by Dan Rudt                                                                                                                        

More Bike Share Funding Sought

Greg Billing of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association reports on the WABA Website that Montgomery County Department of Transportation is preparing to apply for a Maryland DOT grant that would help fund 50 bike share stations and 400 bicycles for the urban down-county areas. He says county planning and transportation officials presented proposed station plans at a public meeting on November 29 at the County Executive offices in Rockville. The bike share program is dependent on the state grants which, if awarded, will be paid through Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds, and require 20% in county matching funds. Greg says if you missed the meeting, you can submit your ideas for bike share locations on the Capital Bikeshare Crowdsourcing Map.

In a closely related story, Kytja Weir reports in the Washington Examiner that the Chevy Chase Land Company has offered to pay for two bike share stations at a cost of $56,000 apiece. One of the proposed locations would be on Wisconsin Circle at the Friendship Heights Metro station. The other is at the Newlands Building near the Bethesda Metro. According to the article, the Chevy Chase Land Company is the first developer to offer financing for any portion of the county’s bike share program. 

County Needs Volunteers to Prepare for New Bag Law                                                 

Beginning January 1, a new law requires Montgomery County retailers to charge 5 cents for each paper or plastic bag provided to a customer. The County is looking for volunteers at this time to bring small signs to store managers for display in their stores. The signs would remind customers to bring their own bags when shopping. The volunteers would also distribute flyers with talking points for cashiers, to help them answer customer questions about the new law. If you are interested in volunteering, call Ansu John at the Montgomery County Dept. of Environmental Protection at 240-777-7786.

Take Control of Your Electricity Supply

That’s what the Maryland Clean Energy Center urges you to do. What’s more, they explain how to do it and the reasons why on their Power to Choose Website. The site includes 10 things you need to know before shopping for an electricity provider, a list of providers in Maryland, a step-by-step guide to choosing and switching providers, and other useful information.

Electrifying Deal for Hagerstown Solar Farm

Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp. announced on December 1 that its FirstEnergy Solutions subsidiary signed a 20-year agreement to purchase the output from the Maryland Solar Farm planned for Hagerstown. In addition, FirstEnergy Solutions will obtain the Renewable Energy Credits produced by the facility. The agreement demonstrates that Maryland Solar will have a guaranteed source of revenue, critical to the project’s ability to obtain financing.

“FirstEnergy Solutions is proud to play a key role in the development of renewable energy across the country with more than 500 megawatts of wind and solar power under long-term contracts,” said Donald R. Schneider, president of FirstEnergy Solutions.

Construction of the $70-million, 20-megawatt Maryland Solar Farm project by Maryland Solar LLC, to be located on 250 acres of state-owned correctional facility land near Hagerstown, is expected to begin by the end of the year, with completion scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2012. The project is anticipated to be operational in 2013. The solar facility will be the largest in Maryland and among the largest on the East Coast.

Upcoming Green Events

Maryland-Asia Environmental Partnership (MD-AEP), 3rd Annual Energy and Environmental Leadership Series Banquet, Tuesday, December 6, 6:00-9:00 pm. Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (home of the world’s first sustainable aquaculture system), The Columbus Center, Baltimore. Philippines Ambassador to the United States, The Honorable Jose L. Cuisia will keynote the event. Also expected to attend are MD Secretary of the Environment Bob Summers, Secretary John Griffin of DNR, Chesapeake Bay Commission Director Ann Swanson and key Environmental Committee members of the MD General Assembly. Tickets are $90. When registering, type “BethesdaGreen” when prompted for a discount code and receive a $15 discount. More information and registration.

ACORE Phase II National Policy Conference: “Renewable Energy in America – Creating Security and Prosperity,” Wednesday, December 7, 7:00 am – 5:00 pm, Cannon Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building (& Reception, Dec. 6, 6:00 – 8:00 pm @ Folger Shakespeare Library). The American Council on Renewable Energy conference will explore the key policy issues related to increasing private investment in and use of renewable energy in both the electricity and transportation sectors, and will lay the groundwork for the 2012 US renewable energy market and finance policy agenda. Conference Website and registration. Discount available using code: SPT20BEG

Bethesda Green Education, Outreach and Marketing (EOM) Group MeetingNewcomers Welcome! Wednesday, December 7, 4:00 – 5:30 pm.,4825 Cordell Ave., corner of Woodmont Ave., Suite 200, above the Chevy Chase Bank, Bethesda. A team of volunteers, EOM supports all of Bethesda Green’s communication efforts. From recycling to energy efficiency, sustainability to green building/design, EOM expresses the organization’s various areas of expertise in a clear and concise manner via various media.  New members are welcome to join. More information here, or contact Bethesda Green Communications Director Dave Heffernan, dvheffernan@bethesdagreen.org.

Crete: The Roots of the Mediterranean Diet, Presentation & Brunch, Sunday, December 11, 2011, 12:30 – 3:30 pm. Enjoy the benefits of one of the world’s healthiest cuisines. Free presentation by Chef-Author Nikki Rose at Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Ave. Suite 200, Bethesda (12:30 – 1:30pm). Followed by Brunch at Yamas Mediterranean Grill, 4806 Rugby Ave., Bethesda (1:30 – 3:30 pm). Brunch is $30 and includes a complimentary glass of wine. More information and reservations here.