Sam Evans-Brown

Environment and Education Reporter

 

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for  New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. His work has won several local broadcast journalism awards, and he was a 2013 Steinbrenner Institute Environmental Media Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

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Environment
5:19 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Flattening The Curve: Moving To A Two-Way Grid

This is SustainX's prototype of a 40 kW compressed air storage system in their facility in Seabrook. This machine has since been cannibalized to create a much larger 2 MW prototype. These machines can be used to smooth demand, either from renewables or for large electric users trying to save some money off peak energy rates.
Credit Eugene Hunt / SustainX

The energy grid is vastly more complicated than it was ten years ago. The old model was to plug in and pay for what you use, but now the grid is starting to ask for something back from consumers. This change is aimed at flatten the demand curve.

Think about how you use electricity: you wake up, turn on some lights, and maybe have a hot shower. After work you come home, cook some dinner, and watch TV. In the winter, maybe you heat with some kind of electric heat, or – even more likely – maybe in the summer you switch on AC.

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Environment
5:30 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Canadian Hydro And The New England Grid

Hydro-Quebec generates a massive amount of electricity using hydro-power: 33,000 megawatts, which is more than the record peak of New England's electric demand. But the impacts from those dams are massive as well.
Credit Peupleloup / Flickr Creative Commons

Along the corridor of towns that would host the controversial Northern Pass Transmission line, it’s hard to find much support for the project.

But with power plants retiring and the slow growth of many renewables, all of those rivers in Canada look mighty promising to grid operators. As part of our weeklong series on NH’s energy future we ask does big Canadian hydro have a place in New England’s energy mix?

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Environment
3:00 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Decarbonizing The Grid: Where Are We?

Cellulose insulation is piped from a Bruss Construction trailer into the attic of an old, drafty home in Hopkinton, NH
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

New Hampshire’s energy grid relies heavily on fossil fuels like oil and coal, and getting the grid off of those fuels will be a major hurdle in addressing the challenge of global warming.

But here in New Hampshire, it’s proving a steep challenge to get carbon out of the electric supply, without breaking the bank for customers or utilities. But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t trying. As part of a weeklong look at New Hampshire’s Energy Future, we ask what’s being done about CO2?

Efficiency First

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Environment
5:30 am
Mon January 28, 2013

A Decade Of Deregulation

PSNH's control center monitors the flow of electricity across the grid in New Hampshire.
Credit PSNH

New Hampshire is about to start re-thinking its 10 year energy plan. But to understand the future of energy, it’s important to understand the energy past, and how we got to our current energy mix.

In the first of a week-long series looking at where we are and will be getting our electricity, here is this look at today's grid.

You flick a switch, and the lights come on, the microwave starts, the computer boots up.

But apart from knowing that yes, there are some power plants around burning various things to generate juice, how does this all happen?

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NH News
3:59 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Sarah Long Bridge Breaks In Frigid Temperatures

Credit Muffet / Flickr Creative Commons

1/24/13 AP Update: 

Work has started to fix a lift bridge between New Hampshire and Maine that had gotten stuck and caused traffic problems along the seacoast.

The work could take up to two days. Conditions weren't optimal: Workers started at 7 a.m. Thursday in subzero weather. By noon, it got up to 12 degrees in Portsmouth.

Department spokesman Bill Boynton said authorities were performing a routine test on Sarah Long Bridge on Wednesday when it failed to close all the way, becoming stuck about a foot over the roadbed.

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Environment
5:44 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

N.H. Sees Drop In Toxic Emissions; PSNH Plant Big Driver

From 2010 to 2011 toxic releases from PSNH's Merrimack station saw a drop of nearly 40%. The plant had to be taken offline for part of the year while the scrubber was installed.
Credit Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA says that releases of toxic chemicals into the environment in New Hampshire were down in 2011. 

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Word of Mouth
5:11 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Ice Fishing Angles Toward Innovation

Credit Captain Kimo via Flickr Creative Commons

NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown found that the traditional ice-fishing bob-houses that pop up each winter may be on their way out. Earlier this month, Sam caught up with Dave Genz—the man credited as the “Godfather of modern ice fishing” and the only ice-angler to be named to America’s fresh water fishing hall of fame—as he fished and demonstrated and some of the newer innovations to the winter sport.



Environment
10:28 am
Sat January 19, 2013

Wind Critics Gather For Talk

A wind Farm in Groton, NH was finished in December, and is coming online now. Two more are in the works for the region.
Credit Donna Hiltz / NHPR

A prominent critic of ridge line wind power says such projects are wrong for New Hampshire. Ben Luce teaches natural science and physics at Lyndon State College in Vermont. He spoke to a group of residents in the Newfound Lake region Friday.

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Education
2:33 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Charter School Funding Fix Slipped Through The Cracks

New Charter schools hoping to open next fall will likely have to wait a while longer before they can submit their applications to the state. A proposal to fix the charter school funding problem was delayed in the legislative shuffle.

According to the Attorney General’s office, the Department of Education can’t approve any new charter schools until a budget has been passed. That means a number of schools that were hoping to open in the fall, are hanging in limbo: unsure if they’ll have time to apply

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Word of Mouth
12:00 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

New Hampshire's Ice Climbers

Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Conditions in New Hampshire’s White Mountains are notoriously for being more harsh than ranges of similar altitude. Those conditions make the Whites a perfect training ground for world class mountaineers.  NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown spent the day with Fred Wilkinson as he climbed Cathedral ledge.

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Environment
8:09 am
Wed January 16, 2013

Innovation Comes To Ice Fishing

Mark Beauchesne of NH fish and game shows off a Bluegill.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

This week the Granite state is playing host to an ice-fishing legend.  Dave Genz is the only ice-angler to make the freshwater fishing hall of fame and many credit him with sparking a revolution in the niche sport. And according to the so-called “godfather of modern ice fishing” and learned that the emblematic bob-house may be becoming an anachronism.

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Environment
5:29 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

The White Mountains: Training Ground For The Greats

At just over 7,500 meters high, Saser Kangri II was the 49th highest mountain in the world. It's located in the eastern Karakoram range, in India, very close to the borders with China and Pakistan.
Frederick Wilkinson Courtesy Photo

Conditions in New Hampshire’s White Mountains are notoriously harsher than their altitude suggests. But for World Class mountaineers this makes the Whites a perfect training ground.

It’s a windy, but warm winter day.  Fred Wilkinson hopes the thaw will make for what he calls sticky ice over at Cathedral ledge, meaning easily pierced by the pointy end of an ice-axe.

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Education
4:53 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Days After Law Takes Effect, Groups Challenge School Choice Law

Credit Ben McLeod / Flickr Creative Commons

Civil liberties groups have filed suit challenging the constitutionality of New Hampshire’s Tax Credit Scholarship law. The ACLU has teamed up with Americans United for Separation of Church and State to for the complaint.

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Environment
4:45 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Money For N.H. Fishery Disaster Delayed By Fiscal Cliff

Cod-fish populations that aren't recovering as quickly as expected could mean as much as an 80 percent cut in fishing quotas in the New England Groundfish fishery.
Credit Derek Keats / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire fishermen who are hoping for federal disaster relief funds will have to wait a bit longer for those dollars. Money slated to go to the Northeastern ground-fishermen was caught up in the discussions surrounding the so-called fiscal cliff.

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Education
12:51 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

On The Road To Better Teacher Evaluations

Students at the Lyme School play Twister in gym class. The Lyme School is on the forefront of designing a comprehensive teacher evaluation system in the Granite State, though it is still in a pilot phase.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The Department of Education is set to release the culmination of three years of work. It’s a model system of how the DOE recommends schools should evaluate their teachers. New Hampshire schools are free to do what they will with those recommendations… for now.

For starters, why do teacher evaluations matter?

New Hampshire’s Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry has put improving the state’s public school teachers at the center of her time in the office, and she has a ready answer to that question.

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