University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University Cooperative Extension agents gathered in Athens, Georgia, last week to recognize the work of their colleagues’ achievements at the annual Georgia meeting of Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP), a professional organization for those working in Extension. In addition to awards recognizing accomplishments in educational programming, the meeting allows agents to learn from each other. Poster presentations featuring successful programs from across the state are an annual part of the group’s meeting. UGA Extension has 300 Extension agents serving in 157 counties across Georgia. Their mission is to spread research-based knowledge from the campus of the university to every small town, farm field and city block in Georgia. “My message to all of you here today is really a simple one,” UGA President Jere Morehead told the agents gathered on Friday, Sept. 4. “Please just keep doing what you’re doing to showcase this wonderful university. Please continue with the pride for the work that you do that then causes the people you interact with to have admiration for this university. And please keep doing, every day, the little things that add up to the great things that this university means to the state of Georgia.” This year, Epsilon Sigma Phi recognized agents from across the state who answered Morehead’s call to find ways to make the knowledge and research of the university impact the lives of Georgians more directly. Award winners include: ESP Friend of Extension, Georgia Chapter Award: Rep. Terry England (Auburn, Georgia)Distinguished Service Award: Stephens County Extension Coordinator Forrest Connelly Continued Excellence Recognition: Spalding County 4-H Agent Cherry HovatterMid-Career Service Recognition: Muscogee County Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Agent Rhea BentleyEarly Career Service Recognition: Tattnall County Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Agent Chris TysonDiversity Multicultural Recognition for a Team: Dougherty County Extension Coordinator James Morgan, Dougherty County FCS Agent Suzanne Williams and Crisp County 4-H Agent Randy West Diversity Multicultural Recognition for an Individual: Muscogee County FCS Agent Rhea BentleyDistrict New Professional Awards: Northeast District, Walton County 4-H Agent Jenna Daniel; Northwest District, Fulton County ANR Agent Rolando Orellana; Southeast District, Bacon County ANR Agent Will Lovett; Southwest District, Berrien County ANR Agent Eddie BeasleyTal DuVall Scholarship: Tattnall County ANR Agent Chris TysonESP Professional Development Fellowships: Seminole County 4-H Agent Cindy Meadows and Mitchell County 4-H Agent Jennifer GroganAdministrative Leadership Recognition: Mitchell County 4-H Agent Jennifer GroganMeritorious Support Service Award: Northeast District, Franklin County 4-H Program Assistant Audrey Justice; Northwest District, Coweta County Extension Secretary Pamela Burkey; Southeast District, Bacon County Extension Secretary Sharon Bridges; Southwest District, Randolph County Extension Secretary Drusilla WhatleyFor more information about Epsilon Sigma Phi, please visit esp.caes.uga.edu. For more information about about UGA Extension, please visit extension.uga.edu.
On September 29, the Robert A. Skiff Alumni Award went to Sarah Soule, the director of admissions and college counseling at Vermont Commons School; the C. Bader Brouilette Alumni Award to Marie Ambusk, financial reporting accountant/principal at GE Healthcare Integrated Information Technology Solutions; the Vermont Alumni Award to Tim Kavanagh of WCAX-TV and Late Night Saturday; the Roger A. Perry Alumni Award to Courtney McAuliffe of New England Kurn Hattin Homes; and the Presidents Alumni Award to Peter Bruhn and Peter Jewett, operators of GoTradingPost.com.Champlain College President David Finney and many Champlain alumni and friends participated in the celebration aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen.
Food Stamp Participation Reaches All-Time High in Vermont During Holiday SeasonBurlington, VT, December 2, 2008 – While many in Vermont were savoring Thanksgiving treats last week, others were signing up for food assistance; 60,062 Vermonters, almost 1 in 10, now participate in the Food Stamp Program according to data released by the Department for Children and Families. This number is up by over 1,500 in just one month, up 7,000 since this time last year, and represents a record high for Vermont.According to Angela Smith-Dieng, Food Stamp Outreach & Policy Specialist at the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger, “The upsurge in participation may be in part due to policy changes that took effect on October 1st. However, given the downturn in the economy coupled with high food and fuel costs, the increase may have more to do with increased need. With hunger on the rise across Vermont, increased participation indicates that more Vermonters are taking advantage of this critical nutrition assistance.”Food stamps are a USDA entitlement program designed to respond quickly to increased need. For a household that is struggling financially, infusing food dollars into their budget frees up money for other expenses. At the same time, by participating in the program they are more likely to be in good health and succeed in school and at work. Thanks to changes made to the program by the Agency of Human Services, thousands more Vermonters will be eligible for these benefits as of January 1, 2009.Smith-Dieng says: “We’re glad that more Vermonters are receiving the food benefits they are entitled to. Nevertheless, 1 in 3 Vermonters are eligible but not participating – we are working hard to spread the word about the expanding program. We invite every Vermonter to spread the word about this program to neighbors who might be struggling: through school and congregation newsletters, local senior centers, town clerks offices, and health clinics.”More information and materials about the Food Stamp Program is available at www.vermontfoodhelp.com(link is external).The Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger is a statewide nonprofit organization that combats hunger through advocacy, education, and technical assistance. Since 1993, VTCECH has been providing communities with the tools to create and sustain local programs that feed children in need. Information on VTCECH, hunger in Vermont and federal nutrition programs is available at www.vtnohunger.org(link is external).###
Tim Williams, president of Mesa Contract Inc. announced Chris Echo has achieved ownership status and is now a vested partner in the company. Echo will continue to focus on existing client relations for Exterus Business Furniture, a Mesa Contract Inc. subsidary.Echo has over 14 years of direct commercial experience in the office and furnishings industry. He holds a BA in Business Management from Champlain College.Mesa Contract is a manufacturer of premium ergonomic office accessories and wood desk solutions. Exterus is a supplier of over 100 quality office furniture manufacturers.
Burlington Telecom officials were greeted with much skepticism by regulators in their request yesterday to borrow more money from the City of Burlington’s cash pool in an effort to make an interest payment on existing debt. The $386,673 interest payment to CitiCapital Municipal Finance is due Wednesday. The Vermont Public Service Board and staff did not make a final decision, but their line of questioning cast much doubt on the wisdom on borrowing more money to cover debt that the city-owned telecom company already cannot cover.Burlington Telecom, which offers telephone, television and Internet services and has 4,600 subscribers, already owes the city $16.95 million. It is also in violation of its charter for not repaying the loan to the city within 60 days.
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The solar energy industry has achieved its long-time quest to become cost-competitive with conventional power across wide swaths of the United States. Now it is on to a new mission: saving that energy for later.Large-scale solar power plants coupled with energy storage systems are multiplying in the U.S., as developers and grid operators seek to smooth the variable output of solar plants by storing the electricity they produce for peak power demand in the evening. At least 51 such hybrid systems 1 MW and larger are online or planned, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. Operational systems total 783 MW of solar capacity tied to 492 MW of storage for various periods of time, while planned projects account for 3,228 MW of solar integrated with 2,888 MW of storage.Many of these solar-plus-storage projects are concentrated in the Southwest. Hawaii and the Northeast also have multiple projects planned or underway. Beyond known projects with identifiable developers, many more solar-plus-storage power plants are earlier in the development process. Grid operator interconnection queues and recent responses to utility requests for proposals show several thousand megawatts of additional potential.In response to Xcel Energy Inc.’s recent request for proposals, for instance, developers pitched 57 projects in Colorado for more than 10,000 MW of battery-backed photovoltaics. The California ISO’s generator interconnection queue, as of May 24, showed 16 projects coupling 3,340 MW of solar PV with 2,532 MW of batteries. Another 14 solar-plus-storage projects with a combined maximum output of more than 5,000 MW were exploring interconnection in Arizona Public Service Co.’s territory, as of April 4. Additional large-scale battery-backed solar projects are under study in the ISO New England, New Mexico and PJM Interconnection.“I see a future with more battery and solar combinations,” Jeff Burke, director of resource planning at APS, said in an interview.On new energy frontier, solar-plus-storage plants proliferate New solar plants equipped with electricity-storage capacity are proliferating across the U.S.
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:Tunisia’s Ministry for Energy, Mines and Renewable Energy has received five bids for the 500 MW solar tender it launched in November.Mehdi Majoul, an advisor to the ministry, wrote on his LinkedIn social media account that the bids, submitted by unspecified leading international solar companies, all offered record low energy prices for the Tunisian market, according to the tender’s preliminary results.Majoul added, the lowest bid – DT71.800/kWh ($0.0244) – was for a 200 MW project in the province of Tataouine. Two 50 MW projects, in the provinces of Sidi Bouzid and Tozeur, attracted offers of DT79.300/kWh ($0.027), according to the advisor, and the two remaining 100 MW projects – in the provinces of Gafsa and Kairouan – prompted bids of DT79.900/kWh ($0.0272) and DT84.100/kWh ($0.0286), respectively.“Notably, the tariff tendered by the company Scatec Solar for [the] Tataouine project, namely $0.0244 per kilowatt hour, is the lowest bid ever recorded in Africa and is among the lowest in the world,” wrote Majoul. “The prices proposed under this tender will help bring down the cost of production of electricity nationwide and reduce the bill for energy subsidies in addition to lowering national imports of natural gas by 5%. These projects will start operating from 2021.”The Tunisian government had pre-qualified 16 developers for the tender. Among them were European energy giants Enel, Engie, Total and EDF – the latter in a consortium with UAE-based Masdar and Japan’s Mitsui. Other bidders included Canadian Solar; Spanish developers Acciona and Fotowatio; French concerns GreenYellow, Akuo and Voltalia; Norway’s Scatec; Saudi power company ACWA; and China’s TBEA.More: Lowest bid in Tunisia’s 500 MW solar tender comes in at $0.0244 Scatec Solar submits $24/MWh bid for Tunisia solar project, a record low in Africa
California’s PG&E seeks approval for 423MW/1.7GWh of new battery storage projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Pacific Gas & Electric has asked California regulators to approve seven battery projects totaling 423 megawatts, or nearly 1.7 gigawatt-hours of energy storage capacity, to meet its share of a statewide procurement that must be brought online by late next year to assure statewide grid stability.PG&E’s 2020 System Reliability Request for Offers, filed Monday with the California Public Utilities Commission, represents a huge new addition to the utility’s battery fleet to meet the state’s resource adequacy needs starting in 2021. It’s the second major procurement from a California utility designed to comply with the CPUC’s order for 3.3 gigawatts of carbon-free resources to help meet grid reliability needs that will arise when four natural-gas-fired power plants retire next year to reduce their environmental harm to coastal waters.PG&E’s portfolio of new battery projects isn’t the biggest one meant to make up for those power plants, whose retirement has already been delayed by a year to allow clean energy replacement resources to be brought online. Earlier this month, utility Southern California Edison announced 770 megawatts, or nearly 3 gigawatt-hours, of storage from seven winning bids, most of them connected to existing solar farms. SCE has the largest share of procurement since it faces the more severe potential grid disruptions from closing the power plants.But PG&E’s new proposal does represent a major boost to a battery fleet that’s already set to be the largest in the world. PG&E’s major projects include a 300-megawatt/1,200-megawatt-hour project by Vistra Energy and a 182.5-megawatt/730-megawatt-hour project from Tesla being built near a natural-gas plant in the Monterey County community of Moss Landing.PG&E is now adding another 100 megawatts/400 megawatt-hours of battery plant from Vistra to be part of its new resource adequacy portfolio in the transmission-constrained South Bay/Moss Landing sub-area. It’s also adding three 50-megawatt/200-megawatt-hour systems to the existing 50-megawatt Diablo Energy Storage project being built by LS Power in Contra Costa County.PG&E’s new round of contracts, which must still be approved by the CPUC, is the third major storage deal to be announced just this month, including SCE’s projects and another nearly 3-gigawatt-hour procurement announced by Hawaiian Electric last week.[Jeff St. John]More: Vistra, LS Power top winners in PG&E’s 420MW storage procurement
Samsung pledges to quit coal construction, but not before building Vung Ang 2 plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Samsung C&T Corp. will finish two more coal projects before exiting the sector.Construction of the two ventures, the Gangneung facility in South Korea and the Vung Ang 2 project in Vietnam, are scheduled to be completed in 2023 and 2024, respectively. The pledge to exit the coal industry is “unprecedented” for a non-financial firm in South Korea, the company said in a statement.The de-facto holding company of the Samsung empire has faced growing criticism over its involvement in coal amid mounting global pressure to halt use of the dirtiest fossil fuel. Activist climate investors expressed concern Samsung C&T remained committed to the two projects.Global investors are increasingly voicing concerns over the risks associated with South Korea’s overseas coal financing as the state-owned Korea Electric Power Corp., known as Kepco, continues to approve plans to invest in new projects. BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest asset manager with a stake in the utility, urged the company to provide clear strategic rationale for its investment in new plants in Vietnam and Indonesia.Kepco’s board of directors approved a $200 million investment in the Vung Ang 2 project earlier this month. A joint venture between Samsung C&T and Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. will be in charge of engineering, procurement and construction for the project, a Kepco spokesman said Oct. 6.Samsung C&T said its trading arm will also gradually exit from all coal-related businesses once its existing contracts terminate, while seeking to expand its business into LNG and renewables. The company will completely withdraw from the Gangneung project after selling all of its 29% stake, which it can do it three years after commercial operations begin in end-2023.[Heesu Lee]More: Samsung construction arm to ditch coal after 2 more projects
Linc Stallings running Class IV+ dueling waterfalls. See the full gallery. Photo: Jeremy Rogers“I’ve got a 50/50 success rate with that drop. About half the time, I swim,” Linc Stallings tells me after he negotiates our boat over a 10-foot waterfall into a deep pool flanked by massive boulders. We’re running the North Fork of the French Broad, a small stream that drops off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina. It’s a rain-dependent creek with class IV+ vertical drops, deep pools, and technical boulder gardens scattered throughout a two-mile stretch that’s popular with creek boaters. We’re running it in a small two-person raft called an R-2. Across the Southern Appalachians, a handful of boaters are beginning to take these small, 10-foot rafts down narrow, class IV-V creeks that have previously only been run in kayaks and the occasional canoe. It’s a niche sport that even some creek boaters think is a little crazy.“People freak out when they see rubber coming down a creek,” Stallings says. “There are only a few people who would take a raft down these narrow rivers, so people still think it’s wild.”Of those few R-2 boaters, Linc Stallings is easily one of the most experienced. The 36 year old has been guiding rafts down class V rivers for 15 years, working the biggest rivers in the South and Colorado depending on the year. He’s a rare breed: a professional raft guide, someone who’s committed to this as a career, not just something to do between college and “the real world.”“I always thought I’d do it and move on. But I just kept doing it,” Stallings says. “I love it. I love taking people out on the river. I love hanging out with other boaters. I love the water.”R-2 creeking is essentially what raft guides do on their day off. They borrow a small two-person raft from their bosses and push it, scrape it, and paddle like hell through tight rain-dependent creeks in the mountains. The North Fork of the French Broad is one of Stallings’ favorites. He first learned to creek boat here while attending Brevard College’s wilderness immersion program. He knows the nuances of every significant rapid the way a tween girl knows the lyrics to a Justin Bieber song.“A ton of people have run this creek in a kayak,” he tells me as we begin to paddle toward the first class III rapid, just 50 yards from the put-in. “But running it in a raft has a completely different dynamic. Running tight drops in this big boat is fun, but there are some logistical things you have to work out. It’s like doing a math problem.” 1 2