The Edison Academy of Alexandria, VA hosted its 12th Annual Awards Program for business and community partners, as well as outstanding Academy students on Wednesday, May 25, 2011. IEC Chesapeake and chapter member, Continuum Energy Solutions of Alexandria, VA, received the Edison Academy Partners of the Year Award for their workforce development outreach initiatives to the students of Edison Academy. Specifically, IEC Chesapeake addressed electrical students of the Academy to discuss post secondary electrical apprenticeship training, different career opportunities within the industry, and coordinating field trips to the IEC Chesapeake Chantilly facility for classroom interactive and hands-on lab exercises. Several presentations/demonstrations on Solar/Wind energies were also provided through the Renewable Energy Awareness Project in conjunction with Continuum Energy Solutions with approximately 450 Academy students, faculty, and guests in attendance.
Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal said Sunday that he wants oil prices to drop so that the United States and Europe don’t accelerate efforts to wean themselves off his country’s supply.
In an interview broadcast Sunday on “CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS,” the grandson of the founding king of modern Saudi Arabia said the oil price should be somewhere between $70 and $80 a barrel, rather than the current level of over $100 a barrel.
“We don’t want the West to go and find alternatives, because, clearly, the higher the price of oil goes, the more they have incentives to go and find alternatives,” said Talal, who is listed by Forbes as the 26th richest man in the world.
Spring is finally here, and summer is on the way – time for warm weather, sunshine and the great outdoors! Unfortunately it’s also time to turn up the AC and get ready for higher energy bills. Homeowners often wonder if there is an easy way to reduce energy costs during the hottest months of the year, without sacrificing on comfort or having to pay exorbitant amounts of money on renewable energy. Luckily, we have an answer for you – simple tasks like weather-stripping your windows and doors, as well as pulling the curtains closed while you aren’t at home can help keep the heat outside and your home cool.
Click here to find a complete summer home maintenance checklist.
Continuum Energy Solutions has been influential in the recent progress of solar legislation in Virginia. This week both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly have passed the Voluntary Solar Resource Fund Bill (HB 2191 and SB 975), which aims to set up a revolving loan fund for residential solar energy projects. The loan program will promote economic development and the production of clean, renewable energy at no cost to the state.
The bill is a win-win-win for all major parties involved: the citizens of Virginia who will receive the loans, the commonwealth’s solar energy industry, and utilities with an interest in distributed solar power.
I have been in Richmond often these last few weeks and will continue to update you as the legislation proceeds.
– Kent Baake
The Solar Resource Development Fund needs your help:
Great news! On Tuesday, the Virginia House Special Subcommittee on Energy met to discuss Del. Ebbin’s (D – 49th District) Voluntary Solar Resource Fund Bill (HB 2191/SB 975) and unanimously voted to report the bill! This means the bill will proceed to the House Commerce and Labor Committee, which is its last step before heading to the floor of the House of Delegates for a full vote! This is great news, but we’re not done yet. Senate Commerce and Labor will be hearing Sen. Whipple’s companion bill (SB 975) on Monday, which is the first vote on this bill on the Senate side.
Will you take five minutes to email your legislator to thank them and encourage their support of this legislation?
Virginia has some of the best solar energy potential on the East Coast, but the state currently gets less than .001 percent of its electricity from the sun. This bill would create a low-interest loan fund to help Virginians install solar panels on the roofs of their homes. These loans would be funded by optional contributions from utility customers. If 1 percent of customers donate just $5 a month, the fund would generate more than $2 million annually! This fund, which wouldn’t cost the Commonwealth a cent, is an all around WIN for Virginians, renewable energy, and even utility companies.
Please email your legislator today to pledge your support for HB 2191/SB 975, the Voluntary Solar Resource Fund Bill. If you’ve already reached out to them about this bill, please let them know how much you would appreciate their continued support.
To find your legislator and email him/her about this issue easily go to www.chesapeakeclimate.org and click on the blog posting on this Solar Bill
By STEVE SZKOTAK
In an era where new power plants cost billions and the huge components of offshore wind farms require an industrial base to manufacture, solar power proponent Kent Baake came to the Capitol on Thursday backing two low-key alternative energy bills.
One would create a state fund for homeowners to finance solar power installations. The other would loosen homeowner association covenants that restrict rooftop solar collection panels.
Baake said the bills’ passage would encourage more residents to try solar, and enrich the state’s economy.
“This renewable energy stuff creates jobs,” Baake said during a one-day drive by dozens of alternative energy proponents to win the support of legislators. “There are success stories out there.”
His company, Continuum Energy Solutions of Alexandria, has seen its small work force multiply by 500 percent in the past year designing and installing solar technology and other energy efficiencies. Continuum employs 25.
Baake was among the more than 40 proponents of solar, wind and biomass energy who met with legislators in what was billed the first renewable energy lobbying day at the legislature.
“We feel it is critically important that the renewable energy story be told to legislators who otherwise hear from the utilities every day,” said Glen Besa, director of the Sierra Club of Virginia. He added that Virginia leaders “need to appreciate that coal, gas and nuclear are no longer the only ways to generate electricity.”
Gov. Bob McDonnell has pushed energy to the forefront of his Republican administration, creating the climate for a robust discussion of how the state will meet its energy needs in the future. He also has been criticized by some on the alternative front for investing too much political capital in fossil fuels, such as offshore oil and gas exploration.
The Obama administration put Atlantic Coast oil and gas exploration off limits following the BP Gulf oil disaster.
Some big energy players were also among the biomass and solar proponents pitching their energy plans to legislators.
They included Robert Mitchell, acting chief executive of Atlantic Wind Connection. The company has attracted Google Inc. as an investor in its proposal to build a backbone transmission line running from the New Jersey coast down to Virginia, with the potential of delivering 6,600 megawatts of offshore wind power.
The development of wind farms off the East Coast could create more than a quarter-million jobs manufacturing the huge components of wind turbines and in related industries, Mitchell said.
“Virginia is very, very well suited to be one of the prime recipients of factories locating here,” Mitchell said. “You have what many of the other states don’t have, and that is ports that have access to the ocean without the encumbrances of bridges.”
Ocean-based wind farms rise 400 feet from the ocean floor with blades the length of football fields.
Besides job creation, wind power would have a huge reduction in carbon emissions: a reduction of 16 million tons annually, or the equivalent of taking 3 million cars off the road.
“We’ve got a great opportunity here, and besides that it’s the right thing to do,” said Robert Mathias, a member of the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority and assistant to the Virginia Beach city manager.
He said Hampton Roads has the potential to become the Silicon Valley of wind power.
For Baake, the bill aimed at restrictive housing covenants would mean more business for his small company, and more jobs. He left Richmond after winning over a couple legislators, he said.
“We definitely made some progress,” he said.
CES President Kent Baake and other renewable advocates hold press conference covered by AP, VA Public Radio and Capiton News Services.
“It is time that our legislative leaders took stock of the renewable energy industry in Virginia,” said Kent Baake, CEO and founder of Continuum Energy Solutions. “That is why this very first Renewable Energy Business Lobby Day is so important.”
More than forty renewable energy businesses came to Richmond today to represent the wind, solar and bio mass industries. They paid visits to over fifty legislators informing them about the industry, and what problems and opportunities they see for expanding this industry in Virginia.
“I am a small businessman and my firm grew by 500% this past year,” said Baake. “Renewable energy can be a major driver for the Virginia economy if the General Assembly just removed some of the barriers to expanding the industry in Virginia.”
One positive step the General Assembly took last year was the establishment of the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority. Virginia has the potential for 3,000 Megawatts of offshore wind power just 12 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, and the authority was created to support the development of that resource.
“Offshore wind has tremendous potential for Hampton Roads and the Commonwealth as a source of clean renewable energy and as an economic engine that can create thousands of new jobs,” said Robert Matthias, member of the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority and Assistant to the City Manager of Virginia Beach.
The potential of offshore wind is attracting big investors like Google which recently announced its support for the Atlantic Wind Connection, a firm that proposes to build a backbone transmission line off the coast from Virginia to New Jersey to transport energy more efficiently from wind farms that will be built up and down the east coast.
“We are excited by the opportunities that offshore wind has to offer,” said Robert Mitchell Acting CEO of Atlantic Wind Connection. “This is a well established industry in Europe projected to employ 240,000 workers and we have a similar opportunity in our country. But we need the help of state assemblies and Congress to reform laws that represent obstacles our developing this industry in the U.S.
“Another important source of renewable energy that could benefit rural Virginia is bio-mass,” said Al Weed, on behalf of the Virginia Bio-mass Council. “Our farmers and our rural communities can become centers for homegrown energy that can bring jobs to those areas of our state with some of the highest unemployment.”
“We feel it is critically important that the renewable energy story be told to legislators who otherwise hear from the utilities every day,” said Glen Besa, Director of the Sierra Club Virginia which organized the lobby day.
“If Virginia is going to benefit from the same economic opportunities that are happening in neighboring states like Maryland and North Carolina, our state leaders need to appreciate that coal, gas and nuclear are no longer the only ways to generate electricity.”
An excellent bill to stimulate solar: The Solar Resource Development Fund, has been offered in the Virginia General Assembly, HB2191 also SB975. This would establish a fund where citizens could borrow money at low interest to get solar installed on their home. Please write your state representative today to express support for this bill!
Founder & CEO Continuum Solar