Mark your calendars for the following event!
TRANSITIONING TO A RENEWABLE ENERGY FUTURE
Sustainable Otsego will sponsor a panel discussion on the 100% Renewable Energy Plan for NYS on Monday, 2 June, at 7:00 pm at the County Courthouse at 197 Main Street in Cooperstown, NY.
Jannette Barth, economist, and one of the co-authors of the 100% Renewable Energy Plan for NYS, and Jessica Azulay, of the Syracuse-based Alliance for a Green Economy, will make a joint presentation summarizing the Plan and exploring its implications.
Lou Allstadt, retired Mobil Oil executive vice-president and member of the Citizens Climate Lobby, will offer commentary.
Free and open to the public.
This promises to be an important opportunity to assess the feasibility of a transition from fossil and nuclear fuels to renewables, something of vital concern to all of us, both locally and globally. The Plan for 100% Renewable Energy for NYS by Jacobson, et. al., is so far the only systematic attempt to outline how this might happen on a large scale. A chance to hear the plan summarized and discussed should be compelling to everyone concerned about the prospects of solving our energy crisis and moving to a sustainable ecological, economic, social, and political future.
Moderator, Sustainable Otsego
spoke powerfully against fracking and associated heavy industry. Martha Clarvoe,
Dr. Eric Brevin, Andre Conklin, Pat Ryan, Dr. Lee Robbins, and James Herman were
The packed house included vociferous pro frackers like
Dick Downey, Mike Covert, Uni Blake, Marie Lusins, Bob Birch, Esq.,
not from Hartwick. Mr. Powers stated that he had invited them.
too familiar to most of us in this coalition. The main objections were
Tuesday, March 12, at 8 a.m. Eastern Time March 12, 2013
Plan to Convert NYS to 100% Renewable Energy by 2030
A study, co-authored by Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson, outlines a path to statewide renewable energy conversion, and away from natural gas and imported fuel. BY ROB JORDAN
Wind turbines on the Tug Hill plateau in upstate New York. A new study, co-authored by Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson, details how to convert New York's energy infrastructure to one powered by wind, water and sunlight.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will soon decide whether to approve hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the state. To date, no alternative to expanded gas drilling has been proposed. But a new study finds that it is technically and economically feasible to convert New York's all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by wind, water and sunlight (WWS). The plan <http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/NewYorkWWSEnPolicy.pdf> , scheduled for publication in the journal Energy Policy <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03014215> , shows the way to a sustainable, inexpensive and reliable energy supply that creates local jobs and saves the state billions of dollars in pollution-related costs. Mark Z. Jacobson <http://woods.stanford.edu/about/woods-faculty/mark-jacobson> , a senior fellow with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment <http://woods.stanford.edu/> and the Precourt Institute for Energy <https://energy.stanford.edu/> , co-authored the study with scientists from Cornell University and the University of California-Davis. "Converting to wind, water and sunlight is feasible, will stabilize costs of energy and will produce jobs while reducing health and climate damage," said Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering. The study is the first to develop a plan to fulfill all of a state's transportation, electric power, industry, and heating and cooling energy needs with renewable energy, and to calculate the number of new devices and jobs created, amount of land and ocean areas required, and policies needed for such an infrastructure change. It also provides new calculations of air pollution mortality and morbidity impacts and costs based on multiple years of air quality data. The study concludes that while a WWS conversion may result in initial capital cost increases, such as the cost of building renewable energy power plants, these costs would be more than made up for over time by the elimination of fuel costs. The overall switch would reduce New York's end-use power demand by about 37 percent and stabilize energy prices, since fuel costs would be zero, according to the study. It would also create a net gain in manufacturing, installation and technology jobs because nearly all the state's energy would be produced within the state. According to the researchers' calculations, New York's 2030 power demand for all sectors (electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, industry) could be met by:
- 4,020 onshore 5-megawatt wind turbines
- 12,770 offshore 5-megawatt wind turbines
- 387 100-megawatt concentrated solar plants
- 828 50-megawatt photovoltaic power plants
- 5 million 5-kilowatt residential rooftop photovoltaic systems
- 500,000 100-kilowatt commercial/government rooftop photovoltaic systems
- 36 100-megawatt geothermal plants
- 1,910 0.75-megawatt wave devices
- 2,600 1-megawatt tidal turbines
- 7 1,300-megawatt hydroelectric power plants, of which most exist
According to the study, if New York switched to WWS, air pollution—related deaths would decline by about 4,000 annually and the state would save about $33 billion —3 percent of the state's gross domestic product —in related health costs every year. That savings alone would pay for the new power infrastructure needed within about 17 years, or about 10 years if annual electricity sales are accounted for. The study also estimates that resultant emissions decreases would reduce 2050 U.S. climate change costs —such as coastal erosion and extreme weather damage —by about $3.2 billion per year. Currently, almost all of New York's energy comes from imported oil, coal and gas. Under the plan that Jacobson and his fellow researchers advance, 40 percent of the state's energy would come from local wind power, 38 percent from local solar and the remainder from a combination of hydroelectric, geothermal, tidal and wave energy. All vehicles would run on battery-electric power and/or hydrogen fuel cells. Electricity-powered air- and ground-source heat pumps, geothermal heat pumps, heat exchangers and backup electric resistance heaters would replace natural gas and oil for home heating and air-conditioning. Air- and ground-source heat pump water heaters powered by electricity and solar hot water preheaters would provide hot water for homes. High temperatures for industrial processes would be obtained with electricity and hydrogen combustion. "We must be ambitious if we want to promote energy independence and curb global warming," said study co-author Robert Howarth, a Cornell University professor of ecology and environmental biology. "The economics of this plan make sense," said Anthony Ingraffea, a Cornell engineering professor and a co-author of the study. "Now it is up to the political sphere." To ensure grid reliability, the plan outlines several methods to match renewable energy supply with demand and to smooth out the variability of WWS resources. These include a grid management system to shift times of demand to better match with timing of power supply, and "over-sizing" peak generation capacity to minimize times when available power is less than demand. The study's authors are developing similar plans for other states, including California and Washington. They took no funding from any interest group, company or government agency for this study. Rob Jordan is the communications writer for the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. -30-
Mark Z. Jacobson, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment: (650) 723-6836, cell: (650) 468-1599, [email protected]
Rob Jordan, communications, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment: (650) 721-1881,[email protected]
Dan Stober, Stanford News Service: (650) 721-6965, [email protected]
Related Information° Mark Z. Jacobson - related studies <http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/susenergy2030.html>
-- Mark Z. Jacobson
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Director, Atmosphere/Energy Program Phone: 650-723-6836Stanford University Fax: 650-723-7058
Yang & Yamazaki Environ. and Energy Bldg [email protected] Via Ortega, Room 397
Twitter: @mzjacobsonStanford, CA 94305-4020 www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/ <http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/>
Journalist Resources <http://ucomm.stanford.edu/journalists/> Stanford News <http://news.stanford.edu/> Stanford Experts <http://ucomm.stanford.edu/journalists/experts.html> Contact Us <http://news.stanford.edu/about/contact.html> <http://stanford.edu/>
Birch syrup explored as add-on to maple industryBy HOLLY RAMER | Associated Press
LEE, N.H. (AP) — Unlike maple syrup-drenched Vermont and lobster-rich Maine, New Hampshire doesn't have much to call its own in the food world. But it could find a future claim to fame in birch syrup, a nontraditional but increasingly popular product pulled from New Hampshire's state tree.
For now, New Hampshire has just one known commercial producer of birch syrup, which is made in a similar manner as maple syrup but tastes completely different and commands a significantly higher price. But the industry is growing in western Canada and Alaska, and it's being studied as a possible add-on venture for maple syrup producers across the northeastern United States.
Cornell University researchers tapped 400 birch trees in Lake Placid, N.Y., last year and 300 more this year to determine everything from optimum tapping times and collection practices to consumer preferences. Similar work is under way at the University of Vermont's Proctor Maple Research Center, where professor Abby van den Berg is studying whether it makes economic sense for maple syrup producers to expand into birch.
The first step is figuring out how much sap can be extracted from the average birch tree in the Northeast using modern practices, she said. Then comes number-crunching to figure out how many birch trees would have to be tapped to turn a profit. Given that much of the same equipment and techniques can be used to make both syrups, and the fact that birch sap generally starts to flow just as maple sap dries up, "it does present a tantalizing possibility," van den Berg said.
Michael Farrell, director of Cornell's Uihlein Sugar Maple Research and Extension Field Station, also sees a big opportunity for northeastern maple producers.
"We have all the infrastructure. So as soon as the season's over for maple, you clean up your maple stuff, start tapping your birch and make your birch syrup," he said. "Where it's made in Alaska and western Canada — especially in Alaska — the cost of materials is very high, and your shipping costs to get everything in there are high. ... So we should be able to make it at a lower price in the eastern U.S. than what is currently produced."
While interest in birch syrup is growing, there are a few reasons why it has yet to catch on, Farrell said. The maple season is short but exhausting, he said, so many producers may not relish the prospect of starting all over again with birch. And though birch trees are plentiful, they may not be growing close enough to maple trees to make it worthwhile for established maple producers. Finally, there's the taste: Those accustomed to the sweetness of maple are often shocked by the fruity, tangy flavor of birch, which is more suited to marinades and savory dishes.
"If you were to put birch syrup on pancakes, you would regret that," Farrell said.
Birch syrup does have a following among high-end chefs, and Alaskan producers have seen success selling it overseas, particularly in Italy, he said. Closer to home, the syrup sells well in small containers as a novelty item or souvenir, he said.
"How you collect the sap and process it really determines the flavor of it, so if you're skilled and know what you're doing, you can make good-tasting birch syrup. I've had it," he said. "It's way different than the bad stuff. It doesn't have that bitter molasses flavor to it. And when you're making the syrup, that smells incredible. It actually smells like you're making raspberry jam."
David Moore, New Hampshire's only known commercial birch syrup producer, got his start in 2008, when he was a student at the University of New Hampshire. His senior project involved testing the sugar content of various birch varieties, and he found that white birch — New Hampshire's state tree — was the sweetest.
Birch sap overall has a much lower sugar content than maple syrup, however. It takes more than 100 gallons of birch sap to produce one gallon of syrup, compared with a 40:1 ratio for maple syrup. And because birch sap contains different types of sugar, it caramelizes rapidly and can scorch easily. Moore said he doesn't actually boil his birch sap but instead lets it simmer until most of the water evaporates.
Moore, who takes a month off from his full-time job at another farm to run his syrup operation, tapped 210 trees this year, and was just beginning to collect and process the sap last week. He sells some of his syrup to restaurants and the rest through general stores and farmers markets, priced at $25 for 8 oz. or $300 per gallon. Many customers who try a sample are surprised, he said.
"The most common reaction is, 'It's very molasses-y,'" he said. "I think they're expecting it to taste like maple syrup."
In Maine, Kevin Grant has been tapping birch trees on his property in Ripley for six or seven years, and he and his wife enjoy the results in baked beans, beer and other recipes. He doesn't have the fancier tubing used by commercial producers, just buckets hung on trees. Sometimes, he's had to empty the buckets two or three times a day to keep up with the flow, Grant said.
"You get a lot more sap in a short amount of time," he said.
He was collecting sap by the roadside years ago when an older couple pulled up in their car.
"I heard some fool out here was tapping birch trees," the driver said.
When Grant replied, "You found him!" the man shook his head.
"Now I've seen it all," he said.