Please remember that this is not official information

WORLD'S SMALLEST FUEL CELL - OR IS IT JUST WHAT'S LEFT AFTER CT TAXES THE BUSINESS TO ITS KNEES?
At the left, next,  April 3, 2008 Board of Selectmen's meeting contained an item "Building Committee" - three members showed up and reported on current projects.  Alternative Energy Subcommittee Chair. was included in this wrap-up.  Next, an experimental project in Spain;  At the right, attorney specializing in alternative energy grantsmanship, no longer attached to law firm contacted, described where the sub-committee is now (3 companies responding to the initial request for info).  Previously, before there was a faculty advisor, Weston's secret weapon - HOW.


ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SUB-COMMITTEE OF THE WESTON BUILDING COMMITTEE/@April 2009, now part of the Building Committee's regular sessions...





2014 REVIVAL?
At the Building Committee May 14, 2014 a discussion took place of about attempting a "microgrid" for Town Hall, Fire Department, new Police Facility and Weston Center.  The laws have changed over the last five years or so and now permit limited net metering and other changes to laws against going "off the grid."
  Some on Building Committee seemed to doubt application to Weston without investment in real inter connectivityothers wanted to know a good source on the net to check...the link we provide here is to the first name that came up when we entered "microgrid" into Google.




News of deadline for "Microgrid" grants here.


Remember the Weston Building Committee's UTC fuel cell project?

Dominion buys Bridgeport fuel cell park in deal valued at $125 million
Brian Lockhart and Rob Varnon, CT POST
Updated 1:48 pm, Friday, December 14, 2012


BRIDGEPORT -- A missing piece of the city's new fuel cell plant project fell into place Friday, and it's huge.

Virginia-based Dominion Resources, one of the country's biggest energy companies, revealed itself as the unnamed financial backer and buyer of the planned 15-megawatt site.

FuelCell Energy of Danbury, which has been shepherding the plant through the lengthy approval process, most recently securing a special tax arrangement from the city for the land, will continue to develop and maintain the site for Dominion.

The announcement of Dominion's purchase, rumored earlier in the week, concluded a deal orchestrated over the past six years between city, state and federal officials and the private sector that was often on shaky ground.

"When I tell you I really never thought we'd be standing here, I believe that," Mayor Bill Finch told the various players who had assembled mid-morning Friday in a crowded City Hall Annex to celebrate the news. "This project died 15 to 20 times...

This is a transformative project for the city of Bridgeport and the nation."

Connecticut Light & Power has a 15-year deal to purchase electricity from the plant for a fixed price when it comes online in late 2013. According to FuelCell, the plant will generate enough electricity to power 15,000 average-sized homes.

From the Finch administration's standpoint, the city is getting a high profile clean energy project -- the largest fuel-cell plant in Northern America - which FuelCell intends to use as a showpiece for investors and future clients.

And the site, a contaminated two acres Bridgeport owns off of Railroad Avenue, will now be generating revenue for the city. Under the original arrangement with FuelCell, approved this month by the City Council and now assumed by Dominion, the property will be leased for 75 years for an up-front payment of $286,825.

And for the next 17 years Dominion, which has a market capitalization of $29 billion, will pay $250,000 annually in taxes, even though technically they are a tenant, not the owner.  James Eck, Dominion's vice president of business development, pledged Friday this was the start of a committed business relationship with the city and the Bridgeport community.

"We're not an absentee owner, here," Eck said.

One councilman, John Olson, D-132, at a council meeting Monday questioned whether the city could have gotten a better deal.

"I sold my little house for $165,000," Olson told his colleagues on Monday. "Somebody's going to make a lot of money on this project. Bridgeport's not going to be making much."

Asked Friday if the city could have gotten more, Finch said, "I'd just say we're very happy with the arrangement."

The deal is a boon for FuelCell, which despite its continued growth has struggled to turn a profit. The company's market value is around $176 million.  FuelCell will be able to add about $56 million to its backlog of orders and also signed a 15-year service agreement for $69 million, bringing the total value of the deal to about $125 million.  Shares of FuelCell surged 7 percent on Nasdaq and were trading at 94 cents in afternoon trading. Dominion shares were down 0.4 percent to $51.15.

Officials said the project will create a total of 161 jobs, from on-site construction work to positions to jobs at FuelCell's manufacturing facility in Torrington.  The plant will be unmanned, although FuelCell said employees will likely be there every few days.  The state was represented at Friday's announcement by Brian Garcia, president of the Connecticut Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, which helped provide support to FuelCell.

"Today is a great day. We're talking about jobs, cleaner, cheaper, more reliable sources of energy here in Bridgeport," Garcia said.




PureCell® System Installed at UTC Power Headquarters Building

A new fuel cell at UTC Power's headquarters in South Windsor, Conn., is not only a clean energy source for the facility, it is also a source of pride for the employees who designed, built and installed the unit. The PureCell System Model 400 - which is the company's flagship product - is prominently located at the main entrance and delivers up to 50 percent of the building's electricity needs. 

UTC Power installed the Model 400 in the summer of 2011, replacing an earlier generation PureCell unit the company had used since the mid 1990s. The new fuel cell provides 400kW of clean, reliable power to the building and is capable of load-following, meaning it automatically adjusts its power output based on the draw from the building. Byproduct thermal energy from the unit - about 1.7 MMBtu/hour (or about 500 kilowatts) will be harnessed to provide employees with domestic hot water and heating for the building's shop areas.


UTC Power
http://www.utcpower.com/


Fuel Cell lapse time construction
http://www.utcpower.com/knowledge-library/media-center#!prettyPhoto[iframe_one]/1/




Developer Bruce Becker's 360 State Street in downtown New Haven could be the first residential building to earn LEED Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. (Becker & Becker)
  
New Haven Fuel Cell Wrapped In Red Tape
Hartford Courant
Tom Condon
February 21, 2010


Bruce Becker has tried to do the right thing. That may have been his mistake.

Becker is the developer of nearly completed 360 State Street, a 32-story, 500-unit apartment building in New Haven. The building, which will contain retail space and enclosed parking for 500 cars, is one of the largest residential buildings ever built in the state.

I have been following this project, in part to see if Becker is able to attain his goal of making it one of the state's greenest buildings as well. He's trying to make his the state's first residential building to achieve LEED Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The state isn't making it easy.

In addition to numerous other energy-saving technologies, Becker hopes to power the building with a 400-kilowatt fuel cell made by UTC Power of South Windsor. He has been promised a $900,000 grant from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund to cover slightly more than half the cost of the power-generating device.

To pay for the rest, and to maintain the fuel cell, Becker in 2007 proposed an arrangement called "sub-metering," meaning the building would have one "master meter" for United Illuminating, the local utility, and all the tenants would have individual "sub meters." UI would support the project by buying excess power and providing additional power at times of peak demand. Or so the theory went.

This is done in New York and other some other states, but has only been allowed in Connecticut in limited areas, such as marinas and campgrounds. Without recounting a complex legal argument, the state Department of Public Utility Control turned him down in late 2008, saying current law didn't allow it.

Early last year, Becker met with members of the Clean Energy Fund, who suggested another approach: State law does allow electric co-ops. The statute says in part that "cooperative, nonprofit, membership corporations may be organized ... for the purpose of generating electric energy by means of ... renewable energy resources."

So Becker formed a co-op, the Elm Electrical Cooperative Inc., and went to UI with the hope that they could do business. The utility said, in effect, not unless the DPUC orders us to. So he filed another petition with department, asking that UI be ordered to provide direct retail service to the co-op, that it be eligible for conservation and energy incentive programs, and be able to use "net metering," in which the utility would purchase excess electricity generated by the fuel cell at market rates.

Though a DPUC draft report in December favored Becker's position, the final vote of the commission this month was a 2-2 deadlock (the commission is down a member), and so Becker lost again.

He plans to appeal the decision, and I hope he does. The plain language of the law seems to be on his side. But what comes through both the draft decision and the hearing is that this is "novel," "precedential," new territory for the DPUC — an area where the agency could use some legislative guidance.

In the hearing on the matter, Commissioner Anthony Palermino argued forcefully that the existing laws are too vague and ambiguous; DPUC Chairman Kevin DelGobo argued eloquently that the statutes are clear enough.

There are a number of other legal issues involved, but the result is a major and self-defeating contradiction. On the one hand, the state awards subsidies to the fuel cell industry and grants from the clean energy fund to buy fuel cells. But when someone steps forward to actually embrace this technology, state utility regulators run for the hills.

Fuel cells are still a new and developing technology, but one that appears to make sense in certain situations such as large food markets or residential buildings. Since a cell generates power by catalysis rather than combustion, it is a clean, nonpolluting power source. On-site power, known as "distributed generation," reduces transmission costs and congestion, and help make the grid more secure.

But let's make up our minds. If we believe in fuel cells, let's create a regulatory environment in which it is possible to actually use one. If we don't, it's hard to imagine another developer following Becker's tortured path.




Economists Send Up Red Flags On Dems' Tax Plan
The Hartford Courant
By LYNN DOAN
April 16, 2009

With the state's three-year budget deficit forecast hovering between $6 billion and $9 billion, Democrats are pushing a tax plan that economists warn will wipe out thousands of jobs both in old-line and emerging Connecticut industries.

The tax package unveiled by the state legislature's Democratic majority earlier this month includes three main hits to business: a 30 percent surcharge on the corporate earnings tax; an end to sales tax exemptions on some key purchases such as computer services; and stricter limits on tax credits, including the lucrative research and development credits that keep many startup businesses afloat.

While the higher taxes would help keep the state above water and could avert public employee job cuts, economists and business executives say the plan would also exacerbate mounting layoffs in a deep recession and drive out companies that many see as the future of Connecticut's economy.

"I don't have numbers in my computer that are going to tell me what this is going to do to jobs, but I know it's not good," said Nicholas S. Perna, economic adviser for Webster Bank and a lecturer at Yale University. "You're either going to discourage companies from staying in Connecticut by putting a surcharge on them when profits are very hard to come by, or you're going to discourage them from relocating here."

No one, in fact, has complete numbers on estimated job losses or even on exactly how much the Democrats' proposal would raise in new revenue from business.

The state is expected to collect $315 million in the next three years from the corporate earnings surcharge and $79.5 million annually from the 54 tax exemptions that would be repealed — although some of those exemptions apply to consumers.

Calculating the effect on the tighter R&D credit policy is harder because that depends heavily on company decisions that are colored by state policy. Tax reformers in Connecticut have long argued that it's impossible to gauge the effectiveness of the state's many exemptions and credits because it isn't known what a company does with the money.

"There are some sales tax exemptions, and there are some tax credits that have been there for many years for no reason except that some lobbyist is pushing for it to be there," said state Rep. Demetrios S. Giannaros, D- Farmington, an economics professor at the University of Hartford. "Really, we should let businesses compete fairly and more jobs will be created."

As proposals wend though the Capitol, debate rages over whether the money collected, which many say represents a fair share from business, would outweigh job losses in the state's private sector. Companies' decisions on hiring are impossible to predict, as they depend not only on finances but attitudes, many executives say.

But by most accounts, hundreds of millions of dollars in higher business taxes, part of the Democrats' overall plan to increase state taxes by $3 billion over the next two years, would exact a significant cost to the state's economy.

Biotech, Fuel Cells

The 30 percent surcharge on corporate taxes alone would purge 470 Connecticut jobs a year for the next 10 years, according to an analysis done by Stan McMillen, chief economist for the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

McMillen said just one of the sales tax exemptions on the chopping block — for computer and data processing services — would result in another 2,200 job losses annually for the next 10 years. He estimated that, together, the surcharge and the repeal of the computer services exemption would result in a $344 million decline in the size of the state's economy each year for the next 10 years.

"And this is just a very small part of the entire package," he said.

Business advocates say Connecticut's stalwart manufacturing sector and two key growth industries — biotech and fuel cell technology — would particularly suffer from the tax proposals. Among the sales tax exemptions to be repealed are three that allow these businesses to buy equipment, fuel and tools tax-free or at a discounted tax rate.

"Isn't that madness? We're one of the leading states in the country on fuel cell technology and they're going to increase their costs by 6 percent," said University of Connecticut economist Fred V. Carstensen. "That strikes me as being bizarre, just bizarre."


Carstensen, director of UConn's Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis, said "there is no question" that the repeals would prompt job losses and "venue shopping" among Connecticut's businesses.

But Carstensen said the Democrats' proposal to impose a 30 percent tax surcharge would cause less damage to the state economy than the spending cuts laid out in the governor's budget because it would preserve a higher level of public services and thus preserve jobs.

"Government spending generates the largest economic benefit," he said. "If the choice is between raising taxes and laying people off, then you want to raise taxes."

He added that a surcharge poses no threat to Connecticut businesses because they've become "very, very skillful at manipulating tax codes."

"There's a whole cadre of lawyers and accountants who track all these things and that's a lot easier than relocating your business," he said.

'A Chilling Effect'

Economists and executives warn about decisions companies make based on their perceptions of the state's policies — although in this recession, unlike in the past, virtually every state faces a similar bind and many are increasing taxes.

In Danbury, companies are already "acting defensively," instituting four-day work weeks and furloughs, said Stephen A. Bull, president of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce. There isn't much left for these businesses to do, Bull said, but to cut jobs, relocate or simply shut down.

"They are positioning themselves," he said, "for what could transpire on the state level."

Companies currently use the tax credits to reduce their corporate earnings tax liability by up to 70 percent — but that would shrink to 50 percent for most companies over the next two years under the proposal.

This reduction would equate to millions of dollars in lost investment in Connecticut's bio-pharmaceutical industry alone, said Paul Pescatello, president and CEO of Connecticut United for Research Excellence, a trade group for the state's bio-pharmaceutical and life science companies.

"This is the most innovative industry, arguably, we've got in this country," he said. "The biotech-pharmaceutical industry spends more than any other industry on research and development, so these research and development tax credits are critical."

Pfizer Inc. is an especially sensitive example. The company employs 5,000 people at its global research headquarters in Groton and New London, and is buying and merging with a competitor, Wyeth — a merger that will lead to job reductions in places now being determined.

In a statement released Wednesday, Pfizer said it was "concerned with any proposal that may stifle innovation."

Pescatello said he is still polling his members to determine exactly how much less they would be able to invest in research under the Democrats' tax proposal.

Even without solid numbers, he said Wednesday, "it's going to have a chilling effect on how their future stands in Connecticut."


DPUC denies fiscal aspect of fuel cell plan
By Mary E. O’Leary, New Haven Register Topics Editor
Monday, January 26, 2009 8:21 AM EST

NEW HAVEN — The state Department of Public Utility Control has denied developer Becker and Becker approval of a revenue model to support use of a fuel cell at its 360 State Street project.

But the developer isn’t giving up.

Bruce Becker, president of the firm that put together the 500-apartment project for the former Shartenberg Department store site downtown, said he will pursue a legislative remedy to the problem.

The request to permit submetering, in addition to a master meter at the apartments, as well as the resale of electricity, was turned down last week as beyond current energy regulations and policies. The decision came at a special DPUC meeting.

Becker’s firm had argued that there was already enough flexibility in the law to allow the requests.

“We are troubled that they are interpreting it in such a restrictive way, particularly since the governor has such a progressive energy policy,” Becker said.

He hopes the necessary changes are in place to allow use of a fuel cell when the apartments open in summer 2010.

“We will have a fuel cell at the site,” Becker said.

The DPUC stated in a report that although Connecticut has been proactive in trying to address the changing energy landscape, “unanticipated opportunities will continue to appear,” with Becker’s plan being the first.

“The (DPUC) examined ways to increase the economic benefits for this project in the near term under existing standards. Unfortunately, it was unable to do so,” the report states.

State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven, Sunday said he is looking into a tax credit proposal to address the issue, something that would likely take months to move through the legislature as the proposal goes through the tax and energy committees.

“I think we need to build new models to encourage innovation in construction projects,” Looney said.

In this tough economic environment, Becker said it makes more sense than ever to invest in sustainable energy sources, such as fuel cells, but some regulatory changes are necessary to make them affordable.

The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund has approved a grant for close to half of the $2 million cost for the 400-kilowatt natural gas fuel cell, built in Connecticut. But Becker said he needs a revenue scheme that will cover his investment, as well as operation and maintenance of this new technology.

Assuming that any excess energy production attributed to the fuel cell would be consumed within the apartment complex, the DPUC looked at whether a retail value could be assigned to that energy as a solution to Becker’s problem.

Under the current net metering standards, according to the DPUC report, landlords are reimbursed for excess production at a wholesale price, “a value well below” the retail price of the kilowatt hours the landlord is saving.

The United Illuminating Co. objected to allowing a change in compensation as a violation of Connecticut law and energy policy, which the DPUC ultimately agreed with.

Becker’s proposal is the first request to come before the DPUC that sought to expand the benefits of on-site energy generation at a mixed-use facility, but it is not expected to be the last.

The fuel cell at 360 State Street is estimated to produce 3.3 million kilowatts annually, of which 2.2 million will be consumed in the common areas of the apartment building, with the rest used by the tenants.

The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund analysis was developed for a standard installation, where the excess energy would be sold to the grid. The DPUC suggested that the Board of Directors of the fund amend its guidelines to take into account proposals like Becker’s.

The developer of the 32-story, $180 million housing complex, believed to be the largest in the state, said New York regulators have dealt with distributive generation in a mixed-use building for at least a decade.

The use of a fuel cell will help the housing development, which also includes a day care facility and a grocery store, to qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification, the second highest “green” construction award.

Mary E. O’Leary can be reached at 789-5731 or moleary@nhregister.com.

URL: http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2009/01/26/news/new_haven/a3-mon-nedpuc.prt

© 2009 nhregister.com, a Journal Register Property



Connecticut’s Solar Incentives Dry Up
NYTIMES
By Jan Ellen Spiegel
December 22, 2008, 7:35 am

The Connecticut organization charged with administering the rebate program said it is a victim of its own success.
Connecticut’s touted solar rebate program, which experts have pointed to as exemplary, may not be so perfect after all. Six months into its two-year budget cycle, it is nearly out of cash, leaving homeowners, businesses and nonprofit and governmental organizations that want to buy solar electric systems out of luck.

All that remains is money for residential solar leases, but there’s an income cap, and so far, the leases haven’t caught on.

As I wrote in Sunday’s New York Times, representatives of the Clean Energy Fund, which administers the program, describe it as being a “victim” of its own success. But as Connecticut joins a growing list of states — including Maryland and Minnesota — that have run through their solar rebate allotments, there is growing concern that such situations could critically damage a solar industry trying despeartely to get off the ground.

“The biggest concern is that we don’t lose the momentum that’s been hard-won over these last two or three years because of these incentive programs,” said Monique Hanis, a spokeswoman for the Solar Energy Industries Association. “It could really take off,” Ms. Hanis said of the solar industry. “Or we could have a repeat of what happened after the Carter years when it got snuffed out.”

When solar thermal incentives ended in the mid 1980s, it all but killed the solar industry.

Connecticut is trying to scrape up a little extra money to keep residential rebates going at a low level, though hard times have now prompted Governor M. Jodi Rell to consider using funds aimed at the program to plug a budget hole elsewhere. And some solar installers, including Jared Haines, president of Mercury Solar Systems in Greenwich, Conn., say they see the writing on the wall. Mr. Haines said he is considering moving Connecticut employees to his offices in neighboring New York.

All parties are now looking for a lifeline from Washington. The federal investment tax credit for residential solar projects increases on Jan. 1, which could help a little. More important, however, is the expectation that there will be solar incentives in President-elect Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package. Many in Connecticut believe that the state may be well-positioned because it has so-called shovel-ready solar jobs, and at least at the moment, a solar industry infrastructure.

“The question is,” said Michael Trahan, executive director of Solar Connecticut, a solar industry advocacy group, “will there be an active work force left in the state by the time those federal dollars come along? That’s a long shot, I think.”



OTHER HAPPENINGS AROUND THIS TIME...
Report on RFP

M E E T I N G : 
CHANGED ON FRIDAY to Monday, September 22, 2008 at 7:30pm, Commission Room at Town Hall.  Well attended meeting, review of responses to RFP, discussion of next steps and coordination edfforts to make an effective and prudent proposal at a time in the near future.

Read the full text on "Energy Improvement District" legislation from 2007 here:  http://www.cga.ct.gov/2007/ACT/PA/2007PA-00242-R00HB-07432-PA.htm

OR go to our special version with sections 21-36 in large type HERE.

Alternative energy needs a boost
The Advocate
Editorial
Article Launched: 07/01/2008 03:00:33 AM EDT

There is little question that the need for renewable energy will only grow in coming years. With energy from traditional sources continuing to get more expensive, on top of the environmental problems caused by burning fossil fuels, the world is looking for other ways to power itself.

And there are technologies out there, albeit none that could step in immediately to replace oil, natural gas and coal. But if this country is to continue to move in that direction and toward a cleaner future, the federal government needs a coherent program of subsidies and a predictable level of assistance. Keeping potential investors guessing is no way to run an energy policy.

That was the message recently to Congress from representatives of General Electric Co., the Connecticut-based international conglomerate that dabbles in virtually every industry imaginable.

GE representatives have said another congressional failure to extend a tax credit for renewable energy projects could put billions of dollars worth of future wind farms in jeopardy. But it's not just the company's bottom-line that faces trouble; it's national energy policy in general.

Despite gaining returns on investment in wind turbine and wind farm deals, GE representatives said alternative technology still needs subsidies to compete, and likely will for the near future. We need to move renewable energy technology past its current fill-in-the-gaps role.

The problem with some renewable sources is they depend on factors outside anyone's control. Wind farms are worthless without wind, and solar panels don't help much on a cloudy day. Battery technology currently is insufficient to simply store up energy to use later. Developing reliable sources that don't depend on the vagaries of the weather will be one of the industry's top challenges in coming years. But it does have sound options to pursue, including biomass, hydro and geothermal power.
 
For now, the cost to get started with alternative energy projects can be substantial. Subsidies often are required to get a project off the ground, and some might take years before they could come close to paying for the initial investment.

But if the market economy indicates where we are heading, subsidies represent a sound investment.

It was reported earlier this year that subsidiary GE Energy Financial Services planned to substantially increasing its investment in renewable energy - by 50 percent, to $6 billion, according to The Associated Press. Alex Urquhart, president and chief executive of the division based in Stamford, termed it "our fastest-growing business."

Despite such good news, though, getting away from a fossil-fuel-dependent society is a multigenerational task, and we cannot afford to miss opportunities to invest in our economic and environmental future.


Students in Weston High School’s Energy Alternatives class include, bottom row, from left, Caroline Shaw, Jack Bucca, Dylan Goldman, Jordan Luft, Alison Germain, Nicole Bertini, Marlee Najamy Winnick; top row, Evan Huang, Joe Sandolo, Erica Palumbo, Mariclaire Fraboni, Mary Ellen Costello, Mark Weinstein, John Murray, Erika Lelievre (adviser).

Alternative energy guide: Weston students burn the midnight oil       
Weston FORUM
Written by Terry Castellano    
Wednesday, June 25, 2008 

If one could harness the energy exhibited by Weston High School science teacher Erika Lelievre’s Energy Alternatives classes, perhaps the community would have a new force to ponder.

The students in these two classes spent their spring semester researching options to consider when individuals, companies, governments, and any other group decide what energy sources they will use.

Using mostly primary sources, this group of approximately 30 students in grades 10 through 12 explored the world of alternative energy.
After delving into six different areas in this field in addition to studying energy-effective cars, they worked to separate myth from fact and then design, write and publish a 51-page guide to assist the Weston community and its neighbors in understanding and finding alternative energy sources in Fairfield County.

“This is the future; this is where it is all headed,” said Caroline Shaw, a junior and member of Ms. Lelievre’s classs.
Areas covered in guide

Areas researched by the students include the state’s energy laws, programs and initiatives; energy-effective cars; biofuels; solar power; geothermal technology; hydrogen fuel cells; and wind and nuclear power. The guide includes more than five pages of reference material.

Ms. Lelievre said her job was to assist the students in choosing research topics, create a schedule and hold the students to it, and provide guidance and direction when necessary. Ms. Lelievre added that she used a multi-disciplinary and inquiry-based approach to teaching.

The students engaged in a discussion of alternative energy sources on a variety of levels. They talked about availability, cost-effectiveness, practicality, and even the political impact of any decisions to use alternative energy sources.

Two of the students, graduating seniors who studied biofuels, Mary Ellen Costello and Erica Palumbo, foresee political implications should the country or the world move away from oil-based energy.

Mary Ellen suggested that if we as a country moved more quickly toward this change, “using alternative energies might take us out of the war.”

One of the difficulties the students discovered in researching alternative energies was separating fact from fiction.

Dylan Goldman, a junior, said, “At times it was tough to weed out what was wrong from what was right. Even the government sites sometimes contradicted each other!”

Graduating senior Jordan Luft said the students tried their best to present their research in an unbiased manner. “We’re giving you the knowledge; you make the decision,” he said.

The course

Energy Alternatives is an elective at Weston High School recently approved by the school board. This is the first year the course has been offered.

After researching their individual topics in small groups, the students made class presentations, with many of them creating worksheets and lab assignments for the other students to complete. All groups quizzed their classmates on the material they had presented.

Part of the goal of the course was to complete the guide. Greg Moore, a Weston High School student, illustrated the cover of the guide, and the English department staff helped with proofreading.

There were 500 copies of the guide printed, and all were given to students and community members at no charge in order to educate readers and encourage them to think about making changes in the ways they use energy and in the types of energy they use.

“I took this course because of the current discussions [on alternative energy sources],” Erica said. “I think it is a good idea and wanted to ‘go green,’ where possible. It’s almost an obligation.”




NEXT MEETING:   SCHEDULED FOR MONDAY, MARCH 9, 2009 at 7:30pm in the Downstairs (basement) Meeting Room at Town Hall:  Agenda same as posted in the Town Clerk's Office Thursday, March 5, 2009


Minutes of the Alternative Energy Sub-Committee of the Building Committee (note - these have been approved):
February 25, 2009
February 11, 2009
January 14, 2009
September 22, 2008
July 22, 2008
April 21, 2008

Mar. 10, 2008
Feb. 5, 2008
January 15, 2008



Research sources on or linked to this website:
http://www.aboutweston.com/geothermal.html
http://www.aboutweston.com/fuelcells.html
and from across the pond...http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/sci_tech/2006/energy/default.stm
Please read the Energy section (p. 26) of the SWRPA Regional Plan: http://www.swrpa.org/projects/regplan2006.htm