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Are East Coast Cities Prepared for Impacts of Hurricane Irene?

by Don Knapp Aug 25, 2011

Downtown Boston, MA

Hurricane Irene raises the importance of long-term city planning to prepare for natural disasters, especially when climate scientists predict that we'll be facing more of them over the coming decades.

Over at NRDC's Switchboard blog, Jon Devine highlights the efforts of three East Coast cities -- Boston, New York, and Norfolk -- to prepare for climate change impacts and improve overall community resiliency. Sea level rise is a major concern for all three, and with it flooding and its impacts on infrastructure and transportation systems. Take a look.

And don't forget that ICLEI's Climate Resilient Communities Program (mentioned in the blog post, thanks Jon) can help communities begin assessing their climate vulnerabilities and planning for impacts.

Read the Blog Post >>


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Sonoma County Recognized as National Leader on Climate Action

by Emma Timboy-Pickering Aug 25, 2011

Sonoma County board of supervisors

The County of Sonoma's Board of Supervisors have shepherded the County's
national leadership and success on climate action. Supervisors, clockwise from
back left: Mike McGuire, Valerie Brown, David Rabbitt, Efren Carrillo, and Shirlee
Zane. Photo credit: County of Sonoma website

Sonoma County, CA, has joined a handful of leading local governments nationwide whose advanced climate action achievements place them at the vanguard of a movement. On August 23, the County received a Milestone Achievement Award from ICLEI USA’s Interim Executive Director, Michael Schmitz, in recognition of the County completing the fifth and final Milestone of ICLEI’s Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation process.

What this means is that the County has quantified its climate action progress and has achieved one of its primary greenhouse gas reduction goals it set in 2003, thanks to a diverse range of initiatives and programs.

“The County of Sonoma is a vital part of the effort in California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Schmitz. “ICLEI is proud to acknowledge achievement of the important Milestone Five.”

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New Tools to Accelerate Adoption of Electric Vehicles

by U.S. Department of Energy Aug 24, 2011

electric vehicle charging station lake oswego (credit: flickr via Todd Mecklem)

Electric vehicle charging station in Lake Oswego, OR (photo credit: Todd Mecklem
via Flickr)

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the launch of two online tools designed to help communities better prepare for widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs). DOE has developed a template to help local governments design permits for residential EV charger installations and accelerate the approval process. DOE has also released a training video to provide inspectors and electricians with a guide to facilitate inspections and installations of home EV chargers.

Blue yellow arrow icon small View the Permits Template

Blue yellow arrow icon small View the Training Video

These tools will encourage cities to develop standardized permitting and inspection procedures and help local officials streamline their processes. They also aim to create more favorable conditions for EV businesses, including infrastructure providers and installers, to thrive as more plug-in electric vehicles come to the market. This effort will not only speed the adoption of EVs that reduce our reliance on foreign oil, it will make it easier for EV drivers to save energy and money by charging at home.

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Solar Photovoltaic Economic Development: Building and Growing a Local PV Industry

by Emma Timboy-Pickering Aug 22, 2011

Man Carrying Solar Panels

Solar Photovoltaic Economic Development: Building and Growing a Local PV IndustryCheck out this new report from the Department of Energy for an introduction on how local economic development offices can set informed recruitment targets for renewable energy. This report was released through the Solar America Communities program.

Blue yellow arrow icon small Download the Report (pdf)

From the report overview:

This report was developed to help communities evaluate opportunities in the photovoltaic (PV) industry and develop a strategic approach appropriate to a specific community. The document provides the information for communities to:

  1. Build an understanding of the various sectors of the PV industry, metrics, differentiation, and trends in each segment
  2. Build an understanding of site selection processes and criteria for each industry segment, and the potential economic benefits of each segment
  3. Begin to evaluate the city’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential to change within the context of the industry segments
  4. Understand tools and programs used to encourage investment and economic development. Use these tools to reinforce strengths, improve weaknesses, and market to the PV industry over the long term. This report summarizes the PV industry, but further information and reading may be important to city-specific efforts. Appendix A describes additional resources.


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ACEEE White Paper: Energy Efficiency Finance 101

by Joel Freeling, Senior Energy Finance Consultant, Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure Group Aug 14, 2011

Bank of Philadelphia (photo credit: wallyg via flickr)

Photo credit: wallyg via flickr


Reposted from the ACEEE website:

The number of energy finance programs has increased dramatically in recent years. As the variety of programs expanded, so too has the diversity of financial institutions participating in local programs. Each of these different types of financiers has specific strengths, weaknesses, and areas of focus. Only by understanding these unique attributes can the best partner for each individual program be identified.

ACEEE LogoIn Energy Efficiency Finance 101: Understanding the Marketplace, an ACEEE white paper, we highlight the types of financing partners in the marketplace and offer a guide to their individual interests, risk tolerances, and place in the financial services industry. This is one of a series of papers from ACEEE that offers tools to make it easier for states, municipalities, utilities, and private lenders to learn from past experience and develop more effective energy efficiency programs.

>> Read More or Download the White Paper

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Fort Collins, CO, Cuts GHG Emissions 11% While Growing Local Economy

by Don Knapp Aug 14, 2011

Fort Collins Colorado downtown (photo credit: ScottE22 via flickr)

Downtown Fort Collins, CO. Photo credit: ScottE22 via flickr

A major kudos to longtime ICLEI member, the City Fort Collins, CO, which has reduced its C02 emissions by 11 percent since 2005.

Here's some further inspiration for other cities and counties, courtesy of a Denver Post article: While cutting emissions, the City simultaneously grew its gross domestic product by 4 percent and was recognized nationally for its livability and business-friendly climate. During this period, the City's population also increased 13 percent. The bottom line: GHG reduction targets are not only achievable, but compatible with economic prosperity.

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