Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sustainable energy update

We've made great progress on our renewable energy site - including running all of the electrical "chases" and pouring 15 tons of concrete for the pad including the base for the wind turbine tower and piers for the photovoltaic arrays. Now the concrete has to "cure" for thirty days before the tower can be erected. So far we're right on schedule for going live in January!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sustainable energy as a starting point

Let me start this posting, by talking about one of my pet projects that I'm very excited about. I've invested in a sustainable energy project, which will go live early next year. We're installing a wind
-driven turbine and solar photo-voltaic (PV) arrays - for a total of ~5KW/year of electricity generating power. This is something I've wanted to do for a very long time. So, I'm realizing a dream of mine. It's a modest project by most standards, but it's my investment in the future of my community and the Earth.

Right now, it's just a big whole in the ground. However, by the beginning of next year, it will start to generate electricity and will serve as a new energy source for the local utility when it produces excess power. In any event, it will reduce our dependence on the electric company for power and reduce our carbon footprint. Here's a picture of what it will look like when it's done. If our initial project is successful, we will plan to expand it to generate even more power in the future. For those that are interested in learning more about the wind turbine we're using, check out http://www.skystreamenergy.com

So, why am I telling you this? Well, as some of you may be aware, we are in the midst of a global economic mess. Some of you may be wondering how we got here and have probably heard various politicians and economists promoting their theories. However, I think it's amazingly simple. Most people these days are not focusing on the long term, say 50 years or more. Our thinking has become frighteningly short term. Most businesses (especially those that are publicly traded) focus upon near-term results and are tactically driven to deliver positive top and bottom line growth. This is exacerbated by the demands of Wall Street and discourages companies from investing long term. It takes courageous leadership to turn a blind eye to Wall Street to do the "right thing" because of the immediate and inevitable negative response - resulting in a lower market cap, class action law suits, and a potential hostile takeover. Not for the faint of heart.

Back to my sustainable energy project for a moment. If I had had a short-term mindset, using ROI as the sole criterion for investing in renewable energy, I never would have done it. Even with government incentives, the ROI is between 30 - 50 years out. Some people think I'm crazy. Why bother investing 50 years out when I will (undoubtedly) be gone from this world? It's because I'm betting (hoping) that people will still inhabit the Earth after I'm gone. It's my attempt to go against the grain of conventional wisdom and do what I know is right.

The bottom line is that if everyone thinks that someone else will worry about the future, then no one will! Each of us is responsible for thinking, planning and investing for the future - now! This means individuals, families, communities, nations - and businesses. Fifty years is a good starting point. A century would be better. If everyone had this perspective, imagine how different and better the world would be. We would be forced to think beyond our own lifetimes and personal interests and would collaborate on a scale unknown before to ensure the future of the Earth and our civilization.

Perhaps I am an idealist. Or maybe crazy. Or both. In any event, I'll keep everyone posted on my little sustainable energy project. If you have a sustainable project of your own, let me know!

All the best,


Don't forget to check out my website for details on where I'll be speaking, presentation abstracts, articles, my book and more!