Hank Lunde receives award

first_imgHenry Lunde, president of Vermont’s Stowe Mountain Resort, was awarded the Sherman Adams Award at the National Ski Areas Assocation (NSAA) National Convention and Trade Show in Savannah, Ga. The award is presented annually to an individual from an Eastern ski area that has significantly influenced the industry. It’s named after the former governor of New Hampshire who was also the founder of Loon Mountain, N.H.Lunde has been a leader in the ski industry during most of his adult life. For 28 years, as general manager, and president of Killington and president of SKI, Ltd., he worked to build the largest ski resort in the East. During that time, Killington’s development of advanced snowmaking systems, high capacity lifts, steep terrain grooming, ski week packaging and international marketing set the standard that other resorts would follow.Vermont Ski Areas Association President David Dillon said that Lunde’s efforts were significant in catapulting the state to the third largest ski state in the country. “He’s made significant contributions, both at Killington and Stowe. At Killington, he brought Vermont to the forefront of skiing. He was among the pioneers in developing snowmaking and creating the Vermont (dependable snow) brand of skiing, which he continued at Stowe. He understands not only the sport, but the state, and can work well within the structure to make things happen.”As President of Stowe for the past six years, Lunde successfully directed the company through the planning and permitting process of a $250 million expansion. Mountain Sports Media and SKI magazine recognized the community collaborative focus of that process and awarded Stowe the Golden Eagle Award for overall environmental excellence. The collaborative process was also widely acknowledged by prominent environmental, business and government leaders as a model for others.Dillon said that Lunde’s work on Stowe’s renovation was revolutionary. “When he was developing Stowe’s Master Plan, (Lunde) put together an extensive collaborative between environmentalists, the community, the industry and stake holders to put together a project that reflects resort needs in keeping with the local environment. It was a very strong piece of work that took a lot of time, energy and resources.”The revitalization project, which is expected to span a decade, began in July 2003, and includes construction of new lifts, trails, snowmaking, lodges, a hotel, performing arts center, golf course, retail and dining establishments, and a wide range of real estate. The development, called Spruce Peak at Stowe, is designed to increase skier visits, broaden four-season recreational options and diversify the company’s revenue sources.A cultural shift is also evident at Stowe. Under Lunde’s leadership, employees created a company philosophy called the “Triple A’s” that defines and guides resort operations. The principles–Attitude, Awareness and Accountability–were adopted as core company values and are actively promoted to help guests and employees fully understand the resort-wide culture of respect, safety, goodwill and excellence.Lunde has served many years on the ANSI B77.1 Executive Committee, the Vermont Tramway Board and the Vermont Ski Area Association Board. He is also a board member of the Stowe Area Association and a member of the Vermont Business Roundtable. He is especially proud of the many years he has served on various healthcare boards, including the Rutland Regional Medical Center, Fletcher Allen Health Care and the Vermont Health Plan. In his community, Lunde has served as planning commissioner, justice of the peace, little league coach and Boy Scout troop leader, earning him the distinction of Rutland County Citizen of the Year. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, skiing, golf, fishing and travel.Stowe is one of America’s first ski destinations, dating back to the ‘30s. In 1935, the Mt. Mansfield Ski Patrol was founded, the first of its kind in the nation. In 1940, Stowe’s single chair became the longest and highest lift in North America. For many years, under the ownership of American International Group (AIG), Stowe has helped develop some of the world’s best ski racers, including Olympians Billy Kidd, Doug Lewis, Bodie Miller, Barbara Ann Cochran, Lindy Cochran and numerous NCAA champions at the University of Vermont.The National Ski Areas Association, formed in 1962, is a trade association for ski area owners and operators located in Lakewood, Colo.last_img read more

Merchants Bank celebrates new Shelburne Road office

first_imgCommunity Bank NA,Executive Vice President Thomas S. Leavitt announced that the Merchants Bank officially celebrated the opening of their new branch, located at 929 Shelburne Road in South Burlington on Friday, February 27. The branch has been open since Tuesday, January 20 of this year. Remarks by bank officials were delivered during a ribbon-cutting ceremony and visitors enjoyed refreshments and toured the new branch. The Bank also made a $500 donation to the Humane Society of Chittenden County.The new branch replaces the former branch, which had been operating next to the new site since 1974. The state-of-the-art facility offers full lobby service and three drive-up lanes, including one dedicated to an ATM. The new interior space features teller stations, private office space, a conference room for onsite, private loan closings and customer meetings, and ADA-compliant accommodations. A green space will occupy the site of the previous bank building, with work scheduled for completion in the spring. The facility is adjacent to the K-Mart Plaza.Leavitt says this is the fourth new construction project that Connor Contracting (Berlin and St. Albans, VT) has built for the bank. We have been very pleased with the quality of the work. The reception by the communities of White River Junction, St. Albans and Waterbury to our new facilities and programs has encouraged us to keep building, commented Leavitt. The new office will be a great environment for customers and staff, adds Maryann Russell, Shelburne Road Branch President. Our team is very excited to reward our relationships and to make new acquaintances. We are proud to be part of Vermont s independent statewide bank. Left to right: Joseph Boutin, Michael Heyman, Maryann Russell, Tom Leavitt, Heather Cruickshank, Diane Sullivan, Gary Dean, David Sklar, Gianni Badeau (Connor Contracting), Jimena Huaco, Tyler Kasupski, BJ Rogers (Humane Society of Chittenden County), Jason Young (Connor Contracting), and Steve Connor (Connor Contracting)Merchants Bank s new Shelburne Road branchVermont Matters.® Merchants Bank strives to provide funding to support organizations with programs and services throughout Vermont that help meet basic needs; advance environmental initiatives, energy efficiency and awareness; and promote community enrichment through local sports related initiatives.The continuing mission of Merchants Bank is to provide Vermonters with a state-wide community bank that blends a strong technology platform with a genuine appreciation for local markets. Merchants Bank fulfills this commitment through a branch-based system that includes 34 community bank offices and 42 ATMs throughout Vermont, Personal Bankers dedicated to top-quality customer service and streamlined solutions, including: Personal Banking with CashRewards Checkingsm, Free Checking for Life®, a low-cost Money Market Account, Free Online Banking and Bill Pay, Overdraft Coverage, Direct Deposit, Free Debit Card, and Free Automated Phone Banking; Business Banking with Rewards Checking for Business, Business Online Banking and Bill Pay, Business Lines of Credit and Merchant Card Processing; Small Business Loans; Health Savings Accounts; Credit Cards; Flexible Certificates of Deposit; Vehicle Loans; Home Equity Credit; and Home Mortgages. Visit mbvt.com for more information. Merchants stock is traded on the NASDAQ National Market system under the symbol MBVT. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.For more information about the Humane Society of Chittenden County, please visit: http://www.chittendenhumane.org(link is external)Source: Merchants Banklast_img read more

Vermont receives $8.8 million to upgrade public transit fleet

first_imgUS Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), and US Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt) Monday announced that Vermont has been awarded $8.8 million in federal transportation grants for public transit providers across the state to purchase new buses.The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) was awarded $6,392,000 to distribute to transit agencies statewide, and the Chittenden County Transportation Authority (CCTA) was awarded its own $2,475,305 grant.The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration under its new State of Good Repair Program. This is a $775 million nationwide account for competitive grants for public transit providers to finance capital projects to replace, rehabilitate, and purchase buses and related equipment and to build and rehabilitate bus-related facilities.‘As part of Vermont’s transportation network, public transit provides mobility and accessibility options to Vermont’s commuters, students, and those without cars,’ said Leahy, a member of the Appropriations Committee’s transportation subcommittee. ‘Vermonters’ need for and use of public transit is up. That’s a trend we all want to continue, and these timely capital improvement investments will help meet the demand for quality transit service.’”As Vermonters’ budgets are squeezed by a struggling economy, these funds will provide more choices to people who need to get to work or simply get around town every day. Public transportation like this is essential as we work to break our national addiction on oil and confront a looming climate change crisis,” said Sanders, a member of the Senate transportation subcommittee.Welch said, ‘This is great news for Vermonters who depend on public transportation to get to work, to the shopping mall and to doctor’s appointments. In a rural state like Vermont, a quality public transportation system with minimum environmental impact is essential. This is a sound investment that will benefit Vermonters and the environment for years to come.’Vermont Transportation Secretary David Dill, who heads VTrans, said, ‘Investing in new buses does more than just allow public transit providers to improve the quality of their service, it’s also good for the environment. Modern emissions technology has come a long way in the past few years. As we replace older, gas-guzzling buses with vehicles that are equipped with modern emission-reduction technology, we reduce greenhouse gases and lower the state’s carbon footprint.’CCTA General Manager Chris Cole said, ‘This funding is critical for CCTA, allowing us to replace vehicles that are beyond their useful life, with new low emission vehicles that will dramatically reduce by over 90 percent particulate emissions and a 75 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. We are very grateful for this investment in our public transportation system and for the leadership our congressional delegation has demonstrated in supporting this vital public service that reduces our consumption of foreign oil, supports economic development and improves the air quality of our environment.’Source: Congressional delegation. 10.4.2010# # # # #last_img read more

Weekly unemployment claims continue to rise

first_imgThere were 2,169 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance last week, an increase of 62 from the week before. Altogether 13256 new and continuing claims were filed, an increase of 1,311 from a week ago and 1,418 fewer than a year earlier. The Department also processed 2,200 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 65 more than a week ago. In addition, there were 817 Second Tier claims for benefits processed under the EUC08 program, which is an increase of 32 from the week before. The Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/(link is external). Previously released Unemployment Weekly Reports and other UI reports can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/lmipub.htm#uc(link is external)last_img

Former Vermont technology chief Tom Evslin to speak on March 30

first_imgTom Evslin, inventor, entrepreneur, and former Vermont Chief Technology Officer, will be the featured speaker at the Ethan Allen Institute’s second Sheraton Economic Series program of 2011. Evslin’s topic will be ‘The Economics of Abundance: Why Doesn’t It Apply to Everything?’ The program will be held in the University Amphitheatre of the Sheraton Burlington Conference Center at 7:00pm on Wednesday, March 30, 2011.In his talk, Evslin will ask why computer component prices decline by half every eighteen months, while prices continue to rise in many other areas not yet reached by the technology revolution. As the computer and internet dynamic spreads out to more and more sectors of the economy, Evslin prophesies that cheap and abundant computing and communications resources will work profound changes through universal broadband, electrical smart grid, e-health and e-education.Tom Evslin founded and sold two major computer software companies – Solutions and ITCX ‘ and held top technology posts with Microsoft and AT&T. In 2009 he became the volunteer state Chief Recovery Officer, managing the flood of Federal stimulus monies coming into the state, and then continuing as Chief Technology Officer in 2010.Evslin serves on the boards of the Vermont Telecommunications Authority and the Vermont Clean Energy Fund, and is the author of a computer era murder mystery novel entitled Hackoff. (Complimentary copies of the book will be available after the program.) Evslin lives in Stowe with his wife Mary.‘No one in Vermont is more qualified that Tom Evslin to assess what startling advances in high technology will make possible for human wellbeing ‘ assuming government doesn’t get in the way,’ said EAI Vice President John McClaughry. ‘We are delighted to give him a forum for what will be a very interesting and stimulating talk’The Sheraton Economic Series is sponsored by the Ethan Allen Institute, hosted by the Sheraton Burlington Conference Center, and cosponsored by the Vermont Economy Newsletter, Vermont Business Magazine, Vermont Tiger, True North Radio, and the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce.Reservations not necessary, there is no admission charge, and the public is invited. Ethan Allen Institute 4836 Kirby Mountain Road, Concord VT 05824eai@ethanallen.org(link sends e-mail) 802 695 1448last_img read more

Rick Cochran of Mobile Medical is SBA winner, Cairn Cross is national champion

first_imgEight small business owners and two small business advocates have been selected by the US Small Business Administration (SBA) for outstanding success in their chosen fields.Rick Cochran, owner of Mobile Medical International Corporation (MMIC), St Johnsbury, Vermont, has been named the SBA 2011 Vermont Small Business Person of the Year. Nominated by Aaron Melville, Attorney at Law, St Johnsbury, VT, Cochran was selected for exceptional leadership related to his staying power, employee growth, increase in sales, innovative ingenuity and contributions to the community. Mr. Cochran will compete for the national title at National Small Business Week ceremonies in Washington, D.C., May 18-20, 2011.MMIC manufactures state-of-the-art mobile healthcare units and military shelter systems for commercial, military and emergency response applications world-wide. Formed in 1994, MMIC is the brain child of Rick Cochran, a visionary who wished to bring advanced medical care to underserved areas in the U.S. and around the globe. To date, MMIC has manufactured 22 mobile healthcare units in its commercial product line, as well as Mobile Breast Care Centers, Mobile Intensive Care, Mobile Laboratory/Pharmacy, Mobile CT Scan/Dental/Ophthalmology, Mobile Ophthalmology and Mobile Endoscopy Units. Additionally, MMIC is supporting U.S. and international military agencies around the world with rapidly deployable shelters for medical and command missions.Cochran started MMIC working from the basement of his home in Walden, VT. In 1996, he relocated the business to a 1,500 sq. ft. space in the Fairbanks Scales Building in St Johnsbury, VT. With an SBA-backed loan in 1997, MMIC built a technologically-advanced Mobile Breast Care Center, which provides state-of-the-art care for the Indian Health Services Hospital in Tuba City, AZ. MMIC continued to grow and expanded in 2004 to more than 37,000 sq. ft. of space at the Fairbanks Scales Building. Two successive SBA-guaranteed loans, one for $1,100,000 in 2005 and one for $1,463,000 in 2008, both of which have been paid in full, allowed the company to initiate further expansion plans and continue delivering medical units to customers on time. MMIC presently operates with a staff of 54 employees and has expanded to more than 66,000 sq. ft. of office and manufacturing space. Gross revenues for 2010 amounted to more than $14 million, with net profits rising from $9,835 in 2008 to $1,679,123 in 2010.Along the way, MMIC has faced and worked through a number of challenges. Initially underfunded, the company struggled financially and nearly closed in 1999 when funding was at an all-time low. Inspired by Cochran’s perseverance and optimism, his dedicated employees supported him through the rough period by continuing to work without pay. When the MMIC’s financial picture improved, Cochran recognized and reimbursed them for their efforts and loyalty. The company has also faced legal challenges concerning patent issues, all of which have been resolved in MMIC’s favor, and the company continues to weather the impact of a fluctuating economy on growth and staffing.Cochran encourages MMIC employees to participate in community events and frequently lends a hand to ensure the success of worthy charitable causes. Ignoring personal risk, Cochran traveled in 2009 to Nassiriya, Iraq to lend support while Operation Smile Train physician volunteers performed cleft palate surgical procedures for Iraqi children. MMIC has sponsored events such as Caledonia County Relay for Life, in which the company provided a deployable shelter system to serve as the on-site first aid station for event participants. Cochran volunteers his time as a board member on the Vermont Red Cross, as well as school board member and chair, and is active in the Boy Scouts of America and his local church.As Vermont’s Small Business Person of the Year, Rick Cochran will compete for the national title at National Small Business Week ceremonies in Washington, D.C., May 18-20, 2011. Mr. Cochran will be locally honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration on June 16th at a ceremony presented by Vermont Business Magazine in the Shelburne Farms Coach Barn, Shelburne, Vermont.Cairn Cross, Managing Director and Co-Founder of FreshTracks Capital, LP, Shelburne, Vermont, has been selected not only as the SBA 2011 Financial Services Champion in the State of Vermont and the New England Region, but the National award as well. He will be honored as the National Financial Services Champion at Small Business Week ceremonies in Washington, DC, May 18-20, 2011.Nominated by Holly Killary, Administrative Assistant, FreshTracks Capital, Cross was selected for his efforts to encourage the flow of investment capital to small businesses, his active support for legislative changes to assist small businesses, and his volunteer work in both the business community and academia.FreshTracks Capital provides funding to primarily Vermont businesses by investing in their growth. FreshTracks operates two venture capital funds organized as limited partnerships with a total of $25 Million in venture capital. Co-founded by Cairn Cross and Charles Kireker in 2001, FreshTracks Capital has invested in 21 businesses from a variety of industries. Its list of portfolio companies includes Eating Well Media Group, which, with FreshTracks funding, soared from a start-up pre-revenue venture to a $10 Million+ revenue-profitable company employing more than 35 people. Cross has been the chairman of the EatingWell board since 2005. Additional FreshTracks success stories include Vermont Teddy Bear, NativeEnergy and NEHP, Inc., with Cross serving on the board of directors at each company.Cross has also distinguished himself as a volunteer, serving as a member of the Vermont Board of Public Accountancy, Director of the Vermont Community Loan fund, and Director and Vice Chairman of Opportunities Credit Union, to name a few. He has served as a guest lecturer to classes at UVM, Middlebury College and Green Mountain College, and has spoken to a diversity of groups such as Vermont Venture Network, Invent Vermont and Leadership Champlain. He has been a judge for various student business plan competitions including St. Michaels College and the Middlebury Solution Group’s annual J-term ‘boot camp.’Cross is knowledgeable about and has been closely involved with public policy issues affecting Vermont small businesses. His testimony before the Vermont State Legislature was instrumental in modifying Vermont’s licensed lender law to create a streamlined licensing process for business lenders. In addition to testifying before House and Senate Committees, Cross has served as a key go-between for legislators seeking compromise and those responsible for small business lending oversight.After receiving the National Award at Small Business Week ceremonies in Washington, D.C., Mr. Cross will be locally recognized at the Vermont Small Business Awards ceremony on June 16th, Shelburne Farms Coach Barn, Shelburne, Vermont. The June 16th Vermont Small Business Award celebration will also honor the following winners of the 2011 Small Business Champion Awards, as well as two special recognition awards:  Ken Gibbonshttp://www.vermontbiz.com/article/march/q-kenneth-d-gibbons Mollie Brault-BinaghiPresident, Copy World Inc. & Vice President, Eternity Marketing LLC, BarreSBA Young Entrepreneaur # # # Merri Christmas (Chris) Herriman, VtSBDC Service Member AdvisorVermont Small Business Development Center, RutlandVeterans’ Small Business Champion Valerie Beaudet, OwnerLadder 1 Grill, BarreCommunity Spirit Award Jonathan & Debbie Lang, OwnersLang Farm, Essex JunctionJeffrey Butland Family-Owned Small Businesscenter_img Thomas, Hannah & Robin Grace, OwnersBiaDiagnostics, LLC, BurlingtonVermont Micro-Enterprise Kenneth Gibbons, President/CEOUnion Bank, MorrisvilleSBA Vermont Lifetime Achievement Award Scott Shumway, Owner/PresidentIndustrial Services, Inc., St. GeorgeSmall Business Exporter of the Year  Cecile Johnston, Marketing and Intake SpecialistMicro Business Development ProgramCentral Vermont Community Action Council, BarreHome-Based Business Champion  RELATED STORIES:Cairn Crosshttp://www.vermontbiz.com/article/september/cairn-g-cross-freshtracks-ca…last_img read more

Rural Vermont surveying raw milk producers for 2012 Raw Milk Report

first_imgRural Vermont is requesting all raw milk producers across the state participate in a survey on raw milk sales in Vermont. The Vermont Legislature has requested that Rural Vermont present data to the House and Agricultural Committees representing the viability of raw milk sales in the state. Farmers who sell raw milk will be asked questions ranging from gross annual sales to issues encountered with the current law. The motivation behind this comprehensive survey is to gather valuable information to convince policy makers that raw milk is a growing and important part of Vermont’s agricultural economy.Since 2005, Rural Vermont has been advocating with farmers and consumers to expand the legal allowances of raw milk sales. In July of 2009, the Un-pasteurized (Raw) Milk Bill, Act 62, took effect and created a two-tiered system for raw milk dairies. This regulatory system requires basic production standards to be met by all farmers. Farmers selling up to 40 gallons per day or delivering directly to consumers have to meet additional standards.Although Rural Vermont views Act 62 as a positive step forward, many farmers want to see additional changes to the current law.‘When Act 62 was enacted in 2009, it allowed me to double my raw milk sales,’ says Lindsay Harris of the Family Cow Farmstand in Hinesburg. She further states ‘the law established in statute our right to sell raw milk. Even though there are still ways we can improve the law, it’s important for us [farmers] to keep communicating our visions to policy makers.’ Robb Kidd, Rural Vermont Organizer, states that ‘in order for the legislature to understand necessary improvements to the law, it is important for all raw milk producers to provide Rural Vermont current statistical data to demonstrate the economic viability of raw milk and the potentials for growth.’ If you are a raw milk producer please contact Rural Vermont at (802) 223-7222 to obtain a survey.Rural Vermont is a nonprofit advocacy group founded by farmers in 1985 that advocates, activates, and educates for living soils, thriving farms, and healthy communities.last_img read more

U.S. Shift Toward Renewables Is Most Evident in GOP States

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Michael Biesecker for the Associated Press:Wind turbines and solar panels accounted for more than two-thirds of all new electric generation capacity added to the nation’s grid in 2015, according to a recent analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy. The remaining third was largely new power plants fueled by natural gas, which has become cheap and plentiful as a result of hydraulic fracturing.It was the second straight year U.S. investment in renewable energy projects has outpaced that of fossil fuels. Robust growth is once again predicted for this year.And while Republican lawmakers in Washington have fought to protect coal-fired power plants, opposing President Barack Obama’s efforts to curtail climate-warming carbon emissions, data show their home states are often the ones benefiting most from the nation’s accelerating shift to renewable energy.Leading the way in new wind projects are GOP strongholds Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, home to some of the leading critics of climate science and renewable energy incentives in Congress. Republican-dominated North Carolina trails only California in new solar farms, thanks largely to pro-renewables polices enacted years ago under a Democratic legislature.The most dramatic change has been seen in the plummeting cost of emissions-free wind energy, which has declined by two-thirds in the last six years thanks to the availability of cheaper, more efficient turbines. An annual analysis by the investment firm Lazard determined that wind energy is now the lowest-cost energy source, even before federal green-energy tax incentives are factored in.Billions of dollars in private equity are going to construct massive new renewables projects, especially in the Sun Belt and Great Plains. Thousands of miles of new high-voltage transmission lines are also under construction to send power from the wind and sun from the sparsely populated areas where it is collected to the urban centers where it’s needed.Even with the surge in new projects, energy from such renewable sources as wind, solar and water accounted for only about a tenth of total U.S. power generation last year.Still, the U.S. leads the world in wind energy with about 48,800 utility-scale turbines operating across the country, generating enough electricity to power about 20 million homes. By 2030, the Energy Department estimates wind will provide a fifth of the nation’s electricity.“Wind energy is very low-cost and not subject to the fuel price risk that both natural gas and coal face,” said Michael Goggin, senior director of research at the American Wind Energy Association, an industry trade group. “Adding wind is cheaper than new gas or new coal. It is by far the lowest-cost resource.”Coal has dropped over the last decade from providing half of all U.S. electricity to about one-third.While new clean-air regulations and tax incentives for renewables are having a negative impact on coal, the plummeting cost of cleaner-burning natural gas made possible by fracking is largely driving the closure of many old coal-fired power plants. Exports of coal to foreign customers such as China also are down.“We didn’t see the decline coming this fast and this deep,” said Luke Popovich, spokesman for the National Mining Association, an industry trade group.Meanwhile, the long-promised potential of Clean Coal technology has yet to be realized. A model power plant in Mississippi designed to capture the carbon dioxide generated from burning coal has encountered repeated delays and multibillion-dollar cost overruns.Closures mean America’s coal mines now employ about only about 56,700 people, down from a peak of more than 10 times that. By contrast, the fast-growing solar industry now employs more than 210,000 workers. Wind energy accounts for another 77,000 by federal estimates.Political giving by the big coal companies and their executives has declined, but the industry still spends heavily to protect its interests in Washington. Pro-coal interests spent at least $11 million to influence the 2014 Congressional midterm elections, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. More than 95 percent of that went to support Republican candidates.Among them is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who rarely misses an opportunity to blame Obama’s “War on Coal” for killing mining jobs. Nearly all of the 27 states that have sued to stop the administration’s carbon emissions-cutting Clean Power Plan have GOP governors.For Republicans from areas benefiting from renewable energy, the political calculus can be complicated. An increasing number of them try to balance criticizing Obama’s environmental efforts with quietly supporting the federal tax incentives helping drive investment in renewables.GOP leaders compromised with Democrats and a growing number of pro-renewables Republicans to include a five-year extension of tax breaks for wind and solar projects as part of a federal budget agreement approved in December.Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, among the earliest boosters of government support for wind power, points out that fossil fuels and nuclear plants have long benefited from tax credits. Last month, MidAmerican Energy announced plans to invest another $3.6 billion to add new turbines in Iowa, which already gets about a third of its electricity from the wind.“We’ve seen the economic success story behind renewables up close and personal,” Grassley said as the new project was announced. “There are more than 6,000 good wind jobs in Iowa.”Full article: GOP states benefiting from shift to wind and solar energy U.S. Shift Toward Renewables Is Most Evident in GOP Stateslast_img read more

U.S. Solar ‘SunShot’ Program Achieves Utility-Scale Price Goal Three Years Ahead of Schedule

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Green Tech Media:The solar industry has met the 2020 utility-scale solar cost target set by the Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative — three years early.The DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released new research today that shows the average price of utility-scale solar is now under $1 per watt and below 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.That’s higher than the record-breaking project bids we’ve seen in the U.S. and abroad in recent years. But that’s because DOE calculations for levelized cost of energy (LCOE) do not include subsidies — such as the federal Investment Tax Credit — and are based on the average climate in Kansas City, Missouri. (Note: GTM documented the sub-$1 per watt milestone earlier this year, but the department is using its own metrics.)“Our mission is to make solar affordable for all Americans, and so our goals are defined for average U.S. climates. We use Kansas City as that example,” said Becca Jones-Albertus, acting deputy director of the SunShot Initiative. “Hitting a 6 cents per kilowatt-hour target for Kansas is a more significant metric than hitting 6 cents in sunnier parts of the country.”GTM Research reported that U.S. utility-scale fixed-tilt system pricing fell below $1.00 per watt earlier this year using a different methodology.Technology innovation has been a primary driver of the cost declines since 2011. Solar module costs have seen a particularly dramatic cost reduction in recent years. That’s due in part to efficiency improvements as a result of material quality and innovative cell and module designs, as well as the development of diamond wafer sawing, which dramatically reduces material loss in the making of silicon wafers. The NREL report found that module prices also declined substantially over the past year due to an oversupply. Going forward, the Suniva/SolarWorld trade case could have a significant impact on the economics of solar in the U.S. — and could put the SunShot goals beyond reach again. According to DOE researchers, the tariff requested on imported solar modules would have a 2-2.5 cent impact on the LCOE for solar. If module prices increase from roughly 35 cents today to 78 cents under a new tariff scenario, the cost of a utility-scale solar system would increase from roughly $1 per watt to $1.38 per watt. When the SunShot goals were set in 2011, they seemed aspirational. At that time, utility-scale solar prices were around 27 cents per kilowatt-hour. The U.S. solar industry has achieved a decrease in cost by a factor of four in less than seven years — beating the DOE’s 2020 goal. The DOE is now targeting to reach 3 cents per kilowatt-hour for utility-scale solar by 2030.Residential- and commercial-scale solar costs have not fallen as fast; however, the industry is more than 85 percent of the way toward achieving SunShot’s 2020 goals for those segments. NREL estimates that the total installed system cost has declined to $2.80 per watts (dc) for residential systems, $1.85 per watt (dc) for commercial. Ongoing reductions in soft costs will play a key role in driving these prices lower.Progress toward meeting the SunShot goals “is a reflection of the speed of change across the entire industry,” said Charlie Gay, director of the SunShot Initiative. “Not just solar, but all sorts of [technologies] are changing at a rapid speed, which makes it daunting to plan the energy system [and] the networks when so many moving parts are making such rapid progress.”Daniel Simmons, acting assistant secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, added that the LCOE for solar doesn’t reflect the real-world cost of the technology because solar is not dispatchable. So comparing the LCOE for solar to the cost of a natural-gas plant “is not always apples to apples,” he said. The fact that solar and wind are not always available on demand “is a challenge we’re trying to solve with these new funding investments,” Simmons said.More: DOE Officially Marks SunShot’s $1 per Watt Goal for Utility-Scale Solar U.S. Solar ‘SunShot’ Program Achieves Utility-Scale Price Goal Three Years Ahead of Schedulelast_img read more

Endesa plans to close all coal capacity in Spain, Portugal

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Coal power is no longer competitive in mainland Spain, according to Enel subsidiary Endesa, as the company plans to shut down all of its coal-fired generation capacity on the Iberian peninsula.Endesa operates 23 gigawatts of capacity in total in Spain and Portugal, including 7.5 gigawatts of “traditional thermal power.”In a statement to the Spanish stock exchange, Endesa was unequivocal on its view of coal’s near-term future, blaming market conditions and carbon pricing. “This structural situation has determined that mainland coal-fired thermal power plants are not competitive, and therefore their operation in the electricity generation market is not foreseeable in the future.”Endesa flagged a likely write-down of €1.3 billion ($1.4 billion) as a result of the shutdown, including decommissioning costs. It did not provide a timeline.In the first half of 2019, the company generated half as much power from its coal fleet as it did in the same period last year, without closing any capacity. That alone suggests the writing was very much on the wall.In November last year, Spain’s government said its last coal and nuclear power plants would be closed by 2030. It also revealed tax breaks for natural gas that were not extended to coal. Endesa’s CEO responded at the time by saying he expected the coal plants to remain in place for backup beyond 2030. A few months later he was quoted saying the shutdown could be complete by 2025.More: Enel subsidiary to close coal capacity in Spain Endesa plans to close all coal capacity in Spain, Portugallast_img read more