs or younger will face grave risks from a hot planet. It is very very difficult to reverse the heat gain. Continued burning of fossil fuels  endangers all our grandchildren.

The oil and gas industry MUST practice good product stewardship for products designed to be burned. The industry must begin the transition to avoid disaster and many human deaths. Employees need a fair and just transition path.

Here are some rebuttals to the erroneous data and logic regarding renewable energy used by Mr Burnett in his editorial.

1. Texas should have learned from the 2011 freeze-up power crisis. The wind turbines in Iowa or Minnesota or Canada perform well in very cold weather. The references below show that the joint failure of coal and natural gas was the major cause, but wind generation also had power loss. Failures in all power transmission contributed a lot to the problem. As low-cost wind and solar grow, the grid will need more cost-effective power storage. This could be large-scale batteries or pumped water, or renewable hydrogen or mechanical, or renewable methane or R-propane and dimethyl ether.

2. Great discussion by real energy experts in Texas:  In response to the unprecedented 254-county weather emergency in Texas and the subsequent loss of power to millions of Texans, the Advanced Power Alliance and Conservative Texans for Energy Innovation just hosted a forum of energy experts to assess two very important questions: What went wrong in Texas and what should be done about it.  Energy experts Alison Silverstein, Dr. Dan Cohan, Dr. Joshua Rhodes, and Michael Jewell offered observations on the interconnected causes of the energy crisis, and thoughts on ways Texas can avoid an event of this kind in the future.

3. “Fossil Freeze: Deadly Texas Catastrophe Shows How Natural Gas Systems Can Fail when Demand Spikes” by Sharon Kelly, February 26, 2021, here.

4.Fact check: The causes for Texas’ blackout go well beyond wind turbines” by Reuters Staff, February 19, 2021, here.

Going Net Zero – Jakob’s Solar Panel Installation

Paige Vermeulen introduces Jakob Speksnijder to viewers in front of his newly solar-enabled house

Interview with Jakob Speksnijder about his quest for Net Zero, moderated by Paige Vermeulen, produced by Claudio Productions, posted 2/18/21. Jakob’s advice: commit to the easy steps to reduce home energy use, such as insulation, composting, rain barrels, air dry clothes…. Read up on solar, the best home solution at this time, talk to people who have installed solar, and proceed! Solar, he said, costs only about half as much now as it did ten years ago. His next step will be to install high-capacity batteries to store the energy his solar array produces, and to take his home entirely off grid, so that his home will not use fossil fuels (and, of course, he will not fear the power outages that will probably become more frequent with increasingly extreme weather conditions). Click here to view.

RGGI: An Interview with Flora Cardoni

Harrisburg Lobby Day Event, advocating for 100% renewable energy in PA by 2050.

This interview was conducted by Nathaniel Smith by phone on 12/22/20 with Flora Cardoni, Field Director, PennEnvironment (at the mic in the photo). RGGI (the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, pronounced like the name Reggie) is a major avenue for the Commonwealth and people of Pennsylvania to do more in reducing carbon emissions.

How do you see the overall climate problem faced by PA and the world?

Climate change is our greatest existential threat at this time! Pennsylvania has played a historical role as a leader in the extraction of fossil fuels and fracked gas. Our legacy is now part of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions problem. We’re already experiencing the impacts of climate change here in PA, including extreme weather events, more flash flooding, impaired air quality, excessive heat especially in urban areas, multiplication of harmful insects like Lyme-bearing ticks, loss of snow cover in ski resorts, and more. Impacts worldwide include widespread wildfires, hurricanes, and food insecurity, and these impacts will only worsen without action.

The science is clear: to stop the worst impacts of climate change, protect human health, and ensure a livable climate for future generations, we must transition away from fossil fuels like coal to 100% renewable energy. Polls show that a majority of Pennsylvanians want action to tackle climate change and we have the tools, technology, and policy to do so; all that’s lacking right now is the political will.

How does RGGI work?

RGGI is a “cap and invest” program that caps carbon pollution from power plants (not other sources). Carbon emitters pay a fee for their pollution, designed to offset the external harms of emissions, with the money then invested in energy conservation, renewable energy, home weatherization and insulation, and other measures, including extra help for low-income people. Over the years, the cap on carbon is lowered and utilities bid at auction for the right to use the amount remaining under the cap, with emissions continuing to decrease.

Pennsylvania is the 4th largest carbon-emitting state in the country, after Texas, California, and Florida. Nationwide, transportation is the largest source of carbon pollution but here in PA, it’s power plants — a real threat to our air quality and public health. RGGI is a critical step in reducing this harmful power plant pollution, lowering climate emissions, and protecting our health.

What has other states’ experience been with RGGI?

RGGI has had a huge track record of success over the last decade in many northeastern and mid-Atlantic states, from Maryland to Maine. Virginia and New Jersey are also in the process of joining.

RGGI has proven to be one of the country’s most successful programs to reduce carbon emissions. It has prevented about 100 million tons of carbon from going into the atmosphere each year while providing over $1.4 billion in net economic benefits in participating states.

By joining RGGI, Pennsylvania could cut over 188 million tons of carbon emissions by 2030 while creating 27,000 jobs and generating $2 billion for the state’s economy.

Please explain Governor Wolf’s initiative and the current hearings

RGGI can be joined by executive action, which in October 2019 the Governor announced he planned to do. That started the regulatory process: the PA Department of Environmental Protection developed a draft that it sent to the Environmental Quality Board, which adopted it as a proposed regulation. Now we are in the period for public comments, which will be taken into account and included in the official record. We hope the process will be completed in time for PA to join its first carbon auction in January 2022.

Unfortunately, despite the majority of Pennsylvanians supporting the state joining RGGI, the majority in the PA legislature passed House Bill 2025 last session, which would prevent the PA DEP from joining this program or regulating carbon emissions at all. Gov. Wolf, for whom RGGI is a high priority, vetoed that bill. But that obstructive maneuver will likely resurface early in 2021, and it’s important for legislators to hear the public pushing against that bill and for the many good climate and clean energy bills being held up in unresponsive committees.

What is PennEnvironment doing to help advance RGGI?

PennEnvironment and allied organizations are encouraging Pennsylvanians to make their voices heard in support of this program. About 70 PennEnvironment members and volunteers joined hundreds of Pennsylvanians who testified in the now-completed hearings, with 95% of total testifiers supporting RGGI. We are also working with volunteers to submit letters to the editors of local papers and with local elected officials to submit supportive comments. Finally, we’re collecting thousands of signatures and comments to submit during the comment period (closing date: January 14).

What do the power companies say?

The coal industry is against it, as coal is the most polluting fuel. The renewable energy industry naturally favors RGGI, and so do the operators of nuclear power plants, which do not emit carbon.

What is the situation with legislators in H’burg?

The legislature is divided. Many legislators oppose RGGI because fossil fuels have had such a large role here while others are supportive because they want climate action and cleaner air.

However, RGGI should not be a partisan issue and has received bipartisan support across the region. In Maryland, the Republican governor and Democratic-majority legislature support RGGI and speak highly of the program and all of its benefits. In southeastern PA, legislators of both parties are backing it as a commonsense program that will benefit our climate, health, and economy.

What are RGGI’s implications for jobs?

RGGI would create 27,000 PA jobs in renewable energy and supporting industries and add $12 billion to the state’s economy, not only from building the infrastructure of the future but also from spending carbon auction fees for purposes like home weatherization.

The program can also help pay for retraining workers in the coal industry, which has been in decline for many years. Making and funding a plan to protect workers and train them for new jobs will help many communities that today are disadvantaged — unlike the sudden 2019 closing of the Philadelphia oil refinery, which left over a thousand workers in the lurch.

Does RGGI have any implications for environmental and social justice?

Yes: RGGI would secure cleaner air for people living near power plants. Regulations should also ensure that new polluters don’t take the place of the old ones and that plants in environmental justice communities aren’t allowed to pollute more to offset reductions elsewhere. PA’s RGGI plan should stipulate reinvesting in lower income communities and energy assistance to those in need.

How would RGGI affect household and business costs?

Coal and oil pollution obliges us all to pay hidden costs such as added health costs, climate costs, and locally lower real estate values. RGGI will reduce those costs and, as renewable energy is phased in more prominently, electricity prices should be reduced. In fact, electricity prices have actually fallen by 5.7% in RGGI states – outperforming price levels in non-RGGI states. Solar and wind energy are already competitive, even with the subsidies and indirect costs still given to other power sources, and as they expand, electricity costs will drop even further.

Is renewable energy important in the future PA economy?

Yes, renewable energy is essential to Pennsylvania’s future! PA needs to not fall behind, but rather invest in and be a leader in the renewable energy future we all need and deserve.

What can people in PA do now?

By January 14, sign the petition in support of RGGI at bit.ly/RGGIforPA. You can also urge your community leaders and elected officials to support RGGI, write letters to the editor, and influence others on social media.

The more voices we can raise in support of climate action, the more likely it is that we can see this program to the finish line.

We Must Cut Carbon Emissions From Fossil Fuels To Zero By 2050 To Prevent Passing A Point From Which We Cannot Adapt

Salient quote: “The fact that the fossil industry plans to increase fossil fuel production despite this evidence is like refusing to wear a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

By Richard Whiteford, Chesco resident, Independent Journalist & Climate Change Educator, in PA Environment Digest Blog, 12/31/20

The United Nations recently released the “Fossil Fuel Production Gap Report”, saying, “To follow a 1.5°C-consistent pathway, the world will need to decrease fossil fuel production by roughly 6 percent per year between 2020 and 2030. Countries are instead planning and projecting an average annual increase of 2 percent, which by 2030 would result in more than double the production consistent with the 1.5°C limit.”…

read more at PA Environment Digest Blog

Please support RGGI!

How?

  1. Sign the petition as an individual here
  2. Contact your state senator or representative
  3. Post info on your own social media
  4. Write a letter to the local press or a media outlet

RGGI is Pennsylvania’s best chance right now to cut its carbon emissions. RGGI is a market-based cap and trade plan that will not upset energy markets but will gradually put a fair price on the harm that carbon emissions inflict on the environment and human health.

See more info at the PA DEP site.

Ready For 100% Renewable Energy Campaign

We celebrate the exciting news that one of the Green Team’s leaders, Paula Kline, was voted in as a Community Leader Awardee of the SE PA regional 2020 Groundbreaker Awards, conferred on December 17, 2020. According to the Groundbreaker Awards web site:

“Paula ‘s Clean Energy Planning Series, Ready For 100 Communities initiative, provided best practice tools, training and ongoing support for 30 local municipalities, their Environmental Advisory Councils, and RF100 volunteers to develop individualized clean energy transition plans and understand energy use analysis. Over 80 participants learned how to improve building energy efficiency as a stepping stone to financing the tougher aspects of transitioning community energy sources to 100 percent renewable sources with equitable stakeholder engagement. Paula pulled together regional and national clean energy experts to present through 15 well-attended, highly interactive seminars. Despite the pandemic, the initiative trained community environmental and municipal leaders how to specifically plan in a cost effective manner saving taxpayer dollars through world class online technical energy concepts and community outreach best practices to engage their communities.”

Here, from the Sierra Club SE PA Group, is the list of Chesco municipalities that have already passed Ready for 100 resolutions: Phoenixville, Schuylkill, Uwchlan, Downingtown, West Chester, East Bradford, Kennett Twp, East Pikeland, Tredyffrin, West Vincent, Pocopson, Charlestown, West Whiteland.

See community appreciations of Paula in the 8th segment of the winners video here.

Photo from Schuylkill Township at the SE PA Sierra Club site (Paula is the 3rd from the left)