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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Why you might want to consider moving your thermostat

Owners of Lehigh Valley Companies and Their Engineer Charged in Green Energy Fraud Scheme

FBI Philadelphia Division #News Release:

Owners of Lehigh Valley Companies and Their Engineer Charged in Green Energy Fraud Scheme

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeDecember 21, 2015
  • Eastern District of Pennsylvania(215) 861-8200
PHILADELPHIA—David Dunham, 35, of Bethlehem, PA, and Ralph Tommaso, 46, of Warren, NJ, were charged by indictment, unsealed today, with engaging in a multi-million dollar conspiracy to defraud individuals and the United States in a green energy scam involving used cooking oil, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. The defendants are charged with conspiracy, providing false statements to the government, wire fraud, tax fraud, and obstruction of an IRS audit and a U.S. Department of Agriculture examination.
From 2010 through 2012, in Wind Gap, Allentown, Bethlehem, and elsewhere, Dunham and Tommaso operated, respectively, the companies Smarter Fuel, Inc. (Smarter Fuel) and Environmental Energy Recycling Corporation, LLC (EERC), coordinating the activities of these companies, and then formally merging under the umbrella of Greenworks Holdings, LLC (Greenworks). According to the 101-count indictment, the defendants falsely claimed to have produced and sold renewable fuel for which they misappropriated approximately $50 million in payments, subsidies, and other benefits. Dunham and Tommaso allegedly defrauded government programs intended to encourage the production of renewable fuel as an alternative to traditional fossil fuel. By claiming credits for renewable fuel they never produced, and that otherwise did not qualify, Duhnam and Tommaso stole tens of millions of dollars from the United States government. It is further alleged that Dunham and Tommaso stole millions more by fraudulently claiming and generating tradable credits that they sold to unsuspecting purchasers who believed these credits satisfied their legal obligation to introduce a certain quantity of renewable fuel per year.
The defendants, through their companies, collected used cooking oil from restaurants and other food service locations, sometimes processing it to remove hard particles, water, and other waste. They then sold this cleaned cooking oil primarily to renewable fuel producers that used it as a “feedstock” ingredient in their production process.
Dunham and Tommaso did not sell their cleaned used cooking oil as a final fuel, but allegedly fraudulently claimed otherwise, applying for and receiving government subsidies for every gallon of cleaned used cooking oil that they produced, plus more. Their claims vastly exceeded their actual production. In 2010, Dunham and Tommaso allegedly claimed subsidies and other payments on more than 917.5 million gallons of product, when they produced less than six million gallons. In 2011, Dunham and Tommaso allegedly claimed subsidies and other payments of more than 18 million gallons, when they only produced about 7.5 million gallons. Of the cleaned used cooking oil they did produce, the vast majority did not qualify for credit or subsidy. The defendants’ allegedly fraudulent claims included more than one million gallons of the wastewater that was the byproduct of their processes to clean debris and pollutants from used cooking oil, the non-fuel sales of their product as a feedstock ingredient to be used by biofuel producers in buyers’ production of biofuel, and transactions that existed on paper only, where the defendants did not produce or even possess the product for which they generated subsidies.
The indictment alleges that Dunham and Tommaso provided false information and altered and forged documents and records to government and private auditors in an effort to conceal their fraud. They allegedly directed employees to alter the documentation of obviously unqualified sales and change them to show sales that qualified for subsidies and other payments.
Dunham is also charged with underreporting his taxable income for the tax years 2009 and 2010. In his filings for these years, Dunham allegedly altered the dates on sales invoices, and delayed generating invoices on other sales, in order to avoid paying taxes on these sales until a subsequent tax year. He also allegedly obstructed an IRS audit of Smarter Fuel.
“According to the indictment, these defendants exploited critical government programs that were designed to encourage the production and use of renewable fuels. Instead of producing the renewable fuel as represented, the defendants lied to the government and stole tens of millions of dollars,” said Memeger. “My office will continue to hold accountable those people who enrich themselves through government fraud and deny the taxpayers the full benefit of effective federal programs.”
“The illegal activity in this case has real consequences, including undermining a law that reduces our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and achieves important greenhouse gas reductions,” said Director Doug Parker, of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. “Companies and their managers should think very carefully before taking similar actions that could lead to prosecution.”
“Fulfilling individual tax obligations is a legal requirement and those who willfully evade that responsibility will be prosecuted,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Akeia Conner, IRS Criminal Investigation.
In a related matter, William Barnes, a professional engineer, was charged by information, unsealed today, with two counts of conspiring to provide false statements to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”). Barnes was allegedly hired to help the companies in Wind Gap and in Allentown register for the EPA’s program as renewable fuel producers and allegedly conspired with the company owners to provide false Engineering Reports to the EPA.
If convicted, Dunham and Tommaso each face a substantial prison term, supervised release, a possible fine, and potential criminal forfeiture of up to $50 million. Dunham faces a $8,700 special assessment; Tommaso faces a $8,400 special assessment. Barnes faces a statutory maximum possible sentence of ten years in prison, supervised release, a possible fine, and a $200 special assessment.
The case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency, IRS Criminal Investigation, Department of Agriculture–Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspector Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Allentown Resident Agency. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nancy E. Potts and John Gallagher.
An Indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This content has been reproduced from its original source.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Honeywell And IFTTT Easily And Automatically Link Your Smart Thermostat With Your Everyday Activities

From Honeywell:

Honeywell And IFTTT Easily And Automatically Link Your Smart Thermostat With Your Everyday Activities 

MINNEAPOLISDec. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Honeywell (NYSE: HON), a leader in managing home comfort and security, is announcing a new Channel on IFTTT – the widely-used software application – to help consumers better control their homes and keep them feeling comfortable.

Through the Honeywell and IFTTT integration, consumers can now automatically link and manage their Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostats using IFTTT's simple, DIY (do it yourself) "Recipes." A Recipe is a simple formula built around the idea that "if this" happens, "then that" occurs. Starting today, consumers can visit the Honeywell Connected Thermostat Channel on IFTTT, and begin adding Recipes that will activate custom features and scenarios for free, including:

  • Geofencing -- if you enter or leave a designated location, then your thermostat can set a certain temperature.
  • Smart responses -- If the temperature outside reaches a specific point then your thermostat turns off the cooling system.
  • Time-based programming -- if your digital calendar shows that you are travelling then the thermostat lowers the temperature.
"We know that 90 percent of Americans* have a desire to automate their homes in some way and are clamoring for new ways to be in control of and in sync with everything that happens with their homes," said Jeremy Eaton, president, Honeywell Connected Home. "With Honeywell Recipes on IFTTT, consumers can now use and connect with their thermostats even more easily, however and whenever they want."

To learn more about which Honeywell connected thermostats are compatible with IFTTT and the Total Connect Comfort mobile app, please visit You can also follow Honeywell on Twitter (, and connect with us on Facebook ( For more information on IFTTT, please visit

* According toHoneywell Home Connectivity SurveyJuly 2015

About HoneywellHoneywell ( is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes, and industry; turbochargers; and performance materials. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit

About IFTTTFounded in December 2010 and launched publicly September 2011, IFTTT (pronounced "gift" without the "g") helps people get the most out of their favorite apps and devices. Based in San Francisco, IFTTT has raised $39 million in funding from top tier investors including Norwest Venture Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, NEA, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, and SV Angel.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEVs)

From the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:

#DidYouKnow the #US leads the world in plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) sold? Find out how we're teaming up with industry to make #PEVs more affordable and accessible through our EV Everywhere Grand Challenge:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

2014 Data Book Shows Increased Use of Renewable Electricity

From NREL:

2014 Data Book Shows Increased Use of Renewable Electricity

DECEMBER 09, 2015
The 2014 Renewable Energy Data Book shows that U.S. renewable electricity grew to 15.5 percent of total installed capacity and 13.5 percent of total electricity generation. Published annually by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on behalf of the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Data Book illustrates United States and global energy statistics, including renewable electricity generation, renewable energy development, clean energy investments, and technology-specific data and trends.
"The 2014 Renewable Energy Data Book displays renewable energy trends for the United States and the world," NREL Energy Analyst Philipp Beiter said. "The Data Book's findings provide useful insights for policymakers, analysts, and investors."
The 2014 Renewable Energy Data Book compiles recently available statistics for the 2014 calendar year. Key insights include:
  • Renewable electricity accounted for more than 50 percent of all new U.S. electricity capacity installations in 2014.
  • Solar electricity installed capacity increased by more than 54 percent, or 5.5 gigawatts (GW), accounting for more than 48 percent of U.S. renewable electricity capacity installed in 2014.
  • U.S. wind electricity generation increased by 8.3 percent in 2014. Wind electricity capacity grew by 7.8 percent (4.8 GW).
  • U.S. electricity capacities of biomass, geothermal, and hydropower have remained relatively stable from 2000 to 2014.
  • Worldwide, solar photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) are among the fastest growing renewable electricity technologies.  In 2014 alone, combined capacity increased by more than 28 percent globally.
The 2014 Renewable Energy Data Book is produced by NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center.
NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

Johnson Controls second global headquarters awarded design-phase EDGE certification

From Johnson Controls:

Johnson Controls second global headquarters awarded design-phase EDGE certification
Building recognized for significant savings in energy, water and materials
SHANGHAI, China (Nov. 16, 2015) - Johnson Controls’ new headquarters building being built in Shanghai has received the first-ever EDGE design-phase certification for an office building in China. EDGE, which stands for “Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiency,” is a green building certification system from IFC-World Bank Group that focuses on resource-efficient building design in more than 100 emerging economies, funded in large by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
Among the factors that distinguished the Johnson Controls facility are its projected 44 percent energy savings, 42 percent water savings, and 21 percent embodied energy in materials savings. The minimum requirement for EDGE certification is to achieve no less than 20 percent  total savings in energy, water and embodied energy in materials in each category compared to the local market standard.
“Our new headquarters location in Shanghai  will be  a showcase for the products and solutions we deliver to customers all over the world. It’s a symbol of our commitment to the region, and of our leadership in sustainability,” said Ward Komorowski, vice president, Enterprise Property Group, Johnson Controls
Innovations incorporated into the new building include solar PV panels which will help regulate energy usage during peak times, high efficiency chillers to maintain comfortable temperatures and Johnson Control’s Metasys® integrated building management system.
During the awards ceremony, which took place at the construction site of the new headquarters, Simon Andrews, country manager of China, Korea and Mongolia, IFC, congratulated the company on its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through building efficiency. “We are delighted that Johnson Controls is our first EDGE partner in commercial building in China, and shares our commitment to green buildings that make sense for the environment and for business.”
The Shanghai facility will serve as the company’s second global headquarters, housing global leaders as well as senior leadership for the Asia Pacific region. The 35,000 square-meter campus will open in spring 2017..
About Johnson Controls:
Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries. Our 130,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and seating components and systems for automobiles. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful. In 2015, Corporate Responsibility Magazine recognized Johnson Controls as the #14 company in its annual “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list. For additional information, please visit or follow us @johnsoncontrols on Twitter.
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GE Renewable Energy Signs 60 MW Wind Deal in Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand – December 3, 2015 – GE Renewable Energy (NYSE: GE) today announced it has signed a contract with Khao Kor Wind Power Co., Ltd., to supply wind turbines for the Khao Kor wind farm in Petchaboon, Thailand. The 60 MW project is expected to supply power to the northern part of the country, generating enough equivalent energy to power approximately 36,000 Thai households for a year.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Check out the November issue of Energy Systems Integration News

From the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL):

Check out the November issue of Energy Systems Integration News, NREL's monthly recap of the latest energy systems integration (ESI) developments at the lab and worldwide

This is HUGE

From the U.S. Department of Energy:

This is HUGE. Today at the Paris climate conference, President Obama joined world leaders in announcing "Mission Innovation," a global initiative to boost public and private investment in the clean energy technologies of tomorrow. 

Clean energy innovation is the key to solving climate change, and this announcement affirms our nation's commitment to supporting the early-stage R&D that is critical to our clean energy future.

Learn about Mission Innovation: #COP21 #ActOnClimate