Sustainable Tourism Along Dominican Republic’s North Coast for Green Living Guy and Green Travel Girl

Since Green Travel Girl just relaunched we thought it best to set it off with a trip to the Dominican Republic. This event was fully sponsored and we thank them for it. 

The North Coast region, which includes Samaná, Cabarete and Puerto Plata, is comprised of pristine beaches, lush green valleys and palm-covered mountains. The beautiful landscape provides a wide-range of sustainable attractions unique to Dominican Republic. From nature trekking to snorkeling, this was an ideal trip for travelers with a passion for exploration, adventure and supporting the local economy.

Green Travel Girl Amanda got to:

Sourcing: Amanda Monique @amandamonique1_wanderlust, The Original Green Travel Girl
Sourcing: Amanda Monique @amandamonique1_wanderlust, The Original Green Travel Girl

Slide down waterfalls at the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua

Snorkel the coral reefs of Sosua Bay

Experience the ultimate in watersports in Cabarete, the Kite Surf Capital of the World

Learn about sustainable and aquaponic farming practices of area resorts

Participate in a surf lesson

Tour the Amber Mine

Go for a swim and hike at Blue Lagoon Cenote

Took in the sites from the Teleférico Cable Car in Puerto Plata

Sourcing: Amanda Monique @amandamonique1_wanderlust, The Original Green Travel Girl
Sourcing: Amanda Monique @amandamonique1_wanderlust, The Original Green Travel Girl
Sourcing: Amanda Monique @amandamonique1_wanderlust, The Original Green Travel Girl

Not only is sustainable tourism an incredibly important component of any economy, but the United Nations has declared 2017 “The Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development,” which adds another interesting angle to share with your readers, who are so passionate about sustainability.


Supports Governor Cuomo’s Charge NY initiative; Will Help Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions 40 Percent by 2030
Largest Contributor to Greenhouse Gas Emissions is Transportation Sector; Accounts for Nearly 40 Percent of Emissions in New York State

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new electric vehicle campaign that includes the installation of charging stations, incentives for employers to encourage employees to drive electric vehicles and extensive public education and outreach. The increased use of electric vehicles will help the state in achieving its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030. The campaign, which supports the Governor’s Charge NY initiative, will be overseen by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

“This multi-pronged campaign will help in this administration’s efforts to fight climate change, strengthen infrastructure to support the use of electric cars, and help reduce New York’s carbon footprint on our roadways,” Governor Cuomo said. “With these actions, we are taking another step toward a cleaner, greener and more sustainable New York for all.”

Work on the projects will start immediately and will include the installation of 450 charging stations across the state. Of these, approximately 150 will be located at workplaces throughout New York, supporting Governor Cuomo’s State of the State proposal for the construction of 500 new workplace charging stations. The units will be installed in Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Utica, Albany, the Hudson Valley, Westchester County, New York City and Long Island.

“I’m pleased with the progress we’re making in the energy sector but we can’t cut greenhouse gasses and reach our emissions reduction goals without also making inroads in the transportation sector,” said Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York. “State-wide campaigns to promote the use of electric vehicles will go far to help New York reach its emissions reductions goals and combat climate change.”

John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said , “This comprehensive campaign will help New York meet Governor Cuomo’s clean transportation goals and reduce our carbon footprint. Each project is vital to the success of New York’s nation-leading energy strategy, so we can ensure a cleaner and healthier environment for all New Yorkers.”

Additional projects in this campaign include:

· Working with New York City-area public and private employers to create an incentive program specifically for their employees to encourage them to buy electric vehicles;

· Conducting outreach to employers statewide to educate them on the benefits of providing workplace charging stations for their employees;

· Hosting public test drive and ride events;

· Providing innovative financing to make installing charging stations more economically viable for site owners;

· And developing tourism routes specifically for electric vehicle owners that will highlight charging station locations in the Mid-Hudson Valley, including in the Catskills.

In addition, Rochester will launch a pilot to become an electric vehicle model city. The goal is to demonstrate how developing an electric vehicle ecosystem can increase electric vehicle adoption and prepare a community for long-term electric vehicle growth. State, city and community leaders worked together to identify actions to support Rochester’s evolution into an electric vehicle model city, including adding electric vehicles to the city fleet, installing charging stations, creating a speaker’s bureau for community events and training for local dealerships. 
The projects will be managed by three contractors – EV Connect, Energetics and Calstart — for a total of $4.8 million. Each contractor is responsible for different elements at specific locations, though all will be installing charging stations and administering marketing and outreach programs.

This electric vehicle campaign continues Governor Cuomo’s ongoing support to grow the number of electric vehicles in New York. Last fall, he announced $3 million for rebates through the Environmental Protection Fund for municipalities to purchase or lease zero-emission vehicles, such as battery electric and hydrogen vehicles, for their fleets. 

Over the summer, Sustainable Hudson Valley kicked off its Drive Electric Hudson Valley campaign to educate consumers about electric vehicles, which was supported by NYSERDA.

The state has also revised regulations to clarify charging station ownership rules, and supported research and demonstration projects on new plug-in electric car technologies and policies. In addition, the New York Power Authority has invited municipalities to tap into a master contract that offers better pricing for the supply, installation and maintenance of charging stations. 

The Governor has also announced the availability of another $3 million to help eligible municipalities and rural electricity cooperatives purchase electric vehicles for use in their municipal use fleets.

Source: Charge NY, Reforming the Energy Vision,, NYSERDA

New approach for matching production and consumption of renewable electricity promotes large-scale integration of solar and wind power

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is coordinating the BALANCE project, which brings together leading European research institutes in the field of electrochemical conversion. The project aims to demonstrate a technology that enables flexible storage of large amount of renewable power. Such technologies are needed for the further integration of additional wind and solar power. The European Commission funds the project by 2.5 million euros.
As the investment costs of solar and wind installation are decreasing, the most significant obstacle for further integration of renewable electricity is the imbalance between their weather-dependant production and the general power consumption. It is this issue that the BALANCE project partners aim to solve by further developing an electrochemical conversion technology called ReSOC (Reversible Solid Oxide Cell).

A ReSOC device uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gas by a high temperature electrolysis process, which is significantly more efficient than other electrolyser technologies today. What makes ReSOC particularly interesting, however, is the fact that the exactly same device can also be operated “in reverse” to produce power from the very same hydrogen gas it produced. Using the same device for converting power to a storable gas and for converting this gas back to power again enables very flexible usage of the device, thus increasing its operating hours as well as reducing it capital costs.  

Already today, the electricity market is being challenged when flooded by green electricity on a windy or sunny day. This causes the electricity prices to plunge or even go negative in some European countries. Because electricity cannot be stored as such and our current capacity to store it with hydropower or batteries is limited, the production of windmills and solar panels must at times be curtailed to avoid power grid failure. This issue will become more and more important as the production capacity of renewable electricity is growing rapidly.

With a flexible energy conversion technology, such as a ReSOC, it is possible to balance the power market. At peak production hours, power is converted into a chemical, which can be stored for later use or used as industrial feedstock. Similarly, during peak consumption hours or on a calm, cloudy day, the stored chemical is converted back to electricity at the same site. Therefore, a ReSOC unit supports the integration of wind and solar power with the current power system by providing a compact, affordable and flexible technology for the conversion and storage of renewable power.

The three-year project began in December 2016 and will receive EUR 2.5 million in EU Horizon 2020 funding (grant agreement 731224). It includes several leading European research institutes and universities in the field of electrochemical conversion, including VTT (FI), DTU (DK), CEA (FR), ENEA (IT), University of Birmingham (UK), TU Delft (NL), EPFL (CH) and IEn (PL).

Figure: Schematics of the ReSOC concept. It is the missing link between the power grid and the fuel or the chemical feedstock for the industry.
Figure: Schematics of the ReSOC concept. It is the missing link between the power grid and the fuel or the chemical feedstock for the industry.

Source: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd,, Press release 6 March, 2017

First Time Ever Drive Electric Hudson Valley Ford and Nissan EV Sales event!

For immediate release March 4, 2017
Kingston auto dealerships All American Ford and Kingston Nissan today collaborated to bring Electric Vehicle (EV) test drive opportunities to curious consumers. Dozens of interested customers came through the all day event held at Kingston Nissan and All American Ford on March 4, 2017, and at least three bought cars on the spot. 

Nissan Leaf

The event was organized by the nonprofit Drive Electric Hudson Valley, a new program of Sustainable Hudson Valley supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to advance the state’s goal of getting 1 million EVs on the road by 2025. NYSERDA is preparing to accommodate more than 30,000 plug-in electric vehicles by 2018 and 1 million by 2025 with the ChargeNY program.

Nissan Leaf electric vehicle plugged in
Since September, 2016, Drive Electric has produced educational forums, test drive events, and exhibits reaching over 2,000 people. The project has partnered with Central Hudson, the State University of New York (SUNY), Ulster and Orange Counties, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and numerous car companies to engage and empower consumers.  

According to Program Manager Seth Leitman,

“Today was exciting because it proved our theory that people are ready to give serious consideration to driving electric. We surveyed 200 potential customers and learned that they want their information in two ways – online combined with a social, hands-on opportunity to drive the cars and interact with current EV owners. We will be doing plenty more of these events.”

Robert Rolleri, a salesman at Kingston Nissan, took special interest in the Electric Vehicle event with Sustainable Hudson Valley and spent Saturday helping potential customers and interested patrons test drive the all-new 2017 Nissan Leaf.

Robert Joseph Rivera was the first purchaser on Saturday, buying a pre-loved Nissan Leaf. He was very excited with his purchase.

Stay updated with Sustainable Hudson Valley and Drive Electric Hudson Valley events by liking our Facebook Page, following our Twitter @DriveEVHV, and on our website at

P.O. Box 1982, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 845-454-4440

Vehicle standards are energy efficiency at its best – and too valuable to roll back

by Steven Nadel, Executive Director

The Trump administration is reportedly launching a rollback of vehicle efficiency standards that greatly benefit the US economy. These standards save consumers money, create jobs, help reduce US reliance on foreign oil, and lower carbon emissions. The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and greenhouse gas emissions standards adopted since 2009 will reduce fuel consumption by more than 2 million barrels of oil per day by 2025 (the equivalent of taking 53 million cars off the road) and will eliminate 6 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the lifetimes of vehicles of model years 2012-2025. Consumers will save over $1 trillion at the gas pump, which is more than three times the added cost of the more efficient vehicles. The energy savings compare favorably to any other efficiency policy out there: an ACEEE analysis of primary energy savings from recent and prospective policies—including the Clean Power Plan—showed vehicle standards to be the biggest saver from today through 2040.

Benefits of the program extend beyond savings for new car buyers. At the time the standards for model years 2017-2025 were proposed in 2011, ACEEE projected they would create 50,000 jobs in the auto sector by 2030 because of the additional components and labor needed to develop and produce more-efficient cars. Moreover, there would be a net gain of 570,000 jobs economy-wide by 2030. This gain represents new auto industry jobs as well as jobs created in all sectors because of car buyers’ spending of added disposable income from owning more-efficient vehicles. It takes into account jobs lost in oil-related sectors because of reduced demand for fuel.

So what’s not to like?

Automakers are decrying a decision made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in January, as part of a mandatory review, that reaffirms existing greenhouse gas emissions standards for model years 2022 through 2025. They argue that the decision ignores vehicle affordability and consumer acceptance of new technologies. But this claim is based on the notion that EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which sets CAFE standards, underestimated the need for plug-in vehicles and full hybrids to achieve the standards. At present, these advanced vehicles represent a substantially costlier pathway to improve fuel economy on a dollar-per-gallon-saved basis than incremental improvements to conventional technologies, especially when fuel prices are low.

The agencies have presented detailed technology scenarios that would allow manufacturers to meet the standards, and the role of plug-ins and full hybrids in those scenarios is very small. EPA’s review found that the standards could be met at a lower cost than it projected when the standards were adopted in 2010 primarily because of the emergence of additional, lower-cost technologies than those relied upon in the original compliance demonstration. This replenishment of the supply of affordable efficiency technologies is a phenomenon familiar to those who have followed energy efficiency advances in any sector, and it is one reason that meeting efficiency standards tends to cost less than predicted.  

Similarly, recent claims that the standards would result in heavy losses in auto industry jobs are based on a woefully flawed analysis that ignores technological and economic realities. The specific assumptions underlying ACEEE’s earlier estimates of job gains will inevitably differ somewhat from how things unfold—and in particular gasoline price projections have come down since then—but the impressive growth of the auto industry during the recent years of brisk advances in fuel efficiency technology is certainly consistent with the fundamentals of our analysis.

While manufacturer posturing on vehicle standards is much in the news, it’s important to bear in mind that the timeline for these historic increases in fuel economy standards was designed to accommodate the industry’s requests for long lead time and regulatory stability. The CEO of parts supplier Borg-Warner, James Verrier, recently made this plea: “Do not slow down the pace on CAFE standards. We’ve come a long way as an industry, and we need to keep going forward.”

The long-term future of the global auto industry is in high-efficiency vehicles, due to the likelihood of higher future oil prices and a worldwide push to reduce vehicle emissions. To be competitive, US manufacturers will need to keep improving the fuel economy of their cars and trucks. In fact, fuel economy standards in Europe and Asia are generally more stringent than US standards. Let’s not be enablers of our domestic manufacturers’ tendency to shoot themselves in the foot by ignoring where the industry is headed. We should stay the course on vehicle standards already in place and start looking beyond 2025.

Source: ACEEE