New Jersey Creates “Green” Bank to Improve Energy Resilience

September 26, 2014

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Maryland Clean Energy Center is preparing a report for the Maryland General Assembly on the establishment of a “green” bank in Maryland to assist with renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.  A September 25 Governing article reported that New Jersey has established a green bank to make the state’s energy grid more resilient to disasters and disruptions.

Through revolving loans and grants, the bank will support projects that include installing microgrids, distributed generation (where electricity is generated from multiple small energy sources such as fuel cells or solar panels), smart grid technology and energy storage. Initially, the bank will be funded using $200 million from New Jersey’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). When that runs out, says Greg Reinert, director of communications for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the state will allocate funds. The ultimate goal, though, is to bring in private capital.

The article also discussed the history and purpose of green banks, noting that Connecticut was the first state to open a green bank in 2011.

The purpose of green banks is simple: Mitigate risk to attract private investors. One way green banks do this is by providing lenders insurance against default. So if a project fails and a borrower doesn’t repay a loan, a private lender won’t lose its entire investment.

 


White Marsh Run Sewer & Stream Restoration Project Largest in Baltimore County’s History

September 26, 2014

A September 24 Baltimore Sun article reported that Baltimore County will undertake a $13 million sewer line replacement and stream relocation/restoration project for White Marsh Run.  The article indicates that the project is the largest of its kind ever undertaken by the County.

To restore the stream, workers will relocate about 6,300 feet of stream channel, create wetlands and stabilize the stream banks and bed, officials said. Workers also will place large stones around the sewer line and replace 800 feet of pipeline with a larger one.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said in a statement the restoration — expected to be completed by the end of 2015 — would slow down the runoff by “converting stream banks from virtual cliffs of dirt into more natural flood plains that hold the water and absorb nutrients and pollution.”

The project will be funded by bond revenues and money from annual water and sewer fees paid by property owners.


Sustainable Maryland Offers Leadership Training in Sustainability Workshops

September 25, 2014

Sustainable Maryland is offering a series of Leadership Training in Sustainability Workshops in November.  The workshops are open to county and municipal elected officials and senior-level staff.

Overview:

Strong stakeholder perspectives often surround sustainability issues and opportunities. Climate change, water conservation, renewable energy, and green infrastructure are just a few issues that frequently generate disagreement and debate and which can benefit from leadership skills to engage diverse stakeholders, reduce contention and garner support. These workshops, conducted by expert facilitators from the Environmental Finance Centers at University of Maryland and Dominican University of California, will incorporate examples, stories and tools that will:

  • Provide the skills to understand and better manage interactions with staff, board and/or community,
  • Introduce tools to help reduce conflict and plan for the future, and
  • Improve participant’s ability to turn dry numbers into a compelling story and message.

There are 3 dates & locations:

Monday, November 17, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM at Cambridge Public Safety Building, Cambridge

REGISTER

Wednesday, November 19, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM at Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland, College Park

REGISTER

 Thursday, November 20, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM at University System of Maryland at Hagerstown

REGISTER

Registration Fee:

$35.00 (includes breakfast, lunch, program materials, parking)

Agenda Topics (full agenda available October 1)

  • Creating an effective story
  • Conversation mapping for stakeholder engagement
  • Identifying and prioritization mapping for stakeholder engagement
  • Creating powerful presentations
  • Framing your message
  • Future scenario planning

For further information contact:

Mike Hunninghake at mikeh75@umd.edu or 301-405-7956

 


MACo & County Stakeholders Offer Input for “Green” Energy Bank Study

September 25, 2014

MACo and county representatives attended a stakeholders workgroup meeting on September 24 and offered their input on the feasibility and benefits of establishing a “green” bank in Maryland that would help provide financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.  SB 985 of 2014 required the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC), in collaboration with the Maryland Energy Administration, to conduct the study on green banks and submit a report to the Maryland General Assembly by December 1.   MCEC has been meeting with various stakeholder groups throughout the summer and the September 24 meeting with the 7th and final gathering.

After a brief introduction to green banks by consulting firm The Cadmus Group, the invited stakeholders offered their thoughts on green banks.  Besides MACo, local government representatives were present from Baltimore, Montgomery, and Wicomico Counties, and Baltimore City. The county representatives discussed various green energy projects within their jurisdictions and stressed that a green bank should have a variety of financing options for both large- and small-scale projects.  The availability of technical assistance was also important.  MACO Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp noted the need to quantify the benefits and cost savings of a renewable energy or energy efficiency project.

Representatives from the Maryland Department of the Environment, University of Maryland System, and the Maryland Farm Bureau also attended the meeting and offered their perspectives.

Cadmus Group Green Bank Presentation


County Engineers, Administrators, Planners Can Attend CRC Workshop on Using Roadside Ditch Management to Meet Bay TMDL Goals

September 24, 2014

The Chesapeake Research Consortium (CRC) is accepting inquires by county engineers, administrators, and planners or their staff who would be interested in attending an overnight workshop on improving roadside ditch management to help meet Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) water quality goals.  Attendance is by invitation only.  Please contact Matt Ellis (ellism@si.edu) by October 1st if you would be interested being invited. (But note that if you wish to reserve a discount hotel room through CRC, you must do so by September 26th.)  Here are the specifics from the Workshop Information handout:

Re-Plumbing The Chesapeake Bay Watershed: Improving Roadside Ditch Management to Meet TMDL Water Quality Goals

October 9-10, 2014 Tidewater Inn 101 E Dover St. Easton, MD 21601

We are personally inviting you to join a select group of experts from around the Chesapeake Bay watershed to discuss sediment and nutrient issues related to roadside ditch management and various mitigation and design approaches.  Specifically, we would very much like to include your perspectives in the Summary Recommendations, which will be distributed to Chesapeake Bay watershed decision-makers.  We sincerely hope you can make time to participate in this important discussion.  Breakfast and lunch will be provided both days and a room block has been established at the Tidewater Inn for all participants.  Please RSVP to Matt Ellis (ellism@si.edu) by October 1st.

The complete set of Workshop Objectives is listed below and a Final Workshop Agenda will be distributed soon.

  •  Share recent scientific assessments of regional surface water quality impacts from ditches alongside low-volume, rural roads;
  • Review Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) accepted best management practices to mitigate impacts from roadside ditches and explore novel approaches to treating road runoff;
  • Outline additional policy and research and monitoring needs to enhance rural roadside ditch management; and
  • Establish a communications network for professionals including decision-makers, practitioners, and scientists, engaged in building better ditch management across the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The organizing committee for this workshop consists of:

Kathy Boomer (The Nature Conservancy, MD/DC Chapter – Chair, Conference Organizer); Rebecca Schneider (Cornell University – Chair, Summary Report and Follow-up); Norm Goulet (Northern VA Regional Commission; CBP Urban Stormwater GIT); Steven Bloser (Director, PA Center for Dirt and Gravel Roads); David Orr (Director, Cornell Center for Local Roads); Michael Slattery (USFWS, Chesapeake Bay Program); Jennifer Greiner (USFWS, Chesapeake Bay Program); Donnelle Keech (Allegany Forests Project Director, The Nature Conservancy); Alan Girard (Chesapeake Bay Foundation); Ray Bryant (USDA-ARS); Amy Jacobs (The Nature Conservancy)

RDM Workshop Information Handout (PDF Form)

RDM Workshop DRAFT Agenda

 


Register for the Maryland Clean Energy Summit – Discount for County Officials

September 23, 2014

Register now for the 2014 Maryland Clean Energy Summit on October 14 & 15, at the Marriott Inn & Conference Center in Hyattsville, Maryland.  Full registration rates end September 30! There is a special discount code (PARG) for county officials; county officials can save $120 if they register by September 30! Prices will rise $100 on October 1.

MCEC logoThis year’s summit focus is The Energy Experience: Transforming the Customer Experience. From MCEC’s Summit website:

Jump start the Energy Renaissance, with the dissemination of ideas to transform customers from passive to engaged decision makers and participants in their energy future.

Highlights:

  • Address by Sarah Dunham, Director, Office of Atmospheric Programs, EPA: “The Specter of EPA 111(d)”
  • Keynote by Calvin G. Butler, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, BGE
  • Tech Showcase: Select entrepreneurs “pitch” their new under-development technologies to potential investors and product development experts

Hear from inspired speakers and panel presenters in sessions that will cover energy literacy, efficiency, reliability, resiliency and affordability within the related technological, financial, policy, and regulatory framework.

Relevant data, best practice models and real life case studies will be examined to address the challenges and opportunities residential, small business & retail, commercial & industrial, and government & institutional customers are facing in their transformation as energy users.

Become enlightened! Learn from industry experts, stakeholders, and innovators who who are engaging customers and driving the market.

Join in the dialogue! Participate in an Energy Roundtable Discussion and attend a number of breakout sessions organized to shed some light on key questions.

  • The Future of the Utility Marketplace in regard to the Customer Relationship
  • How will EPA 111 (d) proposed regulations create opportunities and impact customer bills?
  • Who are the key players leading the way in widespread educational reform on the national, regional and local level?
  • What does it take to deploy customer-friendly energy solutions at all levels of the market and how will these advancements be financed?
  • Who are the leading innovators bridging new technologies, job creation and customer needs to the mix?

Click here to view the agenda. For more information visit www.mcecsummit.org or 443.949.8505.


Eastern Shore Land Conservancy to Hold 15th Annual Planning Conference

September 22, 2014

The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy plans to hold its 15th Annual Planning Conference, “The Future of Eastern Shore Agriculture,” on November 20, 2014 at the Tidewater Inn in Easton, Maryland.  As reported by MyEasternShoreMD,

The conference will celebrate and discuss innovations and opportunities for Eastern Shore agriculture, including: strengthening current agriculture, supporting emerging and niche agricultural opportunities, and further developing Eastern Shore communities’ connection to agriculture.

ESLC invites members of the agriculture community, elected and appointed officials, government staff members, community leaders, and anyone interested in food to attend.
Questions considered include the following: Will drones be a strong part of Shore agriculture, and what opportunities are available through precision agriculture? How have Eastern Shore farms benefited from tourism, creating new farm markets, or changing their products? What role can a regional food hub play? What is the future for aquaculture? What are the advantages and struggles with crop diversification and green energy? How can we help improve accessibility food in our own Eastern Shore communities?
You can register at eslc.org or by contacting Jen Matthews at 410-827-9756, ext. 155.

 


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