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Energy and Global Climate Change in New England

April 2014 Volume 66
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. U.S. Obama Administration Launches Climate Data Initiative
  2. US EPA Climate Showcase Communities Replication Workshop – April 30
  3. US EPA Announces Extension of Public Comment Period for Power Plant Emissions Standards – open until May 9
  4. Manchester, NH – Local Solutions: Northeast Climate Change Preparedness Conference **Travel Grants Available** – May 19-20
  5. Number of ENERGY STAR benchmarked buildings in New England continues to grow

ARTICLES

  1. Connecticut Governor Announces Executive Order on Energy Efficiency
  2. US Green Building Council Releases Ranking of Top 10 States for LEED Green Buildings
  3. Environment Massachusetts Releases Report on States and Federal Climate Policies
  4. Arizona State University Releases Study Suggesting Localized Approaches to Addressing Temperature Increases in Expanding US Cities
  5. National Renewable Energy Laboratory Releases Solar Energy Report
  6. University of Vermont Researchers Release Study on Charging Electric Cars
  7. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy Releases Analysis of National Energy Efficiency Trends since 1993
  8. Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative States Release Report on Impact of Investments from 2009-2012

EVENTS

  1. Providence, RI – Rhode Island Energy Expo 2014 at the Home Show – April 3-6
  2. Waterbury, VT – 8th Annual LEAP Energy Fair – April 5
  3. Watertown, MA - Solarize Watertown 201: Meet The Installer – April 7
  4. Tilton, NH – 6th Annual Local Energy Solutions Conference – April 12
  5. Lowell, MA – 4th Annual Massachusetts Sustainable Communities Conference – April 17
  6. Orono, ME – Maine Solar Energy Association at HOPE Festival – April 26

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. Coastal Resilience Networks Grant – deadline April 11
  2. 2014 Healthy Communities Grant Program – deadline April 24
  3. US Department of Energy Announces Funding to Improve the Resiliency of the Electric Grid – deadline April 28
  4. National Infrastructure Investment "TIGER" Program – deadline April 28
  5. Massachusetts Clean Energy Center – Commonwealth Wind Development Grants – deadline May 15 or until funds run out

TOOLS/TRAINING

  1. ENERGY STAR webinars (free but registration required)
  2. Rhode Island Climate Change Collaborative Launches Website on Climate Change in State
  3. U.S. EPA Releases Guides on Combined Heat and Power and On-Site Renewable Energy Generation for Local Governments
  4. US Government Accountability Office Releases Report on Climate Risk and Adaptation
  5. US Conference of Mayors Releases Survey on Use of Stimulus Dollars for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Projects
  6. American Association for the Advancement of Science What We Know Initiative – Backgrounder Report

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  1. U.S. Obama Administration Launches Climate Data Initiative
    The U.S. Obama Administration launched the Climate Data Initiative, an effort designed to bring together open government data and design competitions with commitments from the private and philanthropic sectors to develop data-driven planning and resilience tools for local communities. The effort is intended to help give communities across the country the information and tools they need to plan for current and future climate impacts.

    The Climate Data Initiative website is available.
  2. US EPA Climate Showcase Communities Replication Workshop – April 30
    Register by April 15

    Hotel Monaco, 2 N. Charles St, Baltimore, MD

    US EPA's Climate Showcase Communities program is hosting a free, 1-day workshop highlighting successful local and tribal government climate and energy strategies that can be replicated in communities across the US. Attendees of the workshop will have the unique opportunity to hear directly from the government staff that designed and implemented these impressive programs that have achieved meaningful greenhouse gas reductions and other benefits for their communities.

    Through panel presentations and facilitated discussions featuring nearly 20 community based programs, attendees will learn about best practices, tools, and resources that they can use to catalyze similar action in their own community. Panel themes will include:
    • Engaging the Community and Changing Behavior
    • Big Opportunities for Small Communities
    • Innovative Green Business Solutions
    • Leveraging Partnerships and Opportunities
    Attendees will also have the opportunity to talk informally with community and federal representatives during café style discussions.

    Please register for the workshop by April 15, 2014.There is no registration fee, but space is limited, so priority for registration will be given to staff from local and tribal governments and local/tribal associations. A limited number of government rate hotel rooms ($147+tax) are available at the conference hotel, please see the registration page for more information.

    For more information about the Climate Showcase Communities program, including a list of grantees and project descriptions.

    View a short video overview of past CSC Workshops

    Please contact Andrea Denny (denny.andrea@epa.gov) with any questions.
  3. US EPA Announces Extension of Public Comment Period for Power Plant Emissions Standards – open until May 9
    The US EPA announced that it is extending the public comment period on the proposed regulation, "Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units." EPA will extend the comment period by 60 days, to May 9, 2014.
  4. Manchester, NH – Local Solutions: Northeast Climate Change Preparedness Conference **Travel Grants Available** – May 19-20
    Antioch University New England and the US Environmental Protection Agency's Regions 1 and 2 are hosting a regional conference for local planners, decision-makers and educators to understand how to create healthy resilient communities that are better prepared to handle severe weather and climate impacts.

    Days 1 & 2
    The first two days of the conference are about Building Resilient Communities. The program will inform community planners, decision makers and those responsible for implementing change at the local level how best to identify current and future vulnerabilities, followed by adaptive responses to build resilient communities.

    Day 3
    The third day, the Educators Summit, will inform middle and high school teachers how to design community-based, problem-solving curriculum that will teach students how best to support municipal officials preparing for impacts from a changing climate.

    Looking for travel grant support to participate in LOCAL SOLUTIONS? Check out opportunities.

    Register.
  5. Number of ENERGY STAR benchmarked buildings in New England continues to grow
    The number of buildings across New England that have been benchmarked using Portfolio Manager continues to grow. Portfolio Manager is not just for office buildings and schools – many other community buildings can be benchmarked and become part of your energy management focus. Some "lesser-known" building types that have become more commonly benchmarked in New England include Fire Stations, Police Stations, Worship Facilities, Multifamily Housing and Senior Care Centers. New England-wide, just in 2013, 404 Multifamiliy Housing buildings were benchmarked, followed by 128 Senior Care Community buildings, 89 Fire Stations, 27 Police Stations, and 16 Worship Facilities.

    If you would like to track energy use in any or all of the buildings in your community, just let us know – we can help you get started or update what you already have! Contact Cynthia Veit at veit.cynthia@epa.gov or Linda Darveau at darveau.linda@epa.gov

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ARTICLES

  1. Connecticut Governor Announces Executive Order on Energy Efficiency
    Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced an executive order to create the Affordable Housing Energy Efficiency Program. The program is intended to utilize $10.8 million in federal funding to improve and increase the energy efficiency of multifamily housing in Connecticut to reduce energy costs for residents, while also advancing conservation efforts. The Affordable Housing Energy Efficiency Program is designed to fund energy conservation or renewable energy projects resulting in a minimum of a 20 percent reduction in energy use.
  2. US Green Building Council Releases Ranking of Top 10 States for LEED Green Buildings
    The US Green Building Council released its ranking of the top 10 states for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) green buildings. The list, "Top 10 States for LEED," highlights the top states throughout the country that are demonstrating sustainable building design. The per-capita list is based on 2010 US Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects that were certified throughout 2013. Among the list, Illinois moved into the top position for LEED, certifying 171 projects representing 2.29 square feet of LEED space per resident. Maryland, Virginia, and Massachusetts placed second, third, and fourth, respectively.

    The complete list of rankings is available.
  3. Environment Massachusetts Releases Report on States and Federal Climate Policies
    Environment Massachusetts released a report that documents state and federal climate change policies. The report finds that clean energy policies adopted by states and the federal government from 2007 to 2012 reduced U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 162 million metric tons in 2012.

    The report, "Moving America Forward: State and Federal Leadership Is Producing Results in the Fight against Global Warming (PDF) (45 pp, 1.3 MB)," is available.

  4. Arizona State University Releases Study Suggesting Localized Approaches to Addressing Temperature Increases in Expanding US Cities
    Arizona State University released a new study which finds that different regions in the United States must come up with different strategies to address climate change since they each have different climates and experience climate change differently. The study, "Urban Adaptation Can Roll Back Warming of Emerging Megapolitan Regions," assesses the effectiveness of commonly proposed urban adaptation strategies, such as green roofs, cool roofs, and hybrid roof approaches, to reduce temperature increases in US cities. In addition to explaining the climate benefits of such approaches, the results reveal tradeoffs among different adaptation options for some regions, showing the need for geographically appropriate strategies rather than a one-size-fits-all solution.
  5. National Renewable Energy Laboratory Releases Solar Energy Report
    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released a report that aligns solar policy and market success with state demographics. The research includes statistical and empirical analyses to assess policy impacts in different states, and finds that the effectiveness of solar policy is influenced by demographic factors such as median household income, solar resource availability, electricity prices, and community interest in renewable energy.

    The report, "The Effectiveness of State-Level Policies on Solar Market Development in Different State Contexts (PDF) (60 pp, 1.1 MB)," is available.
  6. University of Vermont Researchers Release Study on Charging Electric Cars
    Researchers from the University of Vermont released a study that shows how smart meters can manage electric car charging times in order to alleviate stress on the power grid. The approach breaks up the request for power from each car into multiple packets, in order to assess the grid's load.

    The report, "Packetized Plug-In Electric Vehicle Charge Management," is available.
  7. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy Releases Analysis of National Energy Efficiency Trends since 1993
    The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released an analysis on electricity-use trends since 1993, and looks closely at changes in electricity sales over the 2007-2012 period. ACEEE found that no single factor can explain the change in electricity use over the 1993-2012 period, but that the most significant factors were energy efficiency programs and policies, warmer weather, changes in gross domestic product, changes in electricity prices, and long-term trends.

    The report, "Why is Electricity Use No Longer Growing? (PDF) (28 pp, 919 K)," is available.
  8. Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative States Release Report on Impact of Investments from 2009-2012 (PDF) (3 pp, 44 K)
    The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) states released a report that summarizes the consumer, economic, and environmental impact of investments made from 2009 to 2012 using proceeds from RGGI's carbon dioxide allowance auctions. The report, "Regional Investment of RGGI CO2 Allowance Proceeds, 2012 (PDF) (37 pp, 1.3 MB)," analyzes the lifetime impact of RGGI investments made in the nine participating states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

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EVENTS

  1. Providence, RI – Rhode Island Energy Expo 2014 at the Home Show – April 3-6
    Rhode Island Convention Center, 1 Sabin St., Providence, RI
    • Learn from over 100 energy vendors about energy-saving products and services
    • Attend free seminars and get entered to win prizes
    • Check out free energy demos on high-tech thermostats, air-tightness testing, and DIY pipe insulation
    • Bring your Kids for FREE! They'll have fun while learning about energy in our Kids' Energy Corner
    • U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S Congressman David Cicilline will recognize RI Energy Leaders on Saturday, April 5th 10:00 - 11:00 AM
    ADMISSION
    ADULTS                      $10
    SENIORS                     $8
    KIDS 15 & Under         FREE
  2. Waterbury, VT – 8th Annual LEAP Energy Fair – April 5
    9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
    Crossett Brook Middle School Gym, 5672 Vermont 100, Waterbury, VT

    Waterbury, VT's Local Energy Action Partnership is holding its 8th annual Energy Fair, one of the largest energy fairs in Vermont:
    • Tour 70+ exhibits and talk with experts
    • Learn how to reduce fuel bills, save energy and shrink emissions
    • Participate in break-out discussions on many interesting topics
    • Walk through weatherization and energy demonstration projects
    • Enjoy children's activities and student projects
    • Shop localvore at the Waterbury Farmer's Market
  3. Watertown, MA - Solarize Watertown 201: Meet The Installer – April 7
    Watertown Middle School, 68 Waverley Ave., Watertown, MA
    7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

    Hosted by the Town of Watertown, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, and Next Step Living. Learn about Solarize Watertown and how you can save money on your electricity bills by switching to clean, renewable energy. Next Step Living, the Solarize Watertown partner, will walk you through the steps for going solar.

    Visit www.solarizewatertown.org to get started right away and schedule a free solar assessment with Next Step Living, the official Solarize Watertown partner.

    Register.

    Solarize Mass is a Massachusetts program that seeks to increase the adoption of small-scale solar electricity in participating communities through a competitive tiered pricing structure that increases the savings for everyone as more home and business owners sign contracts.

    Now in its third year, Solarize Mass, a partnership between the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), the Green Communities Division of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and cities and towns across the commonwealth. It has led to more than 900 residents and business owners signing contracts for small-scale solar electricity systems.

    On December 2, 2013 MassCEC and DOER announced the fifteen communities who will participate in the second round of the 2013 Solarize Mass program: Adams, Amherst, Andover, Great Barrington-Egremont, Lexington-Bedford, Needham, Salem-Swampscott, Watertown, Wellfleet, and Williamsburg-Whately-Chesterfield.
  4. Tilton, NH – 6th Annual Local Energy Solutions Conference – April 12
    Winnisquam Regional High School, 435 West Main Street, Tilton, NH

    Brought to you by the New Hampshire Local Energy Work Group, the annual LES conference provides critical resources, information, and guidance for local governments and school districts across the state seeking to implement an energy reduction project in their municipality. The conference provides an ideal forum to meet and learn from other New Hampshire residents who have successfully implemented an energy project, hear best practices, identify financing options, and much, much more!
  5. Lowell, MA – 4th Annual Massachusetts Sustainable Communities Conference – April 17
    UMass Lowell Conference Center, 50 Warren Street, Lowell, MA
    8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

    4th Massachusetts Sustainable Communities Conference and 3rd Massachusetts Sustainable Campuses Conference
    Theme: Sustainability – Systems & Solutions

    The Massachusetts Sustainable Communities and Campuses Conferences connects stakeholders from government, education, business, and nonprofits, and people interested in sustainable development.

    Objectives
    • Engage in cross-sector dialogues
    • Learn from leading experts
    • Go home with knowledge and resources for community and campus sustainability
    Audience
    • Municipal and state government officials and staff
    • Higher education and K-12 staff, faculty, and students
    • Business owners, staff, representatives
    • Non-profit and community members and leaders
    • Everyone interested in sustainability
    75; $45 Students; $90 Walk-in if space is available
    Groups (5 or more) can use promotional code Group for $5 discount

    For more information and to register »
  6. Orono, ME – Maine Solar Energy Association at HOPE Festival – April 26
    UMaine Student Recreation & Fitness Center, Orono ME
    11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Maine Solar Energy Association will present a hands-on photovoltaic cell phone charger assembly demonstration at HOPE Festival sponsored by the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine.

    The simple cell phone charger is a way to 'compete' with the robotic PV factories that have lowered the prices of PV for residential and utility connection. The cell phone charger is an example of the 'hand-made' solar PV projects that MESEA has available for Mainers and others.

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FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. Coastal Resilience Networks Grant – deadline April 11
    Eligible Entities: Nonprofits, federally recognized tribes, state and local governments, small businesses, for-profit organizations other than small businesses, public and state-controlled institutions of higher education.

    The Department of Commerce is soliciting grant proposals from eligible organizations to implement activities that enhance resilience of coastal communities to natural hazard and climate risks through a local, regional, or national network. Proposals submitted in response to this announcement shall provide beneficial public outcomes for coastal communities related to addressing existing and future risks to the natural environment, infrastructure, local economies, and vulnerable populations. Proposals must also leverage, enhance, or create a human or technical network in which one or more coastal hazard issues can be addressed through partnerships to enhance communication, cooperation, coordination, and/or collaboration.
  2. 2014 Healthy Communities Grant Program – deadline April 24
    The Healthy Communities Grant Program is EPA New England's main competitive grant program to work directly with communities to reduce environmental risks, protect and improve human health and improve the quality of life. The Healthy Communities Grant Program will achieve this through identifying and funding projects that:
    • Target resources to benefit communities at risk
    • Assess, understand, and reduce environmental and human health risks
    • Increase collaboration through community-based projects
    • Build institutional and community capacity to understand and solve environmental and human health problems
    • Advance emergency preparedness and resilience
    • Achieve measurable environmental and human health benefits
    In order to qualify as eligible projects under the Healthy Communities Grant Program, proposed projects must take place within New England states and must meet several criteria including: (1) Be located in and/or directly benefit one or more of the Target Investment Areas; and (2) Identify how the proposed project will achieve measurable environmental and/or public health results in one or more of the Target Program Areas. Please see Section III for further information on eligibility requirements.

    For more information, contact is Sandra Brownell, Phone: 617-918-1797 or brownell.sandra@epa.gov
  3. U.S. Department of Energy Announces Funding to Improve the Resiliency of the Electric Grid – deadline April 28
    The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $7 million through the "Microgrid Research, Development, and System Design" Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). The FOA is intended to develop the design of technologies that will help communities become more adaptive and prepared for power outages caused by severe weather and other events. The FOA targets teams of communities, technology developers and providers, and utilities to develop advanced microgrid controllers and system designs that will help communities take a new and comprehensive approach to microgrid design and implementation.

    More information on the funding opportunity is available.
  4. National Infrastructure Investment "TIGER" Program – deadline April 28
    Eligible Entities: State and local governments, federally recognized tribes, US territories, transit agencies, port authorities, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), other political subdivisions of state or local governments, and multi-state or multi-jurisdictional groups applying through a single lead applicant.

    The Department of Transportation is making available $600 million under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 to national infrastructure investments.

    Eligible projects include highway or bridge projects eligible under title 23, United States Code (including bicycle and pedestrian related projects); public transportation projects eligible under chapter 53 of title 49, United States Code; passenger and freight rail transportation projects; port infrastructure investments; and intermodal projects. FY 2014 TIGER also allows for up to $35 million (of the $600 million) to be awarded as grants for the planning of eligible transportation facilities. Eligible planning project include activities related to the planning, preparation, or design of a single surface transportation project, or activities related to regional transportation investment planning, including transportation planning that is coordinated with interdisciplinary factors including housing, economic development, stormwater and other infrastructure investments, and/or that addresses future risks and vulnerabilities, including extreme weather and climate change.

    Note: Applications open on April 3, 2014, on grants.gov
  5. Massachusetts Clean Energy Center – Commonwealth Wind Development Grants – deadline May 15 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.

    Apply.

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TOOLS/TRAINING

  1. ENERGY STAR webinars (free but registration required)
    • Apr 23, 1:00 pm, Engaging Employees with Energy Treasure Hunts
    • Apr 24, 1:00 pm, Portfolio Manager Office Hours, Focus Topic: Understanding Energy Metrics
    • Apr 30, 1:00 pm, Register for the 2014 EPA ENERGY STAR National Building Competition
  2. Rhode Island Climate Change Collaborative Launches Website on Climate Change in State
    The Rhode Island Climate Change Collaborative launched a new website to educate people about climate change and its effect on the state. The Waves of Change website is designed as a resource for people with varying degrees of scientific knowledge and offers animation and video interviews, as well as science-backed information.
  3. U.S. EPA Releases Guides on Combined Heat and Power and On-Site Renewable Energy Generation for Local Governments
    The U.S. EPA released two new guides about on-site renewable energy generation and combined heat and power. These guides are part of EPA's Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series, which is designed to help policy makers and program staff plan, implement, and evaluate cost-effective climate and energy projects that generate environmental, economic, social, and human health benefits.
  4. US Government Accountability Office Releases Report on Climate Risk and Adaptation
    The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that examines the vulnerability of US energy infrastructure to climate change impacts. GAO reviewed climate change assessments, analyzed relevant studies and agency documents, and interviewed federal agency officials and industry stakeholders, including energy companies at four sites that have implemented adaptive measures. The report finds that resource extraction and processing infrastructure are often located near the coast, making them vulnerable to severe weather and sea level rise. Another main finding is that electricity generation infrastructure, such as power plants, is vulnerable to severe weather or water shortages, which can interrupt operations.

    The report, "Energy Infrastructure Risks and Adaptation Efforts (PDF) (74 pp, 5.4 MB)," is available.
  5. US Conference of Mayors Releases Survey on Use of Stimulus Dollars for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Projects (PDF) (2 pp, 205 K)
    The US Conference of Mayors released the results of a survey designed to document city successes in using Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The results document the responses of 204 mayors to a series of questions from the Mayors' Climate Protection Center designed to show how cities invested their EECBG program funds to help further local initiatives to reduce energy use and other local outcomes.

    The survey summary, "Successful City Initiatives with Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Funding (PDF) (16 pp, 247 K)," is available.
  6. American Association for the Advancement of Science What We Know Initiative – Backgrounder Report
    The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest non-government general science membership organization and the executive publisher of the journal Science.

    The What We Know initiative is dedicated to ensuring that three "R's" of climate change communicated to the public: Reality, Risk and Response.

    The Backgrounder Report is available.

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