Climate Action
The MVTimes 
February, 25, 2021

CLIMATE SOLUTIONS Becoming Resilient

Prolonged power failures are a serious concern as climate change progresses and more extreme weather events occur. When the electric grid is down, having systems that give us a continued source of power, without relying on fossil fuels, is crucial. It took Puerto Rico 6 months to start to bring back power after the hurricanes of 2017. They didn’t have drinking water for 3 months. We need to be prepared for these sorts of situations.

Imagine a Vineyard where we are generating enough power from renewable sources and have enough energy storage in place to sustain such outages.

Resilience Strategies

  • Individual buildings have solar and batteries to provide back-up power on-site
  • Micro-grids are used to cluster buildings or houses, using on-site renewable energy generation and batteries (often coupled with a fossil fuel generator).
  • Large energy storage facilities maintained by the utility company.

Town Resilience
Aquinnah, Chilmark, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury and West Tisbury all have projects in the works that will make use of solar combined with a battery bank. This will ensure that these buildings can continue to function in a power failure no matter how long it is. These batteries can also feed power back into the grid at times when our usage is highest to help meet that increased demand.

An Edey Foundation grant supports this effort

The MVTimes 
February, 18, 2021

CLIMATE SOLUTIONS How about Our School Buses?

This year, our Vineyard school system will take its first steps to electrify the school bus fleet.  With the help of VW settlement grant, MVYPS plans to purchase two electric school buses, if island voters support the warrant article at Town Meeting. We currently have 21 full-length school buses: 16 gas, 5 diesel. Diesel fuel, in particular, has been proven to cause respiratory diseases and worsen conditions such as asthma. Electrifying school buses reduces emissions that are harmful to our kids and saves our School Districts money in fuel and maintenance costs.

More Electric Buses on the Horizon

  • The Vineyard Transit Authority has 12 electric buses now. As of June, half their fleet of 32 will be electric.Their goal is to be 100% electric by 2027.
  • The Steamship Board has just voted to purchase 3 electric buses: 2 will be transit to Falmouth parking lots—also supported by a VW settlement grant.

All of these buses make our environment and the air we breathe healthier and move us towards our 100% Renewable by 2040 goal. A next step is to have all their batteries charged from power from renewable sources.

Please support the electric school bus warrant article at Town Meeting this Spring!

An Edey Foundation grant supports this effort

buses
The MVTimes 
February, 4, 2021

CLIMATE SOLUTIONS Converting Our Steamship Fleet

Ferry fuel use is 11% of our island’s transportation energy use. 1,290,723 gallons of diesel fuel were used in 2018. We need to transition to a cleaner way to travel. Scandinavia and Washington State are leading the way in transitioning to electric and hybrid ferries.

Washington State has the largest ferry system in the US with 21 vessels, 20 terminals and 24 million passengers. They are redesigning their vessels to convert them to a hybrid-electric propulsion type without disrupting structural components. The ferries will operate on all-battery power during crossings and can revert to a hybrid, diesel-electric propulsion if required. Battery recharging will occur dockside at the terminals during loading procedures. Their goal is to have 90% be plug-in hybrid by 2040. The conversion of the first boat will cost $40,000,000 and will begin this year.

Denmark has the largest fully-electric ferry, “E-Ferry Ellen” launched in 2019. The ship can carry 30 cars, 200 passengers and go 22 nautical miles. (Our “Island Home” can carry 60 cars, 999 passengers and goes about 8 nautical miles on the Vineyard Haven route.)The Ellen is powered by a battery system with a capacity of 4.3 MWh.

An Edey Foundation grant supports this effort

steamship
The MVTimes 
January 21, 2021

CLIMATE SOLUTIONS Make Way for EV Trucks- they’re coming!

2021 will see the beginning of pick-up trucks being introduced into the market.
Governor Baker has just mandated that by 2035, all “light-duty vehicles” sold in Massachusetts will need to be zero emissions. This means cars but mandates such as this will boost the production of electric vehicles for all.

If you are looking for a new truck and want to be on the cutting edge, a great article in Clean Technica gives a good description of what you could buy in 2021.

Here are some of those options and more:

  • The Rivian R1T has a range of 300+ mile range.  They also have the R1S- a sport utility vehicle with the same range.
  • The Lordstown Endurance is being offered as a fleet vehicle.  It is designed with four “in-hub” motors to reduce the number of moving parts.
  • The GMC Hummer EV has an estimated 350+ mile range.
  • The Tesla Cybertruck is a space-age-looking vehicle with a 250 mile range.
  • The Ford F-150 Electric is coming—to be offered in 2022.
  • The Bollinger is an all electric truck that has a range of ~200 miles.
  • The Atlis truck platform is offering both a fleet work truck and a pickup truck, with range choice of 300-500 miles.
  • The Jeep Wrangler 4XE is a plug-in hybrid:  25 miles of electric power combined with a gas engine.

Lots to explore and choose from!
click here

An Edey Foundation grant supports this effort

EV_Trucks
The MVTimes 
January 7, 2021

CLIMATE SOLUTIONS For Your Next Car, Buy or Lease an EV!

The electric vehicle market is rapidly expanding as battery technology improves. The newer cars have greater range and there is more choice of vehicle.
At the top of the line, Teslas get over 300 miles/charge. The Chevy Bolt gets 259 miles, the Nissan Leaf gets 226 miles and there are others!
If we are to meet the goal of 100% Renewable by 2040, we need to convert our fleet of vehicles here to be electric, with power coming from renewable sources.

A few facts:

  • EVs require much less maintenance. Battery checks, brakes and tires are the main things.
  • They run quieter and are quite zippy because there is no transmission so the power goes directly to the wheels providing instant acceleration.
  • If you are not ready to spend the money to buy a new or used one, leasing is a good option.
  • EVs are great on the Vineyard because our distances are short. When you take the car off-island, you may have to charge it. There are apps to show you where to charge your car.
  • There are both Federal and State rebates, depending on how many cars the company has already sold.

Go to the Drive Green website
to learn more about how EVs work, charging and what rebates are available.

An Edey Foundation grant supports this effort

The MVTimes 
December 24, 2020

CLIMATE SOLUTIONS Juicing Up Our Transportation!

45% of our energy use is for transportation. That is higher than other communities because of the fuel used for ferry service.

In 2018, 22,191 automobiles and light trucks were registered on the Vineyard at the RMV. These light vehicles account for one- half of the carbon dioxide emitted by all forms of transportation on the island.

To reach the goal of 100% Renewable by 2040, we need to convert to using electricity for our all transportation. And get that electricity from renewable sources.

GETTING STARTED

Do you know someone with an electric vehicle?

Ask them about their experience with it and if you can take it on a test drive. It will be quieter and zippier than you think!

Go to the Drive Green website
to learn more about how EVs work, charging and what rebates are available.

An Edey Foundation grant supports this effort

The MVTimes 
December 14, 2020

CLIMATE SOLUTIONS Make the Switch to Heat Pump Water Heating!

We ALL use hot water. One of the easiest ways to decrease your fossil fuel use is to switch to a hybrid electric water heater. It’s an easy switch because you already have a water heater set up. This is another KEY tool to our meeting the 100% Renewable goal.

How Do They Work?
These water heaters use a heat pump to draw their heat from the surrounding air. The hybrid mode uses both the heat pump and an electric resistance heater so that you have plenty of hot water when more is needed.

How to Get Started?

  • You need a space at least 7′ x 10′ x 10′ that is at least 50 degrees and no hotter than 90 degrees. This could be where your current water heater is or, a large closet or laundry room.
  • Once you have picked the spot, call your plumber to give you a price and install it.
  • Ask your plumber what size you should install and be sure the heater meets the Uniform Energy Factor. (UEF) For units > 55 gallons the UEF needs to be 2.7 or higher.
    For 55 gallons or <, it needs to have a UEF 2.0 or higher.

Find the Rebates and Turn it On!

https://islandclimateaction.org/climate-action/
An Edey Foundation grant supports this effort

The MVTimes 
November 26, 2020

CLIMATE SOLUTIONS Air Source Heat Pumps are THE Way!

You have seen them: metal boxes sitting outside houses with a grill on the front; “mini-splits” inside houses that deliver heat or cool. Now that there are cold climate units available, this is the most efficient way to heat, cool and dehumidify your home or workspace. They are a key strategy to our meeting the goal of 100% Renewable by 2040.

Cold Climate Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) facts:

  • The installation costs are less than that of a propane or oil-fired burner or furnace
  • They run more efficiently and cost less to operate than oil or propane
  • They can replace your current heating (and cooling) system or supplement it
  • It is key that you get a high efficiency “cold climate” unit

These systems can be ducted or ductless. The ductless ones often use “mini-splits” which are wall-hung; there are also floor and ceiling units.

For existing houses, replace or supplement your furnace or boiler with an ASHP. For new houses, installing an ASHP is the best choice.

And then there are REBATES!
Mass Save offers rebates and if you heat 90% of your space with heat pumps, there is an additional rebate through MA Dept of Energy Resources. And, you can get a 0% interest HEAT loan to pay for it. Get an energy assessment through the Cape Light Compact to access the loan. 1-800-797-6699 to schedule.

The MVTimes 
November 12, 2020

CLIMATE SOLUTIONS Make it Tight, Build it Right!

We have 17,500 houses now. Some that were seasonal are now being used
year-round. We have 1,100 non-residential buildings.

Many of these buildings will still be around in 2050. If we are to meet the goal of 100% Renewable by 2040, we must improve our existing buildings so they use less energy and we need to be sure that any new structures we build are as efficient as possible and use electricity from renewable sources for all energy needs.

Here’s What You Can Do for Your House
Have the Cape Light Compact do an energy audit and a blower door test so you can see where your air leaks are and where more insulation is needed. Take advantage of the Compact’s insulation offers. If you are replacing windows and siding, add insulation to the outside of your house when you do so. These actions will keep you warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

If you are a tenant, you can do this too. Your landlord signs off on the improvements and the costs are covered by the Cape Light Compact.

IF you are building a new house
Spend money on insulating it well and aim for a net-zero carbon structure: an energy efficient, 100% electric house with the electricity coming from renewable sources. This will give you a comfortable and healthy home with low to no energy costs.

The MVTimes 
October 29, 2020

CLIMATE SOLUTIONS

We need to switch to electricity for ALL our building energy needs.

Currently, 1/3 of our buildings are heated with oil,
2/3 with propane. All our buildings use electricity.
How does that fuel and electricity get here?
Our propane and oil come over on the boats or on Packer’s barges.

We have 4 underwater cables that bring our electricity from Falmouth and diesel generators to support summer peak usage. Eversource proposes to install a large battery bank for increased resilience. As we convert to heat pumps and summer temperatures increase, we will need a 5th cable-and more- unless we generate more electricity on-island.

Currently 7% of our electricity comes from on-island solar arrays. We need to substantially increase that percentage. We need you to do solar at your property. It will provide you with clean power now and if batteries are installed, resilience in prolonged power failures. Here is some information to help you get started.

Photo by Sunpower for South Mountain Company
The MVTimes 
October 15, 2020

The Easiest Switch to Make…

Get your electricity from a renewable source.  This is one of the simplest ways to help with the goal of a 100% Renewable MV by 2040. Join the Cape Light Compact’s Local Green. You may not be ready to install solar at your house but by joining, you can get electricity generated by solar panels.

Your electrical bill has two parts:  Eversource is your distributor of power, and then you have a choice for power supply.  Much of that electricity supply is being generated from natural gas.  The process of extracting natural gas -fracking – releases large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Methane is the most harmful, heat-trapping, greenhouse gas. 

You can make a difference by switching your power supply to a local renewable source. Enroll on their website or call 1-800-381-9192.

An Edey Foundation grant supports this effort.

The MVTimes 
October 1, 2020

Now is the time for us to address climate change.

“…the decade ahead will be one of the most crucial breakdown or breakthrough moments in the history of our species.”  says Terry Tempest Williams, environmental thinker and advocate.

Right now, here is how we use energy:

  • 32% of the energy we consume is for our buildings in the form of propane and oil
  • 45% of the energy we consume is for transportation in the form of gas, diesel and aviation fuel
  • 23% of the energy we consume is in the form of electricity.

To reach the goal of 100% Renewable by 2040, we need to convert to using electricity for our buildings and transportation. And get that electricity from renewable sources.

Two big things can you do~ 

Ready to buy a new or new-to-you car?  

Consider purchasing or leasing an electric vehicle.   Go to Drive Green to learn about cost, rebates and where to buy them. 

Looking to replace or supplement your Heating Equipment?  Consider a Cold Climate Air Source Heat Pump. They are more energy efficient; provide heating, cooling and dehumidification & will save you money. Island heating contractors can install them and rebates are available from Mass Save. 

The MVTimes 
September 17, 2020

Our Moonshot Moment

Thomas Friedman, NY Times columnist says, “As bad as this pandemic is, it’s just the training wheels for the big, irreversible atmospheric pandemic: climate change.

We were not prepared for the pandemic, but we can prepare for the impacts of the climate crisis, and reduce how much we are contributing to it. This is our “moonshot moment!”

This twice-monthly box (and website below) will give you ideas on how to take action and help our Island meet the proposed goal of 100% Renewable MV by 2040.

What Can You Do?

  1. Let you voice be heard  Vote:  Our future depends on it!  Use your power as a citizen to elect officials- at the federal, state and local levels-who not only acknowledge climate change, but are committed to advocating for a fossil-free future.
  2. Support the 100% Renewable MV Initiative when it comes up at town meeting.
  3. Support town initiatives and warrant articles that make your town’s buildings energy efficient and 100% electric.
With thanks to MVTimes and Edey Foundation grant for their support in this effort.
Photo by Noli Taylor

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