Tag Archives: New Jersey

Return of water misinformation by Forrest H. Williams in the VDT

Seen today on the WACE facebook page is an image of an op-ed in the VDT, and alongside it I include here Michael Noll’s initial comments, plus a few links.

There is good reason why Stephen Hawkins once said “the greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” When entities like Fox News can claim that “solar won’t work in America because it’s not as sunny as Germany”, we shouldn’t be surprised by the results of such “educational” efforts. The fact is that we have a number of clean and renewable forms of energy (e.g. wind, solar, geothermal) that already work. Just go to Spain, Germany, Denmark, Iceland, or simply stay in the US and visit places like from New Jersey and New York to California and Arizona. Combine these pieces of a larger energy puzzle with meaningful initiatives of energy conservation and energy efficiency, and we find a way out of our current predicament (i.e. continuing dependence on finite and dirty sources of energy), while saving money (see solar vs. nuclear), preserving our natural resources (e.g. water, forests), and providing clean, healthy and safe environments to live in (e.g. wind and solar do not produce radioactive waste, pollute our air and groundwater).

The guest columnist appearing above is the same individual who thought

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Solar: Pieces of a Puzzle —Dr. Michael G. Noll

Op-ed in the VDT today, responding to a response to my op-ed. -jsq

If the attempt of a guest column from Jan 13 was to shine light on solar power, it left everyone in the dark. Neither mockery nor close mindedness will assist us in finding real answers if we want to solve the energy puzzle of the 21st century.

In July 2012, the Financial Times interviewed Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE. GE knows perhaps more about the world of energy business than any other company. Immelt stated that

“on a cost basis it is impossible to justfy investing in nuclar power for the future.”

People who sitll claim that solar is more expensive than nuclear are not paying attention. If solar is viable as far north as New Jersey, it certainly is in Georgia. If countries like Germany can excel in solar energy production, so can we. Companies like Walmart, Costco, Apple, and Google are havily investing in solar because it works.

It should also be noted that the nuclear plant on Crystal River has been idle since 2009. As the Tampa Bay Times reported last December,

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Rooftop solar for grid outage independence

Solar power can bring for energy independence, not just from foreign countries, also from the grid during storms and other outages.

Inspired by the need to deal with downed power lines in New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy, David Crane and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote for NYTimes 12 Dec 2012, Solar Panels for Every Home,

Solar photovoltaic technology can significantly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and our dependence on the grid. Electricity-producing photovoltaic panels installed on houses, on the roofs of warehouses and big box stores and over parking lots can be wired so that they deliver power when the grid fails.

Solar panels have dropped in price by 80 percent in the past five years and can provide electricity at a cost that is at or below the current retail cost of grid power in 20 states, including many of the Northeast states. So why isn’t there more of a push for this clean, affordable, safe and inexhaustible source of electricity?

First, the investor-owned utilities that depend on the existing system for their profits have little economic interest in promoting a technology that empowers customers to generate their own power. Second, state regulatory agencies and local governments impose burdensome permitting and siting requirements that unnecessarily raise installation costs.

I can tell you by experience that solar panels on the roof (with batteries) can supply power when the grid is out.

In regulatory-captured Georgia, the big impediment to solar is financing, because of 1973 Territorial Electric Service Act. When will Southern Company and Georgia Power admit their boondoogle on the Savannah River has failed and get on with conservation, efficiency, wind, and solar power?


The power of going solar —John S. Quarterman

Solar panels on farm workshop --John S. Quarterman My op-ed in the VDT today. Remember to vote today or Tuesday. -jsq

This spring, the University at Buffalo turned on 750 kilowatts of solar electricity. Rutgers U., in New Jersey, installed 1.4 megawatts in 2009 and started on 8 MW this summer. Down here with a lot more sun, how about solar panels on VSU parking lots?

There’s plenty of private solar financing available. Also in New Jersey, a company installed 6 MW of solar on high school land and leased the power to the school supplying most of its needs win-win. You can go see a solar farm already working fine here, 200 kilowatts at Mud Creek Wastewater Plant. Why not do the same

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at Lowndes High School, where all the world on I-75 could see, attracting business to our community?

Why not?

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Solar college campuses far to the north: why not at VSU?

This spring, the University at Buffalo did it, and now Rutgers is doing it: installing solar arrays for power and profit. Rutgers is in New Jersey, the #2 state in solar power. We have a lot more sun down here. How about we catch up and get ahead in solar power, starting with VSU?

Brita Belli wrote for ecoemagination 25 September 2012, Renewable U: College Campuses Invest in Renewable Energy

Over the summer, crews at Rutgers University's Livingston Campus began transforming a 32-acre, 3,500-spot parking lot into one of the largest solar canopy arrays in the nation. The array will have a capacity of 8 megawatts, enough to power 1,000 homes.

The canopy is more than just eco window dressing — Antonio Calcado, Rutgers vice president for facilities and capital planning, expects that with the financing structure, grants and energy credits, the investment will return about $28 million to the university over the next 20 years. A previous solar project had a similarly rapid payback.

“Combined with the electricity we produce, it's a winner all around,” says Calcado. “We're an institution of higher learning—we teach this stuff—so we should also lead by example. It's a living laboratory in many respects.”

Lead by example: now there's an idea! An idea that might even attract businesses.


Georgia Power inches towards more solar, trailing New Jersey

If you’re quick, you may be able to sell solar from your roof to Georgia Power. If the PSC approves a pending request. If you get in before that new quota gets filled. And if you’re a Georgia Power customer. The rest of us? Not until the 1973 Georgia Electric Territorial Act is changed. Until then, Georgia will continue to lag way behind New Jersey in solar power.

210 MW is more than 50 MW but way less than 3,000 MW

Walter C. Jones wrote for the Augusta Chronicle today, Georgia Power plans to triple solar power use,

Georgia Power filed Wednesday seeking permission from state regulators to more than triple the amount of solar power it uses to generate electricity for its 2.4 million customers by swapping it for what was already planned from other renewable sources.

What “other renewable sources”?

The Georgia Power plan won’t affect rates because it is based on paying the solar providers what it would have paid the biomass provider, 13 cents per kilowatt hour, which is already figured into customer’s rates.

OK, that’s good, because it means biomass is well and truly dead in Georgia. But it also means Georgia Power isn’t very serious about solar, if all it’s doing is fiddling with accounting for the small amount of power biomass might have produced and not going for the real numbers solar can produce. OK, how many solar megawatts?

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Charter school referendum in New Jersey?

Here’s another potential charter school referendum that BallotPedia doesn’t seem to have caught yet, in New Jersey.

John Mooney wrote for NJ Spotlight 3 February 2012, Assembly Committee Votes to Put Charters Under Local Control: Bill calls for local referendum on any school that wants to be granted a charter in a NJ district,

The Assembly education committee yesterday moved a bill that would give local voters the right to approve new charters in their home districts. If passed by both houses, the law would make New Jersey only the third state to require charter schools to face a local referendum.

First proposed last year, the new bill has been toughened for the new session. Amendments filed with the bill would make those referendums retroactive for as many as 30 urban and suburban schools awaiting their final charters.

The votes would come after the state’s preliminary approval, but often as much as a year can lapse before the final charter is granted and a school can open.

NJ bill A1877 seems to have gotten stuck in the NJ state Senate Education Committee back in May. It has 21 sponsors, starting with Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex), shown in the picture above.

Related bill A2147 got as far as a second reading in the Assembly in February.

Charter schools in Georgia already have to be approved by local school boards. Let’s not give up that local control. Vote No on the charter school referendum in November.


1.5MW solar field near Philadelphia

Far to the north of here, a botanical garden installed more than a megawatt of solar power a year ago. Maybe Georgia Power should ask them how it’s done.

PR of 16 June 2011, LONGWOOD GARDENS COMMISSIONS 10-ACRE SOLAR FIELD: Installation first step of goal to achieve 3 MW of solar energy by 2018

June 16, 2011, Kennett Square, PA — Longwood Gardens today commissioned a new, ground-mounted solar field spanning more than 10 acres at the horticultural showplace in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

One of the largest examples of clean emission-free energy in the region, the solar field produces 1.2 MW (megawatts) of power and will produce 1.5 MW when the final panels are installed in the coming weeks. The fixed-tilt, 1.5 MW solar installation will produce enough electricity to offset the usage of approximately 138 average Pennsylvania homes and reduce Longwood’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by 1,367 tons.

“We are always looking for ways to advance our sustainable practices,” said Paul Redman, Longwood Gardens Director. “It is integral to Longwood’s mission to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels.” We want to establish best practices and lead the way in showing communities how to live responsibly,” said Redman.

Imagine if Georgia Power and Southern Company acted responsibly and led the way in solar power!

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Record Georgia temperatures above 100 degrees

Driving north Friday, the temperatures kept getting hotter. John C. Griffin recorded these temperature signs, used here by permission. Friday 29 June 2012:

Record heat wave with triple digits in Macon, Georgia on Riverside Drive at Arkwright Road
Photography by John Griffin (c) 2012 All Rights reserved

I can attest it was still over 100 in Macon after dark Friday.

And it only got worse Saturday 30 June 2012:

Arkwright Road at Riverside Drive – I-75 Exit 169 – Macon, Georgia Record Heat Wave
Photography (c) John Griffin All Rights Reserved

That’s 107 on Friday and 111 Saturday in Macon, where the previous record high for June was 106.

You know, Macon, where Georgia Power is still “studying” and “experimenting” with solar power. Solar power that continues to generate in the heat with no water use. Solar power that Continue reading

Company installs solar and leases it to New Jersey school: you can’t do that in Georgia

Schools can’t do this in Georgia, because of the Territoriality Law. They can’t have a company finance and install solar panels on their property and lease the power from them at a fixed rate. You can’t, either, not even on your own private property. Does that seem right to you?

US DoE EERE wrote (no date), NJ School Installs 6.1 MW Solar System,

A 100-year old private school, Lawrenceville School, in Lawrenceville, N.J., installed a 6.1 megawatt ground-mounted system on 30 acres of school-owned farm land. The system features 24,934 SolarWorld solar panels, manufactured at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Hillsboro, Oregon. KDC Solar leased the land for the project from the school and owns and maintains the solar equipment. Through a power purchase agreement, the Lawrenceville School will buy electricity produced by the array over the next 20 years.

The school says the Lawrenceville Solar Farm was dedicated 4 May 2012., and adds that they also keep bees on the same land, plus what six megawatts means:

The Lawrenceville School Solar Farm consists of a nearly 30-acre, net metered, 6.1 megawatt solar facility, and honey-producing bee hives, which ring the perimeter of the array. The nearly 900,000 resident honey bees are nourished by a special wildflower mixture planted among and around the solar panels. The Farm offsets 6,388 metric tons of CO2 annually, the equivalent of taking 1,253 cars off the road annually.

The 24,934 solar panels generate six megawatts of energy, covering 90 percent of the School’s needs. During the day, the array can produce nearly twice the amount of energy needed by the School. The excess is imported to the local electrical utility, Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) and credited to the School. The School will draw excess energy and all other required energy from PSE&G after sundown.

Here’s a PDF with more details.

The big picture is: you can do that in all but about four states. Georgia is one of those four states, Continue reading