Friday, September 9, 2011

the CLEAN movement

A case for community-based energy generation

After one electrical worker singly knocks out electricity to 930,000 users in Arizona, Southern California and Mexico by removing one piece of monitoring equipment - how can we not question centralized energy generation? Read more about this recent power outage event, here.

How is our current mainstream system of centralized energy generation really working for American community members?

There are endless examples and reasons why communities are starting to move towards more localized distributed renewable energy generation instead of relying on the often unreliable and corporate centralized energy generation, but the big ones are:

  • Harnessing the community benefits associated with localized renewable energy generation - economic, social and environmental
  • Increased energy security 
  • Multiplier effect of local money remaining in the local economy
  • Making a connection to personal energy consumption and being more in control of personal energy use by being part of the localized energy generation process

These are inherent benefits of localized renewable energy generation, but can only really be realized
through commitments and collaborations with local municipalities and local electricity providers to ensure these benefits. Without an agreed upon commitment from these parties - community members do not have the surety that the electricity that they are generating, to support their needs and some of the community, are going to be:

  1. Fed into the shared electricity grid system 
  2. And purchased at a fare rate for a certain period of time (typically 20 years) from local utilities provider

New national programs like the Clean Local Energy Accessible Now (CLEAN) are helping communities leverage and ensure these types of commitments and agreements with local utilities provider to support cleaner and more reliable localized energy generation.

Want to learn more about how to initiate distributed renewable energy generation in your community? Visit the CLEAN Coalition's website to read about other communities taking action and how to start a CLEAN program in your community. There is a CLEAN program in my community, CLEAN La Plata, who is also working towards the same goals.

Or visit the Clean Energy Collective to get a quote on how much money you, as an energy producer, could save with you local utility by submitting your zip code and answering a few questions.