Are we ready for the 100% renewable energy movement?


by John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat
reprinted from Biomass Magazine

Many in the biomass heating movement bemoan warm winters, low fossil fuel prices and the slow pace of conversions to biomass heating systems.  But systems are being put in place to adopt renewable heating and that we can be part of, but we are not.

Scores of cities across the US and Canada have already pledged to go 100% renewable.  Even more will be announcing their plans in the next year or two.  Some cities are only focusing on 100% renewable electricity, but many are adopting a two stage approach.  The first stage addresses electricity needs while the second stage addresses heating.
Take Portland, Oregon, Hanover, New Hampshire and East Hampton, New York. Portland is shooting for 100% renewable electricity by 2035 and plans to tackle heating from 2035 to 2050.  Hanover is planning for 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and 100% renewable heating by 2050.  East Hampton, NY is moving even faster: 100% renewable electricity by 2020 and 100% renewable heating by 2030. Much of this heating will be fueled by electricity but chip and pellet systems could also be in demand.
A parallel trend is the Zero Net Energy (ZNE) movement.  To be considered a ZNE building, a house,  There is no one accepted definition of ZNE, so cities, campuses and communities have some leeway in how they define it.  A strict definition says biomass has to be grown and harvested on-site, but other definitions could include biomass harvested from within 30 miles, for example.  After all, the sun isn’t on-site either but the energy from it is produced on-site. 

building or campus, it cannot use more energy than the renewable energy it generates.

The point is that aggressive renewable energy strategies need to address heating and if the biomass community is not at the table, we may be left out of policies and definitions.  The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association has been at the table in some instances, but they are mostly fighting with the natural gas industry against gas restrictions in ZNE initiatives. 
The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) is a natural leader for this type of advocacy, as they represent industry players that heat buildings and campuses.  This advocacy is not cheap and could easily require a full time person to engage with all the organizations and agencies involved in these movements.  But this would be an investment in the future that would pay dividends over the next 10 – 20 years. 
The renewable electricity movement is taking off because laws require utilities to sell or produce a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.  The mandates typically increase until a target year, such as 20% renewables by 2020, or 25% renewables by 2025.  Legislatures can do this because state-level public service commissions (PSCs) have authority over public and private utilities.  But why don’t we regulate the heating grid the same way as we regulate the electric grid? 
Piped gas is just like electricity in many respects and is regulated in many of the same ways, but are there any gas companies required to ensure that 20% of their BTUs are renewable by 2020?  If gas companies had to install some percentage of their business as geothermal, solar thermal or biomass thermal, the renewable thermal sector would develop quickly, just as renewable electricity has.  Gas companies could install the systems themselves, just like utilities can install their own wind turbines or solar farms, or buy renewable energy credits from companies who build and operate them. 
During these Trump years, federal policy and funding of renewables will dwindle, but that is making some states, cities and campuses even more motivated to push forward.  Renewable heating is part of the equation, but are we at the table?

(This article is reprinted from Biomass Magazine.  The Biomass Magazine version had a slight error in the text.)

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Position Announcement: Renewable Energy Project Coordinator

The Alliance for Green Heat (AGH), a wood and pellet heating educational non-profit, based in Maryland is seeking a full-time project coordinator. The ideal candidate will be an organized self-starter with excellent communication skills and a passion for renewable energy. See more information about the project.
The position is based in Takoma Park, MD. The salary is $ 30,000 and benefits include vacation and holidays, as well as retirement and health insurance after one year of work.  The Alliance for Green Heat was founded in 2009 to address renewable energy access and justice for American households.
Essential job functions include but are not limited to:
   Coordinating a technology competition event in April 2016
   Research on pellet stove testing and technology
   Assisting with stove testing support
   Assisting with website maintenance, e-newsletters, and social media
   Coordinating meetings, and providing general office support as needed
Required skills and experience:
   1 – 3 years of work experience
   College degree
   Proficiency with Google Apps, Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint. General computer literacy
   Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing
   Ability to multitask, prioritize activities, and work independently
   Some travel required
Desired skills and experience:
   Experience with renewable energy or energy efficiency technology or programs
   Engineering experience or coursework
   College or masters degree in a relevant field
To apply, please send resume, cover letter, and three references to John Ackerly, Jackerly@forgreenheat.org. Application deadline: Aug. 8, 2015

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Testimony in Help of Thermal Vitality in Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Common

HB 931 – Renewable Strength Portfolio Standard – Thermal Power
Day: February twenty, 2014
Committee: Financial Matters
Assistance

John Ackerly, President
Alliance for Eco-friendly Heat
6930 Carroll Ave., Suite 407
Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
301-841-7755

Email: jackerly@forgreenheat.org

Place:

The Alliance for Green Heat urges the Financial Issues Committee to situation a favorable report on HB 931 both in its current kind or with amendments that leaves current biomass services in Tier one of the RPS.

Responses:

&nbsp

Delegate Dana Stein, sponsor of
HB 931

Initial of all, we would like to thank the Maryland Thermal Strength Job Drive and assistance their recommendations. While it was disappointing that the bill to consist of thermal woody biomass in the RPS previous 12 months did not pass, the generation of this Task Power was an exceptional thought so that there could be far more regularity to thermal power pathways in the RPS.

Any RPS that focuses on only one renewable energy pathway – electrical energy – results in unfair and primarily unintended implications for other power pathways, notably heat vitality. If an RPS excludes warmth strength, we get rid of leverage above a enormous piece of the power pie. Including thermal power provides us numerous far more techniques to lessen fossil fuels and carry much more renewable systems to the desk so that we can obtain even a lot more aggressive renewable power targets.

The Alliance for Eco-friendly Warmth focuses on residential wooden and pellet heating which is by far the biggest contributor of residential renewable strength in Maryland and the United States.&nbsp

There are twelve million installations of wood and pellet heating appliances in the United States, when compared to significantly less than 50 percent a million photo voltaic panel installations. Biomass warmth can tap into this massive household renewable power market place because it is much far more inexpensive than solar or geothermal. The difficulty is that most residences in Maryland and the US that use wood warmth have old stoves that are too polluting. We have focused our incentives on photo voltaic and geothermal, which favor wealthy family members and remaining out rural center and lower-revenue people who warmth with wooden and pellets. Including household thermal biomass in the RPS will extend the advantages of the RPS to average Maryland people and not just focus those benefits on the wealthy family members that set up photo voltaic and geothermal and who are typically concentrated in Montgomery and Howard counties.

We think all Maryland homes ought to have the option to participate in our renewable vitality long term and that indicates including systems like new, large performance EPA certified wooden and pellet stoves in the RPS. We commend the Maryland Power Administration for starting up a grant software for wood and pellet stoves, like they have for photo voltaic, but this rebate is basically not enough for numerous people to get over the original purchase price of a method that can properly warmth their whole property. Residential thermal RECS will enable reduced and center-earnings Maryland family members to benefit from this financial framework just like rich Maryland households.

For these factors, we strongly favor reforming the RPS to be a lot more expense efficient and far more technologies neutral in reaching the renewable vitality ambitions that are essential to Maryland’s financial and environmental overall health and properly-currently being.&nbsp

HB931 creates an incentive to far more efficiently utilize our finite biomass methods, putting much less stress on the sustainability of our forests to satisfy growing energy requires. HB931 will enhance jobs, prosperity, and economic advantages related with utilizing biomass for energy in Maryland.

We support the sixty five% effectiveness bare minimum. If anything, with regard to household wooden and pellet heating, 65% is as well minimal. Most household wood and pellet heaters accomplish 70% performance and the ideal kinds are more than 80%, measured&nbspin higher heat value (HHV) using the EPA endorsed CSA B415.one calculation. Presented the varied stakeholders impacted by this laws, we believe 65% efficiency&nbspis truthful and achievable.

We also strongly assistance excluding wood squander that contains handled or painted wooden since most non-utility scale crops do not have the emission control techniques that could take care of wooden squander with out generating air good quality troubles.

Thank you.

&nbsp

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Media Advisory: Wooden Stove Decathlon to Encourage New Wave of Renewable Energy Generation

MEDIA ADVISORY for November fifteen-19, 2013
Get in touch with:&nbsp
Patricia Brooks, patricia.brooks@matchmapmedia.com, (202) 351-1757
The Heat is On: Wood Stove Decathlon Held on Countrywide Shopping mall to Encourage a New Wave of Renewable Energy Innovation
Modern day wooden stove systems provide a lower-emission, higher performance, and affordable remedy to assembly America’s house heating calls for
Washington D.C. – Modeled after the Office of Energy’s Photo voltaic Decathlon, the Wood Stove Decathlon, having area on the National Shopping mall in Washington D.C. from November fifteen-19, is the ultimate occasion of a technological innovation challenge for teams to layout and build next-generation thoroughly clean burning wooden stoves.&nbsp The celebration is hosted by the Alliance for Environmentally friendly Heat, a non-revenue which encourages the use of sophisticated wood stove technology as an cost-effective power source and dispels myths about wooden and pellet heating.
The Wood Stove Decathlon will showcase technology which dramatically lowers air pollution from wood stoves, can make them a lot more successful and will help the common American household save up to $ one,000 pounds each winter season on heating payments. In addition to the thirteen wood stoves in competition in the Decathlon, exhibitors will characteristic wood and pellet stoves and retrofits, and panelists will communicate on state and federal coverage, resource sustainability, contemporary wooden stove engineering and relevant companies.
The Associates and Sponsors contain Common Mechanics, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Brookhaven Nationwide Lab, NYSERDA, several universities and point out companies and numerous other folks. A full record of sponsors can be identified right here: http://www.forgreenheat.org/stovedesign/sponsor.html.
WHAT: 10 judges will test and assess thirteen finalist stoves based mostly on their capability to satisfy air pollution reduction, efficiency, affordability and other conditions. A winner will be introduced on November 19.
WHEN: The function will take spot from Friday, November 15-Tuesday, November 19. Media highlights contain:

·&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Friday, November fifteen, 10:30am-12pm–Opening Ceremonies
·&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Saturday, November sixteen, one:00 pm–Panel: How Sustainable are Firewood and Pellets in the Prolonged Phrase?
·&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Sunday, November 17, three:00pm–Panel: What Makes EPA Qualified Stoves Cleaner and A lot more Productive?
·&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Monday, November 18, nine:00am–Panel: Congress, the Administration &amp Thermal Biomass Policy
·&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Monday, November 18, 10:00am–Panel: Foreseeable future of Wood Stove Technologies
·&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Monday, November 18, 12:00 pm–Panel: Creating a Environmentally friendly Label for Wood Stoves
·&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Monday, November eighteen, two:00 pm–Panel: EPA Emission Requirements: A Looming Struggle
·&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Tuesday, November twenty, 4:00pm–Final Awards Ceremony
A total timetable of actions can be discovered below: http://www.forgreenheat.org/stovedesign/plan.html.
Exactly where:&nbsp The Nationwide Shopping mall, 12th &amp Jefferson Push SW, Washington D.C.
WHO: &nbspThe entire listing of 13 finalists can be found right here: http://www.forgreenheat.org/stovedesign/finalists.html. &nbsp
###
The Alliance for Eco-friendly Warmth is a non-profit that promotes higher-efficiency wood heating as a lower-carbon, sustainable, local and affordable heating resolution. The Alliance seeks to make wood heat a cleaner and far more productive renewable vitality selection, especially for individuals who are not able to afford fossil gas warmth.


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Renewable Still left Out of Heating Gasoline Value Reports

For many several years, the federal and condition governments have issued month to month reports on the costs of fuels which includes winter heating fuels so that shoppers, organizations, and the media have accurate info. Typically, this has meant prices of fossil fuels – oil, all-natural fuel, propane, and so forth. Recently four states began to supply price info on a renewable gas – wood pellets: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine.

Advocates for renewable power say it’s been a tough market to get federal government bureaucracies to add wood pellets to their cost studies. The most critical reports occur from the Energy Info Company (EIA), which is component of the Division of Energy (DOE). Nevertheless, the EIA collects their data from states, and unless of course states report on pellet prices, they say they can’t contain it in federal stories.

State power offices are stretched slim and some say they can’t consider the added perform of including a gasoline that might have a lot more price fluctuations and not as many major suppliers who can offer the price tag details. In New York, the New York Biomass Power Alliance, a trade association is endeavor analysis and surveys to help the point out start reporting on pellet rates. Other states where wood and pellets are a popular heating gasoline contain Pennsylvania, the Wonderful Lake states, and the Pacific Northwest.

Fossil fuels have received substantial government subsidies over the decades, but advocates of wooden pellets say that these price tag reviews can be witnessed as an informational subsidy. As federal and point out companies switch gears to consist of a lot more details about renewable power, this could result in considerably less personnel time put in on fossil fuels.

A evident case in point of this is a large profile report the EIA puts out every single fall named the “Winter Fuel Outlook.” This annual report experienced never ever talked about a word about firewood and pellets, America’s 3rd most frequent heating gasoline till previous calendar year. The report has always had substantial info about&nbspheating fuels, such as oil and propane, that supply less Btus to US residences than wood and pellets supply. The Alliance for Environmentally friendly Heat, New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and other people pressed EIA to also consist of renewable fuels. The report did contain some details about wooden and pellets and EIA is very likely likely to enhance their protection in the 2013 report. Visit this website page to read through more on the EIA’s wintertime gas outlook.&nbsp

A coalition of non-earnings and business groups is commencing to contact on state strength workplaces to urge them to contain pellet and wooden rates in their month to month stories. Beneath are details and backlinks to the 4 states that at present report on pellet costs.

New Hampshire’s Business office of Strength and Organizing compares each wooden pellets and cordwood to other fuel types this kind of as all-natural fuel, propane, and gasoline. The price tag/device heat articles/unit (Btu) and cost for every million Btu are all in comparison amongst the different fuel kinds. The data is supposedly released weekly with the latest update being June third, 2013. The site will also have historical gas price tag knowledge as effectively. The OEP notes that the price of firewood bought by the cord can differ extensively based on the spot, time of yr and high quality of the wood currently being sold.

Vermont’s Community Service Division compares BTU/unit, performance, $ /device, and $ /MMBtu between wooden pellets, eco-friendly cordwood, gas oil, normal fuel, propane, and so forth. The information is compiled into month to month reviews from 01/08 to 06/13. Rates are collected on or about the first Monday of every thirty day period and mirror dealer discounts for funds or self-provider. The cord wood details has not been up to date since eleven/eleven.

Maine’s Governor’s Strength Business office conducts a weekly survey of gasoline prices during the peak year in between Oct and March. Info on the price of cordwood and wooden pellets has been archived given that Oct nine, 2012. The survey is unveiled regular monthly throughout the relaxation of the yr. It stories the weekly price averages of oil as compared to organic gasoline, propane, wood pellets, cordwood, and electrical power.

Massachusetts Government Office of Vitality and Environmental Affairs web site offers detailed month to month gas price averages of heating oil, propane, gasoline and diesel. For pellets, it only supplies links to third celebration websites. These sites, of which&nbspwoodpelletprice.com is the most comprehensive, compile wood pellet suppliers in Massachusetts, their contact information, the manufacturers of pellets they sell, the corresponding cost, and the date the value was last updated.

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Senators Propose Introducing Wooden and Pellet Heat to Renewable Strength Incentives

For a long time, home owners have appreciated a 30% tax credit rating on the expense of putting in photo voltaic panels on their house or adding geothermal warmth.&nbsp In Europe, practically each and every region also includes automatic, large efficiency pellet stoves and boilers. Why hasn’t it transpired right here?
Senators Angus King (I-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) launched the Biomass Thermal Utilization (BTU) Act to do just that. The tax credit for photo voltaic panels has disproportionately benefited wealthy urban and suburban citizens, who can currently find the money for fossil gasoline energy, but want to help the earth. By incorporating tax credits for contemporary wood and pellet stoves, you gain a far more rural demographic that is not necessarily attempting to be “green” but who are merely wanting to use a much more reasonably priced gas than fossil fuels to warmth their houses.&nbsp
Congress can select and decide on which technological innovation it wants to favor, and which demographic it desires to favor.&nbsp But a much more engineering neutral method has a lot of positive aspects and the circumstance for higher-performance wood and pellet appliances is a sturdy 1: it displaces about the exact same sum of fossil gasoline as the regular photo voltaic panel set up. Wood and pellet stoves have a shorter payback period of time, which makes it more probably that a center-income family members chooses a pellet stove. The technological innovation is less costly thus it charges the tax-payer much significantly less to displace the exact same amount of fossil gasoline. Using thermal biomass assists ordinary people without having entry to organic gasoline that battle to pay substantial heating expenses. The BTU Act extends technologies options to low and middle earnings households.
The BTU Act will add a provision to include biomass fuels to the listing of current technologies that qualify for the household renewable strength expense tax credit history in Segment 25d of the Interior Earnings Code. To qualify, the residence utilizing biomass gasoline need to function at a thermal performance fee of at least 75% HHV and be employed to both heat area within the dwelling or to heat drinking water. The BTU Act enables for both wooden and pellet appliances to be suitable but the 75% increased heating price (HHV) implies that only the most clear and efficient ones will be incentivized.
The justification for solar subsidies is not just the displacement of fossil fuel, but also to help an rising technology off the floor so that it can be price competitive with no subsidies.&nbsp Pellet stoves and boilers want a related increase.&nbsp The larger up entrance price of a pellet stove or boiler is a significant deterrent and until there is increased desire, when the for each unit expense is probably to fall. Like photo voltaic, there demands to be a much more robust infrastructure to allow, install and fix the appliances.&nbsp More than ten million Americans use wooden or pellet stoves to heat their properties but only probably 20% have contemporary higher performance appliances that do not emit smoke. If our country is to switch to contemporary, clean, substantial performance wood and pellet heating, we need to have to incentivize these appliances.&nbsp Our recent approach is not doing work.
Urge your Senator to turn out to be a sponsor of the BTU Act, simply click listed here:
For much more details: BTEC url
http://www.biomassthermal.org/legislative/action.asp



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In Praise of Distributed Renewable Power (and why wood and pellet heat helps make so considerably perception)

Dispersed energy era refers to on-site, locally produced power as opposed to the distant and centralized generation of power that has dominated our nation.&nbsp Sheila and Bill Powers, renewable strength specialists and activists argue why residential solar and biomass need to be the centerpiece of U.S. strength policy, not centralized services owned by firms this kind of as nuclear, gas and coal fired plants or huge solar or wind farms.
“Distributed technology most commonly entails solar photovoltaics (PV), but can also include modest hydroelectric, modest-scale biomass facilities and micro-wind.&nbsp There are numerous rewards to dispersed generation when excellent guidelines are applied.&nbsp Foremost is that the bulk of the financial positive aspects of extensively distributed, domestically developed cleanse strength can go straight to price-payer turbines and residence homeowners by means of mechanisms such as the feed-in tariff, a generous for every-kilowatt-hour payment made to ratepayers who generate clear energy on their residences and firms.

“Remote, centralized electricity production and its related transmission are substantially much more vulnerable to significant electrical shutdowns from earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, wind, ice, human error, cyber assault or terrorism than distributed era.

“Because distributed energy can be regionally created, regionally owned and domestically eaten – bringing both financial benefits and positions to communities – there is usually significantly less regional opposition to employing dispersed vitality projects than to building (and funding) centralized, huge-scale energy assignments.&nbsp Big-scale renewable strength projects – this sort of as most proposed solar energy crops and industrial wind technology sited in remote areas – symbolize a continuation of the previous paradigm of big scale industrial development, owned and managed by monopoly pursuits which externalize the vast majority of their expenses onto ratepayers, taxpayers and the surroundings even though privatizing the revenue.&nbsp In distinction, small scale initiatives are frequently strongly meant by regional communities.”
Sheila Powers is a citizen activist with solardoneright.org.&nbsp For numerous a long time she has been studying the economic, political and authorized biases that promote industrial-scale vitality development even though artificially impeding the growth of environmentally sound distributed era.&nbsp Monthly bill Powers is the principal of Powers Engineering, an air-top quality consulting engineering company recognized in 1994.&nbsp
The previously mentioned prices are taken from a longer essay which appeared in the e-book “Energy: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Countless Growth” by the Put up Carbon Institute, http://www.postcarbon.org/write-up/1575982-the-coming-crash-our-addiction-to.


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