Events
Sustainable Living Seminar: Water...Connecting the Drops

Wednesday, May 18, 2016      CityWaterTower
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Carmel Clay Public Library
55 4th Avenue Southeast, Carmel, IN 46032

Waterthe most precious of life’s commodities.  Something we can’t live without and all take for granted.   It is our right to have clean drinking water to sustain us.  We need to cherish and conserve this precious necessity for all life.   Find out where our drinking water comes from and what Carmel and each individual can do to protect it.  See what the impact of climate change is having on our water system.   Learn aboutCityWaterBluePumps the state of our ground water and its impact of economic development.  Learn about how to save water and money with your sprinkler system.  Find out what happens when we have a heavy rain and how it impacts your storm drainage system.  Learn about the state of the water in Indiana from our expert panel and what you can do to help.  CityWaterHoosierWaterGardian

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These topics will be addressed by our expert panel:

Sue Maki, Carmel Utilities Manager of Environmental Initiatives and Education

John Thomas, Carmel Storm Water Administrator

Jill Hoffman, White River Alliance Executive Director.

Claire Lane, Urban conservationist from the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District, will talk about free programs offered to help Hamilton County residents improve their property.  Financial assistance is also available for some of their programs.

Free raffle giveaways including a rain barrel (value $99). Thanks to a donation by City of Carmel.

 

AGENDA

State of the Waters

  • Water cycle basics
  • Threats, current conditions, changing future conditions

Carmel’s surface water resources & connections

  • Major streams & how ponds, ditches & infrastructure connect
  • How drainage is managed & regulated
  • What the city does to reduce non point pollution & flooding

Carmel treated water & embedded energy

  • Source of Carmel drinking water & well head protection efforts
  • Carmel water treatment facility
  • Embedded energy on water

Hamilton County Soil & Water Conservation District

  • Free Programs
  • Financial Assistance

Other things you can do to protect water supplies & quality

  • Clear Choices clean water campaign
  • White River Festival & volunteer opportunities

RESOURCES

Ensuring the Resilience of our future Water and Energy Systems, EPA, 2014

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Rain Gardens with Native Plantings
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Pervious Pavers
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CHS Carmel Earth Fair
Saturday, May 23, 2015CHSEarthFairLogo4
Noon - 4 p.m.
Community Garden by Carmel Middle School
300 S Guilford Road Carmel, IN 46032
FREE

 

This family event is organized by the CHS Environmental Action Club. The purpose is to educate the public on how to go green at home while also raising awareness about local, national, and global environmental issues.
  • Booths will include Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Spring Green Garden Club, Earth Charter Indiana, CCS Green Team, Carmel Green Initiative, and Clay Township Regional Waste District, Carmel Green Teens, and the University High School Ecoblazers, as well as giveaways from Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation and Carmel Household Hazardous Waste Disposal.
  • For entertainment, guests will enjoy Jim Poyser, a renowned speaker from Earth Charter Indiana and youth speakers from Poyser’s organization Youth Power Indiana, as well as talents from CHS students. There will be a variety of singers including Mimi Carnes (sophomore), Emily Worrell (freshman), and Joseph Bloom (sophomore). There will also be a juggler (Vince Carter, senior), and an art display. All of our volunteers are students, as well.
  • Kids activities will include carnival-style games with an environmental twist such as: face-painting featuring  recycling symbols, earths, etc.; guess-how-many jelly beans are in the jar (hint: it's the same number as the tons of trash produced every month in Carmel); recycling toss (test your three-point skills by tossing recyclables into a bin "hoop"), and more!
  • There will also be tours of the Plots to Plates community garden and fresh food from local Carmel Farmer's Market vendors.

Congrats to CHS student Andrew Glesing winner of the Earth Fair logo art contest!

 
Sustainable Living Seminar - The Burden

The_Burden_FilmWedndesday, Feb. 17, 2016     
6:30 - 8:45 p.m.
Carmel Clay Public Library
55 4th Avenue Southeast, Carmel, IN 46032
RSVP

Did you know that the U.S, military is currently the world's single largest institutional consumer of energy, and the United States alone uses 20% of the total global oil supply?  The Burden highlights how heavy reliance upon oil and other fossil fuels poses a variety of national security concerns, including:

  • The vulnerability of troops and loss of lives and money resulting from the need to protect and defend fuel convoys in war zones like Afghanistan and Iraq,
  • The strategic and economic costs of keeping oil rich areas of the world open,
  • How climate change will increae the need for the military to respond to natural disasters, and other emerging global security challenges.

The Burden presents the determined voices of advocates for breaking America's addiction to fossil fuels as essential to improving our national security. Featuring high-level active duty and retired military leaders, elected officials and others, the film illustrates a tale of energy innovation.  Some of our country's most vital consumer technologies emerged out of military needs, such as the Internet and GPS, and the military is poised to play the same role again with energy.

However, as the film highlights, the fossil fuel industry's powerful political influence poses major challenges to successfully developing renewable energy alternatives. But the resolute advocates featured in The Burden are determined to break the energy impasse in order to improve American security and prosperity. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is featured in the documentary.

You will hear from veterans Mayor Greg Ballard and Dan Martin about their experience transporting oil in a war zone, and thoughts on what we can do to break our addiction and improve national security.  Martin is a veteran representative of Operation Free, a campaign of the Truman National Security Project. Mayor Jim Brainard will speak to some of the Carmel's green initiatives.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

THANKS TO OUR PARTNERS, SPONSORS & FRIENDS...

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IUPUI Office of Sustainabiltiy

St. Luke's United Methodist Church

Central Indiana OFA

Citizen's Climate Lobby

Ask Renee, Indiana Living Green

St. Thomas Aquinas Creation Care Ministry

Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Oppose HB 1320 Anti-Solar
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2015 Legislative Session
House Bill 1320 - anti-solar bill
Bill Origin: Indiana Energy Association
Authored by: Rep. Eric Koch

HB 1320 would have made rooftop solar cost prohibitive, would have stifled the free market solar economy, killed jobs in this growing industry, monopolized solar, and limited our energy choices.

SPEAKER BOSMA PULLS THE PLUG ON ANTI-SOLAR BILL
2/26/15 - HB 1320 was pulled from the House calendar for 2nd and 3rd reading before the end of the first half of the session.  House Speaker Brian Bosma halted the bill saying it wasn't the right time for the measure. “There were a whole variety of issues that have arisen around it and it just seemed to me to be a little weighty,” Bosma said.  Kerwin Olson, executive director of Citizens Action Coalition, a ratepayer advocacy group against the bill, said the solar coalition will remain watchful for language in the bill that might be inserted into a bill that is moving. Both Bosma and Olson say they think a General Assembly study committee on the topic is unnecessary.  Read this Indy Star, Tim Evans article: Solar bill appears to be in trouble, 2/24/15

BILL CLEARS HOUSE COMMITTEE HEARING
2/19/15 - Despite overwhelming opposition, the anti-solar bill, HB 1320, passed out of the House Utilities committee last Wednesday with a 9-4 vote along party lines.  See votes below.  Click here to listen to the hearing.  Click here to view the archived video of the hearing.

Rep. Koch submitted a 15-page amendment just 2 hours before the Feb. 18th hearing making it difficult for committee members and those testifying to fully digest. However, the core provisions of the bill adversely affecting rooftop solar remain unchanged.

Over 100 citizens turned out to oppose HB 1320.

Speakers in "opposition" to the bill included Brad Morton, owner Morton Solar, Inc; Jesse Kharbanda executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council; Sue Maki, City of Carmel; Kerwin Olson, executive director Citizens Action Coalition; Denise Abdul- Rahman, Indiana NAACP; Rev. Wyatt Watkins, Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light, East-Side Creation Care Network; Pastor Brian Flory, Beacon Heights Church; and Les Zimmerman farmer Vermillion county.  An additional 28 citizens who signed up to testify against the bill were denied a chance to speak by Acting Chair Van Natter.  Public trust in the integrity of our democratic processes and institution are called into question.

Of the 4 speakers who were "neutral," three asked the committee to table the bill for further study.  The other allegedly neutral speaker was Professor Michael Hicks of Ball State University who had just that morning released a study on net metering. The study was commissioned by the Indiana Energy Association(IEA), the lobby group for the investor-owned electric utilities behind this bill.

There was only one supporter of the bill, Mark Maassel, president of the Indiana Energy Association (IEA) testified in support of the bill.  The other supporter, a representative for INDIAC took no position on the rooftop solar/net metering provisions of the bill, and only spoke in favor of new provisions in the amendment which would help manufacturing.

In all, 39 witnesses urged the committee to reject or table the bill for further study of its impact on the solar industry in Indiana.  Only one witness, the Utility monopoly lobby, supported the bill. Given this testimony, it is remarkably ironic that conservative Republicans voted for a bill that favors big government monopoly over individual freedom, free market and jobs.

This article does a great job of explaining why the Utilities are fighting energy efficiency and rooftop solar, and why we need to hold our legislators and regulators accountable. The weak energy efficiency bill, SB 412, passed out of the Senate.

WHAT'S NEXT?
HB 1320 is technically dead for the session.  However language from the bill could be inserted into another bill that is moving. We will remain on the lookout for such an underhanded tactic.  Stay tuned!!!

TAKE ACTION NOW!
1) Please take a minute to thank House Speaker Brian Bosma for tabling the bill and his leadership to protect Indiana's net metering policy.

2) Thank Representatives Hale, Pierce, Pryor and Forestal for their NO vote on HB 1320 at the House Utilities committee hearing.  Their emails are shown below.

3) Very important - It's still not too late to let your state representative know how you feel about this bill.  HB 1320 would squash Indiana's growing free market solar industry, monopolize rooftop solar, and restrict our energy choices. Let them know why this is important to you and be sure to include your name and address.  Click here for additional information about the bill.  Click here to find your state representative.


House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications
February 18, 2015 Committee Hearing

Dist/Party Name Statehouse email Vote
65-R Koch , Eric 317-232-9674 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Yes
38-R VanNatter , Heath 317-232-9647 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Yes
91-R Behning , Robert 317-232-9643 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Yes
5-R DeVon , Dale 317-232-9678 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Yes
93-R Frizzell , David 317-232-9981 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Yes
67-R Frye , Randall 317-234-9380 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Yes
42-R Morrison , Alan 317-234-2993 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Yes
4-R Soliday , Edmond 317-232-9603 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Yes
90-R Speedy , Mike 317-232-9833 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Yes
87-D Hale , Christina 317-232-9987 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it No
100-D Forestal , Dan 317-232-9987 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it No
61-D Pierce , Matt 317-232-9794 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it No
94-D Pryor , Cherrish 317-232-9794 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it No

 

KEY FACTS ABOUT HB 1320

HB 1320 would squash Indiana's free market solar industry, monopolize rooftop solar, and restrict our energy choices.

  • HB 1320 is designed to kill the free market solar industry by making rooftop solar ownership cost prohibitive.
  • The Utilities want to kill free market competition and grab the solar market for its own electric monopoly.
  • 44 states have Net Metering polices to ensure solar owners are compensated fairly for the power and benefits they provide to the grid. This bill would kill net metering and set Indiana back compared to the rest of the country.
  • This bill would drive a growing number of solar businesses out of Indiana, kill jobs, and result in higher solar prices for Hoosiers.
  • This bill kills energy choice, energy freedom and energy independence for in Indiana.
  • Electric utilities are seeking to pay below market rates for rooftop solar power, add additional charges, and change the interconnection rules, but they have not shown any evidence to justify this.  It's not fair to pass legislation that is so disruptive to a growing free market industry with no evidence that it's needed or justified.
  • The IURC needs to conduct an independent and impartial study of the costs and benefits of rooftop solar to determine its true value. The study should also quantify the real fixed costs for generation, transmission and distribution.  According to an Arizona study, the true market value meets or exceeds the retail rate from benefits that come from avoiding "expensive and polluting conventional power and power plants; reduced investments in transmission and distribution infrastructure; reduced electricity lost during transportation over power lines ... and savings on the cost of meeting renewable energy requirements."

 


 

 
Protect the Free Market Solar Industry in Indiana

You have the right to harness the sunshine on your property! Solar_-_installing_a_solar_array

Generating your own solar power is an important part of building a more sustainable community for a variety of reasons including energy freedom, energy choice, and energy independence.   Homeowners, businesses, schools, congregations, and governments have a right to harvest free, clean energy from the sunshine on their property.  Rooftop solar prices are more affordable every day making ownership more viable, and giving Hoosiers a free market choice for their electricity. However, an important part of the economics of rooftop solar is Net Metering.  This is a policy that helps to ensure solar owners are compensated fairly for the power and benefits they provide to the grid.

In 2011, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), under the Daniels' administration, updated and expanded the Net Metering rule to include all customer classes and systems up to 1 megawatt.  This expansion to the rule moved Indiana from a "D" to a "B" rating for Best Practices in Net Metering Policies.  Indiana's Net Metering policy is working well.  In fact, the rooftop solar at the Cool Creek Nature Center is a perfect example of a rooftop solar project that is financially viable because of the current Net Metering policy.  Indiana should conitnue to explore best practices in net metering to aim for an "A" rating.

In 2015, the utility lobby introduced HB 1320 that would have killed net metering. Click here to read more about HB 1320.

 

How does Net Metering work? Solar_meter_running_backward_at_Cool_Creek_Nature_Center2

When solar panels are producing more electricity than is needed at the time, the excess electricity is delivered to the local distribution grid and the electric meter runs backwards.  The solar customer pays the net difference between the electricity that was used and the electricity that was delivered back to the local grid. With the current Net Metering policy, solar owners are effectively credited at retail rates and compensated fairly for the power and benefits they provide to the grid. The excess solar electricity delivered to the local distribution grid is then used by the neighbor.  The electric utitlity then sells this excess solar electricity to the neighbor at the full retail price.

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Rooftop Solar Provides More Benefits than Costs

Many studies have looked at the costs and benefits of solar power and  found more benefits than costs to the grid, and that solar owners, by investing in their own solar panels, are actually paying more than their fair share to support the grid.  These studies found that their solar panels are benefitting the grid by producing power at the most expensive time of day, during periods of peak demand, and delivering it to their neighbors.  Also, because solar power is generated and consumed locally, solar owners reduce the load on transmission and distribution lines, which reduces the cost of the grid.  In addition, their solar panels offset the extra amount of electricity that the Utility would have had to produce at a remote, centralized power plant due to electricity losses during transmission over power lines.

The Brookings Institute analyzed several studies conducted by various groups and concluded the following

"So what does the accumulating national literature on costs and benefits of net metering say?  Increasingly it concludes— whether conducted by PUCs, national labs, or academics — that the economic benefits of net metering actually outweigh the costs and impose no significant cost increase for non-solar customers.  Far from a net cost, net metering is in most cases a net benefit—for the utility and for non-solar rate-payers…..In short, while the conclusions vary, a significant body of cost-benefit research conducted by PUCs, consultants, and research organizations provides substantial evidence that net metering is more often than not a net benefit to the grid and all ratepayers."

Here are other analysis of multiple studies: 

 

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The Potential for Solar in Indiana is Huge

Indiana has more solar resources than Germany, which has over 36,000 megawatts of installed solar PV, ahead of China and the United States, and set a record in meeting 74% of its single-day electricity demand last year.  Yet, Indiana has less than 0.3% of installed solar capacity compared to Germany.  Clearly, there's a huge potential for growth in the solar sector.

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The free market solar economy is growing in Indiana Solar_is_Growing_IURC

The number of solar installations in Indiana has grown in recent years.  According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Indiana's solar output increased 7-fold from less than 500 kilowatts in 2010 to more than 3,500 in 2012. As of June 2014, according to the Indiana Office of Energy Development, Indiana has 93 MW (93,000 kilowatts) of solar PV installed.   In the U.S., there are now more than half a million solar rooftops on homes and businesses, according to GreenTechMedia.   The factors driving the rapid growth in solar include a drop in the cost of solar equipment, technology improvements as well as favorable federal, state and utility policies according to Purdue's 2014 Indiana Renewable Energy Study.

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This growth has fostered economic development and jobs.  According to GreenTechMedia, more than $15 billion was invested in American solar projects in 2014, and the average cost of home solar project has dropped 60% since 2008.   Hoosier jobs in the solar industry grew 178 percent in 2013, according to the Solar Foundation. In 2014, solar jobs in the US increased by 30,000; 20 times faster than the national average, according to The Alliance for Solar Choice.  As pricing continues to drop, Indiana is on the verge of a booming solar economy.

Why China is Dominating the Solar Industry, Scientific American, December 2016

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Legislation intended to block the free market solar industry netmeteringmap2014

The growth in distributed generation is competition for the Utilities.

As introduced during the 2015 Legislative Session, House Bill 1320 was designed to squelch the free market solar industry by making rooftop solar prohibitively expensive for Hoosiers. The Utilities want to kill free market competition and grab the solar market for its own electric monopoly. There are Net Metering polices in 44 states.  This bill would have killed net metering and set Indiana back compared to the rest of the country.  It would have put a growing number of solar installers out of business, killing jobs, and resulting in higher solar prices for Hoosiers.  It would have killed energy choice, energy freedom and energy independence for Hoosiers.

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Legislators should protect the free market solar industry in Indiana and vote NO on bills aimed at killing the solar industry.

Through legislation, electric utilities are seeking to Buttons_Take_Action_orange

  • pay less for  rooftop solar power, less than the value of distributed generation
  • add fixed charges
  • change the interconnection rules

But the Utilities have not shown any evidence to justify this.  It's not fair to pass legislation that is so disruptive to a growing free market industry with no evidence that it's needed or justified. The IURC needs to conduct an independent and impartial study of the costs and benefits of rooftop solar to determine its true value. The study should also quantify the real fixed costs for generation, transmission and distribution.  According to an Arizona study, the true market value meets or exceeds the retail rate from benefits that come from avoiding "expensive and polluting conventional power and power plants; reduced investments in transmission and distribution infrastructure; reduced electricity lost during transportation over power lines ... and savings on the cost of meeting renewable energy requirements."

 

Here are some quotes from Tea Party conservative Debbie Dooley:

“If you are protecting monopolies, you are violating free market principles. In Indiana, elected officials who are trying to take away incentives for solar apparently don’t mind giving incentives to big corporations. They just don’t want individuals to have them.”

“Choice is free market and a lot of Republicans support the free market except when it comes to government-created utility monopolies that make a guaranteed profit off of building new power plants.”

“For years, conservatives have been brainwashed into believing solar is bad. In the states where I am active, we don’t hesitate to call out those politicians and now a different message is being delivered. I look forward to coming to Indiana and delivering this message.”

“At some point, we are going to have to look at the structure of the monopoly utilities.”

Check out this audio  -  GreenTechMedia Interview with Debbie Dooley Green Tea Coalition 13 min

Related News





Additional Resources
Economic Trade-Offs Of Owning vs. Leasing Solar, 1/29/15

Report shows Solar is Cheaper than the Grid in 42 of the 50 largest US Cities.

The Benefits and Costs of Solar Distributed Generation for Arizona Public Service

8 Solar Trends to Follow in 2015

Arizona's New Fee Puts a Dent in Rooftop Solar Economics.

APS, solar industry at odds on value of power from rooftop units.

Distributed Solar Energy Provides $34 Million in Benefits to Arizona Ratepayers.

Can S.C.'s groundbreaking net metering policy spread in the Southeast?

Tea Partyers in Florida help Launch Ballot Initiative for Third-Party-Owned Solar.

Florida Ballot Drive seeks to boost Solar Energy in Sunshine State.

 
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