Low-Cost Loans Available for Energy Improvements
A Department of Energy and US Housing Department joint pilot program will grant low-cost loans to people who want to make energy-efficient improvements on their homes. Up to $25,000 in “Powersaver loans” will be given to families to fund projects such as installing insulation, duct sealing, replacing doors and windows or HVAC systems, solar panels and other such renovations. The project not only helps homeowners lower energy bills, but it gives the local green job market a boost as well. All loans granted will be backed by the Federal Housing Administration, whose mortgage insurance will pay 90 percent of the loan amount in case of a default. Only those with acceptable credit and some equity on their homes will qualify for the loan.
New Mexico Improves Hydropower Plant
A New Mexico project will be first hydropower project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Abiquiu Hydropower initiative will increase renewable energy generation by 22 percent from the current capability of the plant, so that it will now generate 16.8 megawatts. The improvements will allow the plant to power up to 1,100 homes per year in Los Alamos County.
Ukraine Invited to G20 Meeting to Discuss Nuclear Security
Ukraine has been invited on behalf of the French Prime Minister, Francois Fillon, to participate in the next G20 summit on issues of nuclear security this May in Paris, France. After the Chernobyl accident, Ukrainian nuclear power plants have undergone a thorough safety assessment in part conducted through an EU-Ukraine-International Atomic Energy Association joint committee. More recently, Ukraine has engaged in modernizing all nuclear plants to ensure stability in the event of an earthquake and has also established a regulatory committee at the legislative level.
Energy Flair Entices Americans to Reduce Consumption
What’s the latest game that plays on Americans’ competitive spirit to get them to be more energy efficient? Energy Flair is an online competition that encourages users to save energy and uses competition as its incentive. Users can log on and create an account for free using their ever-popular Facebook or their email. Once in the game, they can see how their average electricity and gas bills compare to those of their Facebook Friends on Energy Flair, all other Flair users as well as the other statewide households. Participants upload electric copies of their bills and they can earn digital badges for reducing their energy use.
North Carolina Flooded with Energy Legislation
The North Carolina state legislature was hit with an influx of energy bills on Tuesday including proposals touting more natural gas production and others to boost offshore wind capacity. One proposal seeks to allow owners of renewable energy projects with a capacity of two-megawatts or fewer to sell power directly to customers, bypassing the utility regulations. Another proposes to create a 60-MW or smaller wind farm in northwestern NC. Obstructing its construction is the Ridge Law that bans building of tall structures on mountain ridges. Among the largest bills is the Offshore Wind Jobs and Economic Development Act, which wants to require state utilities enter long-term contracts with offshore wind farms. The proposal aims to create 2,500-MW of offshore capacity over a stretch of seven to 10 years with the first project operational by the end of 2017. Proposals have been met with enthusiasm as well as criticism, but the passage of all the bills remains questionable.
Written by Krishna Patel.
Krishna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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