Earth Day Events to Encourage Renewables
Keeping tree branches cut back from power lines ensures that you’ll get the best electricity reliability for your home. Spring time is usually when utility companies to prune tree limbs.
This year, Eversource decided to give a little back to the trees. Back in January, Eversource launched an energy efficiency program in cooperation with the Town of Greenwich to donate $25 to the Greenwich Tree Conservancy for every home that signed up to participate in the Energize Connecticut’s Home Energy Solutions program.
At the Greenwich Earth Day Month Proclamation event, Eversource presented a check for $1,950 to the Greenwich Tree Conservancy. The utility’s Earth Day events are far from over as it plans to partner with Greenwich and the Greenwich Conservation Commission to for a light bulb swap on Saturday, April 22. Town residents can exchange up to five incandescent light bulbs for five LED bulbs for free.
Stafford Meets Energy Goals Years Early
Eighth grade Girl Scouts in Stafford are helping to show off their town’s sustainability success on Earth Day. Stafford has surpassed their 2020 energy goal of saving 20 percent on energy three years early. Stafford’s Energy Advisory Committee discovered their feat while analyzing the town’s energy use to be eligible for a grant from Eversource.
To earn their Silver Award, the scouts produced a map showing renewable energy projects throughout the town, including municipal solar and geothermal improvements and electric vehicles that have been saving the town energy.
Cow Power in the Future?
The “Cow Power” Bill, SB 999, sponsored by state Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-District 12), seeks to set up a pilot program for three Connecticut dairy farms to run anaerobic digesters for manure and nutrient management. Decomposing manure makes methane gas, which makes up 80% of natural gas . Like natural gas, methane can be burned to generate cheap electricity. Each system in the project is to use up to 85% animal manure to generate up to 500 KW. Any surplus electricity is to be sold via virtual net metering to to Eversource or United Illuminating.
While farm animal manure is spread over fields as fertilizer, modern farms generate LOTS of the stuff — especially during the winter months. Manure run off of excess nitrogen and phosphorous into streams, rivers, and ultimately the ocean. Connecticut dairy farmers have been struggling to find ways of managing it. Composting, storage, and other manure management practices also posed the risk of manure spills into waterways and releasing methane, a greenhouse gas, into the air.
Kennedy believes the pilot program is a way to help the farmer’s cope with rising costs. To be sure, anaerobic digestion to make electricity is nothing new. Farming states from Maine to California have programs that turns poop (even city sewage) into power. But anaerobic digestion systems are tricky to run, requiring a year or more of tweaking to reach their highest efficiency.
SB 999 was recently passed unanimously in the Environment Committee and will mooove on to the state Senate.