Category Archives: renewable energy

Parallel Multiverses

If you have been caught up in the circus that has become Washington DC since the election, and to some extent, mea culpa, it is refreshing to remind yourself that a lot of exciting and beneficial things are happening elsewhere, that in fact, we live not so much in a universe, but a multiverse. So even with the anti-science miasma currently threatening our country, there is good news to be found about the future of our species.

Of course, you’ve heard of Elon Musk, Tesla and the plans to build colonies on Mars, heck, the man is a multiverse in one body. But much is happening below the radar of popular culture and social media that suggests that many smart people in different fields remain optimistic about the future, and are busy developing ‘workarounds’ to accomplish their goals. In addition to Musk, people like Michael Bloomberg (http://www.npr.org/2017/04/26/525675189/michael-bloomberg-and-carl-pope-on-climate-of-hope) and Paul Hawken (Drawdown: http://www.drawdown.org/)

It seems clear that we have to focus on the issue of energy: how we make it, store it, conserve or waste it, use and abuse it. Without clean, renewable energy solutions, our economy will tank. Even Exxon knows, and has known, that for a fact. What and when, remains to be seen.

Actually, the centrality of energy in human endeavor has always been true, starting with the only energy we had, namely, human energy, aka muscle power. When our reach began to exceed our grasp, some proto-Elon picked up the first rock or stick or bone and used it to pound something (and/or someone, alas) into submission. (At some point, it seems clear that our ancestors began to divide up tasks necessary for survival according to gender, but let’s leave that for now.)

Eventually, it dawned on him or her that this naturally occurring object could be manipulated, possibly improved, in some way to make it more efficient. Probably tool making was a lucky accident like most scientific discoveries (or recoveries), maybe even the making of fire. Recall that amazing scene in Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi masterpiece, 2001, when the ape suddenly tosses a bone toward the sky. In a blink of cosmic time, we became the only species who could build machines powerful enough to launch us toward the stars. If this sounds as if I’m channeling Neil deGrasse Tyson, guilty!

Let me assume that if you’ve been following Transition Tales for any length of time, you know that I (mostly) want to focus on what is working, or could work, to benefit our society and all of us. The last seven months have been deeply disheartening, and many have been as drawn to dystopian fiction as I have (Hulu’s film based on Margaret Atwood’s masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale, comes to mind). Perhaps you have turned to history for an understanding of how we got into this mess, and more importantly, how we get through it. And in the business community founded on settled science, I see a glimmering.

So, if like me, you’re ready to recharge your batteries, I have two suggestions.

  1. Solar power is inevitable and solar co-ops are a way to bring dedicated environmentalists together with folks mostly interested in independent energy choices. (https://transitiontales.wordpress.com/?s=solar+energy) In the Sunshine State, they are long overdue, but forming quickly with many enthusiastic supporters. Take a look at Florida Solar United Neighborhoods (I’m on a steering committee for Palm Beach County’s first co-op launching October 4): http://www.flsun.org/
  2. I suggest you sign up for Green Tech Media, https://www.greentechmedia.com/, and give yourself a crash course in what lies ahead for energy, the who’s who and what’s what. Clear effective communication: podcasts, webinars, white papers and videos, and so far, FREE. You could do worse than read this just released article that calls out Energy Secretary, Rick Perry’s forthcoming report for the BS it is. https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/the-countries-with-the-most-wind-and-solar-have-far-fewer-outages

And if you haven’t had your fill of the Beltway Follies, this mud’s for you: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/covering-americas-climate-troll-in-chief

Greenier Than Thou?

OK, I’ll admit that our switch from Florida Power and Light to Pear Energy, a renewable energy broker over a year ago, right after we began our lease of a Nissan Leaf, made me feel a tad smug. Competitions about one’s carbon footprint don’t seem out of line, given the state of the Planet.  Not to mention that I managed to convince a small number of friends to make the switch.

Pear Energy imageWe stuck with Pear despite accusations in social media that the company was engaged in ‘green-washing,’ because here in South Florida, there seemed to be no better choice.  The company’s move from Miami to Amherst, MA, gave me pause but it was business as usual. Here’s a link to the discussion between that convinced us we’d rather fight than switch back: http://www.greenwashingindex.com/pear-energy-how-green/ I’ve written some damage-control PR in my life, so I appreciated how Pear answered its critics:

… it is important to keep in mind that we are an independent REC seller, which is a different model than that of a local utility’s green energy program. Local utilities are established, profitable businesses that simply add REC sales into their mix of services, as one very small share of their overall operations. These established utilities do not need to generate additional revenue through REC sales because they use their profits from selling electricity generated by coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy to provide a tiny subsidy to their purchases of clean energy RECs. By contrast, because REC sales are one of Pear Energy’s main activities, a portion of our charges must go to supporting our staff and our business operations. So, to summarize: 100 percent of all of our business activity supports the development of green energy in the U.S.

So imagine my surprise yesterday, when I received this email.

Dear Marika Stone,

Your Pear Energy account is officially closed as of November 10, 2014. As previously mentioned, Pear Energy is no longer offering our residential renewable energy service for homes and small businesses.

  • You will receive utility bills again. Please make payments directly to FPL normally. In addition, you may be receiving a verification email from your utility due to the recent changes made on your account.

Thank you again for supporting renewable energy and helping to build the green economy.

Sincerely,

The Billing Department
Pear Energy
(877) 969-7327
www.pear-energy.com

Apparently, I wasn’t the only customer who was upset at the news because today, another email arrived from Pear Energy offering us renewable energy via one of its partners, Acadia Power.  We’ll look before we leap, of course.  I won’t be surprised if there is a whole lot more of this kind of shaking out as we move toward renewables, and neither should you be.  In fact, I welcome it. Stay tuned

REC – Renewable Energy Certificates

https://www.facebook.com/PEARenergy