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Comment Archives: Stories: News + Opinion: Tech

Re: “Here Comes the Sun: Solar is Hot in Chilly Vermont

In Italy everything is slow. I live in Sardinia where the sun will accompany you throughout the year. The panels make the most of their performance. I know the functionality of photovoltaics. Also because I have a carpentry workshop. Years ago I tried to accompany me with a company that mounted photovoltaic me without success. Sardinia is a fertile ground to plant the plants. A friendly greeting george.

Posted by Giorgio Pitzalis on 11/15/2014 at 12:48 PM

Re: “Here Comes the Sun: Solar is Hot in Chilly Vermont

Every energy technology pathway presents its own set of problems, and any choice must begin with efforts to reduce demand. Renewables such as solar, wind, and hydro, dramatically reduce the impacts of our energy system compared to continued reliance on nonrenewables of all kinds, including nuclear, especially when considering the life cycle of these alternative technologies. Building a renewable energy system in Vermont in effect brings the impacts of our energy use closer to home. The downside, well, we need to live within our own energy system. The upside, we have much more control in how that system develops. And given a 20-30 year lifespan of solar and wind, we avoid lock-in that you find with nonrenewable technologies. I'm optimistic that Vermont can take this on effectively, but we need to do so with due consideration to human and natural communities. At the same time, we cannot afford to check our pace too much. We'll need to learn as we go, thinking in terms of energy systems, rather than any one element. There is no easy solution, but we have much that we can do right now with existing technology, as demonstrated in this article.

I've also done a preliminary look at the issue of land use required, particularly in relation to biodiversity. While the study is not conclusive, it appears that we have considerable capacity here in Vermont, and would do well to continue to prioritize siting options, for example, as urban in-fill for solar PV. Find the report here: http://sciforum.net/conference/wsf-4/paper/2619

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by MB425 on 11/14/2014 at 9:16 AM

Re: “Here Comes the Sun: Solar is Hot in Chilly Vermont

I am currently looking into the cost of solar based on my needs, there are several factors that play into consideration of going solar that I have yet to determine. My current monthly consumption averages about 400kWH/Month and conversely my bill from Washington Electric is about $75/month on a budget plan. A 20 yr. break even at my current rate would generate $18K in total money spent, that I could put towards the cost of solar infrastructure. That figure does not include any incentives or credits for buying solar, and doesn't include service and maintenance costs associated with being connected to the grid that I pay on a monthly basis. I've contacted Sun Common to further discuss this issue so only time will tell if $olar actually Pays.

I would like to hear from anyone who has a cost analysis of before and after and or what the breakdowns are on a break even to believe that this is more that just a feel good endeavor.

Posted by Shaun Boyce on 11/13/2014 at 12:43 PM

Re: “Here Comes the Sun: Solar is Hot in Chilly Vermont

The IRONY, that a company called Faraday is involved in primitive technology, ie solar,
instead of developing tech to extract energy from the zeropoint field. It is a smokescreen that serves the US DOE/petrofascist agenda.

http://www.soulsofdistortion.nl/SODA_chapt…

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Kevin Goslant on 11/12/2014 at 8:18 PM

Re: “Here Comes the Sun: Solar is Hot in Chilly Vermont

This video http://youtu.be/80934El8Giw?list=UUczAyao3… is a compilation of public comments made at PSB hearings in Rutland Town, Rutland City and Sudbury. The speakers are saying what is being repeated throughout Vermont, where large solar projects are being sited without good planning or community involvement. Yes, the solar developers are literally having a field day. The communities are begging to be a part of the process.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by VermontCE on 11/12/2014 at 3:39 PM

Re: “Here Comes the Sun: Solar is Hot in Chilly Vermont

Former Sierra Club member and former donor to CLF and VPIRG here. Joe Larkin's massive solar industrial plant that is featured on the cover of today's issue is the perfect example of how Shumlin and Vermont's legislature got it wrong. South Burlington taxpayers spent tens of thousands of dollars and countless volunteer hours updating their Comprehensive Plan and complying with Governor Kunin's Act 200. This land, part of Dr. Marceau's former property, is zoned for natural resources protection and for a wildlife corridor. It connects all the way down to Shelburne Pond. At the most, it was meant to be a park. Instead, thanks to total exemptions from all local zoning and Act 250, it is now carpet-bombed with solar panels. The focus on global warming to the exclusion of all else has destroyed the environmental movement. Nothing environmental about dynamiting mountain tops for giant wind towers either. You can't blame savvy businessman Joe Larkin and his father for taking advantage of the giant loophole in the law to gain profit. You certainly can blame Shumlin, his false "Public" Service Board and the Democratic super-majority in the legislature. They abandoned a 40 year bipartisan commitment to protecting the ridge lines in order to reward campaign donors and have done the same here for solar manufacturers. I'll never vote Democrat in Vermont again.

10 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 11/12/2014 at 2:11 PM

Re: “Here Comes the Sun: Solar is Hot in Chilly Vermont

Nice love letter article however

Lets get real about this alt energy world in Vermont to replace Yankees capacity which is able to produce electricity 24/7 365 on demand the fragile infrastructure of wind and solar not getting into the dirty solar built with Chinese coal the back end of mining etc.. needed to make the stuff or that it degrades over time in our harsh climate. I wish we could stop with all the fossil fuels and not create nitrogen from the Natty gas it is after all Mans largest chemical reaction and how we feed our worlds population. Should we just turn off the electricity give up modern medicine, food supply, travel, our life expectancy should move back toward 35-50yrs as it was pre-electrified world.?

What does it take to replace nuke power?

At 5 acres of solar panels per megawatt, you need 5,000 acres of solar panels to equal 1,000 megawatts of electricity. Those solar panels only work at peak power levels during the sunny times, so, on average, they only put out about 25% of their rated capacity. That means you really need 20,000 acres of solar panels to generate 1,000 megwatts of electricity per hour, on average. 20,000 acres is 31.25 square miles.

and wind power

At 25 megawatts to 1500 acres for a nice wind farm of 60 to 70 turbines, you would need 60,000 acres and 2400 to 2800 wind turbines to equal 1,000 megawatts. Of course, these wind turbines only produce that much power when the wind is blowing just right. That only happens about 25% of the time, so you really need four times as many wind turbines and four times as much space to produce, on average, 1,000 megawatts of electricity per hour. So that's, 240,000 acres and 9,600 to 11,200 turbines. 240,000 acres is 375 square miles.

The Danes cant take any of their conventional power plants off line they run in tandem with the wind so are we really just spinning our wheels?

We need a push to next gen nuclear power like thorium which is a fuel that cannot be weaponized and we can run smaller grids a modern grid. and its much much safer than uranium it also runs green carbon neutral.

All of these acres of solar and wind will take huge transmission lines which means mining copper rare earth minerals steel aluminum etc...all highly energy intensive activities there isnt a solar panel made exclusively with solar energy it will never happen same with wind .

It isnt energy on demand as an extraction system like gas fired or uranium or thorium.. this is our energy problems dirty little secret. All of the alternative e energy fantasy s like we can all have electric cars, is just that a fantasy. to achieve that goal at our level of fossil fuel use we need to increase our electric out put by 60 times so if you do the math we would have to take over every available free green space with solar panels and windmills.

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Walt on 11/12/2014 at 1:23 PM

Re: “A New Queen City Resident Weighs Her Internet Options

let's avoid falling into the stereotypical liberal guilt rabbit hole. i don't use burlington telecom services out of guilt, rather, they offer a superior product at a competitive price. yes ethics plays a part, but first and foremost, i want the best possible isp for my hard earned dollar. as many of us identify, especially prion, the fiber optic network installed in this fine city is far, far superior to anything the competition can even think about offering. so what's missing here is both an educated consumer and a decent marketing effort from burlington telecom to inform the public of their excellent service.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by lava on 03/22/2014 at 1:07 AM

Re: “A New Queen City Resident Weighs Her Internet Options

NateOrshan:

I totally agree with everything you said, and I agree I was very passionate and probably out of bounds for what should be acceptable in this great and open forum.

The truth is, I am very passionate about the good work BT has done for the community. Even though there has been some problems with them paying off their debts, we all agree that BT is singlehandedly one of the best things that has happened to Burlington in the last 10 years.

My biggest gripe with Ms. Freese was just the utter lack socio-political implications of her giving her hard earned cash to the corporate machine. It almost feels in someways that her article was an attack on the fellow Burlington folk that provide this excellent service to us with little consideration to the fact that her 39 or 60 dollars a month would be ensuring that someone, in her town could have another meal to eat, taxes that pay for our wonderful city services like snow plows, etc... and felt that it was just too shallow of a reason to turn her back on our neighbors.

Call me old fashioned, but I really try to be as out spoken as possible when it comes to BT - the fact that they laid fiber all through the city is helping secure Burlington as a technological center where innovation is possible.

5 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Mike Ferlandium-FourtySeven on 03/21/2014 at 6:56 PM

Re: “A New Queen City Resident Weighs Her Internet Options

26 yo, employed in electronic information dissemination, investigative reporter, yet
• guided by word-of-mouth in choosing an IPS (so didn't even know her choices)
• tried to engage a salesperson in personal banter during a sales chat (seriously?! you realize he's at work, don't you? and being monitored?)
• can't seem to figure out differences in upload/download speeds (for instance thinking 7 Mb means 7 megabytes/sec. downstream rate; it's actually a maximum achievable ~ 0.834 megabytes/sec. or ~ 854 kilobytes/sec. – not much different from the "paltry" claimed 768 kilobytes/sec. upstream transfer rate, except she also got that wrong.)
• can't seem to figure out the difference between contract service and non-contract service, so is paying (it's not stated, but probably) $39/month for nominal 7Mb/0.768Mb (over copper) with a 1 year contract, thinking it's cheaper than $39/month for actual 5Mb/5Mb (over glass) *with no contract*. (The slowest BT service available with an annual contract is 25Mb symmetric for $49/month, which is a literal laser light year > ADSL.)
• doesn't understand digital transmission. BT transmits digitally, so it not only doesn't charge for modems, it doesn't use modems. (Or splitters, or RF shielding devices, because it doesn't send electric pulses over metal, it sends light pulses over fiber.) It rents wireless routers to people who want wireless routers but don't want to own wireless routers. A wireless router is an unnecessary luxury.
• equates installation with connection. (Reconnection fee = $25. Initial installation fee = $65. See a difference?)
Which carrier she chose isn't interesting, much less news. Characterizing the process as difficult and confusing when she put no thought or effort into it is less news. Publicly proclaiming personal cluelesslness isn't reporting.

8 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by prion on 03/21/2014 at 5:21 PM

Re: “A New Queen City Resident Weighs Her Internet Options

The sheer number of inaccuracies and glaring omissions throughout this article can only stipulate that, either: this article is intended as a hit-piece for Burlington Telecom, or the author is in fact astonishingly naive. For instance, why selectively delve into the admittedly dicey background of Burlington Telecom, but not Fairpoint or Comcast, which clearly carry even more baggage than Burlington Telecom could ever imagine: recall Fairpoint's bankruptcy and the scandals surrounding them, or the aggressive federal lobbying and the callous disregard for net-neutrality that Comcast is currently at war with? To distill the issues within this article: the author accurately states Burlington Telecom is fiberoptic, yet uses an imaginative modem fee as her primary justification for selecting another service provider. I'm surprised Seven Days published this. Perhaps, in reflection, by the end of this article, one can fault Burlington Telecom and their lack of marketing and outreach efforts to better educate and explain their services to the community at large.

Full disclosure: as a satisfied Burlington Telecom customer, since the early beta stage, I have no issue with the authors choice to go with Fairpoint, rather, it's the inept reporting and underdeveloped opinion that's hard to disregard for a Seven Days publication. I expect this degree of reporting and opinion from a Garnett publication, not Seven Days. Anyway, nice illustration John, and I still love you Seven Days. :)

8 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by lava on 03/21/2014 at 2:53 PM

Re: “A New Queen City Resident Weighs Her Internet Options

When I moved to Burlington from Montpelier, picking my ISP was a piece of cake. Two of the three options were available in Montpelier, FairPoint and Comcast. Comcast is the worst ISP ever. I had them once and will never, ever go back. They are serially dishonest in their practices and claims. Because of that I used FairPoint. They were bad, but not Comcast bad. I had the same sort of scheduling issues with FP that everyone has. They are not there when they claim they will be and the service was slower than it should have been, with occasional outages.

Moving to the Queen City and have Burlington Telecom as my ISP was a game changer. They are FAR AND AWAY the best ISP I've ever dealt with. They provide the fastest guaranteed service (unlike FairPoint), with no throttling or data caps (unlike Comcast). I have a 25mb connection for $50/mo. Since I don't have cable tv or other entertainment costs, it's well worth the monthly access charge. Superfast, HD Netflix, HBO Go, iTunes and Amazon. Not one single outage or service difficulty. They may cost a slight bit more, and the there may be an instal fee. Whatever fees and costs are associated with getting up and running with BT are well worth it as their service is the best in town and it's not even close.

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by raincntry on 03/21/2014 at 2:07 PM

Re: “A New Queen City Resident Weighs Her Internet Options

Mike Ferlandium-FourtySeven, of course I agree with your dim view of Fairpoint, Verizon, and the rest of the communications behemoths that are, absent net neutrality, currently poised to shake us all down like corporate extortionists. I also get that you took Ms. Freese's decision to continue with Fairpoint as a personal affront.

I'm inviting you to re-read what you wrote and consider whether a person's choice of ISP merits being called "an utterly disgraceful example of humanity". I would feel pretty shocked and hurt to be told I was essentially worthless. And I'm betting you would, too.

Also think about how, in our small city, you stand a good chance of actually bumping into Ms. Freese at some point. Would you say the same hurtful things to her in person? I'm betting you wouldn't.

I love that you're passionate about net neutrality. More people need to be. But consider whether you're doing the cause any favors when, in an attempt to educate someone about making a wiser choice, you attack them personally in a public forum. It doesn't tell us that you've made a good, well-reasoned argument. It only tells us that you're seething with anger. In our wonderful little community, do you really want to be known only as a hostile dude?

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by NateOrshan on 03/21/2014 at 1:18 AM

Re: “A New Queen City Resident Weighs Her Internet Options

As an IT guy i am disgusted with this article and the author's premise.

Fairpoint has a history of screwing their customers - let's talk about the great Verizon - Fairpoint acquisition that left a boat load of customers calling my shop demanding me to fix their email that didn't work after the transition. Not only did I lose weeks of profitable labor, but my phones were ringing off the hook and I was unable to work on anything because of this email issue. To this day when I see email addresses with the @myfairpoint.net I shudder, knowing all too well that the customer in question was a brave soul that endured that switch over. Not only has this happened, but you should check out their VOIP offerings, and other "business" class service that they try to sling - it's all just crappy service, out-sourced support and brought to you by a corporate machine that sees you as profit and not a person.

But here is the real thing that irks me:

You don't buy fairtrade chocolate, that's cool, but what YOU are doing is turning down execellent speed and service because of your projections. You could just purchase the router from them outright, or buy one cheaply on the internet. But nooooo, you had to take the easy way out, because you only use facebook and abuse the bountiful bits that churn through your DSL so you can watch Netflix and catch up on the latest gossip girl. So instead of contributing to progress, and paying for real service from someone that lives in your neighborhood you decided to sell out to a company that will give you cheap crappy service and tech support that is outsourced to one of them countries out east. THANK YOU for being selfish, ignorant and being an utterly disgraceful example of humanity. THANK YOU for putting money in the coffers of the corporate machine, and THANK YOU for helping fund a corporate machine that is hell bent on destroying net neutrality. If you do not know what net neutrality is than you have NO business writing for this very socially just paper - as you are helping oppress millions of people and most important millions of bits and bytes that need a home.

There is an old saying "penny wise, pound foolish" take a minute to let that sink in.

Thank you and have a nice day.

8 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Mike Ferlandium-FourtySeven on 03/20/2014 at 9:16 PM

Re: “A New Queen City Resident Weighs Her Internet Options

This kind of makes me sick to my stomach. Money must not be an issue if you can find such a condo so easily. Apartment rates in Burlington are ridiculous and most people struggle to not only put a roof over their heads but to keep that roof in place. How immature and cavalier of you Seven Days to allow an article with an opening like that to grace your paper.

10 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Jessa Gambrel on 03/20/2014 at 11:25 AM

Re: “A New Queen City Resident Weighs Her Internet Options

Cheers for the honest and open essay. I'm sorry to hear that Burlington Telecom wasn't the best deal. My wife and I have been customers for years, and we've had a very satisfying experience with their Internet service (we're on the $39/mo plan). Even their tech support's been great, e.g., one time our BT router stopped, and the person we contacted was able to talk us through testing it to determine the issue (needed a new box, alas, but we figured out the issue right away with their help).

Anyway, consider this a BT plug from a happy customer.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by NateOrshan on 03/19/2014 at 9:33 PM

Re: “A New Queen City Resident Weighs Her Internet Options

Pretty sure BT does not use modems.

10 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Brad dorphmann on 03/19/2014 at 1:36 PM

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