Douglas names office staff

first_imgp{ margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1px}body{ font-family: “Arial”, sans-serif; font-size: 12pt; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal}Governor-elect James Douglas announced at a press conference Thursday afternoon(November 14) that Tim Hayward would become his chief of staff. Hayward worked inthe first Snelling Administration and has been the executive director of the VermontBankers Association for 18 years. Hayward is also the head of Douglas’ transition team.Douglas also announced that lobbyist Betsy Bishopwill be his deputy chief of staff, campaign manager Neale Lunderville will become secretary of Civil and MilitaryAffairs, former Fletcher Allen public relations staffer Jason Gibbs will be his press secretary, Susanne Young, currently the deputy treasurer under Douglas, will be his legalcounsel, and Jim Barnett, deputy campaign manager, will be the governor’s special assistant.At the press conference, held in the governor’s ceremonial office on the second floor ofthe State House, Douglas said that choosing agency secretaries would be the nextorder of business for the transition staff. He said all political appointees, which includeagency heads and their deputies, department commissioners and their deputies, aswell as all others in the Dean Administration, will be asked to submit their resignations.Douglas said that some may be retained in their current positions or moved to otheroffices, but, “most of the positions will see new faces.” He expects the process couldtake a couple of months.Of the few policy items Douglas mentioned, he said he would urge the Public ServiceBoard not to increase funding for the Energy Efficiency Agency. It works to decreaseelectric energy consumption through the use of conservation and technologicalefficiencies. It is funded by electric bill surcharges. A proposal before the board wouldincrease its budget from its current $12 million to as much as $16 million. Douglas said he wants to keep it at $12 million. He said he supports the program, butwith the economy soft, and electric rates already high in Vermont, the extra chargewould act like a tax increase and discourage economic development.On that note, as he said he stated during the campaign, it will be very hard to increaseeconomic development through tax cuts. He said there are clear needs in the Agency ofHuman Services, which includes the welfare department (the Department of Prevention,Assistance, Transition & Health Access) and the Department of Corrections.Douglas said policy changes that will lead to economic growth must come first, beforetax cuts can be made.One revenue enhancement that Douglas said he would support, however, is Powerball,the national lottery. Most states, most notably New Hampshire, are part of Powerball.Douglas said that Vermonters are crossing the Connecticut River to buy Powerballtickets, and while they’re there, they also do other shopping.“They’re clearly buying them (Powerball tickets),” Douglas said, “I’d just as soon havethem buying them in Vermont.” Governor Dean has been a strong opponent of Powerball, believing that the stateshould not increase its obligation to gambling for state revenues. Douglas said he didnot know how much that lottery would bring the state, but acknowledged that estimatesrun from $1 million to $8 million. Whatever the revenues, he said they would help offsetthe property tax.Douglas said he would like to somehow get the Pownal race track back in action. Hesaid the former horse racing facility in Bennington County once employed upwards of1,000 people. Otherwise, he didn’t expect to have any other gambling initiatives, “I’mnot a great fan of gambling.”He also will try and maintain the Rainy Day Fund. The fund is the principal reason whyVermont enjoys the highest bond rating in New England. If the state actually used thefund to shore up slumping tax revenues, the rating would go down, Douglas said, eventhough that’s what it’s there for.In the sunny, formal setting, Douglas was his usual casual, self-effacing self, not shyabout interjecting corny jokes, some directed at himself. He’s still the state treasureruntil January 7, when he will be sworn in as governor.- 30 –last_img read more

VEDA APPROVES $5.2 MILLION IN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT FINANCING

first_imgMontpelier, VT Vermont business development projects totaling $21 million will receive $5.2 million in financing assistance from the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA). Principals of two of the manufacturing projects approved for VEDA financing estimate 100 new jobs will be created within three years of the investments. VEDA is especially excited and pleased to offer financing assistance that helps stimulate jobs creation in the manufacturing sector of Vermonts economy, said Jo Bradley, the Authoritys Chief Executive Officer. Among the projects approved by VEDA are:Revision Eyewear, Ltd., Essex Junction Financing of $1 million was approved as part of a $3 million capital expenditure project, enabling this highly-specialized military eyewear company to upgrade its plant, laboratory, and production facilities. TD Banknorth is also participating in the project, which aims to add 60 new jobs to the companys current payroll of 44 within three years. Based in Essex Junction since 2007, and in Williston for three years prior, Revision Eyewear is an ISO 9001:2000 registered company that has a diverse global supply chain, including custom made components from all over the United States, Europe and the Far East. With this equipment and leasehold investment, the company will be better able to service its most important customer the U.S. military by assuring advanced training, R&D, quality control, production flow, and protection of intellectual property. Vermont Composites, Inc., Bennington VEDA approved up to $1 million in mortgage insurance on a $4.5 million working capital line of credit extended to Vermont Composites, Inc. (VCI) by Chittenden Bank. VCI is a market leader in the design and fabrication of carbon fiber reinforced composite structures for the aerospace and medical industries. VCI projects adding 48 jobs to its current payroll of 195 within three years of the expansion project.Vermont Precision Woodworks, Morrisville VEDA agreed to insure $375,000 of a $500,000 working capital line of credit offered Vermont Precision Woodworks (VPW) by Union Bank. Based in Morrisville, VPW employs 37, and both produces and imports youth bedroom and home office furniture for independent furniture stores and high-volume national retailers.Grafton Village Cheese Company, Inc., Brattleboro – An additional $500,000 in industrial revenue bond financing was approved by VEDA, supplementing $8.2 million in financing given final approval by the Authority in August, 2007. The funds support the construction of a new cheese manufacturing and aging facility, now nearing completion, on land owned by the Windham Foundation in Brattleboro.Additional financings approved by the VEDA Board of Directors include:Over $1.1 million in farm ownership and operating loans through the Authoritys agricultural financing program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation;Business real estate development loans totaling $664,000 through the Authoritys Vermont 504 Corporation; and Small business loans totaling $578,668 through the Authoritys Vermont Small Business Development Corporation.VEDAs mission is to promote economic prosperity in Vermont by providing financial assistance to eligible businesses, including manufacturing, agricultural, and travel and tourism enterprises. Since its inception in 1974, VEDA has made financing commitments totaling over $1.3 billion. For more information about VEDA, visit www.veda.org(link is external) or call 802-828-5627.last_img read more

UVM-IBM $590,000 “smart grid” research project using complex systems

first_imgUniversity of Vermont,Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) approved a three-year, $590,000 project for complex systems research by the University of Vermont Complex Systems Center and IBM Research into the future reliability of the smart grid.? U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy secured an initial $500,000 for the UVM program, which then attracted an additional $90,000 in resources through the UVM-IBM partnership.?Led by Drs. Paul Hines (RELATED STORY) and Chris Danforth, two faculty in the UVM Complex Systems Center and assistant professors in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS), the UVM-IBM project uses complex systems modeling approaches to reduce the risk of large blackouts caused by cascading failure in the electricity infrastructure. The research will focus on the development of new methods, based on complex systems concepts and high-performance computing, for estimating and reducing cascading failure risks ‘invaluable information as Vermont actively develops the nation’s first, statewide smart grid infrastructure.”Implementation of a statewide Smart Grid holds tremendous promise to improve the daily lives of Vermonters,’ said Leahy, ‘The research conducted by UVM and IBM through this public-private partnership will improve the reliability of the power grid and help anticipate some of the unforeseen challenges posed by this new technology. Vermont is poised to lead the pack on Smart Grid adoption and this funding will help solidify that position.”‘IBM’s Vermont site has a long history of success working with UVM and we’re pleased that this collaboration has now been extended to include IBM Research, said Janette Bombardier, director, IBM Vermont site operations and senior location executive.? ‘IBM has used systems modeling and monitoring to improve energy use at its Vermont facility, and this research will focus on how to apply similar techniques to create a more stable and reliable electric grid for Vermont and nationwide.’”The growing UVM-IBM partnership in complex systems approaches and high performance computing on issues critical to the State of Vermont and our nation showcases excellence in both institutions,” said UVM Vice President for Research Domenico Grasso, “I sincerely thank Senator Leahy for his support of this important research and look forward to our faculty’s continued collaborations with IBM.”IBM will leverage the team’s development of computationally efficient complex systems of systems approaches and Hybrid High Performance Computing (HPC) implementations, to compliment its “Smarter Energy” research agenda. The computationally-rigorous field of complex systems is extremely well-suited to this research ‘ simulating complex interactions of technological, human, and environmental systems, among others.? Complex systems was recently identified by UVM as one of three transdisciplinary ‘Spires of Excellence’ for university-wide strategic investment.Professor Hines moved to the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences in 2007 after earning degrees in engineering and public policy from Carnegie-Mellon University.? He has been active in Vermont energy systems education efforts and, in addition to his position at UVM, holds an adjunct position with Vermont Law School. Professor Danforth, Hines’ co-investigator, moved to UVM from the University of Maryland and is an expert in the modeling of chaotic interactions.? Danforth is engaged in complex systems modeling studies ranging from the ‘emotional state of the blogosphere’ to blood coagulation and is also a national leader in math and climate system education both at UVM and through the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont (GIV) program for Vermont high schools.?(Photo courtesy of David R. Tribble, used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike License)RELATED:http://vermontbiz.com/article/november/qa-uvms-paul-hines-safety-electri…last_img read more

Reception of Burlington TV stations, VPR and WEZF affected on Sunday by tower work

first_imgJoe Tymecki, chair of the Mount Mansfield Collocation Association technical committee, announced that antenna and tower maintenance work is planned for Sunday, August 7, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., weather permitting.?The work will require power to be reduced or turned off at times and will affect TV reception for some Vermont viewers, as well as reception of the two radio stations that transmit from the site.Television stations affected will be Vermont Public Television, WCAX, WPTZ, WVNY and WFFF, as well as WEZF-FM and Vermont Public Radio’s 107.9.last_img

HUD awards two grants in Vermont to combat housing discrimination

first_imgEducation and Outreach Initiative grants (EOI)’ HUD awarded $4.6 million to groups that educate the public and housing providers about their rights and obligations under federal, state, and local fair housing laws.?Fair Housing Organizations Initiative (FHOI)?‘ HUD awarded $5.9 million to groups that serve rural and immigrant populations in areas where there currently is no existing fair housing organization, or are otherwise underserved.FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate more than 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. ?People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at?1-800-669-9777?(voice), or?(800) 927-9275?(TTY).?VT Grantees????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????? ??????????? Grant Amount??????????Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity? ??????????? $117,409Vermont Legal Aid, Inc???????????????????????????????????????????? ????????????$324,987VT TOTAL?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????? $449,987?HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to?strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and? transform the way HUD does business.?More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at?www.hud.gov(link is external)?and?http://espanol.hud.gov(link is external).??You can also follow HUD on twitter?@HUDnews, on facebook at?www.facebook.com/HUD(link is external), or sign up for news alerts on?HUD’s News Listserv. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded two grants in Vermont totaling $449,987 to Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity and Vermont Legal Aid, Inc to assist people who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination.??Nationally, HUD awarded $28 million. The grants announced today are funded through HUD’s?Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP)?and will be used to investigate allegations of housing discrimination, and work to promote equal housing opportunities.?(See below for breakdown of VT funding)?‘The Obama Administration is committed to ending housing discrimination, and these grants enable local fair housing and community organizations all over the nation to help HUD enforce the Fair Housing Act, and make people more aware of their fair housing rights,’ stated HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.?HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity, John Trasvi?±a added: ‘Last year, HUD filed more Fair Housing Act charges than any year since 2002,’ ‘The Fair Housing Initiatives Program grantees play a vital role to enhance our civil rights law enforcement efforts.’??????????? The categories of grants awarded today are:Private Enforcement Initiative grants (PEI)’ HUD awarded $17.5 million to help groups investigate alleged housing discrimination, and enforce the Fair Housing Act and state and local laws that are substantially equivalent to the Act.last_img read more

ReNew IPO a Clear Indicator of India’s Growing Renewables Sector

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Quartz:The first initial public offering (IPO) in India from the booming renewable energy sector is here.ReNew Power, India’s largest renewable energy producer, is looking to raise Rs2,600 crore ($390 million) through its first public share sale. The move comes just a month after ReNew sealed India’s biggest renewable energy deal when it acquired New Delhi-based Ostro Energy for around $1.5 billion.The company intends to utilize the funds from the share sale to acquire companies and repay loans of certain subsidiaries, among other things. The IPO will comprise a fresh issue of shares worth Rs 2,600 crore, while existing shareholders, including Global Environment Fund, Green Rock Energy and GS Wyvern Holdings, an investment arm of Goldman Sachs, will sell some of their equity.Founded by Sumant Sinha, a former Wall Street banker, ReNew currently has an installed capacity of over 5,800 megawatts (MW) across wind and solar power plants. The seven-year-old company is backed by Goldmans Sachs, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, among other investors, and is valued at around $2 billion.While New Delhi-based solar power producer Azure Power went public in 2016 and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, ReNew’s will be the first public issue by a homegrown clean energy company on the Indian bourses.The success or failure of ReNew Power’s IPO will also be a benchmark for the rest of the sector. “(The) renewables sector has reached an inflection point now,” said Amit Kumar, a partner at consulting firm PwC, who focuses on the clean energy sector. A successful IPO from ReNew could give other Indian renewable energy players the confidence to raise funds from the Indian market, Kumar added.More: India’s Largest Renewable Power Company Is Set To Go Public ReNew IPO a Clear Indicator of India’s Growing Renewables Sectorlast_img read more

Climate risk prompts judge to halt oil and gas drilling projects in Wyoming

first_imgClimate risk prompts judge to halt oil and gas drilling projects in Wyoming FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:In the first significant check on the Trump administration’s “energy-first” agenda, a US judge has temporarily halted hundreds of drilling projects for failing to take climate change into account.Drilling had been stalled on more than 300,000 acres of public land in Wyoming after it was ruled the Trump administration violated environmental laws by failing to consider greenhouse gas emissions. The federal judge has ordered the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which manages US public lands and issues leases to the energy industry, to redo its analysis.The decision stems from an environmental lawsuit. WildEarth Guardians, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Western Environmental Law Center sued the BLM in 2016 for failing to calculate and limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from future oil and gas projects.The agency “did not adequately quantify the climate change impacts of oil and gas leasing”, said Rudolph Contreras, a US district judge in Washington DC, in a ruling late on Tuesday. He added that the agency “must consider the cumulative impact of GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions” generated by past, present and future BLM leases across the country.The decision is the first significant check on the climate impact of the Trump administration’s “energy-first” agenda that has opened up vast swaths of public land for mining and drilling. Environmental advocates are praising the move, with Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians’ Climate and Energy Program director, calling it a “triumph for our climate”.“This ruling says that the entire oil & gas drilling program is off the rails, and moving forward illegally,” said Nichols.More: US judge halts hundreds of drilling projects in groundbreaking climate change rulinglast_img read more

Financial pressures mounting in U.S. shale sector

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享OilPrice.com:The recent downturn in oil prices forced a slowdown in the U.S. shale industry, and top executives appear to be gloomier than ever.According to a survey by the Dallas Federal Reserve, the business activity index in Texas fell to minus 0.6 in the second quarter, down from a positive reading of 10.8 in the first quarter. A negative reading means that business activity actually contracted from the prior quarter, offering evidence that the slide in oil prices led to a pullback in spending and drilling. While oil and gas production continued to rise in the second quarter, it did so at a slower pace than in months past. The Dallas Fed said that its spending index actually fell into negative territory, again, an indication of contraction.A slowdown in drilling is felt most acutely by oilfield services companies, who make their money from drilling volume and activity, rather than from oil sales. Not only did activity dip, but the prices that oilfield services charge for their services fell sharply, and margins were “notably lower” in the second quarter, the Dallas Fed said. Employment and wages also contracted. The Dallas Fed offers indices on “company outlook,” indices that further highlight the rising pessimism among most firms. The “aggregate uncertainty index” showed a surge of uncertainty from the sector, and it posted the highest reading since 2017.In short, conditions appeared to have deteriorated in the second quarter, even as the industry posted a “gusher of red ink” in the first.While the indices offer some quantitative data to back up the souring outlook for U.S. shale, the metrics are also a bit high-level and abstract. The real color comes in the comments section of the Dallas Fed survey, where comments are anonymously submitted by oil and gas executives. These statements offer better clues into what’s really going on at the ground level.For instance, one executive said that the oil price downturn in the second quarter has had a dramatic effect on industry conditions. The “biggest impact has been the rapid and accelerating lack of investor interest in both conventional and unconventional oil and gas. The securities of oil and gas companies now sell at a fraction of what they once commanded. Huge losses in these shares hamper new exploration. It looks like another round of bankruptcies and mergers,” the executive said.More: Shale executive sees “another round of bankruptcies” looming Financial pressures mounting in U.S. shale sectorlast_img read more

U.K. shale gas E&P shares fall after fracking moratorium

first_imgU.K. shale gas E&P shares fall after fracking moratorium FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Shares in British shale gas explorers fell on Monday morning after the government announced at the weekend that it is imposing a moratorium on fracking.On Saturday, the government said that the gas extraction technique risked causing too much disruption to local communities through earth tremors.Fracking, which involves extracting gas from rocks by breaking them up with water and chemicals at high pressure, is fiercely opposed by environmentalists who say it is at odds with Britain’s commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.The government had previously signalled its support for the shale gas industry as it seeks ways to cut Britain’s reliance on imports of natural gas that is used to heat about 80% of Britain’s homes.IGas (IGAS.L) shares tumbled by as much as 20%, while shares in Egdon Resources (EGRE.L) fell by 14%.Leading shale gas explorer Cuadrilla is 47.4% owned by Australia’s AJ Lucas (AJL.AX) with a fund managed by Riverstone holding 45.2%. Shares in AJ Lucas were down 24%.“Cuadrilla will continue to work with the OGA (regulator) to provide the government with the confidence to lift the moratorium so the significant high-quality natural gas resources in the Bowland Basin can be commercialised,” said AJ Lucas Chairman Phil Arnall.IGas said it has a “significant recoverable gas resource” at in the Gainsborough Trough in eastern England.It estimates there is 630 billion cubic feet of gas in place per square mile. If applied to its entire acreage in the East Midlands, this would equate to 270 trillion cubic feet of high quality natural gas.More: UK shale gas explorers’ shares fall on fracking moratoriumlast_img read more

Greece awards contracts for 472MW of new wind power, including a new record-low bid

first_imgWind power prices continued to fall as Greece in its latest onshore auction awarded contracts for more than 472MW of projects with combined average levelised cost of energy of €55.67/MWh ($65.37/MWh).The tendering round included a winning bid by Greek developer Ascent Power of €53.86/MWh, which was a new record low for Greece, while the highest bid was at €57.70/MWh.A total of 25 projects with a combined 748MW in capacity entered the oversubscribed tender, showing a higher level of competition than in previous tenders, European wind energy body WindEurope noted in a statement.Greece at the end of June had an onshore wind capacity of 3.9GW, meeting 14% of the Southern European country’s electricity needs during the first half of 2020.According to its National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) submitted to the EU, Greece aims to increase its wind energy capacity to more than 7GW and to reach a 35% share of renewables in final energy consumption by 2030.[Bernd Radowitz]More: Greece reaches record low price in ‘highly competitive’ onshore wind power tender Greece awards contracts for 472MW of new wind power, including a new record-low bid FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:last_img read more

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