Nov 21st, R.I. Recycles Day

On November 21st, from 8am till noon at the Central Landfill: Central Landfill, 65 Shun Pike, Johnston, RI 02919.  The state will be celebrating Rhode Island Recycles Day, they will be accepting many recyclables.  This will include lawn furniture, large plastic toys.  This will be free to all R.I. residents.  http://www.rirrc.org is a great website that will let you know what is going on in recycling in R.I.

This is a great day to recycle rigid plastic containers numbered 3-7, such as yogurt containers that do not have a 1 or a 2 imprinted on them.  The 1 and 2 are the only accepted plastics in the recycling bins in R.I.  Don’t forget even paint can’s that are piling up can finally be recycled.

Examples of Rigid plastics are:

  • Plastic buckets, drums, and empty garbage containers
  • Plastic milk crates, kitty litter buckets, laundry baskets, lawn furniture, or pet carriers
  • Plastic toys & playhouses, plastic sandboxes
  • Agricultural trays & pots, plastic flower pots
  • Plastic pallets and shelving

Examples of common plastics with the #3-7 are:

  • Yogurt and margarine containers
  • Baby bottles
  • Plastic dinnerware 

No appointments will be needed for most items.  The state will accept household hazardous wastes.  This is a great day to head to the landfill and recycle those large and difficult items. 

Rhode Island’s Eco-Depot will be accepting computers, TV’s, batteries, rechargeable batteries, digital cameras, computers, and even computer accessories.  They will also be taking laundry baskets, plastic trash cans and kid toys such as big wheels and kiddy pools. 

The only appointments that are needed are for hazardous household items such as antifreeze, gasoline, fertilizers, weed killers and pesticides.  To make an appointment the number is 401-942-1430 ext. 241

Besides recycling they will also be able to shred any of your personal documents and then recycle them.  So bring your old bank statements, credit card statements ect.  You may also bring papers to be recycled that are not sensitive documents.     

Posted by: Kate Kiselka, Follow me on Twitter

Renewable sources of energy to generate 20 percent of RI’s electricity needs

In June, Gov. Donald L. Carcieri’s office signed a bill allowing National Grid to sign long-term contracts to purchase electricity from renewable-energy developers.

“This landmark legislation is a critical piece to Rhode Island’s goal to increase the use of renewable sources of energy to generate 20 percent of the state’s electricity needs,” Carcieri said in a statement.

The legislation requires National Grid to sign 10- to 15-year contracts to buy a minimum of 90 megawatts of its electricity load from renewable developers and up to 150 megawatts from a utility-scale offshore wind farm that Hoboken, N.J.-based Deepwater Wind plans to construct in Rhode Island Sound in the first half of the next decade.

The contracting process will be overseen by the R.I. Public Utilities Commission. Once a renewable site begins generating power, ratepayers will pay National Grid a 2.75 percent bonus for using its electricity.

The bill received strong backing from Deepwater, which was picked by the Carcieri administration to build the offshore wind project and another smaller one off Block Island.

Deepwater and other renewable energy developers say long-term contracts play a key role in allowing them to attract investors because they guarantee that projects will generate enough revenue to cover their upfront costs. Other states, including Massachusetts, have implemented similar policies recently.

The new law “sends a strong signal that Rhode Island is serious about renewable energy,” Carcieri added. “We have the natural resources, a willing and able work force, and now with this legislation we have the regulatory environment to encourage development. Our state is now in the position to be a national leader in this industry.”

Hmmm, I wonder if we can stay the course.

posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter : newscaster

RI’s Governor named the new vice chairman of the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition

Gov. Donald L. Carcieri is the new vice chairman of the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, a bipartisan group of 28 states dedicated to development of the nation’s wind-energy resources.

“Gov. Carcieri has been an effective advocate for coastal and offshore wind development and a leader in developing Rhode Island’s wind energy resources, including the first offshore wind project in North America that will provide 15 percent of all electricity used in Rhode Island. That’s a remarkable accomplishment,” Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said on Monday. Culver is the Virginia-based coalition’s chairman.

Carcieri issued a statement calling development of the nation’s coastal wind resources “vital to meeting the nation’s 20 percent wind energy goal. Gov. Culver and the 28 governors in the coalition overcame the skepticism that greeted wind development in their states several years ago, and look where we are today.

“They understand that wind-energy development is national in scope, and they will be important partners in addressing some of the regional challenges we face,” Carcieri added.

Through its multistate efforts, the coalition is engaged in several national initiatives: encourage sound national policy and legislation for the development and distribution of wind-generated energy; communicate and demonstrate the value and benefits of wind energy to consumers, energy companies and policymakers; share state best practices in wind and renewable energy policy development; create an environment of support for those who wish to develop responsible wind energy resources; and support development of infrastructure (e.g., transmission, smart grid) for the expansion of wind-energy across the country.

The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition provides national leadership on wind-energy policy. The coalition’s policy activities address all aspects of wind-energy development, and technologies yet to come. For more information, visit www.GovernorsWindEnergyCoalition.org.

Original Article By Providence Business News on September 28, 2009

Which Utilities Top the Smart Grid Deployment List?

Rick Nicholson and H. Christine Richards of IDC Energy Insights published an article in the July/August edition of Intelligent Utility detailing their assessment of which utilities are leading the pack towards a Smart Grid.

 Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), Austin Energy, Edison International (NYSE: EIX), Oncor, PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG) and CenterPoint Energy (NYSE: CNP), all of whom are based in either California or Texas, top the list of utilitites leading the way. I personally thinked they missed Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative who aren’t just at the forefront of grid transformation but also leading the charge in consumer education.

Locally, National Grid (LSE:NG;NYSE:NGG), the nation’s second-largest utility, has applied to the U.S. Department of Energy for $200 million in stimulus funding to develop an “end-to-end” smart grid deployment that will include approximately 200,000 customers in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

According to National Grid, the project will demonstrate the benefits of combining “smart” and “green” technologies from end-to-end (transmission to consumer) including demonstrations of clean energy technologies such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and solar and wind power as well as energy storage technology. The result will be one of the most technologically advanced smart grid deployments in the U.S. This initiative will provide an increased understanding of the interface between the next generation of green energy supply and the smart grid to pave the way for the broader roll out of these technologies in the states where National Grid operates.

Regardless of whether they get the grant money or not, I hope National Grid stays in the game; they have a chance to lead this initiative and really make a difference.

posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster

Introduce Ecotourism to your next Family Vacation

Eco-tourism exists at many levels. The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) offers recommendations for  trips that include stays at relaxing, environmentally friendly resorts or full blown clean-up/conservation missions where the vacation may seem more like  eco-labor but the payoff is invaluable. While organizations like TIES offer a stellar service that will help travelers plan their ecotourism adventure, it’s worth noting that you needn’t invest every moment and dollar of your vacation to the cause.

Recently, I took my five year-old to New Hampshire to partake in a number of manly, outdoorsmen type activities along with some other kid-themed attractions. Beyond a day at Storyland, our plans for the five days were pretty much undetermined but I knew I wanted to spend some of our time getting in touch with nature and supporting the local farmers.

Before heading out, I did some searching and came across a section of www.visitnh.giv which was specifically dedicated to green locations, activities and events. This resource led me to a phenomenal farmer’s Market just outside North Conway where we picked up some of the sweetest, juiciest blueberries on the planet, a jar of local honey and some fresh-baked bread that made our breakfast the next morning as good as any I’ve had in my life. And it definitely beat buying breakfast at a gas station convenience store.

Beyond the farmer’s market, some of our time was spent hiking in New Hampshire’s myriad White Mountain trails which provide unlimited real-life lessons in conservation and the importance of maintaining ecosystems. Plus they are free and using doesn’t create any secondary waste beyond a little sweat.

One of my favorite moments happened around the campfire one night when my son turned to me and asked, “Why are there so many more stars in New Hampshire then Rhode Island?” This led to a conversation about light pollution followed by talk about noise pollution (almost no industrial white noise in NH) in which my son ultimately agreed that he’d rather see more stars at night and hear the coyote howls instead of knowing where the next Mickey D’s is from the bid yellow arches shining from a mile away.

A day at the amusement park is obviously a hit with the kids but equal fun can be had for far less money while supporting a good cause if you know where to look and approach it with the right attitude. No matter where you decide to spend vacation, look into local farmer’s market and other eco-tourism resources before making the jaunt. It’s the best way to connect with a geographic region in an authentic way.

Pacific Trash Vortex Could Swallow Rhode Island and Still Have Room for the rest of New England

Rhode Island is the smallest state, about the size of Houston, Texas actually. That’s no secret, but when considering all the people and places I’ve encountered in R.I. since I first moved here in 1980, it seems a little bigger, at least geographically.

Home state ramblings aside, I was quite revolted earlier this week to see evidence of a “trash vortex” the size of two Texas’ that is currently swirling in the Pacific Ocean out in the region north of Hawaii. Everything from six-pack holders, toothbrushes and caution tape (irony?) to pinhead sized  pieces of broken down plastics litter the vortex swirling around and wreaking havoc on marine wildlife. Short of skimming the massive area with fine mesh nets to sift out the refuse, there’s not much that can be done at current to eliminate the continent-sized trash mass but there are certainly things we can do (and not do) to ensure it doesn’t get any worse.

PlanetGreen, a site operated by the Discovery Network offers these somewhat obvious but invaluable tips to keep the vortex from swallowing up more of our precious oceans:

  • The Pacific Ocean: Duh. When you’re at the beach on the West Coast, make sure to properly dispose of your trash. Scan your towel-zone for any tidbits you may have left behind—unless you want to plan a visit to the open ocean to go see them again.
  • Rivers that feed into the Pacific: Again, it’s not rocket science. Keep your local rivers clean to stop the trash flow.
  • The toilet bowl: It’s not exactly a body of water per se, but keep your non-biodegradable junk out of there too—trash has a nasty way of finding its way out of the sanitation systems and bleeding into local ecosystems, including rivers.

This PlanetGreen video of the trash vortex gives some perspective on how hard humans have worked to destroy the natural bodies that make us the blue planet.

Posted by: Nick Brown @PRnick

Third Wind Turbine in Portsmouth Fuels Gusts of Civic Pride

Earlier this year, GLSL documented the installation of a major wind turbine aimed at taking the municipal buildings of Portsmouth, RI off the grid and ultimately using the blades to spin a profit. Equally motivated by eco and bottom-line awareness, Hodges Badge, a private, Portsmouth, RI based company with roots dating back to 1920 and annual sales topping $10 million recently installed the third wind turbine in Portsmouth.

Unless you’ve been to a 4H fair or Westminster dog show recently (both Hodges customers), you may not have realized the market for ribbons, trophies, medals and other award deliverables. Hodges Badge is a worldwide leader in the manufacture of these products and many more with awards they’ve created presented on six of seven continents (sorry Antarctica) and a staff of close to 150 employees. Forward thinking has always been a strong suit, now more so than ever.

According to a blog post on the company’s website:

 “After several years of research, Hodges has decided that it is time to move ahead with a project that will not only generate 100% of our power using the wind but be a great step to help the environment… Although construction of the turbine would be at least a year away we are still excited at the prospect. In its lifetime (25+ years) the turbine will reduce CO2 emission by 10,000 tons and return at least 30 times the energy required to manufacture it. That’s pretty substantial.”

For more information on wind turbines go to The Wind Energy Association website.

Posted by: Nick