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Clean Energy Toolkit Topic: Hydropower

Hydroelectric power is generated by capturing the kinetic energy or motion in free-flowing or falling water, waves, currents or tides, and converting it into electric current. The Massachusetts Class I Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) differentiates between hydroelectric power, which captures energy from flowing freshwater with or without the use of a dam structure; ocean thermal, wave or tidal energy, which […]

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Clean Energy Toolkit Topic: Hire a Shared Energy Manager

Capacity issues—whether funding or staff time—can be a recurring obstacle for local clean energy efforts. The additional responsibilities and specialized knowledge necessary to pursue such efforts can be overwhelming for busy facilities managers or town administrators. However, it can also be hard for cities and towns to justify hiring a full-time staff person devoted to energy, […]

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Clean Energy Toolkit Topic: Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy technology captures heat energy stored in the Earth’s crust and converts it into electric or heat energy. Geothermal resources can be tapped at multiple depths, ranging from low-temperatures in the shallow ground to hot rock and water found several miles below the surface of the Earth, to molten rock (magma) found even deeper. […]

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Clean Energy Toolkit Topic: Fuel Cells

Electrochemical fuel cells convert fuel directly into electric current by triggering a chemical reaction between the fuel and an oxidant using an electrolyte. So long as the fuel (reactant) and oxidant are constantly replenished, fuel cells can generate current indefinitely, in contrast to a conventional battery, which is a closed system with finite amounts of […]

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Clean Energy Toolkit Topic: Estimate Local Energy Use Baseline

Before identifying energy goals, and consequent strategies to reach those goals, communities must first develop an energy use profile of the community as a whole, including the municipal, residential, commercial and industrial sectors. Unfortunately, residential, commercial and industrial data is currently not available at the municipal level from utilities, so that portion of the profile […]

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Clean Energy Toolkit Topic: Establish Energy Internship Program

Collaborating with students can be an efficient and low-cost way to build greater capacity for clean energy efforts. Through an internship program, students can apply their academic knowledge and experiences to help the municipality implement clean energy projects, and the municipality can deliver practical experience and professional development to students. This strategy describes how municipalities […]

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Energy Efficiency

Efficiency is a broad concept that refers, in general, to the elimination of waste. The efficiency of a system is measured as a ratio of the useful work it produces to the energy resources it consumes; a system becomes more efficient as the ratio approaches 1. Energy efficiency is a term used to describe using […]

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Energy 101

Everything requires energy to respire, move, grow and reproduce. Most energy on Earth is originally derived from the sun, the only input into an otherwise closed and self-sustaining system. In physics, energy is defined as the “ability to do work,” and can take on multiple forms. Energy can be converted from one form to another, […]

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Clean Energy Toolkit Topic: Develop Anaerobic Digestion

With a commercial food waste ban going into effect in Massachusetts in October 2014, businesses and institutions are considering alternatives to disposing of organic waste in the trash. Anaerobic digestion is one such alternative. Similar to composting, but in an environment devoid of oxygen, anaerobic digestion produces byproducts such as methane (which can fuel the […]

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Clean Energy Toolkit Topioc: Design a School Energy Curriculum

Schools can be a valuable resource for distributing information about clean energy to youth and their parents. Energy-related curricula with entertaining and interesting hooks educate students about energy issues and increase their awareness of energy opportunities, both in terms of their current behavior and their future interests. The National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project provides energy […]

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