Cynthia Silveri shared with us some ideas for how eco-developments can be implemented and a presentation on Affordable Housing (July 22, 2018)

For our July Potluck, our guest speaker was Cynthia Silveri of Silveri Architects, who presented some ideas for how eco-developments can be implemented, and how planning and land use codes affect their design. Her presentation showed some examples of projects planned with zoning codes primarily concerned with land use vs. ones projects planned with zoning codes based more on character and form (“form-based codes”)

We were shown set of slides entitled “Affordable Housing” that Cynthia had previously prepared for the Chelsea Housing Advisory Committee, so the emphasis was on availability, affordability, and effective planning for urban environments.

Cynthia is a landscape architect whose past experience includes working in both the public and private sectors primarily in the design of green infrastructure in urban environments.

Another excellent source of information about Form-Based Codes is [PDF] Design by the Rules:The Historical Underpinnings of Form-Based Codes by E. Talen


Martin Adam’s Open letter to Transition Towns

Weblinks for “Solar Revolution: Cheaper and Spreading fast”

This is a great set of links that John Richter provided as “homework” for his presentation given for Transition Town Chelsea on July 17, 2017 at the Chelsea Senior Center.  For a summary of the presentation go here.

Growth of PV
“Renewables 2016 Global Status Report: Key Findings 2016” (2016)
“New Global Solar PV Capacity In 2016 Reaches 70 Gigawatts, According To GlobalData” (1 Dec 2016)
“6 Reasons Why Trump Will Never Stop the Renewable Energy Revolution” (1 Apr 2017)
“Renewable generation capacity expected to account for most 2016 capacity additions” (10 Jan 2017)
“Viewpoint: Why green campaigners should embrace capitalism” (27 Apr 2016)
“Wind adds the most electric generation capacity in 2015, followed by natural gas and solar” (23 Mar 2016)

“Solar, natural gas, wind make up most 2016 generation additions” (1 Mar 2016)

PV price declines & Grid Parity
“Wind and Solar Are Our Cheapest Electricity Generation Sources. Now What Do We Do?” (26 Jan 2017)
Deutsches Bank’s “F.I.T.T. for investors: Crossing the Chasm”, Pg. 9 (27 Feb 2015)
“The hole in the rooftop solar panel craze” (17 May 2015)
which cites:
NC Clean Energy Technology Center’s “Going Solar in America: Ranking Solar’s Value to Consumers in America’s Largest Cities” (2015?)
National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s “U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System: Cost Benchmark: Q1 2016”

Solar Penetration
“2016 Solar Penetration By State” (8 Jan 2017) 
“California Solar Penetration Reaches 7.2% in 2016” (3 Sep 2016)
“Arizona Solar Penetration Reaches 5.8% in 2016” (5 Oct 2016)
“17% of Hawaiian Electric customers now have rooftop solar” (1 Feb 2016) 

Utility impacts and reactions
Al Gore shows coal plants closing
“Are There Reasons To Be Optimistic About Climate Change?” (6 May 2016)
Utilities complain about “missing money
“Missing Money” [revenue loss in wholesale markets because of regulatory policies… (3 Apr 2017)
The solar-induced “duck curve” in electricity demand in California
“Solar is Generation of Choice in California” (16 May 2016)
PV/battery install in Hawaii
“AES’ New Kauai Solar-Storage ‘Peaker’ Shows How Fast Battery Costs Are Falling” (16 Jan 2017)
Utilities are scared
“Distributed Generation Poses Existential Threat To Utilities” (26 Aug 2013)
Utilities installing large-scale PV
“Solar Industry Data: Solar Industry Growing at a Record Pace” (Apr 2017 or after)
Utility PV in Michigan
“Project update: Inovateus reaches halfway point on first part of major Michigan solar project” (27 Jul 2016)
Wholesale electric rates dropping
“Wholesale power prices in 2016 fell, reflecting lower natural gas prices” (11 Jan 2017)

Utility PV

cheapest power around
“Congress extends the renewable investment tax credit: What now” (28 Dec 2015)
“The Price of Solar Is Declining to Unprecedented Lows: Despite already low costs, the installed price of solar fell by 5 to 12 percent in 2015” (27 Aug 2016)
Abu Dubai
“Dubai Shatters All Records for Cost of Solar with Earth’s Largest Solar Power Plant” (2 May 2016)
“Dubai Shatters all Records for Cost of Solar with Earth’s Largest Solar Power Plant” (2 May 2016) [full article]
“Solar delivers cheapest electricity ‘ever, anywhere, by any technology’ – Half the price of coal!” (23 Aug 2016)
Lowest priced PPAs
“30 lowest solar PPAs worldwide: As a result of the mitigated costs developers have to bear when commissioning a solar PV plant, Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) agreements have witnessed a tremendous drop in the per MWh energy price that still enables solar projects to be profitable” (17 Jan 2017)
“TEP to buy solar power at under 3 cents per kWh” (23 May 2017)
$1/W PV systems
“Utility-scale solar falls below $1 per watt (w/ charts): A Q1 report by GTM Research and SEIA found PV system price declines across all sectors…” (12 Jun 2017)

Learning curves and lower prices

“IEEFA Asia: India’s Electricity-Sector Transformation Is Happening Now Utility-Scale Solar Projects Continue to Attract Record Low Bids” (17 May 2017)

PURPA in Michigan

Systems up to 20 MW get PURPA “avoided cost” rates — MPSC is changing those
Amid regulatory shakeup, cautious optimism emerges among small power plant operators” (9 Jul 2017)

Net Metering

Utilities fighting net metering are hurting rooftop solar
“Rooftop Solar Dims Under Pressure from Utility Lobbyists” (08 Jul 2017)
EEI warns utilities (2013)
“Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business” (2013)
EEI warns them again (2015)
“Wall Street Briefing” (2015)
Utility lobbying in The WSJ
“The hole in the rooftop solar panel craze” (17 May 2015) [abstract only without subscription]
States change net metering
“Time-of-Use Means It’s Time for Storage” (23 Jan 2017)
“Hawaii rooftop solar installations tumble after net metering changes” (7 Apr 2017)
“Nevada PUC to Reconsider Grandfathering Rooftop Solar Customers Into New Net-Metering Policy” (21 Jan 2016)
“Nevada solar industry collapses after state lets power company raise fees” (13 Jan 2016)
Hawaii ToU rates invert
“It’s Time for Storage” (23 Jan 2017)
California’s NEM 2.0
“The Fight to Put a Value on Rooftop Solar Power Understanding Critical Issues in the Nation’s Rapidly Changing Electricity Markets” (20 Apr 2017)
“Arizona Vote Puts an End to Net Metering for Solar Customers” (21 Dec 2016)
“Breaking: California’s NEM 2.0 Decision Keeps Retail Rate for Rooftop Solar, Adds Time-of-Use” (28 Jan 2016)
“Net Metering 2.0 in California: Everything You Need to Know” (3 Jan 2017)
“US Residential Solar Market Slides for the First Time in 16 Years” (2 Jun 2017)
Rooftop solar sales in decline
“California market troubles bring down U.S. residential numbers during Q1 (w/ charts)”(8 Jun 2017)
US Residential Solar Market Slides for the First Time in 16 Years” (2 Jun 2017)
State Net Metering Actions (doesn’t mention Michigan) — excellent summary
“Net metering is dead. Long live net metering” (12 Jul 2017)
“If Utilities keep fighting rooftop PV, batteries will cause them to lose customers entirely
“Utilities fighting against rooftop solar are only hastening their own doom” (7 Jul 2017)

Michigan Net Metering
“After year of uncertainty, Michigan solar companies now share optimistic outlook” (30Apr 2017)

Eric Harrington on ‘The Natural Step’

On Jan 18 2016, Eric Harrington, a regular attendee of our Transition Town Chelsea gatherings, explained the concepts behind The Natural Step, which was founded in 1989 in Sweden by oncologist Dr. Karl Henrik-Robert, and has since spread around the world into many countries and many companies. He provided a Powerpoint of his presentation, and our Web designer collated some of his notes into the slides before making a PDF file of his presentation, called “The Natural Step: Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development.”  Eric described the four system conditions for sustainability that comprise the heart of The Natural Step – criteria which must be met in order for our society and economy to be sustainable. The presentation shows how these system conditions logically follow from simple thermodynamic laws, how they can be and are being applied, and also presents related concepts such as the ‘sustainability funnel’ and ‘backcasting.’  He provides links to the official ‘Natural Step’ website.  I also recommend looking at Wikipedia on ‘The Natural Step.’

2016’s Chelsea area Solar Home Tour

Saturday, October 1
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Start at Chelsea Library

On the day after the first Habitation film, see some real homes in the Chelsea area!  The public is invited to tour homes, both conventionally and unconventionally built, that have been fitted to produce energy from renewable sources.  Most often in our area it is solar energy but we also we have some wind energy and passive design.  The Chelsea Solar Home Tour includes on-grid and off-grid sites, solar hot water, a straw bale home that earned Mother Earth News “Homesteader of the Year” 2015, and at least one home with a car charger that runs from the solar power system.

The way it works is: Begin at the Chelsea District Library (map) between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM.  There, you can pick up a detailed tour guide and map.  Go around to visit the sites on your own schedule throughout the day.  We expect to have many returning sites from last year that could well deserve a second look plus some exciting new locations.

We are grateful for the sponsorship from the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association and the partnership with the Chelsea District Library.
See the event listing from the library here.
Solar Home Tour 2016 Flyer

Lynn Fox’s talk on her beekeeping proposal

May 16, 2016: We learned about Chelsea resident Lynn Fox’s proposal to adopt a beekeeping ordinance to allow beekeeping in Chelsea. Chelsea has had a ban on the keeping of bees within the its limits since 1919. She gave her presentation to the City Council on April 18th, with a follow-up on May 2nd. In short, all pollinators, including bees, have been under attack by diseases, pesticides and parasites. So much so that growers believe they are one bad winter away from pollination disaster to their crops. Whole Foods estimated that 50% of their shelves would be bare if pollinators disappeared for a season. Now, cities around the US and the world are becoming “bee safe cities” by opening their landscapes to include beekeeping to help strengthen bee colonies and increase healthy, viable stock.
Lynn strongly encouraged us to view these TED talks:

For further in-depth documentation on this issue:
(The Intergovernmantal Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is the body which assesses the state of biodiversity and … ecosystem services …)’s federal health strategy

Renewable Energy Link

Scientists Turn Algae into Crude Oil in less than an Hour