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More Progress; New Tools

The Maine summer is here -- time to make personal use of our renewable resources -- sun, wind, woods and waves -- with family and friends. But before you go, lots of green power progress to report: substantial new green power purchases, MeGPC's 32rd Partner, and new tools to make buying clean power simplier and publicizing it even easier. Even better, we are gratified to report that the John Merck Fund of Boston has refunded this program for two more years. In short, we will continue to do whatever we can to encourage the purchase of cleaner electricity, for cleaner air. Enjoy the summer and stay in touch!

Erika Morgan, Program Manager
Maine Green Power Connection

Issue 3, Summer 2004

College of the Atlantic Sets a High Standard for Clean Electricity

College of the Atlantic, offering a single degree in Human Ecology, has been a leader in both education and the environment since it was established 35 years ago. On Earth Day April 22, 2004, COA took the lead again. It became the first college in Maine to make a 20-year commitment to purchasing 100 percent of its electricity through new wind electricity. In recognition of Earth Day, COA signed two agreements - one with Endless Energy Corporation (EEC) of Yarmouth, ME, to buy electricity generated by wind for 20 years, starting upon completion of EEC's Redington Mountain Windfarm in 2005.

Under a second agreement with NativeEnergy, LLC of Charlotte, VT, COA purchased renewable energy credits, or "green tags" to match its electricity use until the EEC contract begins. This purchase enables COA to help build the first Native American wind farm on the South Dakota Rosebud Sioux reservation.

"Our decision to contract for new, renewable wind power for 100 percent of the college's energy needs is a bold step--but not an unusual one for College of the Atlantic," said Dr. Steven Katona, president of the college, at a press event on Earth Day. "With growing evidence of impending ecological crises on a global scale, finding ways to live sustainably is ever more urgent. Meeting COA's electrical demand with renewable wind energy is one of the ways in which the principle of sustainability guides all of our actions on campus."

John Deans, a COA freshman from Topsham also spoke at the Earth Day event. "I am really excited to see COA act upon our statements surrounding sustainability. With current power generation causing such great harm to the Earth's atmosphere, we must take renewable energy out of the arena of ethical discussion and into action. COA will prove that green power is a viable option, not merely an ideal concept."

"Once again, Maine schools are setting the standard for clean electricity," said Erika Morgan, program manager of the Maine Green Power Connection. "While several other Maine campuses are now purchasing their electricity from clean renewable sources, COA is the first to purchase 100% of their electricity from wind. They are also the first to make a commitment to do so for more than a year or two. By committing to a 20-year contract, COA is helping to bring new wind generation to fruition in Maine. That will help ensure clearer air for all Mainers."

Care of the Earth Starts at Home

On April 7, 2004, Bangor Theological Seminary became the first theological school in New England to take action to reduce its contribution to global warming and climate change by making a significant investment in wind power through NativeEnergy. NativeEnergy joined forces two years ago with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in south-central South Dakota to help finance the first Native American-owned and operated large-scale wind turbine in the country. The Vermont-based company is currently helping to build a 10 megawatt wind farm near the town of St. Francis on tribal land. Bangor Theological Seminary is helping build this first Native American wind farm.

"People of faith increasingly see care of the environment as a central issue, which we must address - not only by theological reflection, but also by action," asserted BTS President, William Imes.

The Bangor campus of BTS uses 240,000 kWh of electricity every year. The Seminary's investment in the construction of the Rosebud Sioux St. Francis wind farm will drive the generation of this same amount of electricity once construction is completed.

Administrators at Bangor Theological Seminary first learned about NativeEnergy from Maine Green Power Connection, a nonprofit program based in Brunswick that works to build interest in and market support for environmentally beneficial electricity products.

"We're pleased that the Bangor Theological Seminary recognized the importance of greening up their electricity in a way that contributes directly to new construction of clean, renewable energy sources," says Tom Stoddard, Vice President of NativeEnergy. "Their choice to help build the Rosebud Sioux wind farm doubles their impact - by helping one of the nation's poorest tribes build a sustainable economy in harmony with the Earth."

"We applaud the commitment BTS is making with this purchase - to step out in front of the pack and accept responsibility for their environmental actions," says Maine Green Power Connection Program Manager, Erika Morgan. "By offsetting their electricity use with green power from new wind turbines, they are helping to build a cleaner electricity system for the future."

Connection Welcomes Newest Supporting Partner: Taggart Construction

The Maine Green Power Connection is pleased to welcome Taggart Construction Company Inc. of Freeport as our newest supporting Partner.

Founded by Peter Taggart in 1994, Taggart Construction is a general contractor that specializes in energy efficient, environmentally friendly and occupant-healthy construction. These priorities are built into every Taggart project, whether its new "green" construction, a renovation project, commercial construction or even historic restoration. Taggart Construction is an Energy Star Certified Builder and completed the first Energy Star rated house built by a contractor in the state of Maine.

Green Construction means different things to different people. Taggart Construction specializes in taking the individual needs, wishes, budget and aspirations and translating those into a building that will showcase environmental principles and sustainable materials that ensure its performance for a long, long time. Each of Taggart's 25-person staff has been trained in the firm's approach to high-quality construction, and all of these techniques mean that a home built by Taggart Construction is an investment in quality, the environment and the future.

MeGPC thanks Taggart Construction and its owner Peter Taggart for his support for green power in general and the Maine Green Power Connection in specific. Through this partnership, MeGPC will be able to expand its outreach to audiences we might otherwise be unable to reach.

Use our "buying wizard" and "pollution calculator" to help you make an informed decision about green power.

New Wizard and Calculator Help Green Buyers

It's easier than ever to make an informed decision about green power, thanks to two new tools on the Maine Green Power Connection web site.

The first tool is a "buying wizard" that asks four easy questions to help you select the green power option that is best for you. The second tool is a "pollution calculator" that instantly shows you the impact of buying green.

These new tools are part of the Connection's ongoing efforts to build a greener market for electricity in Maine. As the number of providers continues to grow, the Connection is providing an increasingly valuable service to people considering a green power purchase.

Both tools are available online now at www.MaineGreenPower.org.

Power Sharing: Extolling the Benefits of Green Power

Purchasers of green power know all the benefits of choosing renewable electricity: cleaner air, healthier lungs, greater energy security, and increased environmental protection. And you know that buying green power is one way that your organization can do well by doing good. All green power purchasers should be recognized, for their business savvy as well as their actions on behalf of the future environment. The Maine Green Power Connection wants to help you maximize this "green competitive advantage" while at the same time encouraging other organizations to make the switch to green power.

The Maine Green Power Connection is enlisting help from our green power partners and purchasers to spread the word about clean electricity from renewable resources. This month both partners and all green power purchasers will receive MeGPC's new green power promotional package. This package is full of information and materials designed to both acknowledge their leadership and help them encourage others to follow suit.

The package includes:

  • A certificate, suitable for framing, applauding the organization's green power support.
  • A MeGPC decal-a "real" one (suitable for doors, windows, even cars!) and a "virtual" one for web sites.
  • Printed and electronic copies of all six MeGPC handouts for easy reproduction.
  • And, finally and perhaps most importantly, a CD with lots more stuff-a wealth of additional material for use to promote the fact that your organization buys green power and supports efforts to clean up our electrical power system.

We hope that these materials will prove effective and easy to use for our partners and green power purchasers. We also hope that the availability of these professional marketing tools will help our partners encourage others to "buy clean." Working together, we can all help make Maine healthier. Each purchase brings our state, our nation and our world closer to the day when all electricity is clean.

Throughout the region, the nation and even the world, clean electricity from renewable resources is making rapid progress. This Update represents a brief look at clean power highlights from many sources. Contact the source for more details:

  • Ridgecrest, CA - June 22, 2004 [SolarAccess.com]: WorldWater Corp. has completed supplying the massive one megawatt PV system installation at Cerro Coso Community College in Ridgecrest, CA. WorldWater, serving as exclusive PV equipment supplier, has delivered several million dollars worth of components in the $8,963,053 project contracted to Contra Costa Electric of Bakersfield, CA. The project represents the largest PV installation ever implemented on any community college campus.

  • Connecticut - June 14, 2004 [EERE Network News]: "An Act Concerning Climate Change", signed into law by Connecticut governor John Rowland on June 14, sets a goal to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010 and to 10% below 1990 levels by 2020. While it contains no enforcement measures, it requires the creation of a Governor's Steering Committee on Climate Change and applies to all industrial and commercial electricity generators and all commercial fleets of vehicles.

  • Bonn, Germany - June 4, 2004 [SolarAcess.com]: 154 nations signed a treaty to "substantially increase, with a sense of urgency, the global share of renewable energy" at the World Renewable Energy Conference in Bonn. Generally perceived as a breakthrough and positive model for the future by governments and non-profits alike, it marks the first time that a concrete international law process has been implemented to monitor progress towards climate change goals. US participation was referred to as "hesitant" but "constructive".

  • Montgomery County, Maryland - June 4, 2004 [Green Power Partnership Planet]: Montgomery County has signed an agreement to purchase 38,000 MWh of wind energy annually for the next two years from Community Energy, Inc. This is the largest-ever purchase of wind energy by a local government in the United States, generating much positive press coverage from TV, radio and print sources.

  • New Jersey - June 4, 2004 [Interstate Renewable Energy Council]: The state of New Jersey has recently implemented a program that reimburses 60% of installation costs for small wind turbines, prompting many small businesses and even individual property owners to reduce their electricity bills and carbon emissions by installing turbines on their property. One such property owner, Cathy Sims, says "our electricity bill has been reduced quite a bit. We like to do things that are good for the environment, and there are also economic advantages to using wind and solar power."

  • Providence, Rhode Island - June, 2004 [SmartPower]: Whole Foods Market, a grocery chain with stores in New England and the Middle Atlantic, has gotten promotional efforts underway to publicize its recent purchase of 10% of its energy from wind sources provided by Community Energy, Inc. This 5,200,000 KWh purchase is the tenth largest in the nation's history and will eliminate 729 tons of carbon dioxide emissions in the next year.

  • Boston, Massachusetts - Summer 2004 [SmartPower]: Energy use at the Democratic National Convention, held in Boston, Massachusetts, will be offset by clean renewable sources thanks to the efforts of the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions. Most of the energy, purchased in the form of green tags, will be coming from a wind turbine in Hull, Massachusetts. Says the CERC executive director, "we believe that American political conventions should be powered by American-made renewable energy that doesn't pollute American lungs."

The free Maine Green Power Connection Newsletter is published quarterly via email by the Maine Energy Investment Corporation. To subscribe, send an email message to the "newsletter" email box @MaineGreenPower.org.

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