Saturday, April 19, 2014

CSU Earth Day has role for Ritter's Energy policy

Colorado State University is celebrating Earth Week with a week of green events Thursday, April 17, through Friday, April 25. “This year’s Earth Week line-up demonstrates the impressive breadth of sustainability education, research, and engagement at CSU,” said Tonie Miyamoto, director of Communications and Sustainability for CSU’s Housing and Dining Services. “Events range from guest lectures to tours to tree planting and festivals – there is something for everyone.” Events happening during Earth Week include: Thursday, April 17 The grand opening of the Powerhouse Energy Campus will be held 3-5 p.m. at 430 N. College Ave. in Fort Collins. Home to the CSU Energy Institute, the Powerhouse Energy Campus is a 65,000-square-foot expansion of the CSU Engines and Energy Conversion Lab. The facility houses offices for all of the research centers affiliated with the Institute, and is a model of cutting-edge energy research in itself. Monday, April 21 CSU U.S. Green Building Council and the Design-Build Institute of America will cohost guest speaker Nancy Kralik, senior director of Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE) and Sustainability at Fluor Corporation 6-8 p.m. in the Pre-Construction Building, Room 122. She is a licensed civil and environmental engineer with more than 30 years of experience in the development and application of HSE policies and procedures in a global arena. She serves as chair of Fluor's executive-level sustainability committee. She also chairs the Construction Industry Institute's research team on sustainability in construction and recently led an Engineers Without Borders team on an El Salvadoran water project. CSU's Warner College of Natural Resources will host renowned Colorado nature photographer John Fielder at 7 p.m. in the UCA’s Griffin Concert Hall, 1400 Remington St. Fielder will showcase his photography of Colorado’s wilderness as part of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Tuesday, April 22 Holding onto some old or outdated electronics for a while? Bring them to the all-day e-Waste Collection on 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Surplus Property Warehouse. The event is sponsored by CSU’s Surplus Property department. The Earth Day Festival, 10 a.m.-2p.m., is a celebration of sustainability at CSU and in the community. Staff, students, and faculty are all welcome to the event. Live music, baked goods from the bakeshop and much more will be at this year's festival. Stop by the trees at Meridian Avenue and Plum Street to learn about more about the sustainability community at CSU. The event is sponsored by Housing and Dining Services, the Live Green Team, Parking and Transportation Services and the Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Advisory Committee. Biodiversity Ignite! is an evening of fun and informative five-minute talks that showcase and recognize the range of biodiversity research conducted at CSU. Sponsored by the School of Global Environmental Sustainability Biodiversity Working Group, the event is 5-7 p.m. at Avogadro’s Number, 605 S. Mason St. in Fort Collins. On Earth Day, CSU Sustainable Remediation Forum and the Student Sustainability Center are co-hosting a free screening of the documentary "Gasland II" at 7:30 p.m. in the Behavioral Sciences Building, Room 131. The Gasland film series takes a deep look at the dangers of fracking, hydraulic fracturing and power behind the oil and gas companies. Wednesday, April 23 A panel of conservation practitioners will discuss how to achieve big goals through dynamic partnerships from the mountains to the plains at 6 p.m. in Behavioral Sciences Building, Room A101. The event will kick off with a presentation, "Conservation from the Past to the Future," by conservation philanthropist Ed Warner. Panelists include Heather Knight, The Nature Conservancy; Noe Marymor, Natural Resource Conservation Service; and Bob Sturtevant, Colorado State Forest Service. There will be a post-panel mixer at 7:30 p.m. in the atrium of the Natural Resources Building. Thursday, April 24 The Ranching and a West that Works Conference, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theatre, will discuss the reality of ranching and explore the transformative ideas ranching will pass through during this century. The event continues 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. April 25. The Earth, Sun and Fire Tour of the Foothills Campus, 1-3 p.m., includes a tour of the 5.3-megawatt, 30-acre solar plant; the in-vessel composter; and the biomass boiler. RSVPs are required for this free event; email The event is sponsored by RamTrax, Facilities Management and Housing and Dining Services. Friday, April 25 The Ranching and a West that Works Conference continues 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theatre. The conference will discuss the reality of ranching and explore the transformative ideas ranching will pass through during this century. Celebrate Colorado State University's third year being recognized as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Foundation by helping to plant new trees 9:30 a.m.-noon at the University Center for the Arts, 1400 Remington St. Planting instruction will be provided by CSU Facilities and the Colorado State Forest Service. CSU student groups interested in planting trees should contact Luke Finn at to sign up. The event is sponsored by the Center for Collaborative Conservation, Colorado State Forest Service, Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, numerous student organizations and the Warner College of Natural Resources. Holding onto some old or outdated electronics for a while and are not sure what to do with them? Want to pick up some CSU compost for your garden? Bring up to two e-waste items to recycle at no cost and two buckets to the Compost Giveaway/e-Waste Collection between 1 and 3 p.m. Friday, to the parking lot at College Avenue and Lake Street (Lot #575). The event is sponsored by Surplus Property, Facilities Management and Housing and Dining Services.

Ritter's Energy think tank offer federal energy plan

In last year’s State of the Union address, President Barack Obama told Congress that if it didn’t act on global climate change, he would. Now, with the next State of the Union message coming up next week, a diverse and influential group of leaders from beyond the Beltway has presented Obama with more than 200 ideas on how he can continue acting on that promise. At a news conference today, former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter released a report delivered to the White House last week, offering scores of ideas on how the Obama administration can move the nation closer to a clean energy economy and reduce America’s carbon emissions over the next three years, using his executive powers. The report, which Ritter called a “comprehensive menu of options” for the President, was developed over eight months with the help of more than 100 CEOs, energy experts, academicians and thought leaders who participated in a series of roundtables last year. Ritter emphasized that not all of the participants agreed with all of the ideas, but the report reflects the recommendations that received the strongest support. Ritter, who founded and directs the Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) at Colorado State University, briefed members of the President’s Cabinet and senior policy staff at the White House last week. Among those who attended were Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz; Interior Secretary Sally Jewell; Deputy EPA Administrator Robert Perciasepe; the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, John Holdren; Dan Tangherlini, the Administrator of the General Services Administration; Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; and Dan Utech, the President’s top climate advisor. Among its many recommendations, Powering Forward urges the President and his administration to: • Carefully compare the full life-cycle benefits and costs of each energy resource as his national energy policy is implemented. The report points out that additional opportunities exist to distinguish carbon-rich and low-carbon resources consistent with the President’s goals for minimizing the greenhouse gas emissions most responsible for climate change. • Direct the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to review and improve how it counts “green jobs” and to resume reporting the number of those jobs in the economy. The BLS suspended its reporting on green jobs last year after it was criticized for its methodology. • Direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue clear preliminary guidance to states as early as possible in the regulatory process to encourage early adoption of new energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, and to explain how they will be credited in state implementation plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing fossil-fuel power plants. • Direct the Energy Information Administration (EIA) to review and if necessary improve its methods for projecting the growth of renewable energy technologies in years ahead. EIA has been criticized for underestimating renewable energy’s contribution to the nation’s energy mix. • Direct federal agencies to work with the nation’s electric utilities and utility regulators to update regulations that are getting in the way of clean energy technologies. Utility executives told CNEE that outdated regulations are making it difficult to accommodate new energy resources and technologies such as wind energy and rooftop solar systems. “As one utility executive put it, today’s new energy technologies are 10 years ahead of utilities in the United States, and utilities are 10 years ahead of regulations,” Ritter said.