The Renewable Energy Association of Connecticut Gets a New Focus

To all the readers of reneact; first, your devotion and regular visits to the site are greatly appreciated.

Ten years ago when reneact was just starting, there was a shortage of good information about renewable energy /conservation and Reneact was founded to fill that information gap.  A lot has changed in ten years. The price of wind and solar power has dropped dramatically and is regularly out competing coal, natural gas and nuclear in the power industry. The transportation segment is being rocked by battery electric vehicles or BEV’s. No longer the laughing stock of the industry, BEV’s are gaining momentum to become the dominant technology for both cars and trucks.

Connecticut has always provided the products the nation and the world needed; from the Brass mills in New Milford, to the Cheney Silk Mills in Manchester to Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Engines in East Hartford, the state has grown economically prosperous around manufacturing. It is no coincidence that as manufacturing dwindled throughout the state, so has the economy.

As the renewable energy industry has changed so must we, so reneact has set its sights on a new core mission – Transitioning Connecticut to a sustainable economy that leads the world in renewable energy, manufacturing, installation and sustainable transportation.

In practice what that means is simple; reneact will do everything possible to work with, support and grow the renewable energy business in the state as well as encourage lawmakers to pursue policies that successfully attract manufacturers of solar, wind and electric vehicles as well as EV batteries and components. In addition, reneact will firmly embrace and promote the adoption of sustainable public transportation. Keep reading, more to come.

Image – Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The Tariff Decision That Could Break U.S. Solar Industry SEIA

The battle between free trade,fair trade and protectionism continues. The Solar Energy Industry Association weighs in on the biggest solar trade fight that could determine the future of solar prices and jobs in the U.S .

SEIA is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. According the  the SEIA website,  “SEIA represents all organizations that promote, manufacture, install and support the development of solar energy.  SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to build jobs and diversity, champion the use of cost-competitive solar in America, remove market barriers and educate the public on the benefits of solar energy.”

 

Tesla Mulls Plan B After House Bill 7097 Fails to Come to a Vote

The Connecticut Legislature failed to bring HB 7097 to a vote despite a poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and released by Tesla showing, 74 percent of Connecticut voters support legislation authorizing manufacturers like Tesla to open brick-and-mortar stores in Connecticut. The poll, which surveyed 500 Connecticut voters likely to participate in the 2018 election, also found that 49 percent of respondents would be less likely to support state legislators who opposed such legislation.

According to an article in the New Haven Register, Tesla was considering increasing the number of galleries in the state to 10 if HB 7097 ended in failure. This would increase Tesla’s presence in the state beyond the current single gallery, in Greenwich. Locations under consideration include; Norwalk, Westport, Fairfield, West Hartford, Danbury, New London, Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport.

Tesla’s existing investments in Connecticut include a Service Center in Milford, a gallery in Greenwich, five Supercharger stations and 27 destination chargers across the state. Last Friday, Tesla opened the largest Supercharger station to date on the East Coast at the Connecticut Post Mall in Milford. The company plans to open eight additional Supercharger stations and up to 25 additional destination chargers throughout Connecticut by the end of 2017.

Image – By John Cummings – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37553049

Supporters of House Bill 7097 Join Tesla and State Legislators on Steps of State Capitol

May 16, 2017  Straight from the Tesla Press Release – DOZENS RALLY IN HARTFORD FOR DIRECT AUTOMOBILE SALES BILL.

Rally Comes One Day After New Poll Shows 74 Percent of CT Voters Support Allowing Tesla’s Direct Sales Model.

On Tuesday morning, just one day after the release of a new poll showing that nearly three-quarters of Connecticut voters favor allowing Tesla’s direct-to-consumer automobile sales model in their state, dozens of people rallied at the State Capitol in support of House Bill 7097, An Act Concerning the Licensing of New and Used Car Dealers.

HB 7097, which would authorize the direct sale of electric vehicles without existing dealership franchise agreements, is currently under consideration by the General Assembly. If passed, the bill would encourage electric vehicle adoption in Connecticut, reduce carbon emission, create job opportunities and economic development and decrease public healthcare costs.

According to a poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and released by Tesla on Monday, 74 percent of Connecticut voters support legislation authorizing manufacturers like Tesla to open brick-and-mortar stores in Connecticut. The poll, which surveyed 500 Connecticut voters likely to participate in the 2018 election, also found that 49 percent of respondents would be less likely to support state legislators who opposed such legislation.

Tesla was joined at Tuesday’s rally by House Republican Leader Themis Klarides, State Senator Art Linares, and State Representative Antonio Guerrera. Robert McSherry, Owner of North Haven Auto Body, and Josh Litwin, an MBA student at the University of Connecticut School of Business, also spoke at the event.

“Connecticut’s economy is badly in need of new business and new investments, and that is exactly what Tesla is offering,” said House Republican Leader Themis Klarides. “I urge my fellow legislators to support HB 7097, a bill that will spur job creation and generate revenue for our state.”

“Allowing Tesla sales in Connecticut will change our state for the better,” said State Senator Art Linares. “If the company is able to expand its presence here, we will see a reduction in harmful emissions, an increase in the number of consumers driving electric vehicles, and an increase in the number of good jobs available to Connecticut residents.”

“I’ve seen measures like HB 7097 come before the Transportation Committee, which I chair, three times now, and every time I’ve concluded that authorizing Tesla is the right choice for Connecticut,” said State Representative Antonio Guerrera. “It’s time for my colleagues to finally let Tesla invest in our state.”

“The diverse coalition that’s gathered here today is proof of the wide-reaching, positive impact Tesla has already had in Connecticut,” said Diarmuid O’Connell, Vice President of Business Development for Tesla. “We’ve heard from many legislators and residents across the state that are looking forward to Tesla expanding its presence in Connecticut’s communities through the passage of HB 7097.”

“As a small business owner who works with Tesla, I know how much good the company can do,” said Robert McSherry, Owner of North Haven Auto Body. “Getting more Tesla cars on the road will be a great thing for Connecticut’s economy and environment, and it will mean significantly expanding my business and companies like mine across the industry.”

“Connecticut residents are hard-working and forward-thinking, but the State is losing its competitive edge and many graduating students are attracted to jobs outside the State,” said Josh Litwin, an MBA student at the University of Connecticut School of Business. “State leaders can change this status quo, and inspire students like me to stay in Connecticut after graduation, by letting innovative companies like Tesla do business.”

Tesla’s existing investments in Connecticut include a Service Center in Milford, a gallery in Greenwich, five Supercharger stations and 27 destination chargers across the state. Last Friday, Tesla opened the largest Supercharger station to date on the East Coast at the Connecticut Post Mall in Milford. The company plans to open eight additional Supercharger stations and up to 25 additional destination chargers throughout Connecticut by the end of 2017.

Images – courtesy of Tesla

Elon Musk Writes to the Hartford Courant in Final Push as HB 7097 Vote Nears

Elon Musk has written a letter published in the Hartford Courant in an all out direct appeal to the public to push Connecticut Legislators to finally grant Tesla the right to sell automobiles directly to consumers.

This is Tesla’s third attempt at getting the state to allow direct sales of Tesla automobiles. At stake is the very heart and future of the free market economy in Connecticut.

Right now, a company like Apple can sell their products directly to consumers, but Tesla cannot. If an individual invents an amazing robot that gets your mail and mows your lawn, they can sell directly to the public but Tesla cannot. If a school or church decides to have a bake sale/fund raiser and sell their products directly to the public, that’s ok, but Tesla cannot. Every day restaurants, all over the state, sell their products directly to the public but Tesla cannot. This legislative and restricted approach to a free market economy is fractured and is not in the best interest of buyers or sellers.

The state of CT is facing a 2.3 billion dollar budget deficit, it makes ZERO fiscal sense to say to Tesla, “Sorry we don’t want you selling cars here, we would rather just give the jobs and sales tax to New York or Mass, go buy your Tesla there instead.”

This is a no brainer Connecticut, lets get this done. Click here to read  the Elon Musk letter in the Hartford Courant

Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
 

Tesla is Working with The Renewable Energy Association of CT

Tesla and the Renewable Energy Association of Connecticut are working together to convince the CT state legislature to allow Tesla to sell cars in our state.

One of the representatives on the Tesla policy team has reached out to the founder of reneact.com to ask if the association would support Tesla in pursuing legislation to address the prohibition of direct sales. Tesla is working on a sign-on letter with many of those active in the progressive community.  The following groups have signed on: CT Fund for the Environment, Sierra Club CT, CT Sustainable Business Council, Acadia Center, ConnPIRG, League of Conservation Voters of CT, Environment CT and International Council of Shopping Centers.

Tesla has asked if they can add the Renewable Energy Association of CT to the sign on letter and the answer was of course, a resounding yes.

Background on Tesla and Direct Sales in CT

Tesla currently sells directly in over 20 states in the U.S. and in Washington, D.C.  Only 4 states currently prohibit Tesla from selling directly to consumers.  With the pending launch of the Model 3, which is Tesla’s middle class priced car, there is a potential for significant growth in consumer adoption of electric vehicles.

Right now in CT, less than 1% of all vehicles registered in the state are EVs (.063%).  Tesla vehicles make up 62% of all EVs in the state.  There is real growth potential for the EV market, but the biggest hurdle – once affordability is addressed – will be whether consumers can actually purchase EVs.

Current law prevents Tesla from direct sales in the state in spite of the fact that each Tesla store will create as many as 25 new jobs and inject $8 to $10 million into the local economy.  Here is a website that provides more background: http://www.teslact.com/fact-vs-fiction/.

If allowed to sell in CT, Tesla stores will be equipped with a growing selection of EVs, as well as home battery storage and solar.  This will allow the consumer to pursue a carbon free home.

The Renewable Energy Association of Connecticut fully supports legislation that allows Tesla to sell cars in our state and appreciates the opportunity to help in this endeavor.

Image -licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license

The Secret Reason Why Automotive Companies Cling to Hybrids Over Pure Electrics

Since the advent of the piston powered automobile, car companies have relentlessly promoted the idea that the piston engine would always be the king of the transportation world. Decade after decade, consumers have been mind numbingly inundated through various media outlets, that the piston engine is here to stay and nothing else exists that could possibly provide the same competitive price and performance characteristics.

For decades, the big 3 blithely ignored developing alternative drive trains or paid a mere token interest through products like the ill fated , poorly executed GM EV 1 or the Wankel rotary engine powered Mazda RX 7.

Then along came the very first mass produced Hybrid; the Honda insight. It was a small, tear drop shaped(read ugly) body with 3 doors that seated (cramped) 2 people. The car was basically an under powered, poorly executed attempt at a hybrid that got an EPA rating of 61 MPG. The first generation Honda Insight only sold a laughable 17,020 units worldwide and was quickly eclipsed by the roomier 4 door Toyota Prius. The Prius went on to win large scale acceptance by consumers and tree huggers while the first generation Honda Insight has been largely forgotten.

In the meantime,  Tesla automotive successfully developed the Model S pure electric automobile, a car that shattered sales records for an all electric and even won the Motor Trend magazine prestigious, Car of the Year award. In the luxury segment,  the model S has outpaced  gas powered rivals such as; Mercedes, Lexus and BMW in both sales AND performance. When Tesla introduced the affordable Model 3 all electric automobile, over a quarter of a million people put a deposit down for the car, despite the fact 99% of them had not even driven it!

While Tesla was king of the luxury segment, Nissan produced the Leaf, the first affordable mass produced all electric auto that won praise from the automotive media, while winning over consumers.

One would think, after seeing the sales, the performance and the world wide accolade of the Nissan Leaf, the Tesla model S and the model 3, the other automakers would do everything in their power to transition their cars to all electric drive-trains as fast as possible. This begs the question; why is this not happening?

The simplest answer is raw greed. The internal combustion engine is complex, requiring constant maintenence and a lot of parts. The pure electric automobile on the other hand has far fewer parts and is far more reliable. The pure electric auto has no oil pump, needs no oil changes, does not have a timing belt, or starter, no fuel injection, no fuel filter, no catalytic converter, no exhaust, a minimalist transmission if any, no spark plugs or air filter. The undeniable fact is the electric auto is much cheaper to maintain and requires far fewer parts than an internal combustion engine.

The reality of fewer parts and less maintenence is exactly the problem for a giant auto company that reaps large profits off such parts and maintenence. The fact is, by keeping internal combustion powered hybrids around, they can LOOK like they care about the environment, while continuing to rake in millions in maintenence and parts sales. Unfortunately that is the very secret of why companies such as Toyota and others, have been so slow to adopt pure electric auto’s on a massive scale. Sad but true.

Why Self Driving Cars Will Kill Thousands More People than They Save

All self or autonomous driving cars will fail at some point due to a well known and potentially fatal flaw. This flaw could be responsible for the death and injury of thousands of motorists every year.

Self driving cars are being touted as the path to a much safer future for automobile transportation.  In fact, Tesla and Google are pouring immense resources of time and money into being the first to offer an auto that drives itself. Unfortunately, both companies are pushing a technology well past its ability to deliver anything but a dangerous experiment, an experiment that may dazzle customers into show rooms and into buying a rolling technology that they think is safe and yet contains a hidden fatal flaw.

Every self driving car relies on immense computer power to make instant decisions about how to respond in any given situation, however, as we all know, computers and computer systems crash. When a pc crashes the result can be a loss of time or data. When your pc or phone crashes, you just turn it off and reboot. However, when the computer that runs your self driving car crashes, the result is far more serious. It is a well known fact,  even after decades of development, our phones, laptops and pc’s still, on occasion crash.  Entrusting thousands of lives to a technology that will fail at 70 mph is foolish.

Tesla, Google and any other car company pursuing this wasteful dream of self driving cars would be wise to invest their time and money elsewhere. Tesla would be well advised to instead, invest in better batteries for electric cars, batteries that deliver longer range yet do not catch on fire when pierced and yet are cost competitive. If they were to find a battery chemistry that delivered that kind of safety, range and affordability, that would truly deliver on the promise of a safer and cleaner future for all of us. (Image – licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

How We Can Circumvent the Trump EPA

There are numerous media outlets reporting that the Trump administration has both silenced and taken away the ability of the EPA to perform or function. In essence the new President has simply shut down the agency until he can figure out what to do with it.

This kind of neck wrenching change of direction happens every time there is new leadership in Washington. Fortunately and unfortunately this is how our republic functions, it is the lifeblood that nourishes the very heart of our democracy.  However, there is another power broker that does not change every 2 or 4 years, this power broker is constant, relentless, incredibly powerful and can turn on a dime making or breaking both companies and economies.

This power broker is the free market economy, a bully pulpit that millions of us get to use to powerfully impact almost any area of our world. In the arena of energy, conservation and the environment, we as consumers can bend the will of any corporation and change entire markets despite what any politician may think or legislate.

Over the next four years, we as caretakers of our planet must legislate our own will to overcome any government laggards who would try to harm our cause. We the people have an entire economy to establish in a way that meets not just our needs but the needs of future generations and we must do this NOW.

So how does this work? Millions of us must vote our conscience in every single purchase we make. We must put our money where our hearts are and forge market share for those who treat our world as we would have it treated. just as important, we must set our minds to the task of making sure we stay away from purchasing products from those who do not share our concern for clean, safe renewable energy and products that do not harm our environment.

if millions of us do this, it will change our world so drastically the power of the old EPA will pale in comparison to the power of a new market based EPA in which Every Person is Accountable. A market driven movement so large no CEO or company would dare defy its principles of  environmental stewardship for fear of losing market share and being dumped by wall street.

This is already happening in many areas; the incredible rise of non GMO and organic foods, the amazing growth of solar and wind power, electric car companies like Tesla gaining record sales and market share despite plummeting fuel prices and the superb growth of the divest movement, which has seen large organizations and even entire countries move away from fossil fuel related investments.

We the people of this great nation must move forward and push our market based green agenda despite the negative legislation coming from the White House. We can do this, we must do this, the time is now.

 

 

Trump Nominates Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State Environmental Groups Declare War (Updated)

The news that Rex Tillerson (Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil) will be nominated for Secretary of State, prompted an outcry from a broad spectrum of groups including environmental, renewable energy advocates and even some leading republican lawmakers leery of the many conflicts of interest such a move would create.

Rex Tillerson is the head of one of the worst companies on planet earth. Is Exxon Mobil that bad? Exxon knew about Global warming and the impact it would have as far back as 1977, in fact their models from way back then are proving to be quite accurate. Yet Exxon Mobil has spent decades denying the science of climate change while manufacturing and profiting from the very root of the problem. Click here for details. Nominating such a person for Secretary of State would top off one of the most devastating weeks for those of us who want a clean healthy planet for our children to inherit.

Optimism had been building that a Trump administration would not be as harsh on the environment as initially feared after Trump indicated in interviews, he would have an open mind about climate change and followed up that amenable tone with high profile meetings with two climate change activists; Al Gore and Lenardo DiCaprio. Leonardo DiCaprio has become quite outspoken about the dangers of global climate change and has recently both starred in and produced the National Geographic documentary , “Before the Flood”.

Feelings of good will turned to disbelief and rage after Trump nominated Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA, the same Scott Pruitt who had sued the EPA in a bid to undue key legislative elements of President Obama’s protections to rein in pollution from Coal fired power plants.

The position of Secretary of State is one of the most powerful and includes such responsibilities as ; Advising the President on matters relating to U.S. foreign policy including the appointment of diplomatic representatives to other nations and on the acceptance or dismissal of representatives from other nations. Participates in high-level negotiations with other countries, either bilaterally or as part of an international conference or organization or appoints representatives to do so including negotiation of international treaties and other agreements. (Source-Wikipedia)

Such a position demands a representative who is wholly consumed with the highest interests of the people and government of the United States WITHOUT bias toward any single industry. Rex Tillerson cannot be entrusted to represent the interests of the people of the United States when he has been so embedded in big oil for so long. Should his nomination make it through, he will encounter a conflict of interest and logistical nightmare after retiring from Exxon Mobil regarding the handling of Exxon Mobil stock according to Fortune.

President elect Trump cannot pull the wool over the eyes of environmental groups by merely whispering lullabies of environmental open mindedness while nominating people who are clearly going to gut any and all policies that were designed to protect the environment while fostering the growth of renewable energy.  President elect Trump should understand, very clearly that his actions (not his words) and the consequences of those actions will be judged by future generations. (photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 -Unported)

 

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