A Non-Profit’s Outlook for Renewable Energy

Staff members of Clean Air-Cool Planet, a New Hampshire based nonprofit organization, offer their outlook for Renewable Energy in 2003.

Clean Air-Cool Planet (CA-CP), a nonprofit based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, promotes climate change solutions for corporations, communities and campuses in the Northeast. CA-CP’s program officers are constantly in touch with the energy opinions, thoughts and choices of institutional and public leaders in the region. Below, staff members of Clean Air-Cool Planet offer their outlook for Renewable Energy in 2003. Bob Sheppard, associate director and business program director on what he sees happening in his work with businesses and why. “Our business partners have already gone a long way toward gathering most of their ‘low-hanging fruit’ in energy efficiency-related cost-savings. A natural next step for many of them seems to be looking at renewable power. Companies are getting more comfortable with the idea of supporting renewables and also tradable Renewable Energy certificates. I expect that 2003 will be a big year in this regard.” “The time is right – the technologies are more competitive, and given the state of the economy, many companies are thinking in terms of corporate health and longevity, realizing that their energy choices impact that overall picture. They’re looking for more reliable or socially responsible power options, and they see the potential of renewables and distributed generation to meet those needs. Big players like Timberland, Verizon or Shaws Supermarkets, and smaller organizations like Green Mountain Coffee Roasters or Interface Fabrics of Maine are just a few examples of corporations actively pursuing clean energy strategies, renewables among them.” Ned Raynolds, senior program officer, campuses and municipalities on where Renewable Energy stands with the folks in higher education and local government and what college and community leaders say about why they’re looking to renewables. “The technology’s there and people are turning to it. Colleges and universities are increasingly considering, and making, green power purchases, often because students are pushing for them. And, on the community side, we’re increasingly seeing building-integrated photovoltaics, solar roofs, solar skylights, you name it.” “Some say it’s simply the right thing to do – perhaps a demonstration of the stewardship or long-term vision of the institution. Others talk about a new consciousness of the connection between energy and national security issues, given the situation in Iraq and our oil dependence in general. And quite often, people choosing renewable sources cite pollution prevention and reduced health risks for their communities.” Bill Burtis, communications manager, on his view of Renewable Energy in the northeast and forecast for the renewables market. “The Renewable Energy market in the Northeast will expand. The number of projects underway is significant, ranging from ambitious wind installations to numerous smaller initiatives involving thermal and photovoltaic solar and wind in distributed generation applications, as well as biodiesel in fleet vehicles.” “We’re really just starting to see the affect of the upside of electric industry restructuring, which makes distributed generation and electric power from renewable sources an option for both residential and commercial and industrial electric customers.” “In 2003, more leading organizations that recognize Renewable Energy’s benefits will spread the message. Businesses like Shaws supermarkets and Aveda, for instance, in partnership with CA-CP, are telling their customers about the importance of choosing green energy and providing the resources they need to make the switch from fossil-fuel generated electricity to cleaner, sustainable sources.” “The combination of this kind of leadership and outreach from responsible, engaged organizations, and the real opening of the market means the use of Renewable Energy will continue growing.” About the Authors: Bob Sheppard, associate director – Business, is responsible for designing and implementing CA-CP’s business sector program. He can be reached at bsheppard@cleanair-coolplanet.org Bill Burtis, communications manager, came to CA-CP from the NH Governor’s office of Energy and Community Services. He can be reached at bburtis@cleanair-coolplanet.org Ned Raynolds, senior program officer, has more than 10 years experience of working in environmental programs, mostly on energy issues. He can be reached at nraynolds@cleanair-coolplanet.org
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