Tool Library Meeting @ Uptown Espresso Tuesday

With two successful tool drives behind it, The West Seattle Tool Library will be meeting again this Tuesday night, April 20, 7:00 pm at Uptown Espresso to discuss plans to develop the rest of our collection and plan for our involvement in The West Seattle Community Garage Sale. We’ll also be reviewing our logo designs, and establishing how we’ll promote the Tool Library as the June Grand Opening approaches. All are invited and more than welcome to attend.

The Tool Library is continually seeking to connect with volunteers who would like to:

  • Design Tool Library T-shirts & other promotional items;
  • Organize community outreach events;
  • Create & coordinate community-based tool drives;
  • Create & Coordinate Tool Library workshops;
  • Coordinate The Tool Library’s field support of community organizations;
  • Communicate with potential community partners;
  • Refurbish & maintain tool donations;
  • Create an environmental recycling & repurpose plan for the handling of unwanted tools
  • Establish a marketing and public relations strategy;
  • Establish a development plan for the Tool Library’s future; or
  • Serve on the Tool Library Steering Committee.

As always, feel free to send any ideas, comments, questions, or answers along to Gary Lichtenstein at library@sustainablewestseattle.org or visit the Tool Library’s page (sustainablewestseattle.orgtool-library) for more details.

We’ll see you Tuesday Evening!

The Energy Blog – by Andy Silber

Today I attended a presentation in the Seattle City Council chambers about their goal to be carbon neutral by 2030. A distinguished panel made up of Congressman Jay Inslee, K.C. Golden from Climate Solutions, Alex Steffen from WorldChanging.com, and Jill Simmons from the City’s Office of Sustainability and Environment was joined by almost the entire council (Sally Clark was out sick).

The work on what climate neutrality means has just begun and plans on how to achieve it hasn’t even started, so this discussion was more about why it makes sense for Seattle to take this step. Jay Inslee talked about the importance to our economy to move towards greenhouse gas neutrality. K.C. Golden continued on that theme. Alex Steffen talked about the urbanization of the world, so it’s most important to find sustainable solutions for the cities. Jill Simmons spoke mainly about what the stage is before this new goal: our existing CO2 targets (80% below 1990 by 2050) and what programs we’re undertaking to reduce our emissions (e.g. bike plan, garbage trucks running bio-diesel). Mike O’Brien made a good point that this is about Seattle becoming a laboratory for “scalable, repeatable solutions”.

The audience was very supportive of the goal, but was interested in talking specifics. Questions from the audience included policies on vehicle miles traveled, bike sharing and school bus idling. The questions from the council members were much more general and included topics like birth control and poverty in the developing world.

My question (which I didn’t ask at the forum and was not addressed) was how is this new target better than the existing one. Audacious goals are great, but there’s no way we can eliminate our CO2 emissions in 20 years. I’ll just take transportation as an example. By 2020 there’s a chance that the majority of new cars sold in Seattle will be electric and charged using carbon-free electricity, but most cars on the road will be older and still powered by a liquid fuel. This is not something Seattle can control. We can create a market for new cars, but we can’t design and build them. Maybe there will be a breakthrough in bio-fuels and cellulosic ethanol will be the fuel of choice. But we can’t make that happen, other than creating a market. But the talk today was much more about moving away from the car towards walkable and transit friendly neighborhoods. A wonderful goal that I fully support, but those are changes that take place over a century, not twenty years. Are we going to bulldoze neighborhoods that aren’t walkable? About all we can do is build sidewalks and bike lanes (at the rate we’re going, it will take more than 20 years to get sidewalks across the city). Seattle’s transit is about half-way to being good enough that the majority of our residents will give up their car. And we don’t control the bus system, the county does and hasn’t been interested in growing it fast enough to meet current demand, much less a massive increase. And even if we did, those buses run on diesel. Bio-diesel in 20 years?maybe.

What will we do in 2030 when we find that people who have working gas furnaces don’t want to give them up or gasoline powered cars that they need to get to their job in Kent? Will we force them to buy carbon offsets (in addition to a federal carbon fee)? Will we force them to install heat pumps or buy electric cars? Will we say, “Oh well, we missed our target, but we did reduce emissions 40% below 1990, and that’s a great accomplishment”? If it’s the last, then might we be better off just setting an obtainable goal?

1st West Seattle Spokespeople Official Ride

This is it – the Season Opener

The first Official Cascade Bicycle Club ride for West Seattle Spokespeople is for people who would like support for transportation bicycle use. Cathy Tuttle founder Spokespeople Wallingford along with long time bicycle commuters Bill Reiswig and Stu Hennessey will lead this ride.

The ride is scheduled for Sunday May 2nd, 10:00 am from Alki Bike and Board, 2606 California Ave. SW. The ride length is 6 miles using an alternative route selection riding the California Ave. business corridor to the West Seattle’s Morgan Junction with a stop at the West Seattle Farmers Market. The pace will be easy/leisure between 8 and 12 mph and the terrain will be “some hills.”

This is a “stay together” ride with the ride leader, middle pack and back of the pack, sweep support. Heavy rain will cancel this ride. Be prepared to do a little shopping at the West Seattle Farmers Market with money and safe bicycle cargo equipment. Helmets are required and bike safety checks will precede the ride. Call 206-938-3322 for more information or email Stu Hennessey at alkistu@hotmail.com.

GoGreen ’10 SEATTLE – Cultivating Sustainable Business

The City of Seattle brings you GoGreen ’10 SEATTLE cultivating sustainable businessm Wednesday, April 21, at the Hyatt at Olive 8, 1635 8th Avenue , downtown, from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm, followed by a Networking Cocktail Reception featuring Snoqualmie Winery + Fish Brewing Company.

Register now for GoGreen ’10 SEATTLE, a one day conference that will inspire, motivate and educate you on how to take your business to the next level of sustainability. Spend a value-packed day learning from our esteemed speaker line-up, over 60 of the top sustainable business leaders in the Pacific Northwest. Connect, discuss and engage with our speakers and attendees while gathering actionable next steps to sustainability for your business.

GoGreen ’10 Speaker Interviews

Check out our in-depth interviews with featured speakers at GoGreen ’10 Seattle:

2010 Sessions

Click here to download the Full Day Conference Program and Speaker line-up

2010 Featured Speakers

  • Jeremy Jaech | CEO, Verdiem – As CEO of Verdiem, Jeremy Jaech brings 20 years of insight, leadership and market-creation strategy behind some of today’s most recognizable software, including Microsoft Visio and Adobe PageMaker. As CEO, Jeremy leads Verdiem’s corporate development and strategy in both defining and broadening the market for energy and carbon management in the enterprise and scaling the company’s business operations to maximize the growing demand for energy management solutions.
  • Sherri Flies | COSTCO Wholesale Corporation – Sheri Flies joined Costco Wholesale Corporation over 15 years ago as Corporate Counsel, where she was responsible for Costcos legal issues related to merchandising, vendor code of conduct, intellectual property, pharmacy, export, e-commerce and privacy. In 2007, Sheri moved into buying in order to learn how to incorporate sustainability practices into everyday buying decisions and is involved with various sustainability projects both domestically and internationally.
  • Mark Morford | Partner, Stoel Rives – Mark has more than 25 years of experience as an environmental attorney and is one of the most experienced and respected environmental attorneys in the Pacific Northwest. He has in-depth experience with the full range of environmental issues that face industrial, energy, forest products and agricultural facilities, including water quality, air quality, waste management, radioactive materials management, endangered species issues and cleanups. Mark chairs the Stoel Rives Sustainability Committee.
  • Stephanie Bennett | Planning Manager, K2 Sports – Upon her arrival at K2 Sports Stephanie immediately introduced a companywide recycling program and began talking to her fellow co-workers on the merits of “going green.” Through this grass roots effort K2 has reduced packaging, implemented recycled materials in products and instituted a bike-to-work program. Stephanie is a member of the Outdoor Industry Associations Eco-Working Group (EWG), which is comprised of over 50 different outdoor brands.

Registration is available online here and is $195 for full day admission and $175 full day admission for groups of 2 or more.  Ask about our special Community Partner, Non-Profit and Student Rates to attend.  For more information contact events@gogreenconference.net.

[mappress]

City Light Public Hearing on Future Energy Sources

Seattle City Light invites you to share your thoughts on what our energy future should look like. Come attend the West Seattle evening public meeting scheduled on Thursday, April 15, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Southwest Community Center, 2810 SW Thistle St.  Make your voice heard and have a positive effect on the planning that would affect our future electricity rates and the health of our environment.

  • What will our energy future look like?
  • Where will we get the energy we need?
  • How will we meet our renewable energy requirements under Initiative 937?

Read more

The Energy Blog – by Andy Silber

Comments for the 2010 Seattle City Light Integrated Resource Plan

by Andrew Silber, April 7, 2010

Introduction

The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) process is a time for Seattle City Light (SCL) to look at our long-term vision and see if it connects to our values and our vision of the future. We are standing on the shoulders of giants who built an incredibly strong foundation. It is our responsibility to maintain and expand the vision of J.D. Ross and others who built one of the nation’s finest utilities. Now is the time to ask if we are living up to that tradition.

In many areas we are meeting this commitment:

  • Strong conservation and efficiency programs
  • Maintaining greenhouse gas neutrality
  • A healthy fish population in the Skagit
  • Establishment of the Rate Stabilization Fund
  • Development of the Asset Management System

There are other areas where we could be doing a better job of continuing the vision.

Plan for the bad years and the good years will take care of themselves

From the 2008 IRP

“In addition to an annual average basis, City Light must also have sufficient resources on a monthly, weekly and hourly basis. Since City Light is a winter peaking utility, the winter months are of most concern. City Light’s annual peak demand most often occurs in January. The 2008 IRP relies on a measure of resource adequacy that ensures that the utility has a 95% confidence level of meeting loads in any given January. Low generation capability is usually due to drought conditions in the Pacific Northwest. High customer demand is usually due to extremely low temperatures in the winter. The greatest threat to City Light’s resource reliability is the combination of low water and high customer demand for power.”

These difficult years are not just difficult for SCL, but for our entire region. If we are having resource adequacy issues it’s likely that the region is having resource adequacy issues. Everyone will be hitting the market at the same time, driving up the price of electricity on the spot market to painful levels. This situation (exacerbated by companies gaming the system to their advantage) happened earlier this decade and cost this utility and others dearly.

Rather than accept a 95% confidence level of meeting loads, SCL should focus on how to meet loads during these difficult years. Our customers expect nothing less. Relying on the markets as a fallback in drought years is a risky proposition, a risk that is not currently quantified. In the past our vast hydro system could manage even in a bad year, but as the region’s appetite for electricity grows and our capacity stagnates, the risk grows.

When looking at acquiring new non-hydro resources (including conservation), the significant value they would have in the cold, drought years must be included. At the margins there may be resources that are not cost-effective for 19 years, but pay for themselves on one cold week in January.

In order to justify planning around the bad years, we must estimate the cost of relying on the marketplace during these bad years. This is a difficult and assumption ridden process, but a low-precision estimate is better than no estimate at all.

Obtaining Energy from Smaller Renewable Projects

In the past the size of projects that SCL has built has always increased; from the Cedar and Tolt projects, to the Skagit dams and finally to the Boundary dam. But the era of building large dams has passed and it’s unlikely that SCL will again build a large project like Boundary.

But new resources will be needed, driven by climate change, load growth and our relationship with BPA.  Since BPA makes up such a large percentage of our supply, changes in our BPA contract is an especially large risk. It is likely that a carbon cost will come into play soon, which will make relying on the market very risky. As coal plants begin to shut down other sources of power will become more attractive, and therefore more expensive.

SCL hasn’t built a new generator since 1967 and only signed a few long-term contracts (e.g. Stateline Wind and Columbia Ridge landfill). Even though our need now is not pressing, SCL needs to start investing again in new resources. These projects will help SCL regain the expertise that will be needed to add production capacity.

These projects will initially be small compared to our loads (e.g. a 750 kW dairy gas digester, a 50 MW wind farm). SCL is particularly well suited to integrate wind because of the hydro projects that we own and operate. Since the main purpose of these projects is to develop expertise and hedge against long-term risks, it only makes sense for us to own them, not to enter into a long-term contract.

The voluntary renewable energy programs, Green Up and Green Power, could be a mechanism to bring some of these smaller and particularly green projects along despite their higher cost. For instance, dairy gas digesters improve air and water quality and remove methane from the atmosphere, making them greenhouse gas negative, as opposed to solar or wind which are greenhouse gas neutral. These small projects often are not developed because of difficulties raising capital. Our direct participation by signing power purchase agreements or becoming equity partners may be much more effective than just buying renewable energy credits.

Long-Term Contracts vs. Owning: What Would J.D. Ross Do?

The IRP process with a 20 year horizon is going to prefer contracts with 20-year duration over owning. Over the last 40 years all of our production growth has been in contracts, not in developing resources that we own. But if we take a longer vision, it’s likely that it’s better to own than rent. As Independent Power Producers snatch up the prime sites for renewable energy production, it will become more and more expensive to meet our demand.

If one looks at the decision to build the Boundary project in this light, it’s clear that our current low rates are based on logic that would not happen today. Just as current rate payers are benefiting from investments that were made to build the Skagit and Boundary projects, future rate-payers will suffer for our lack of investment.

Demand Response

Most utilities think of Demand Response (DR) in terms of smoothing out peak loads, which has a high value. Since the constraint for SCL is energy and not power (i.e. we can increase output from the dams to meet demand, but eventually we run out of water) DR has less value when viewed in terms of smoothing peak loads, though it does have some in cases where transmission or substation loads are near critical levels. The value for SCL is not in reducing loads when demand is high, but in increasing it when demand is low and power is cheap.

Here’s how it might work:

  1. SCL directly owns a wind farm and typically adjusts the output of the hydro system to balance the output of the wind turbines.
  2. At some point the hydro system can go no lower; maybe it’s already at zero flow or constrained by flood or fish concerns.
  3. SCL sends commands to deep freezers to go colder, hot-water or space heaters to go hotter.
  4. This might be the only energy that a deep freezer or hot-water heater needs for the entire day.
  5. When the wind farm output decreases or demand increases, the temperature settings return to normal. We’ve stored the energy in cold food and hot water and homes.

This model doesn’t make sense for shaped output like we get from the Stateline project, but the region’s ability to shape power is limited. The amount of intermittent resources we can shape ourselves is significant and at a very low cost. The first portion of shaping (i.e. reducing output from our dams) is free. The DR elements needed to go further will be more expensive, but have additional benefits (e.g. to reduce demand during an outage, allow us to sell more or buy less power when the market is high). The value of DR will be particularly valuable during drought years as will the intermittent power that it allows us to integrate.

Conclusion

Due to the sound management that SCL has enjoyed for most of its history, none of these issues are a crisis. I’ve just outlined some suggestions that will help us maintain our reliability, low-rates and environmental stewardship for generations to come:

  • Prepare for the worse, not the cheapest on a typical year
  • Don’t count on the market to deliver cheap power on a drought year
  • Start developing new power sources
  • Take a longer term view
  • “What would J.D. Ross do?”

NW Environmental Training Center Seeks Instructors

The Northwest Environmental Training Center is seeking workshop instructors to teach professional development courses in environmental science, technology, regulations, and green building around the country.  For  more information, contact Erick McWayne, Executive Director, Northwest Environmental Training Center (A 501(c)(3) nonprofit program of EOS Alliance) by phone at 206-762-1976, by email at emcwayne@nwetc.org, or check out the Northwest Environmental Training Center website at  www.nwetc.org

A list of specific teaching opportunities is included below.

  • Carbon Capture and Storage Science and Technology Instructor – Status: We are seeking multiple instructors to design workshops on emerging carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology and best practices. Each workshop is 1 – 5 days and taught under contract with flexible dates.  Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses. Locations: Major cities across the country.
  • Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Accounting and Management Instructor – Status: We are seeking multiple instructors to design workshops on emerging GHG accounting protocols and management best practices. Each workshop is 1 – 5 days and taught under contract with flexible dates.  Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses.  Locations: Major cities across the country
  • BPI Building Analyst Certification Instructor – Status: We are seeking BPI certified instructors to teach the BPI Building Analyst certification course. Each workshop approximately 5 days in the classroom and 6 days in the field, and taught under contract with flexible dates.  Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses.
  • Commercial Building Energy Auditor Certification Instructor – Status: We are seeking certified instructors to teach commercial building energy audit certification courses. Each workshop approximately 5 days in the classroom and 6 days in the field, and taught under contract with flexible dates. Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses.
  • Mercury Effects on Ecosystems and Human Health Instructor – Status: 2 day contract position per course, dates flexible. Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses. Locations: Major cities across the country
  • QA/QC Screening of Laboratory Analytical Data Instructor – Status: 1 day contract position per course, dates flexible.  Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses.  Locations: Major cities across the country
  • Coastal Protection and Restoration Instructor – Status: 2 or 3-day contract position per course, dates flexible.  Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses. Locations: Major cities across the country
  • Contaminant Forensics Instructor – Status: 2 day contract position per course, dates flexible.  Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses. Locations: Major cities across the country
  • National Incident Command System Instructor – Status: 2 day contract position per course, dates flexible.  Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses.  Locations: Major cities across the country
  • Contaminant Chemistry, Transport, and Fate in Soil and Groundwater Instructor – Status: 2 – 5 day contract position per course series, dates flexible (other opportunities available).  Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses.  Locations: Major cities across the country
  • CERCLA Course Instructor – Status: 2 day contract position per course, dates flexible.  Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses.  Locations: Major cities across the country
  • Principles of Soil and Groundwater Remediation Course Instructor – Status: 2 day contract position per course, dates flexible.  Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses. Locations: Major cities across the country
  • State Environmental Regulations Instructor – Status: 2-day contract position per course with flexible dates.  Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses. Locations: Major cities within specific states.
  • WA Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application [JARPA] Instructor – Status: 1 day contract position per course, dates flexible. Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses. Locations: Major cities in Washington
  • Landfill Remediation and Landfill Decommissioning Instructor – Status: 2 or 3-day contract position per course, dates flexible.  Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses. Locations: Major cities across the country
  • High Hazard Remediation & Waste Handling Instructor – Status: 2 or 3-day contract position per course, dates flexible.  Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses. Locations: Major cities across the country
  • State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Instructor – Status: 1 or 2-day contract position per course, dates flexible. Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses.  Locations: Major cities in Washington
  • Burned Area Rehabilitation (BAR) and Emergency Stabilization Instructor – Status: 2-day contract position per course, dates flexible, material based on the Department of the Interior’s ESR policy guidance.  Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses. Locations: Major cities across the country
  • Highly Reactive Volatile Organic Compounds Instructor – Status: 2 day contract position per course, dates flexible. Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses. Locations: Major cities across the country
  • Low Impact Development Instructor – Status: 1 or 2-day contract position per course, dates flexible (other opportunities available). Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses. Locations: Major cities across the country
  • MTCA VCP Implementation – Site Cleanup Under the Model Toxics Control Act Voluntary Cleanup Program – Status: 2 day contract position per course, dates flexible. Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses. Locations: Major cities in Washington

Other Teaching Opportunities

  • Workshop Instructor Opportunities (multiple subjects) – Status: We are seeking instructors for a variety of workshops spanning the spectrum of environmental science, technology and regulations. Compensation: $500 – $1,000 per day (based on course enrollment and logistics) plus travel and other expenses. Locations: Major cities across the country

If you have a specific course in mind, please complete our online training proposal form and send your resume to info@nwetc.org or call the Northwest Environmental Training Center at 206-762-1976. Please ask for Ingrid Clausen or Erick McWayne.

For other course ideas, please view the list of potential training topics and copy it into an email. Indicate which subjects you’re interested in teaching with the following symbols:

  • *** = area of expertise (topics you can teach immediately with minimal preparation)
  • ** = area of competency (topics requiring some review of subject matter prior to teaching)
  • * = area of knowledge (topics requiring substantial preparation prior to teaching)

Please submit your list of course topics and resume to info@nwetc.org. Courses are typically one to three days and are taught by a single instructor or a team. Positions are contract based and flexible. We prefer candidates with an M.S. or Ph.D. in a related field, but will consider all experienced applicants. If you possess experience and enjoy teaching, please send resume and course list to: info@nwetc.org

Volunteer Opportunities

Advisor, Board, and Committee Opportunities

We are currently seeking candidates for our Board of Directors, Advisory Board, Program Advisory Council, and Strategic Priority Committee to increase the strength and diversity of our organization. We are seeking individuals with a deep passion for ecological sustainability and enough time to commit to the duties required. Previous experience is not necessary. Orientation and elections take place each spring and potential candidates are encouraged to apply any time during the year. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a candidate, please follow these three steps:

  1. Let us know about your interests by clicking here
  2. Download and complete the Board/Volunteer Candidate Matrix then email it to emcwayne@eosalliance.org
  3. Email a copy of your resume or CV to emcwayne@eosalliance.org

Once we have reviewed all of your information, we will contact you regarding your interests and answer any questions you may have. Pre-screened candidates will be invited to attend an orientation meeting.

Carbon Neutral Discussion @ City Hall

On Monday, April 12, from noon to 1:30 pm, Seattle City Council members Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Sally Clark, Richard Conlin, Bruce Harrell, Nick Licata, Mike O’Brien and Tom Rasmussen are hosting a panel discussion on Going Carbon Neutral.

The panel discussion will be held in Council Chambers, Seattle City Hall, 2nd Floor, use the main steps in the lobby to reach the Chambers.

This year Seattle City Council made carbon neutrality a top priority, but what does that mean? What’s the definition of carbon neutral? How does a person or business, let alone a city, know when it is carbon neutral? What’s a reasonable time by which to become carbon neutral? What programs and initiatives would have the greatest impacts? Who might benefit and who might pay? How can the federal government help our city achieve this goal? Are carbon offsets an answer or does setting up a carbon market simply put off true steps in carbon emission reduction?

Join Seattle City councilmembers and a panel of national and local experts to discuss these and other questions about climate change.

Panelists include:

For parking options go to: http://www.seattle.gov/council/city_hall_parking.pdf.  Better yet, use transit, check www.tripplanner.kingcounty.gov for the bus which serves your area.