More than 2,300 students in grades 6–12 participated in the Lexus Eco Challenge, an educational contest that empowers students to learn about the environment and take action to improve it. A total of $500,000 in scholarships and grants is awarded to the winning student teams, their teachers, and schools each year. To learn more about the program and winners, visit: scholastic.com/lexus.

Through the first two phases of the Lexus Eco Challenge, 32 middle and high school teams were selected as finalists. Each finalist earned a $10,000 prize to be shared among the team, teacher, and school, and was invited to embark on the final challenge to reach beyond their local community to inspire environmental action. The teams communicated their innovative ideas to a wide audience in the last round, broadening the reach of their work to people outside their communities.

Lexus and Scholastic, the global children's publishing, education, and media company, reviewed the finalists' innovative submissions and selected one middle and one high school team as the 2018–19 Lexus Eco Challenge Grand Prize winners. The Grand Prize–winning teams each receive an additional $30,000, divided into a $7,000 grant for the school, a $3,000 grant for the team's teacher advisor, and $20,000 in scholarships for the students to share. Eight First Place–winning teams are awarded an additional $15,000 in grants each.

This year's high school Grand Prize–winning team is the Aquapals from Arlington High School in Lagrangeville, NY. The Aquapals and teacher advisors Tricia Muraco and Maribel Pregnall focused on utilizing aquaponic farming techniques to reduce polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

"Our team was surprised to discover the impact of polychlorinated biphenyls on the economy of our area in the Hudson River Valley," said team member Spencer Koonin. "The lack of government pressure to clean up Superfund sites caused by PCBs and the historical loss of so many fisheries was shocking. We had to take action!" 

From their research, the students generated a 35-page manual for aquaponic farming, which they shared with local students and legislators to encourage change within the Hudson River Valley. After establishing five aquaponic systems and presenting to over 1,000 students close to home, they turned their attention abroad, collaborating with 14 farmers in eight countries.

"The most important tool at our disposal was social media," said Krishna Koka. "Through our presence on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, we were able to show our progress to farmers across the planet."

"The Lexus Eco Challenge enabled our students to see the interconnection between science and their everyday lives in the community around us," said teacher advisor Tricia Muraco. "Then it pushed them to find those connections around the country and the world. They took what they learned, became master communicators, and made political, societal, and educational impacts with everyone they met along the way."

"We learned that the plight of water contamination is shared by many around the world and that aquaponics is a solution that can help us all," said Emme Magliato. "Though we live 9,000 miles away from Rusman in Indonesia, aquaponics have now provided both our communities with new options to produce safe and sustainable food."

The Grand Prize–winning middle school team was Food Miles Matter from North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, FL. With the help of teacher advisor Hope Kennedy, the team tackled the problem of greenhouse gas emissions generated by interstate produce transport. Looking to eliminate "food miles" generated by trucked produce from the diets of their classmates, the team partnered with their school cafeteria staff to identify and grow fresh produce in the school garden, just feet from where it would be eaten!

"Our garden is very big and uses both aquaponics and aeroponics," Ryan Folic explained.

The Grand Prize—and First Place—winning teams that best addressed environmental challenges are listed below.

Final Challenge

State - City

School Name

Team Name

Project Summary

High School Grand Prize Winner

NY – Lagrangeville

Arlington High School

Aquapals

Utilized aquaponic farming to combat PCB pollution in local water supplies. Developed a manual for replication around the world.

High School First Prize Winners

AL – Birmingham

Hoover High School

 

 

 

BioBucs

Studied the effects of trees on particle pollution. Deployed new technologies in their community and developed a long-term environmental research program.

TX – Frisco

Lebanon Trail High School

 

 

Special STEMs

Comprised of five students from their school's Functional Academics program and five general education students, researched and advocated for strategies to reduce waste generated by agriculture.

 MO – Creve Couer

Parkway North High School

 

 

 S.U.N. (Storing Underground Nutrients)

Developed a custom biochar fertilizer to combat the negative effects of traditional products. Discovered alternative applications and uses for around the globe.  

 CO – Lafayette

Peak to Peak Charter School

 

Endanger Changers

Developed interactive digital games and extensive, multilingual educational materials to raise awareness for local species protection.

Middle School Grand Prize Winner

 FL – Coconut Creek

North Broward Preparatory School

Food Miles Matter

Tackled greenhouse gas emissions generated by interstate produce transport by reducing their school's food miles utilizing a community garden.

Middle School First Prize Winners

KY- Lexington

School for the Creative and Performing Arts

The Bagstreet Boys

 

Combated the negative impact of single-use plastic bags with an extensive community action plan.

 CA – Olivehurst

Arboga Elementary School

 

 

The Arboga Wild Fighters

Studied and educated their community on the environmental impacts of wildfires on Northern California. Became community activists when the project was interrupted by the catastrophic Fall 2018 Paradise Fire in their own backyard.

UT – Holladay

Olympus Junior High

 

Fanplastics

Developed wind turbine kits from recycled plastic bottles to simultaneously reduce landfill waste and generate renewable energy. Partnered with a major solar company to manufacture and distribute their kits around their community and the world. 

NJ – Jersey City

P.S. 28 Christa McAuliffe School

 

C02 A.P.T

Developed a proprietary technology awaiting patent approval that actively reduces C02 and measured C02 levels in their surrounding community.

 

Over the past 11 years, the Lexus Eco Challenge has awarded more than $5 million in scholarships that have helped more than 33,000 middle and high school students have an impact on their communities, learn about the environment, and improve their teamwork skills.

The Lexus Eco Challenge also provides supplemental educational materials, created and distributed by Scholastic, to encourage teachers to integrate creative environmental lesson plans into their classrooms. For each year's challenge, the website has lesson plans and teacher instructions, including questions to help guide a discussion about the current challenge topic, facts about the topic, and guidelines for a specific classroom project.

The Lexus Eco Challenge is part of The Lexus Pursuit of Potential, a philanthropic initiative that generates up to $3 million in donations each year for organizations that help build, shape, and improve children's lives.

Lexus will open the 13th annual 2019–2020 Lexus Eco Challenge this fall with $500,000 in prize money for eligible students, teachers, and schools. Information on how students and teachers can participate in the "Land and Water" and/or "Air and Climate" challenges will be available this summer at scholastic.com/lexus.

Lexus' passion for brave design, imaginative technology, and exhilarating performance enables the luxury lifestyle brand to create amazing experiences for its customers. Lexus began its journey in 1989 with two luxury sedans and a commitment to pursue perfection. Since then, Lexus has developed its lineup to meet the needs of global luxury customers in more than 90 countries. In the United States, Lexus vehicles are sold through 241 dealers offering a full lineup of luxury vehicles. With six models incorporating Lexus Hybrid Drive, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader. Lexus also offers eight F SPORT models and two F performance models. Lexus is committed to being a visionary brand that anticipates the future for luxury customers.

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MEDIA CONTACT:


Alissa Moceri               

Craig Taguchi             

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SOURCE Lexus

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WASHINGTON, April 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- With Earth Day right around the corner, members of the National Association of Realtors® are doubling down on their commitment to promote environmentally friendly home features, adopt green business practices and encourage a culture of sustainability in real estate. With this in mind, NAR is releasing the REALTORS® and Sustainability 2019 Report, which found that consumer demand in real estate continues to trend eco-friendly. 

NAR 2019 Sustainability Infographic
NAR 2019 Sustainability Infographic

The report, found at www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/realtors-and-sustainability, is in its third iteration and stems from NAR's Sustainability Program. It surveyed Realtors® about sustainability issues in the residential and commercial real estate markets and the preferences they are seeing in consumers in their communities. 

According to the report, 59% of respondents found that residential consumers were very or somewhat interested in sustainability. Seven in 10 residential and commercial agents and brokers reported that promoting energy efficiency in listings is either somewhat or very valuable.

"The state of the environment is important to our members and their business practices, and the report shows that sustainability impacts consumers' home buying decisions as well," said NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota and broker at Edina Realty. "Realtors® remain on the cutting edge of sustainability and continue to lead the conversation about energy efficiency in real estate."

A large majority of respondents (83%) said that solar panels were available in their markets, and 36% said that solar panels increased the perceived property value. However, only 8% of those surveyed said that solar panels decreased the perceived amount of time a home spent on the market. Solar panels are most prevalent in Northeast (available in 94% of markets) and respondents in the West were the most likely to report they increase perceived property value (41%). 

Twenty-five percent of brokers indicated that tiny homes – homes that are 600 square feet or less – are available in their markets, a 2% increase from 2018. Only 13% of respondents said that wind farms were available in their markets. 

The transportation and commuting features that Realtors® stated are very or somewhat important to their clients include: easy access to highways (82%), short commute times and distance to work (81%) and walkability (51%) – the same as 2018.

Forty-one percent of respondents were aware that their Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, has green data fields, compared to only 14% that were unaware. Among those that do have green data fields, 35% of respondents use them to promote green features, 26% use to promote energy information and 14% use to promote green certifications.

Realtors® also revealed how comfortable they are answering questions about home performance and efficiency; 39% said they are comfortable or extremely comfortable. Forty percent of respondents say they are confident or extremely confident in their ability to connect clients with green lenders; only 6% responded that they are not at all confident.

When asked what they consider as the top market issues and considerations regarding sustainability, agents and brokers named understanding lending options for energy upgrades or solar panels (38%), the lack of information and materials provided to real estate professionals (32%) and improving the energy efficiency of existing housing stock (31%).

Respondents were also asked about sustainability in commercial real estate. Seventy percent of agents and brokers indicated that promoting energy efficiency in their commercial listings was very or somewhat valuable. Sixteen percent of respondents reported that their Commercial Information Exchange had green data fields and that those fields promote energy information and green features. The top building features that clients specified as very or somewhat important to their agents or brokers were utility/operation costs (81%), efficient use of lighting (67%) and indoor air quality (64%).

NAR initiated the Sustainability Program as a platform for dialogue on sustainability for Realtors®, brokers, allied trade associations, and consumers. The program's efforts focus on coordination and articulation of NAR's existing sustainability resources, while also supporting a growing area of interest for consumers, helping members to assist home buyers and sellers.

The REALTOR® Sustainability Program invited a sample of 112,035 active Realtors® to participate in an online survey pertaining to sustainability issues facing consumers and the industry, resulting in 6,047 usable responses. NAR plans to use this report to better benchmark Realtor® understanding of sustainability and create resources to help Realtors® better serve clients surrounding sustainability topics.

The National Association of Realtors® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Information about NAR is available at www.nar.realtor. This and other news releases are posted in the "Newsroom" tab on the website.  

SOURCE National Association of Realtors

Related Links

http://www.nar.realtor

Read more: Realtors® Report Value in Promoting Green...

MILWAUKEE, April 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- WEC Energy Group unveiled a report on the company's strategy to reduce costs to customers, preserve fuel diversity and reduce carbon emissions through changes to its generation fleet.

The report – "Pathway to a Cleaner Energy Future" – illustrates the approach WEC Energy Group is taking to reduce emissions and presents a wide-ranging analysis of factors that will help shape future decision-making.

"At this pivotal time in the energy industry, we have made it a priority to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining a reliable, resilient and cost-effective energy system for our customers," said Gale Klappa, executive chairman – WEC Energy Group.

The company's long-term strategy reflects its focus on environmental stewardship. In 2016, WEC Energy Group set a goal to reduce total carbon emissions by 40 percent, compared to 2005 levels, by the year 2030. The company is on track to meet that goal by 2023 and has announced a new goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050.

"When we set a goal, you can count on the fact that we have analyzed the risks, benefits and feasibility," said Kevin Fletcher, president and CEO – WEC Energy Group. "We're confident in our ability to achieve our 80 percent reduction goal, but it will require significant effort, continued improvements in technology and reshaping our generation fleet."

Report highlights

  • Emission reductions
    • By 2030, the company's goal is to reduce total carbon emissions by 40 percent. To help achieve that goal, the company projects more than 70 percent of its electricity supply will come from low-and no-carbon sources.
    • By 2050, the company's goal is to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent. To achieve that goal the company projects 100 percent of electricity supply to come from low- and no-carbon sources.
  • Investments – WEC Energy Group expects to invest more than $14 billion between 2019 and 2023, with a focus on:
    • Reshaping its generation fleet for a clean, reliable future.
    • Modernizing electric and natural gas delivery infrastructure.
    • Launching advanced metering functionality and upgrading systems and equipment.
  • Business and climate strategy – the company strives to provide the best value for customers by embracing constructive change, demonstrating personal responsibility for results, and using creative solutions to meet or exceed customers' expectations.

The report incorporates industry-specific research from the Electric Power Research Institute and global emissions scenarios used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It includes research and analyses testing the resilience of WEC Energy Group's strategy in different climate-related scenarios – including scenarios consistent with limiting a global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC), based in Milwaukee, is one of the nation's premier energy companies, serving 4.5 million customers in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota.

The company's principal utilities are We Energies, Wisconsin Public Service, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, Michigan Gas Utilities, Minnesota Energy Resources and Upper Michigan Energy Resources. The company's other major subsidiary, We Power, designs, builds and owns electric generating plants.

WEC Energy Group (wecenergygroup.com) is a Fortune 500 company and a component of the S&P 500. The company has approximately 50,000 stockholders of record, 8,000 employees and more than $33 billion of assets.

Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking information

Certain information contained in this press release is forward-looking information based upon management's current expectations and projections that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning future carbon emissions, capital plans and expenditures, investment opportunities, corporate initiatives, the purchase of solar and wind energy, and sources and costs of fuel. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on this forward-looking information. Forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future performance and actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

In addition to the assumptions and other factors referred to in connection with the forward-looking information, factors that could cause the company's actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in any forward-looking information or otherwise affect the company's future results include, among others, the following: general economic conditions, including business and competitive conditions in the company's service territories; timing, resolution and impact of rate cases and negotiations, including recovery of deferred and current costs and the ability to earn a reasonable return on investment, and other regulatory decisions; political developments; energy conservation efforts; continued adoption of distributed generation by customers; the company's ability to continue to successfully integrate the operations of its subsidiaries; availability of the company's generating facilities and/or distribution systems; unanticipated changes in fuel and purchased power costs or availability; key personnel changes; varying weather conditions; continued industry consolidation; cybersecurity and terrorist threats; construction risks; equity and bond market fluctuations; the remaining uncertainty surrounding the tax legislation enacted in December 2017; federal and state legislative and regulatory changes relating to the environment, including climate change and other environmental regulations impacting generation facilities and renewable energy standards, the enforcement of these laws and regulations, changes in the interpretation of regulations or permit conditions by regulatory agencies, and the recovery of associated remediation and compliance costs; the performance of projects the company's energy infrastructure business invests in; the ability to obtain additional generating capacity at competitive prices; current and future litigation and regulatory investigations; the inability of customers, counterparties, and affiliates of the company and its subsidiaries to meet their obligations; advances in technology, and related legislation and regulation supporting the use of that technology; the value of goodwill and its possible impairment; changes in accounting standards; and other factors described under the heading "Factors Affecting Results, Liquidity, and Capital Resources" in Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and under the headings "Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information" and "Risk Factors" contained in the company's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2018, and in subsequent reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company expressly disclaims any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE WEC Energy Group

Related Links

http://www.wisconsinenergy.com

Read more: WEC Energy Group report details pathway to...

PHOENIX, April 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Top energy companies – including GE Energy Storage, Panasonic, LG Chem Power and Duke Energy -- joined the Energy Storage Association today to make safety a priority when manufacturing and operating energy storage systems.

ESA formally launched the Energy Storage Industry Corporate Responsibility Initiative and pledge at its Annual Energy Storage Conference & Expo in Phoenix. To date, 30 companies have signed the pledge, emphasizing their commitment to the well-being and safety of consumers. At the conference, ESA and the signatory companies launched a task force to develop best practices for potential operational hazard prevention, end-of-life recycling and responsible supply-chain practices.

"The U.S. energy storage market nearly doubled in 2018 and is expected to double again in 2019, so this marks an ideal time for the industry to demonstrate their commitment to corporate responsibility," said ESA CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman. "Representing the national trade association and the voice of the energy storage industry, I can say unequivocally that the industry stands ready to tackle the topics outlined in the Corporate Responsibility Initiative in a proactive and direct manner."

Here is a list of the companies that signed the pledge:

Amber Kinetics

Engie

LG Chem Power, Inc.

Ameresco

EsVolta

Li-Ion Tamer

Ascend Analytics

Eversource

LS Energy Solutions

Borrego Solar

EVgo

NEC

Clearway

Fluence

NEXTracker

CSA Group

GE Energy Storage

Panasonic

Duke Energy

Highview Power Storage

Renewance

Dimension Energy

Hyosung

STEM

Dynapower

Ingersoll Rand

Swinerton

Enel Green Power

Invenergy

UL

About The Energy Storage Association

The Energy Storage Association (ESA) is the national trade association dedicated to energy storage, working toward a more resilient, efficient, sustainable and affordable electricity grid – as is uniquely enabled by energy storage. With more than 160 members, ESA represents a diverse group of companies, including independent power producers, electric utilities, energy service companies, financiers, insurers, law firms, installers, manufacturers, component suppliers and integrators involved in deploying energy storage systems around the globe. More information is available at: www.energystorage.org.

SOURCE Energy Storage Association

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http://www.energystorage.org

Read more: Leading Energy Companies Join Together to Put...

MYKOLAYIV, Ukraine, April 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ - TIU Canada commissioned its second solar energy station today in Mykolyaiv, Ukraine.   The 13.5-megawatt station increases TIU Canada's energy portfolio to 25 megawatts, with more projects planned in the near future.  The station itself is located in Kalynivka, Mykolayiv oblast, just outside the capital of the region. The 13.575-megawatt solar facility is the second investment from the Canadian side under the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA), which took effect in August 2017.  Construction of the site began in September and the total amount of the investment is more than 11 million Euros

Attendees for the opening included Canadian Ambassador Roman Waschuk.  Ambassador Waschcuk said, "Clean green energy helps Ukraine secure its energy independence and powers local economic development. Canada is serious about fighting climate change so investment that helps Ukraine reduce emissions is a contribution to our collective planetary future."  Oleksandr Demchuk, the former Head of the Vitovsk Rayon State Administration and current Chief of Staff to the Governor of Mykolayiv added, "I want to thank Canada, for always being there for us, for being the first country that will lend a helping hand, and for being among the first countries that recognized Ukraine as a state."  Other guests attending the plant opening included Ukrainian pop star and advocate for renewable energy, Ruslana, Member of Parliament Andriy Vadaturskyi, and Konstantin Gura the Adviser to the State Agency on Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving of Ukraine.

The station consists of 39,348 solar panels, with 5 inverters installed to manage the power output.  The area used for the station totals 20.22 hectares. The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) eliminated in comparison with coal fueled power stations is 18212 tons per year.

SOURCE TIU Canada

Read more: TIU Canada Announces Official Opening of Solar...

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va., April 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Mission Success yesterday for Indiana's NearSpace Launch Inc. (NSL) ThinSat constellations launched off the Antares NG-11 on route to International Space Station. The 60 ThinSat were developed for Virginia Space as a STEM program for middle and high schools. Over 400 students participated in the testing and delivering of experiments in orbit today. The school teams were overseen by Twiggs Space Labs.   

Co-founder of Twiggs Space Labs and Co-Inventor of the CubeSat, Bob Twiggs, states, "Our goal is to inspire future generations of engineers and scientists through innovation in the field of space." Twiggs goes further to say, "To me, this (ThinSat launch) is the most exciting day of my career." 

ThinSat is a new pioneering model for satellites that are scalable, simpler, and more affordable. Their focus is to broaden access to space for educational and space research participants.

The ThinSat comes in an array of sizes that comply with the CubeSat launcher. The 11.2 cm by 11.7 cm by 2 cm ThinSat version was the first model to launch this week. The ThinSat team choose to use EyeStar radios and Alta Devices solar technology. The NSL's EyeStar radios allow for 24/7 connectivity via Globalstar's constellation. Alta Devices solar cells provide a unique modular, lightweight, flexible form factor with high efficiency characteristics.

The ThinSat inventor and co-founder of NSL, Hank Voss states, "ThinSats will travel in a region of the atmosphere that is important to climate and space weather forecasts, but rarely studied because atmospheric drag makes it hard to keep satellites there," Voss also expressed, as an emeritus professor, he is "thankful to Virginia Space and Twiggs Space Labs for investing into the project that has a such strong STEM and research outreach."   

About NearSpace Launch, Inc.

NearSpace Launch, Inc. (NSL) based in Upland, IN. NSL has 100% mission success with over 60 systems flown in the past four years. Hank Voss & Jeff Dailey founded NSL following the successful mission of TSAT. The mission proved the effectiveness of a Globalstar radio connection for orbital radio communication. NSL manufactures and produces ThinSats, CubeSat satellites, 24/7 real-time EyeStar communication systems, and high-altitude balloons for a variety of educational, commercial, and government applications. For more information with images visit www.nearspacelaunch.com

Contact:
Matthew Voss
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SOURCE NearSpace Launch Inc. (NSL)

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ATLANTA, April 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Georgia Power continues to make progress towards the closure of seven ash ponds at Plant Yates with the dewatering process scheduled to begin in mid-May. Dewatering marks a significant step towards completing the closure process, and Georgia Power's ash pond closure plan for Plant Yates is specifically designed for the site to help ensure water quality is protected every step of the way.

Four of the ash ponds nearest the river at Plant Yates are to be completely excavated with the ash consolidated with the remaining three ponds, which will be closed in place using advanced engineering methods and technologies. Ash pond closures are site-specific and consider multiple factors, such as pond size, location, geology and amount of material; and each closure is certified by a team of independent, professional engineers.

"As we begin the dewatering process at Plant Yates, we are pleased with the progress we have made on our ash pond closure process throughout the state at all of our plants," said Dr. Mark Berry, vice president of Environmental & Natural Resources for Georgia Power. "We continue to focus on safety and meeting all compliance requirements throughout the process to fulfill our longstanding commitment to protect the environment and local communities. We have invested in appropriate water treatment systems to help ensure that our dewatering process is protective of the area's rivers. Throughout the process, clear communication to our customers and the community about our progress remains a priority."

The ash pond dewatering plan for Plant Yates that has been approved by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) identifies the enhanced water treatment system, controls and monitoring that will be used during the process to help ensure that the water discharged is protective of water quality standards. The planned on-site closure methods will be permitted and regulated by the EPD.

To date, the company has removed two of the seven ash ponds at Plant Yates, completed engineering and feasibility studies and filed permit applications with the EPD for the remaining ash ponds on site. Communication regarding the closure plan is provided through EPD notifications, advance public notice of permits and updates to local homeowners and local media. To read more about Plant Yates's ash pond closure and dewatering process, click here.

Georgia Power first announced its plans to permanently close all of its ash ponds in September 2015, with initial plans released in June 2016. The company is in the process of completely excavating 19 ash ponds located adjacent to lakes and rivers with the remaining 10 being closed in place using advanced engineering methods and closure technologies.

In November 2018, Georgia Power completed the submission of 29 Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) permit applications as required by the Georgia CCR rule for ash ponds and landfills. These permit applications outlined significant and detailed engineering information about Georgia Power's ash pond closure plans and landfill operations plans. The permitting application process was developed and completed with significant internal and external resources supported by multiple third-party consulting and engineering firms.

Georgia Power's ash pond closure plans fully comply with the federal CCR rule, as well as the more stringent requirements of Georgia's state CCR rule. Georgia was one of the first states in the country to develop its own rule regulating management and storage of CCR such as coal ash. The state rule, which goes further than the federal rule, regulates all ash ponds and landfills in the state and includes a comprehensive permitting program through which the EPD will approve all actions to ensure ash pond closures are protective of water quality.

In 2016, the company announced that all ash ponds will stop receiving coal ash in three years and the significant construction work necessary to accommodate the dry-handling of ash is on track to be completed in 2019. Today, more than 60 percent of the coal ash Georgia Power produces is recycled for various beneficial uses, such as Portland cement, concrete and cinder blocks.

Protecting Water Quality Throughout Ash Pond Closure Process    
Since 2016, Georgia Power has installed approximately 500 groundwater monitoring wells, including 45 wells at Plant Yates, around its ash ponds and landfills to actively monitor groundwater quality. Monitoring is being conducted in compliance with federal and state laws and regulations. The company has also engaged independent, third-party contractors for sampling and accredited independent laboratories for analysis. The company continues to post testing results on Georgia Power's website and report them to the EPD. Based on the extensive data collected, the company has identified no risk to public health or drinking water.

Dewatering Process
Georgia Power's commitment to protecting water quality of surface waters, such as lakes and rivers, includes comprehensive and customized dewatering processes during ash pond closures. The company's process treats the water to help ensure that it meets the requirements of the plant's wastewater discharge permits approved by the EPD and is protective of applicable water quality standards. The dewatering process marks a significant step towards completing the ash pond closure process and has begun at four of Georgia Power's plants: Bowen, McDonough, McManus and Branch, with Plant Yates scheduled to begin in mid-May.

About Georgia Power
Georgia Power is the largest electric subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), America's premier energy company. Value, Reliability, Customer Service and Stewardship are the cornerstones of the Company's promise to 2.6 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties. Committed to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy at rates below the national average, Georgia Power maintains a diverse, innovative generation mix that includes nuclear, coal and natural gas, as well as renewables such as solar, hydroelectric and wind. Georgia Power focuses on delivering world-class service to its customers every day and the Company is consistently recognized by J.D. Power and Associates as an industry leader in customer satisfaction. For more information, visit www.GeorgiaPower.com and connect with the Company on Facebook (Facebook.com/GeorgiaPower), Twitter (Twitter.com/GeorgiaPower) and Instagram (Instagram.com/ga_power).

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements 
Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning the method and timing of planned closure of coal ash ponds. Georgia Power Company cautions that there are certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Georgia Power Company; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Georgia Power Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory changes, including environmental laws and regulations and tax and other laws and regulations to which Georgia Power Company is subject, as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; current and future litigation or regulatory investigations, proceedings, or inquiries; the ability to control costs and avoid cost and schedule overruns during the development, construction and operation of facilities; the ability to construct facilities in accordance with the requirements of permits and licenses and to satisfy any environmental performance standards; state and federal rate regulations and the impact of pending and future rate cases and negotiations; catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and other storms, droughts, pandemic health events, or other similar occurrences; and the effect of accounting pronouncements issued periodically by standard-setting bodies.  Georgia Power Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information.

SOURCE Georgia Power

Related Links

http://www.georgiapower.com

Read more: Georgia Power continues to make progress on ash...

Delving deep into sentiment, the global data showed the 10 best places to stay around the world, as reviewed by Expedia travelers. From boutiques with beehives and resorts with rainwater recycling, to grand urban retreats with solar cell power, many of these amazing places show that luxury and sustainability are not mutually exclusive. Additionally, Expedia highlighted the top countries with the best reviewed eco-conscious accommodations, with the USA topping the charts.

Top 10 eco-friendly stays on Expedia according to travelers

  1. Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, Mexico
  2. Nomad Hotel Roissy CDG, Paris, France 
  3. Siloso Beach Resort, Sentosa, Singapore
  4. Habitat Suites, Austin, Texas
  5. Pakasai Resort, Krabi, Thailand
  6. PARKROYAL on Pickering, Singapore
  7. The Green House, Bournemouth, UK
  8. Listel Hotel, Vancouver, Canada
  9. Hotel Verde, Cape Town, South Africa 
  10. Sherwood Queenstown, Queenstown, New Zealand

Top 10 sustainable countries around the world

  1. USA
  2. Mexico
  3. Canada
  4. Australia
  5. UK
  6. Costa Rica
  7. Thailand
  8. New Zealand
  9. France
  10. Italy

Sustainable travel is the perfect opportunity to show Mother Earth and fellow inhabitants how much you care. Ready to book your eco-friendly hotel? Just visit https://www.expedia.com/earthday or download the Expedia app, which is available to download for free on iOS in the App Store and on Android devices through Google Play.

Take a closer look: Expedia's 10 most recommended eco-friendly stays from around the world

1. Sandos Caracol Eco Resort – Playa del Carmen, Mexico 

Situated between dense jungle and the blue of the Mexican Caribbean coast, this Rainforest Alliance-certified destination is among the highest-rated by travellers for the multitude of positive impacts it offers. 

  • Extensive policies governing waste management, resource consumption and natural conservation
  • Opportunities for guests to engage in ecologically sustainable practices: eco-tours, cruelty-free animal interactions and beach meditation
  • A commitment to the community, reflected in celebrations of local indigenous culture, on-site markets that support local artisans, and local partnerships to improve area schools

2. Nomad Hotel Roissy CDG – Paris, France 

Located five minutes by car from Charles de Gaulle airport, the Nomad Hotel Roissy CDG boasts Scandinavian-inspired design, tech-enabled customisable room layouts and a mission to "to reduce the ecological impact of these buildings to a minimum, at every stage of life, from design to operation"—making it the perfect accommodation for digital nomads with green leanings.

  • Rigorous standards for creation/loss of heat and a low total annual energy consumption, supported by green (living) exterior cladding, solar panels, air handling units
  • Proactive efforts to neutralize water impact through use of rainwater collectors
  • Use of sustainable materials, including PEFC wood, carpets made from recycled fishing nets, recycled stone and glass shower units

3.  Siloso Beach Resort, Sentosa – Singapore 

Just off Singapore's south coast lies Sentosa Island, a haven whose southwest coast is the home to the Siloso Beach Resort. Steps from the sandy beaches of the South China Sea, this award-winning eco-resort has taken special care to integrate the surrounding habitat into its design by prioritising open spaces and preserving established natural features like mature trees and flowing springs. The result? A uniquely organic take on a luxurious beach resort experience.

  • 200 original trees preserved (and 450 planted) on-site; landscape pool fed by underground waters and built according to natural terrain formation
  • 72% of the resort is open-air—and activities including cycle tours, hikes and other eco-adventures
  • Operations keep ecological impacts top-of-mind, emphasising locally-sourced foods, limited use of plastics, and reduced energy consumption

4.  Habitat Suites  Austin, TX, USA 

Habitat Suites, a sustainable gem in the heart of Texas' most progressive city, boasts a 30-year track record of forward-thinking environmental stewardship. Habitat Suites has been a charter member of the Green Hotels Association since 1991—and won an Austin Green Business Leader Gold Award in 2018.

  • Widespread use of alternative energy, including solar panels, solar thermal and electric vehicle charging 
  • On-premises organic fruit and herb gardens; clean, local and organic food options
  • Use of plant-based, zero harsh chemical detergents for cleaning; bio-safe guest shampoos and detergents; hypoallergenic suites that include live potted plants and windows that open for access to fresh air

5.  Pakasai Resort – Krabi, Thailand

Spa treatments, boxing and cooking classes plus plenty of space for lounging by the pool—the Pakasai Resort delivers on everything you'd expect from a tropical Thai resort, then sweetens the deal with an impressive list of sustainability efforts. "Krabi's Greenest Resort" was the first in the area to win an ASEAN Green Hotel Award (2014). 

  • Resource conservation efforts include rainwater capture and greywater recycling, energy efficient lighting, biogas production and reduction of plastic use
  • Careful attention given to reducing carbon emissions through waste minimization program and collaboration with the local community and local organizations
  • Guests are encouraged to make their stay even greener by joining the #GreeningPakasai campaign, which incentivises visitors to make low-carbon choices around food, transportation, linen services and local activities

6.  PARKROYAL on Pickering – Singapore

With 15,000 square metres of greenery and a cutting-edge design, the PARKROYAL is equally impressive in what it does and doesn't do. This LEED-certified masterpiece saves 32.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools' worth of water annually and could power an estimated 680 households with the energy saved by its conservation efforts.

  • Highly regulated resource consumption through employment of light, motion, and rain sensors
  • Solar cells and rainwater collection mean zero-energy maintenance of the 15,000 m2 sky gardens
  • Thoughtful construction processes reduced concrete (and associated waste and energy expenditure) use by more than 80%

7.  The Green House – Bournemouth, UK 

Equally suitable for weddings, self-care weekends and romantic getaways, every detail of this eco-hotel has been designed to help guests feel great while doing good. That ethos touches every facet of The Green House, from the building's renewable energy production and Forest Stewardship certified, UK-crafted furnishings to the on-site restaurant's adherence to local sourcing and high animal welfare standards—the company car even runs on bio-fuel from the kitchen's old cooking oil!

  • The use of earth-friendly cleaning products and efforts toward energy conservation
  • Staff are trained in the ethos of sustainability and are encouraged to find new ways to improve the Green House's efforts
  • Environmental efforts extend to the exterior grounds, including bird and bat boxes (to provide a safe place for breeding) and rooftop beehives that produce honey

8.  The Listel Hotel Vancouver – Vancouver, BC, Canada

The Listel Hotel dedicates itself to both environmental responsibility and the arts. The hotel provides a location to elevate local and international artists—including a gallery dedicated to First Nations artists from the Northwest Coast—while participating in the city of Vancouver's "Corporate Climate Leader" program, setting an example for sustainable tourism efforts across the globe.

  • Responsible food practices including membership in Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise sustainable seafood program and a commitment to offering local and sustainable food and wine
  • Conservation efforts including 20 solar panels, a state-of-the-art heat capture program (reducing the hotel's natural gas use by 30%) and water reduction and air quality programs
  • Adherence to a 100% Zero Waste policy since August 2011

9.  Hotel Verde Cape Town, South Africa

"Sustainable by design, stylish by nature" is the modest motto of Cape Town's Hotel Verde. The first hotel in Africa to offer 100% carbon-neutral accommodation and conferencing, the Cape Town Verde has earned an extensive list of international accolades (LEED Platinum certification and a 6-star rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa) for its extensive adherence to sustainable practices.

  • Restoration of the surrounding wetlands now supports indigenous water-wise vegetation and a healthy population of Cape honeybees—as well as an ecotrail, outdoor gym, and eco-pool for visitor use, plus on-site edible food gardens and aquaponics
  • Energy efficiencies include photovoltaic panels on the roof and north-facing facades, wind turbines, energy-generating gym equipment and geothermal heat
  • Commitment to social responsibility through sustainable procurement practices, waste management and community involvement

10.  Sherwood Queenstown Queenstown, New Zealand

Sustainability and connection with nature are behind every detail you'll encounter at the Sherwood Queenstown, a boutique hotel perched on three acres of alpine hillside overlooking Lake Wakatipu. The Sherwood operates based on the belief that "a simple respect for nature lies at the heart of any sustainable practice". The hotel's orchards and kitchen garden supply its award-winning restaurant; most rooms offer sweeping mountain or lake views, and all are outfitted with South Island wool blankets and locally-sourced beverages. Mornings start with optional yoga sessions, followed by hiking, mountain biking, skiing or snowboarding.

  • A focus on materiality selection that integrates the building with the landscape, while employing upcycled fixtures, fittings and furnishings
  • Conscious choices about energy generation—the Sherwood is one of the largest private solar installs in New Zealand and currently generates enough electricity to return surplus to the grid
  • Selection of food, wine, beer, spirits, and other consumable products that are local, natural, healthy, ethical, seasonal and sustainable in their production and use

NOTES TO EDITORS

*Top 10 lists compiled from measuring sentiment and volume of reviews from travellers globally on Expedia that mention 'sustainable' or 'eco-friendly'

About Expedia.com

Expedia.com® is one of the world's largest full service travel sites, helping millions of travelers per month easily plan and book travel. Expedia.com (https://www.expedia.com/, 1-800-EXPEDIA) aims to provide the latest technology and the widest selection of top vacation destinations, affordable airfare, hotel deals, car rentals, destination weddings, cruise deals and in-destination activities, attractions, services and travel apps.

© 2019 Expedia, Inc. All rights reserved. Expedia and the Airplane logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. CST# 2029030-50. Visit our web site https://www.expedia.com/ or use our mobile app to book cheap flights and hotels.

SOURCE Expedia.com

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Read more: Expedia travelers reveal the top 10 sustainable...

NEW YORK, April 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Hunt Capital Partners, the tax credit syndication division of Hunt Companies, Inc., announced today it will co-host the Novogradac 2019 Investing In Puerto Rico Conference. The event is May 9-10 at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino in San Juan. The conference focuses on the strategies and practical solutions to encourage investment in affordable housing in Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands.

The agenda includes diverse topics for community development investors and others. Sessions planned are:

  • Investment and lending outlook for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Best practices for Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds
  • Other key subsidy programs to help development in Puerto Rico
  • Opportunity Zone, LIHTC, RAD, and NMTC Basics

"Puerto Rico has had a rough couple of years with devastating storms and economic downturns impacting the region and the overall housing market," noted Jeff Weiss, President of Hunt Capital Partners. "This conference offers investors a terrific two-day opportunity to learn how to make a significant impact in restoring affordable housing locally."

Hunt Capital Partners recently collaborated with McCormack Baron Salazar, the Puerto Rico Housing Finance Authority, and Citibank to raise more than $50 million in tax credit equity for a pair of San Juan developments known as Renaissance Square and Bayshore Villas. Completed in February 2019, the 140-unit Renaissance Square was the first development under the Puerto Rico Comprehensive Housing Plan and the island's first mixed-income development. Bayshore Villas features 174 units and an estimated completion date in Summer 2019.

"Hunt's diverse and interconnected platform offers a one-stop shop for developers and investors looking to create affordable housing," Weiss added. "We can invest, develop, and finance affordable housing anywhere. Hunt Companies offers a complete range of services spanning conventional multifamily, affordable housing, commercial real estate and infrastructure. These complementary offerings help our clients achieve tremendous efficiencies. This conference is the perfect venue to showcase our broad range of capabilities and seamless execution as we embark upon an investing strategy in the region."

For more information on the event, visit: https://www.novoco.com/events/novogradac-2019-investing-puerto-rico-conference

About Hunt Capital Partners
Hunt Capital Partners (HCP) is the syndication division of Hunt Companies, Inc. (Hunt). HCP specializes in the syndication of Federal and State Low-Income Housing, Historic and Solar Tax Credits. Since the successful launch of its first fund in the fall of 2011, HCP has raised over $1.7 billion in tax credit equity. Founded in 1947, Hunt is a privately held company that invests in businesses focused in the real estate and infrastructure markets. The activities of Hunt's affiliates and investees include investment management, mortgage banking, direct lending, loan servicing, asset management, property management, development, construction, consulting and advisory. For more information on Hunt Capital Partners, please visit www.huntcapitalpartners.com, or for Hunt Companies, please visit www.huntcompanies.com.

MEDIA CONTACTS   
Brent Feigenbaum
Hunt Real Estate Capital
212-317-5730
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pam Flores
773-218-9260
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SOURCE Hunt Mortgage Group

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Read more: Hunt Capital Partners Co-Hosting 2019 Investing...

KATONAH, N.Y., April 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- On Friday, April 12th, Joule Community Power issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for energy suppliers to bid a more competitive price relative to the default energy supplier (Central Hudson) on behalf of eight communities in the Hudson Valley – the Town of Beacon, the Town of Cold Spring, the Town of Fishkill, the Town of Geneva, the Town of Lima, Marbletown, Philipstown, the City of Poughkeepsie – as part of the Hudson Valley Community Power program. The winner of the RFP will provide electricity to the participating communities at a lower price than what residents have historically paid, and is expected to come, at least in part, from cleaner sources.

Hudson Valley Community Power is a community-based bulk energy purchasing program (Community Choice Aggregation, or CCA) intended to lower costs and increase the use of renewable energy in the Hudson Valley.

The issuance of the RFP marks an historic agreement of the participating communities to join forces in the Hudson Valley Community Power energy program, through the signing of a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) with the Program Administrator, Joule Community Power.

Glenn Weinberg, Vice President of Joule Community Power, said, "Following our timeline, residents and small businesses should start seeing savings on their energy bills by July: We aim to designate a supplier by May, with the expectation to begin delivery shortly thereafter. We'll publicly release the name of the winning supplier and the terms of the new contract, as soon as these are determined."

Jeffrey Domanski, of Hudson Valley Energy, the program's Local Organizer, said, "This RFP is an historic moment for the Hudson Valley, demonstrating a powerful shared service model in the area of sustainability. Many people have worked hard to make this happen, and we're excited to see the benefits. We are very proud of these communities for choosing a path towards 100% renewable energy, and look forward to helping them meet their carbon reduction goals."

New York State's first CCA pilot program across twenty-five municipalities in Westchester County in 2016 has, to date, saved residents more than $17 million on their energy bills.

About Joule Community Power
Joule Community Power (Joule Community) is leading the energy paradigm shift in New York State by guiding municipalities and residents towards local energy independence and 100% clean energy. Joule Community Power helps municipalities reduce residential energy costs while advancing energy reduction, energy management, and clean energy goals amidst an evolving regulatory environment. With no upfront cost to a municipality or its residents, Joule's first-of-kind, integrated Community Power program helps municipalities and consumers save money and energy by pooling local demand to broker cheaper energy supply contracts for residents and small businesses while creating new revenue opportunities enabled by participation in renewable energy markets, further enabling rapid customer acquisition for solar developers at scale. Joule Community's distinctive expertise in designing and implementing new consumer-protective energy supply contracts was instrumental in the creation of New York State's first Community Choice energy program. Having created the blueprint to guide communities through a smooth and empowering decision process, Joule Community aims to scale its successful CCA model across NY State and beyond.  Joule Community is 100% owned and operated by Joule Assets Inc. Learn more about Joule Community at: www.joulecommunity.com.

SOURCE Joule Community Power

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Read more: Joule Community launches RFP for local energy...

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