Vermont statewide science assessment shows marginal improvement

first_imgSource: VT DOE. 9.22.2009 Statewide science assessment results for Spring 2009 were released by the Vermont Department of Education today. Fifty-two percent of Vermont fourth graders tested were proficient or higher in science, up four points from last year. In grade eight, 25 percent were proficient or higher, down one point. In grade 11, 27 percent were proficient or higher, up 2 points. The results are from the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) science exams, given to Vermont public school students for the second time in grades 4, 8 and 11 in May 2009.“There is an obvious need for improvement in how our students are learning science,” said Commissioner Armando Vilaseca. “The wide range of results by individual school, from zero percent to 96 percent proficient, shows me that students are capable of achieving the standard, but they are not all receiving the standards-based science curriculum that we expect due to the varied delivery of curriculum in our school districts.”As seen in previous years statewide and nationally, an achievement gap persists between students from low-income families and their peers. In grade four, only 33 percent of those students were proficient or higher, compared to 61 percent of their peers. In grade eight, only 10 percent of those students were proficient or higher, compared to 30 percent of their peers. In grade 11, only 13 percent of those students were proficient or higher, compared to 30 percent of their peers.“These results represent an early snapshot of science understanding by Vermont students, and indicate that alignment of instruction with science grade expectations in elementary classrooms is beginning to make a difference,” said Science Assessment Coordinator Gail Hall. “However, all school programs need to continue to give standards-based science content greater emphasis within classrooms, as well as problem solving, critical thinking, and reading and writing skills in science.”The NECAP exams were created in collaboration with Rhode Island and New Hampshire. These exams are designed to specifically assess how well Vermont students have learned the skills and content contained in the Vermont Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities. This is the second year of results on the NECAP science exams.For school reports, visit http://www.education.vermont.gov/new/html/pgm_assessment/data.html#html(link is external).  For more information, contact Jill Remick at (802) 828-3154 or Michael Hock at (802) 828-3115.last_img read more

Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports receives $1,000 from Chittenden Bank

first_imgSource: KILLINGTON, WARREN and BOLTON, Vt. (Oct. 20, 2009) –### Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports recently received a donation from Chittenden Bank in the amount of $1,000 to support year round recreational programming for adults with disabilities.”We believe sports and recreation provide a physical, mental and social experience that is immeasurable in promoting self-confidence and independence in an individual,” said Erin Fernandez, executive director. “We extend an enormous thanks to Chittenden for this donation that will help us to underwrite some of the costs of our adaptive programs and allow more people with disabilities to participate.”The cost of an outing with Vermont Adaptive for the consumer can range from a $15 for a two hour canoeing session to $90 for a full day ski lesson, including instructors, ticket and adaptive equipment. All of the school and advocacy groups that the organization works with are also subsidized by Vermont Adaptive; school groups are charged a reduced rate starting at 50% off, and participants receive the same one on one experience as any individual who participates.The average true expense of a lesson or outing to the organization is approximately $120.00 per individual per outing per activity. Yet, it receives only $60,000 in program fees each year. This year Vermont Adaptive has set a goal of raising an additional $60,000 in underwriting support on an annual basis. Chittenbank is just one example of local businesses giving back to their community.”We are proud to provide funding to bring sports and recreation activities to more individuals with disabilities,” said Kathy Schirling, director of marketing and community services.Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sport works with individuals who have a wide range of physical, mental and developmental disabilities. Both volunteers and staff provide instruction and assistance to these individuals to ensure maximum enjoyment and satisfaction from their experience. About Chittenden BankChittenden Bank, which has proudly served individuals and businesses statewide since 1906 is a division of People’s United Bank, a federally-chartered savings bank with $20 billion in assets. People’s United Bank provides consumer and commercial banking services through a network of more than 300 branches in Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and New York. Through additional subsidiaries, People’s United Bank provides equipment financing, asset management, brokerage and financial advisory services, and insurance services.  For more information please call 800-545-2236 or visit www.chittenden.com(link is external).Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports is the only year-round disabled sports program with daily programming in the state, which is committed to empowering individuals with disabilities. The organization promotes independence and further equality through access and instruction to sports and recreational opportunities including alpine skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports; kayaking, canoeing, sailing, rock climbing, horseback riding, and more. More than 400 volunteers serve clients from all over the world in three locations in Vermont – Pico Mountain at Killington; Sugarbush Resort in Warren; and Bolton Valley Resort in Bolton. For more information, visit www.vermontadaptive.org(link is external).last_img read more

$1 million from NSF to connect UVM and Vermont State Colleges

first_imgIncreasingly, scientific research depends upon huge pools of data ‘ like gene sequences or weather models ‘ shared between scientists at numerous institutions. And this sharing depends upon fast fiber-optic networks and other so-called cyber-infrastructure ‘ far faster than a conventional internet hook-up.In Vermont, that information pipeline has been not been as big as necessary or entirely missing in places.But that’s changing.The Vermont Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VT EPSCoR) at the University of Vermont has received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation for the next two years to connect the Vermont State Colleges (VSC) and the University of Vermont with high-speed fiber optic cables and other information-sharing technologies.The new service between UVM and the VSC data hub will allow all twenty-nine VSC locations to participate more fully in collaborative research with UVM scientists and educators ‘ including all 12 Community College of Vermont (CCV) centers; both campuses and two nursing education centers of Vermont Technical College (VTC); and the Castleton State College, Johnson State College, and Lyndon State College campuses.The current connection is 300 megabytes per second. The new system will be 10 gigabytes per second ‘ thirty-three times faster.”Our proposal was designed as part of a larger effort to improve teaching and research initiatives across Vermont in so-called STEM fields ‘ science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” said Judith Van Houten, professor of biology and state director of VT EPSCoR, “U.S. and state leaders increasingly see improvement in these areas as a key to future economic success and job development.”The new in-state system will also be connected to a larger “Fiber Ring” that links UVM to a hub through Albany, N.Y., and Hanover, N.H. This fiber ring system allows researchers around the region to share information at 60 gigabytes per second. This link helps connect Vermont with “Internet2,” an expanding advanced networking consortium involving hundreds of U.S. research universities and corporations. Vermont businesses will also be able to access the fiber ring.The new funding comes through an arm of the National Science Foundation’s Research Infrastructure Improvement Program that seeks to make better cyber connections on campuses and between colleges.”This increased cyber-capacity will better connect researchers and partner institutions within the Vermont State Colleges — especially the new engagement with the Community College of Vermont,” said Timothy Donovan, chancellor of the Vermont State College system, “new courses and opportunities for students seeking careers in science and technology will be offered as a result.”The new award will also provide funding to connect a network of K-12 schools, libraries, museums, art galleries and hospitals in Vermont, through an initiative of Internet2, making many new resources available to Vermont community institutions”We aim to improve collaboration among diverse participants and campuses and communities in Vermont and throughout the region,” said Kelvin Chu, associate professor of physics at UVM and VT EPSCoR associate project director. “Videoconferencing capability, visualization and new curriculum options across the state and region are also part of this project.”Additional plans for the grant include:â ¢ A new bioinformatics course, organized at Johnson State College, to be offered across the whole Vermont State College system in spring 2012 and taught by faculty at UVM and across the Northeast.â ¢At Lyndon State College, the award will enable faculty studying weather forecasting within Vermont to improve their ability to analyze and collaborate with fellow researchers around the region.â ¢ Policy studies at UVM will involve students from several state colleges in their survey work.The award complements recent funding to support the Northeast Cyberinfrastructure Consortium (NECC) initiative that enabled a high-speed connection between UVM and the Internet2 network.UVM. 9.27.2011last_img read more

Sanders announces funds for Vermont-grown food

first_imgSenator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) today announced two grants totaling $165,555 for the Green Mountain Farm Direct and the Northeast Organic Farming Association to expand access to locally-produced food for Vermont seniors, low-income families and others.‘These worthwhile projects will increase Vermonters’ access to fresh, healthy, locally-produced foods,’ Sanders said.Green Mountain Farm Direct in Newport, Vt., is slated to receive $97,029 to build a mobile farmers market that will deliver fresh foods to senior meal sites, low-income housing sites, and community centers throughout Essex and Orleans Counties. The mobile market ‘ a big bus equipped with refrigeration and a prep kitchen ‘ will travel to local farms to buy food and make deliveries to senior meal sites, low-income housing facilities, and community centers throughout the region.The Northeast Organic Farming Association based in Richmond, Vt., will receive $68,526 to expand the use of debit cards and electronic benefit cards at Vermont farmers markets. The project already has helped 37 farmers markets throughout the state. The additional funding will expand the project to eight more markets. Roadside farm stands also could be added to the project.Sanders’ strong backing helped Vermont win the funds through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Promotion program. WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 ‘ Senator Bernie Sanderslast_img read more

Advances in Electricity-Storage Technology

first_imgAdvances in Electricity-Storage Technology FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:2017 could go down as the year regulated utilities took the lead in energy storage.Several of the most notable energy storage projects this year were done by or for regulated utilities. And that momentum will likely carry into 2018 as well, Tim Gretjak, an analyst at Lux Research, told Utility Dive.In some cases, it is easier for a regulated utility to make the economic case for energy storage, Gretjak said. It is hard for developers of energy storage projects to compete in energy markets where the rules do not value the flexibility that storage can provide, he added. The trend could be bolstered by the fact that utilities across the country are beginning to include energy storage in their resource planning processes. In Oregon, for instance, Portland General Electric’s integrated resource plan proposes five storage projects. In New Mexico, the Public Regulation Commission amended the state’s 2017 IRP rules to include energy storage. High on the list of notable projects of the year is Tucson Electric Power’s (TEP) solar plus storage facility. The project is being built by NextEra Energy and features a 100 MW solar array and a 30 MW, 120 MWh energy storage system. It’s most notable feature, however, is its power purchase agreement.TEP reported that the all-in cost for the solar-plus-storage project was “significantly less than $0.045/kWh over 20 years.” TEP said the solar portion of the project, at under 3¢/kWh, was “the lowest price recorded in the U.S.” That puts the remaining storage portion of the project at about 1.5¢/kWh.The project marked the lowest price announced for a solar-plus-storage project to date, far outstripping the nearest contender, a 11¢/kWh PPA between Kauai Island Electric Cooperative and AES Corp. for a 28 MW solar array with a 20 MW, 100 MWh battery system on Kauai, Hawaii.Another of the year’s most notable projects also is in Arizona, but is being developed by Arizona Public Service. It is a much smaller project, 2 MW, 8 MWh, but is notable because it is being undertaken without a statutory or regulatory mandate.APS is building the project as an alternative to building about 20 miles of new transmission lines to serve the small community of Punkin Center about 90 miles northeast of Phoenix.APS has not disclosed the cost of either the storage project or the transmission lines, but estimates the batteries will enable it to defer investment in a new transmission line for up to six years. And during that time, the batteries will also deliver additional value by providing frequency regulation and bolstering grid reliability.T&D (transmission and distribution) deferral is a growing trend, especially among regulated utilities, Manghani told Utility Dive, but such efforts are also very specific, particularly when any individual  project can require regulatory approval.Another T&D deferral project recently surfaced in Massachusetts where National Grid has plans to install a 48 MWh energy storage system on the island of Nantucket. The storage project will help back up a new diesel generator on Nantucket and defer investment in a new subsea cable to the island.In North Carolina, Duke Energy in April won regulatory approval to build a 10 kW solar installation with a Fluidic 95 kWh zinc-air battery in the Great Smoky Mountains of Haywood County. The energy storage system will power a remote communications tower in the national park that is currently served by an overhead transmission line.Duke says the microgrid project, which would cost less than $1 million, is less expensive than upgrading and maintaining the existing four-mile 12.47-kV distribution feeder that travels over rugged mountain terrain and is due for upgrades this year.The project demonstrates the “practicality” of energy storage, Gretjak said.Duke also plans to invest $30 million in two battery storage systems in North Carolina, which the company says will be the first large storage projects built by its regulated utility. “Battery technology has matured, and we are ready to take the next step. We can go to regulators and say this makes economic sense, Duke spokesman Randy Wheeless told Utility Dive at the time.Energy storage once again made market inroads this year, as it did last year, by responding to emergencies. Last year, energy storage’s value was on display when it was called on to respond to the Aliso Canyon gas leaks that threatened gas supplies to power plants critical to reliability in Southern California. Following a call by state regulators, developers stepped up to quickly build several large storage projects to support grid reliability in the region. One of those project, Powin Energy’s 2 MW, 8 MWh battery system in Irvine, came online in January.In March, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he could solve blackouts that have been plaguing South Australia by installing a battery storage system in 100 days or it would be free. Tesla made good on Musk’s promise this week, nearing completion of a $50 million, 100 MW, 129 MWh storage system at Neoen’s 315 MW Hornsdale wind farm. The storage system, which would be the largest in the world, is expected to come online Dec. 1.The Tesla project could soon be overshadowed by a massive 100 MW, 500 MWh storage system that is expected to “be the cornerstone of a new smart energy grid” in Hubei Province, China. The vanadium flow battery project is being built by Hubei Pingfan Vanadium Energy Storage Technology Co., a subsidiary of Hubei Pingfan, a mining and industrial metals and minerals company that has about 1 million tonnes of vanadium in its reserves.The China project may not have much overlap with U.S. projects because the energy markets in the two countries are so different, but China’s push could demonstrate the value of flow batteries and might aid the economies of scale for the technology. More: Top energy storage projects driving the sector in 2017last_img read more

Fitch: Solar capacity in U.S. could jump by 100 gigawatts by 2030

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:Fitch Solutions Macro Research has released a report, Midwest U.S. Set To Experience Strong Growth In Solar Sector, which makes some very bold predictions about the future of the solar industry in America’s heartland.Chief among those bold predictions, Fitch states that it expects the region to contribute heavily to the 100 GW of solar power capacity expected to come to the United States over the next 10 years. This astronomical, gargantuan, whichever word of scope you use to describe, prediction is supported mainly by the region’s large proposed solar project pipeline, with a total potential added capacity of a smidge under 79 GWac that are registered within the MISO, SPP and PJM generation interconnection queues – the grid operators that cover the region.Fitch expects that this unprecedented development will be driven by the strengthened renewable energy targets of Midwest states, cities and utilities. Chiefly among these targets, Fitch references Wisconsin’s 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050 goal, the 100% renewable electricity pledges made by Chicago, IL and Madison, WI, DTE and Xcel’s plans for carbon neutrality by 2050 and the litany of renewable energy-based requests for proposals sweeping the region.Strangely, the report doesn’t address the trend of large corporations increasingly adopting renewable generations to fulfill their power needs. The report, however, also attributes the projected growth to year-over-year improvements in the technologies associated with solar projects, the ever-falling costs of developing and installing solar and the expanding adoption of community solar initiatives in the region.That last point is an especially interesting one, as in 2019 utilities in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska all launched their first community solar programs, with most being so successful that they led to over-demand and filled their capacities nearly immediately.These projections by Fitch paint an incredibly bullish view on the future of solar development, one more optimistic than the projections made by Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie. These two organizations are currently projecting a 2019 solar market of 12.6 GW, with Fitch estimating an annual Midwest average growth of 83% of that figure. Obviously, the expectation is that those annual additions would increase exponentially so that the biggest additions are being made at the end of the decade. The 79 GW project pipeline only includes projects to be completed through 2023, so, if even a third of that goes on-line, that would lend major credence to the optimistic projections of the region as a whole.More: The Midwest’s solar future will be unlike anything seen before Fitch: Solar capacity in U.S. could jump by 100 gigawatts by 2030last_img read more

EIA: Wind now the leading source of renewable generation in the U.S.

first_imgEIA: Wind now the leading source of renewable generation in the U.S. FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNBC:Last year saw wind generation in the U.S. overtake hydroelectric generation for the first time, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).Released Wednesday, the figures from the EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” report show that yearly wind generation hit a little over 300 million megawatt hours (MWh) in 2019. This was roughly 26 million MWh more than hydroelectric production.Wind now represents the “most-used renewable electricity generation source” in the U.S., the EIA said.Overall, total renewable electricity generation — which includes sources such as solar photovoltaic, geothermal and landfill gas — at utility-scale facilities hit more than 720 million MWh in 2019, compared to just under 707 million MWh in 2018. To put things in perspective, generation from coal came to more than 966 million MWh in 2019.According to the EIA’s “Today in Energy” briefing, which was also published Wednesday, generation from wind power has grown “steadily” across the last decade.At the end of 2019, the country was home to 103 gigawatts (GW) of wind capacity, with 77% of this being installed in the last decade. The U.S. is home 80GW of hydroelectric capacity, according to the EIA.[Anmar Frangoul]More: Wind has become the ‘most-used’ source of renewable electricity generation in the USlast_img read more

Australia testing possibility of reusing underground coal mine as a pumped hydro project

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Australia is studying plans to transform a disused underground coal mine into a pumped hydro facility, part of a wider effort to reuse retiring fossil fuel sites for renewable energy generation.The A$13 million ($9.9 million) pilot trial at the Newstan Colliery, in Fassifern, about 140 kilometers (87 miles) northeast of Sydney, could offer a blueprint for dozens of expiring mines that’ll be retired in coming decades, according to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.Studies will test whether the Centennial Coal Co. site, close to Lake Macquarie, can eventually support a 600-megawatt pumped hydro facility that would take advantage of its reservoir, grid connection and available water source. The results will also show if similar brownfield sites, including other coal operations, could also host renewables, ARENA said in a Friday statement.“By repurposing old sites and taking advantage of the features at those facilities, we can bring more clean energy projects online that bring down emissions and deliver the secure and reliable power Australians need,” Australia’s Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said in a separate statement.Pumped storage hydroelectric power plants, which push water uphill at times of low demand and then release it downhill to drive turbines that generate electricity when needed, have huge capacity for energy storage and can help back up intermittent generation from wind and solar plants.The Newstan trial is one of several similar projects in Australia. Genex Power Ltd. is planning to install a 250-megawatt pumped-hydro facility at a former gold mine in Queensland, along with solar and wind resources. At the former Drayton coal mine in New South Wales, Malabar Resources has won approval to develop a 25-megawatt solar farm.[Rob Verdonck]More: Old coal mines can win a second life as green energy hotspots Australia testing possibility of reusing underground coal mine as a pumped hydro projectlast_img read more

Girl Guide: On Being a Woman and a Whitewater Guide

first_imgTara Nathan stops adjusting her spray skirt for a minute to stand up in front of the sea of red rafts. She waves at the boats full of Boy Scouts (most of whom are a good five inches shorter than her) and grins, a flash of white teeth on tan skin, then plunks back down on her green kayak. She pulls at her shorts.“I wore the wrong underwear,” she says under her breath. “You think guys chafe. Ugh.”There aren’t many other women in her position. The whitewater raft guide scene is mostly dominated by tan, muscular dudes with bushy beards and questionable hygiene practices.For the next seven miles of Class III-V whitewater, Nathan will be responsible for the lives of 80 strangers. There’s an epileptic, a diabetic, and a handful of unfit tourists on the trip. It rained the night before, and the water’s high. A raft will almost definitely flip. But she’s not worried at all.Curly blonde hair tucked under her river helmet, Nathan drags her boat down to the river, scoots inside, and paddles out. She floats, waiting.The trip goes smoothly. There are no injuries, and only a few swimmers. Sitting outside of the local pub afterward, she relaxes in the sun with a cold Sierra Nevada.On the river, Nathan’s a Youghiogheny River goddess. She often gets anonymous comment cards from Boy Scouts asking her on dates. She paddles smoothly around the rafts, shouting clear, concise instructions to each group as they float past.“I didn’t know I had a voice until I became a raft guide,” she says with a grin.Nathan’s 22, a recent graduate from Keene State College with a journalism degree. Right now she works for Wilderness Voyageurs, a rafting company on the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle, Pa. But she started working as a guide in 2009 for a different company, where her family had gone rafting on their summer vacations. Nathan was just getting out of a bad relationship back home in Connecticut. She wanted physical work that she could throw herself into, body and soul.But her rookie year was rough.“I was at a company where testosterone rules,” she recalls. “They respect the big, strong guys who excel fast and do kinda crazy things. It was like a pissing contest all the time.”Every day she was constantly trying to prove herself—jumping over fires, swimming over the waterfall at midnight—to feel respected. But she wasn’t getting anywhere. They wouldn’t let her take on more responsibility. She was never a trip leader, never encouraged to take on bigger responsibilities. On the river, her coworkers made jabs at her for being a girl.“Hey, why didn’t Hellen Keller know how to drive?” they’d ask her boat. “Because she was blind? No! It’s because she was a woman! Good luck with Tara!” They’d laugh and paddle away.Nathan shakes her head. “I was taking so much shit, getting bogged down so much.”So she switched companies and went to work for Wilderness Voyageurs in 2012.“I think all companies are defined by their senior guides,” she says. “There aren’t a bunch of hot-shot studs running around trying to prove their masculinity. The guys there are really eclectic. Some of them are quiet, but they’re good leaders. One guy plays the mandolin. One of them reenacts Civil War battles. If you do something wrong, they still might come down hard on you, but the criticism is constructive.”In that positive environment, Nathan was allowed to learn and excel. She learned how to kayak, and now she paddles the river almost every day. (Sometimes twice in a day. Sometimes with beer.) Now, in her fourth year on the river, she’s completely immersed in the lifestyle—she lives in a guide house, hangs out with the other guides all day, and drinks with them every night.That isn’t to say that Wilderness Voyageurs is a shining beacon of feminist empowerment. Nathan still takes her share of ribbing and jokes about PMS (which is really a bitch on the river), shock and awe when she shows up in a skirt on her days off. But the banter is good-natured.“It’s really taken a hit on my social skills,” she says with a laugh. “I spend all day shooting the shit with a bunch of guys. If I make the same joke in front of girls, they’re totally appalled.”Nathan’s boyfriend Mark, a bartender and fellow guide, swings by the table with a basket of tortilla chips and another beer.Guiding with her main squeeze on the river gets stressful, she admits. “I really don’t think we should work together. We care too much about each other’s safety. The nature of the job is to care about the customers, not yourself.”Even though she’s comfortable working in a predominately male field, Nathan thinks more women should give it a try.“I was never put in an executive position like this until I started guiding,” she says. “I was never the expert, never the person who could give orders instead of taking them. The fact that I have the confidence to yell and project—that’s important.”Still, there are only a handful of girls who work on the river in Ohiopyle. And right now, Nathan’s the only female at Wilderness Voyageurs who works on the more difficult sections of the river.“The average girl my age doesn’t think she can hang with this crowd,” she says. “But nobody starts as an expert. If more girls were encouraged, they could learn.”last_img read more

WATCH: ‘The Fourth Phase’ | From the Makers of The Art of Flight

first_img“Life begins. Clouds form. A snowstorm atop high peaks falls heavy, melts, flows through tributaries, into rivers. It finds the sea and turns to the air. This process we follow. This cycle we ride.”These words mark the beginning of an endorphin inducing trailer for a new backcountry snowboarding film from the makers of the classic ‘The Art of Flight.’Travis Rice’s ‘The Fourth Phase’ will bring some of snowboarding’s most impressive talents to the big screen.“It has taken everything I have learned over my life to prepare for what the past several years has challenged us with,” Rice told Red Bull. “Immersion into the winter wilderness with a few trusted comrades and a vow to not ride anything we have ever ridden before has made this the most exciting project yet. We have a team of some of the most committed riders, and a production crew that has gone all in. We’re headed back into the field soon, but before we go dark again we wanted to share a taste of what we’ve been working on.”Be on the lookout for this highly touted adventure film sometime in the fall of 2016. In the meantime, let this short but powerful teaser get you amped for the 2015-16 powder season.last_img read more