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Energy and Global Climate Change in New England

September 2013 Volume 59
Community Energy Challenge (CEC) Monthly Update

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Welcome to the Community Energy Challenge Monthly Update, a monthly publication by EPA New England promoting energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy.

Disclaimer: Some of the events, articles and websites listed in this email are not sponsored by EPA. EPA is listing them for your information only. EPA is not responsible for the content of information from non-EPA sources, and does not endorse any commercial product, service, enterprise, or policy that may be included.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

  1. Portfolio Manager has been re-launched – technical assistance available to benchmark again or for the first time
  2. U.S. EPA Launches 2013 ENERGY STAR Battle of the Buildings
  3. Registration Now Open for Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge – deadline September 23

ARTICLES

  1. Plymouth, Massachusetts, Installs Solar Panels for School System, Saving $500,000 per Year
  2. Norfolk, Massachusetts, Installs Solar Project, Saving $200,000 per Year
  3. GridWise Alliance and Smart Grid Policy Center Release First Grid Modernization Index
  4. It Takes a Village to Be Resilient

EVENTS

  1. Chelmsford, MA – Solarize Chelmsford Workshop – September 4
  2. Medway, MA – Solarize Medway Information Workshop – September 10
  3. Orono, ME – 2013 Maine EPSCoR State Conference – September 30
  4. Norwood, MA – 8th Annual AltWheels Fleet Day – October 7
  5. South Burlington, VT – Renewable Energy 2013 Conference and Expo: Community Solutions for Vermont – October 28 & 29

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. Corporation for National and Community Service's Senior Corps – deadline September 10
  2. NOAA Climate Program Office funding opportunity for FY 2014 now available – Letter of intent due September 10, full application deadline November 14
  3. The New England Grassroots Environment Fund – GROW program grants – deadline September 15
  4. FTA Bus Efficiency Enhancements Research and Demonstrations – deadline September 20
  5. Federal Emergency Management Administration grants for Flood Mitigation Assistance and Pre-Disaster Mitigation – deadline October 18
  6. Massachusetts Clean Energy Center – Commonwealth Wind Development Grants – deadline May 15, 2014 or until funds run out

TOOLS/TRAINING

  1. ENERGY STAR webinars (free but registration required)
  2. Security and Sustainability Forum webinar: Empowering Communities to Find Resilient Solutions – September 5
  3. NH Local Energy Solutions webinar: The Case for Heating with Biomass in NH – September 11
  4. Try EPA's Updated Co-Benefits Risk Assessment (COBRA) Model
  5. Interstate Renewable Energy Council Releases National Report on Solar Installation Trends

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  1. Portfolio Manager has been re-launched – technical assistance available to benchmark again or for the first time
    Connect with the EPA Region 1 Energy Team

    EPA has released a complete upgrade for this popular tool, including a new interface, streamlined functionality, and improved usability. If you previously used Portfolio Manager, all of your data will be transferred to the new system. We can help you set up a new account, update an existing one, or resolve any re-launch glitches you may have encountered.

    Most importantly, now is a great time to take a fresh look at your Portfolio Manager account. Do you need help benchmarking for the first time or need a brush up on using it? Region 1’s Energy Team wants to help communities in New England get familiar with the new tool and re-focus on benchmarking and energy planning. Let us know if you would like this assistance.

    Contact Cyndi Veit (veit.cynthia@epa.gov or 617-918-1666), or Linda Darveau (darveau.linda@epa.gov or 617-918-1718).
  2. U.S. EPA Launches 2013 ENERGY STAR Battle of the Buildings
    The U.S. EPA launched the 2013 ENERGY STAR National Building Competition, with more than 3,200 buildings competing to see which can reduce their energy use the most. Entitled “Battle of the Buildings,” the competition is hosting more than 25 different types of buildings in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, ranging from hotels to cathedrals. Competitors measure and track their buildings’ monthly energy consumption using EPA’s Portfolio Manager, an online energy measurement and tracking tool, and work over the year to reduce energy use through various energy efficiency improvements.

    More information of the competition is available.
  3. Registration Now Open for Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge – deadline September 23
    To enable 100 cities to better address major 21st century challenges , the Rockefeller Foundation invites cities from around the world to apply for the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge.

    Municipal government leaders or major institutions can register to apply on behalf of their city. Registration is required by September 23, 2013 in order to receive the application.

    Winning cities will be announced in three rounds over the next three years, with the final round of winners named in 2015.

    Each winning city will receive:
    1. Membership in the 100 Resilient Cities Network which will provide support to member cities and share new knowledge and resilience best practices.
    2. Support to hire a Chief Resilience Officer to oversee the development of a resilience strategy for the city and be part of a learning network of other CROs.
    3. Support to create a resilience plan, along with tools and resources for implementation.
    As natural and man-made shocks and stresses grow in frequency, impact and scale, with the ability to ripple across systems and geographies, cities are largely unprepared to respond to, withstand, and bounce back from disasters.

    With more than 75 percent of people expected to live in cities by 2050, public and private sector leaders are expressing an increasing desire to build greater resilience, yet many have neither the technical expertise nor the financial resources to create and execute resilience strategies on a city-wide scale, in a way that addresses the need of the poor or vulnerable people.

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ARTICLES

  1. Plymouth, Massachusetts, Installs Solar Panels for School System, Saving $500,000 per Year
    Plymouth, Massachusetts, recently completed the installation of a 5.57-megawatt solar project. The project will produce electricity for local schools. The project is expected to generate electricity to meet about 60 percent of the school district’s energy needs, equivalent to annual savings of $500,000.
  2. Norfolk, Massachusetts, Installs Solar Project, Saving $200,000 per Year
    The town of Norfolk, Massachusetts, installed a solar project at the Norfolk Recycling/Transfer Station. The 1.6-megawatt solar photovoltaic system saved the town about $200,000 in electricity costs in its first year of operation. The project also created several jobs in the town and is helping officials with budgeting.
  3. GridWise Alliance and Smart Grid Policy Center Release First Grid Modernization Index (PDF) (1 pg, 49 K)
    The GridWise Alliance and the Smart Grid Policy Center released the first Grid Modernization Index (GMI) (PDF) (24 pp, 690K), which evaluates and ranks states based on their progress in modernizing their electric systems with smart grid technologies. The GMI uses a set of criteria to evaluate the progress of state grid modernization efforts in policy, customer engagement, and grid operations. The report highlights the top 15 ranked states, of which California and Texas tied for the highest overall score. Maine and Vermont are in the top 15.
  4. It Takes a Village to Be Resilient
    The Dummerston (VT) Energy Committee is conducting an energy survey, in part to gauge how resilient the town is. Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 uncovered some vulnerabilities in Vermont. Heavy rainfall on saturated ground resulted in dramatic flooding in parts of Brattleboro, Wilmington, Halifax, Newfane, and other towns. Some communities were cut off for as much as a week. Other places lost power for an extended period of time.

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EVENTS

  1. Chelmsford, MA – Solarize Chelmsford Workshop – September 4
    Adams Public Library, 25 Boston Road, Chelmsford, MA
    6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

    This workshop will include a brief presentation on the Solarize Mass program as well as both one-on-one and small group discussions on a variety of topics related to solar photovoltaic energy systems.

    Contact: Marc Grant (Solarize@TownofChelmsford.us or 978-656-1353)
  2. Medway, MA – Solarize Medway Information Workshop – September 10
    Medway Public Library, 26 High Street, Medway, MA
    7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

    Solarize Medway is having an information session to discuss the Solarize program and encourage participation in the program.
  3. Orono, ME – 2013 Maine EPSCoR State Conference – September 30
    Wells Conference Center at the University of Maine, Orono
    7:30 am – 5:00 pm

    "Looking to the Future - Supporting Maine's R&D Capacity through STEM Workforce Development and Communicating Science"

    A statewide gathering of faculty, researchers, students, administration, educators, business & community leaders, non-profit and governmental leaders, etc.

    Highlights
    • National Science Foundation: Carol Van Hartesveldt, Program Director - EHR
    • Panel Discussions: Engaging Native American Youth in STEM, Connecting Research to Learning, Making Research Available to the Public, Communicating Science
    • Poster and Networking Sessions
  4. Norwood, MA – 8th Annual AltWheels Fleet Day – October 7
    Four Points by Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center, Route 1, Norwood, MA

    The day consists of panels, exhibits, and vehicles offering a showcase of alternative transportation solutions — from concept vehicles, to vehicles that are available and affordable today. This year's Fleet Day will be hosted at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel and conference center on Route 1 in Norwood, MA in their state-of-the-art conference space with a large outdoor vehicle display.

    Contact: Classic Communications, 508-698-6810 or info@classic-communications.com
  5. South Burlington, VT – Renewable Energy 2013 Conference and Expo: Community Solutions for Vermont – October 28 & 29
    Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center, South Burlington, VT

    Vermont is calling for 90% renewables by 2050. Throughout the country, state and local governments are establishing ambitious goals to reduce energy consumption, bolster renewable energy production and drive toward a more sustainable future by reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

    With more than 20 high-level conference sessions, this year’s agenda covers all the bases. From technology and innovation updates, to informational sessions on integrating renewables into businesses, to policy and regulatory updates, the 2013 agenda will reach across a broad spectrum of topics.

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FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. Corporation for National and Community Service’s Senior Corps – deadline September 10 (PDF) (20 pp, 464 K)
    Application Due: September 10, 2013

    Eligible Entities: Public agencies (including state and local agencies and other units of government), Indian Tribes, non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, and government-recognized veteran service organizations

    The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) RSVP Program, one of the largest senior volunteer programs in the nation, offers a diverse range of volunteer activities that serve communities to create measurable impact, benefit volunteers through the service experience, and create community capacity. RSVP will focus grant making for fiscal year 2014 in six focus areas including environmental stewardship, economic opportunity, and disaster services.

    For example, grant activities may support increased citizen behavioral change leading to increased efficiency, renewable energy use, and ecosystem improvements.

    In this competition, CNCS intends to fund RSVP projects that support volunteers 55 years and older serving in a diverse range of activities that meet specific local and community needs. A letter of intent to apply is not required, but highly encouraged.
  2. NOAA Climate Program Office funding opportunity for FY 2014 now available – Letter of intent due September 10, full application deadline November 14
    NOAA's Climate Program Office (CPO) has announced a federal funding opportunity for the 2014 fiscal year. The full announcement of opportunity is available on the CPO Funding Opportunities page and on the Grants.Gov website.

    Letters of intent are due by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Sept. 10, 2013, and the deadline for final applications is Nov. 14, 2013.
  3. The New England Grassroots Environment Fund – GROW program grants – deadline September 15
    The New England Grassroots Environment Fund (NEGEF) has been providing grants and coaching to local volunteer initiatives in New England for more than 16 years.

    NEGEF grants are designed for groups that:
    • are doing community-based environmental work in CT, ME, MA, NH, RI or VT;
    • are volunteer-driven or have up to 2 full-time paid staff (or equivalents);
    • have an annual budget up to $100,000
    GROW grants are competitive group development grants dedicated to help established groups increase capacity, collaborate, and leverage impact.

    Grant range: $1,000 – $3,500
    Apply for a Grow grant if your group:
    • needs help evolving and expanding the community group;
    • expenses can include general operating, stipends, capacity building, program development, expert assistance, etc.
    • has been active for more than 1 year;
    • has not received a GROW grant within one year of the current application.
    Contact Ginny Callan (callan@grassrootsfund.org or call 802-223-4622) for input, feedback or enthusiastic encouragement on your local community projects.
  4. FTA Bus Efficiency Enhancements Research and Demonstrations – deadline September 20
    Application Due: September 20, 2013

    Eligible Entities: State and local governmental entities; providers of public transportation; Departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Government; private or non-profit organizations; institutions of higher education; and technical and community colleges.

    The FTA seeks to promote the development and demonstration of targeted energy efficiency-enhancing technologies, specifically enhanced Electrification of Accessories and improvements in Thermal Management of Bus Bodies, for buses utilized in public transportation. Teams must include key roles by individuals representing both (1) a public transportation agency and (2) a bus manufacturer or supplier of relevant systems or components.
  5. Federal Emergency Management Agency grants for Flood Mitigation Assistance and Pre-Disaster Mitigation – deadline October 18
    FEMA has posted the Fiscal Year 2013 Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Unified Guidance.
    This Guidance covers both grant programs as well as the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

    Please contact your State Hazard Mitigation Officer for additional information on Pre-Disaster Mitigation and Flood Mitigation Assistance and deadlines for applying.

    Visit www.grants.gov for the funding opportunity announcements.
  6. Massachusetts Clean Energy Center – Commonwealth Wind Development Grants – deadline May 15, 2014 or until funds run out
    The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center is pleased to invite applications for grants to support the development of community wind and commercial wind projects.

    Community wind projects may use development grants for both development activities (such as permitting, environmental impact evaluation, geotechnical studies, public outreach, interconnection studies, etc.) and for construction activities (such as turbine procurement, erection and commissioning). Commercial wind projects may only use development grants for development activities.

    This solicitation describes the general scope, grant levels, application process and payment process. Applications may be submitted at any time and will be accepted for evaluation on a first-come, first-served basis.

    As the program evolves over time, this solicitation may be updated or withdrawn without notice.
    MassCEC expects applications will be accepted through May 15, 2014.

    Please contact commwind@masscec.com with any questions.

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TOOLS/TRAINING

  1. ENERGY STAR webinars (free but registration required)
    There are no webinars scheduled for September 2013. However, please check out the list of already recorded trainings at https://esbuildings.webex.com/mw0307l/mywebex/default.do?siteurl=esbuildings

    Click “View Event Recordings” in upper right.

    These include but are not limited to
    • Get Ready for Launch: EPA’s 2013 National Building Competition
    • Portfolio Manager "Office Hours”
    • Portfolio Manager 101
    • Portfolio Manager 201
    • School Siting: Understanding the challenges and opportunities for communities and decision-makers
  2. Security and Sustainability Forum webinar: Empowering Communities to Find Resilient Solutions – September 5
    1:15 pm – 2:45 pm

    The Security and Sustainability Forum is hosting a webinar related to communities and resiliency.

    After the devastation of extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy, Colorado Wildfires, and Oklahoma Tornadoes just this year, communities and decision-makers face the daunting task of recovering and rebuilding – both physically and emotionally.
    • What can be learned from these experiences to prepare us for the next crisis, which for someone somewhere is right around the corner?
    • How can leaders partner with citizens to find ways of adapting and preparing for some of the more gradual, but inevitable future events, like sea level rise?
    Citizens and communities are critical in finding solutions for the challenges they face. They know the problems intimately, they have the most to lose, and they are the experts on their own futures. But how can they deal with the often confusing, contradictory and even frightening onslaught of data and opinions from scientists, technicians, politicians and other experts of all kinds? What are needed are techniques for harnessing this local knowledge and commitment in a process that leads to a sensible, sustainable and widely supported decision.
  3. NH Local Energy Solutions webinar: The Case for Heating with Biomass in NH – September 11
    12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

    Why, What Works, and How to Finance Biomass Projects for Your Municipal/School Building
    • Charlie Niebling, Innovative Natural Resource Solutions, will provide an assessment of the potential that wood pellet and wood chip heating systems offer to New Hampshire communities, as well as the costs and efficiency of biomass systems and the ease of maintenance. Charlie will also address the sustainability of wood as a replacement for traditional heating choices.
    • Rodney Bartlett, Peterborough's Public Works Director will share case studies from their multiple municipal biomass projects.
    • Jim Lucy of Honeywell will speak to how municipalities and schools might fund such projects in this time of limited grant funding.
  4. Try EPA’s Updated Co-Benefits Risk Assessment (COBRA) Model
    EPA has made several updates to the Co-Benefits Risk Assessment (COBRA) screening model, a free tool that helps state and local governments estimate and map the air quality, human health and related economic benefits of clean energy policies and programs.

    EPA has updated several health impact functions and valuation approaches as well as made minor updates to other health effects. These changes make COBRA’s health impact and valuation functions consistent with EPA’s current PM2.5 health impact assessments.

    Why Use COBRA? State and local governments can use COBRA to:
    • Better understand the potential for clean energy to enhance air quality, health, and social well being.
    • Design or select program options that maximize benefits.
    • Build support for clean energy investments based on the air and health benefits.
    • Narrow a list of policy options to those that should be evaluated using more sophisticated air quality models.
    • Present information about localized health benefits in easy-to-interpret tables and maps.
    • Support a balanced decision-making process that considers both the potential costs and benefits of policy options.
    Download or request a copy of the revised version, with details about the current updates.
  5. Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) Releases National Report on Solar Installation Trends
    IREC released its annual report on solar installation trends and the drivers in the U.S. solar installation market (PDF) (21 pp, 3.2 MB). The report compiles and analyzes public data on U.S. solar installations by technology, state, and solar market sectors. According to the report, the capacity of solar installations increased by 80 percent in 2012 from 2011 levels, and over half of that capacity was in the utility sector.

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