This weekend will be the Edina Family Frisbee Festival and Minnesota Overall Flying Disc Championships! Please fill out the Edina Frisbee Registration form and send it to Paul, or you can register at the event.
I saw something that was fairly inspiring at the wind conference today: agreement between a hard core Republican and loyal Democrat. Even better, the issue they agreed on was the importance and necessity of wind power and the Production Tax Credit for wind power projects. The Republican was Karl Rove, who is known as “Bush’s brain” and one of W’s senior advisers. The Democrat was Robert Gibbs, who is best known as President Obama’s Press Secretary. In all honesty, the two were a little testy on other items, especially Rove who blamed Obama for our dysfunctional government. Nonetheless, they found common ground, and shared the stage together without trying to kill each other.
The rest of my day was not quite as interesting, as the seminars I went to talked about the details of siting wind turbines. Most of it was too specific for my use. However, between sessions I wrote a letter to my Congresspeople about the need to extend the Production Tax Credit, and you can too! (Here is a little info on the Production Tax Credit if it does not sound familiar: http://awea.org/issues/federal_policy/upload/PTC-Fact-Sheet.pdf) For some reason, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) combined letter writing with a three hole miniature golf course. I don’t see the connection, so please let me know if you figure it out. Anyways, there is a prize if you hit a hole in one, and I was lucky enough to do it! The prize is a 12 inch “Executive Desktop Model” of a wind turbine, which I’ll have to somehow fit into my suitcase.
The day concluded with a session on the economic impacts of wind power and why it should be a part of our future. This is definitely the most positive seminar thus far, and it truly is amazing how wind power can boost local economies. For example, the state of North Carolina basically has no wind power (202 kw, or 1/10,000th the installed wind capacity of Minnesota), yet over 5,000 people are employed by the wind energy supply chain in North Carolina. These are folks who add some piece to the overall puzzle, like making fiberglass for the turbine blades or recycling steel to make parts.
Today was the opening day of the WINDPOWER 2012 expo, which is the annual big conference of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA, pronounced ah-wee-ah). This year the conference is in Atlanta, a city not known for wind energy. The whole American Southeast is basically without
any substantial amount or wind turbines and that is maybe the point of having it here. New technology is making it possible to harness the limited amounts of wind, and Georgia is increasingly getting involved in building parts for wind energy farms.
This morning we had the kick off session that featured two sitting governors: Mike Beebe of Arkansas, a Democrat, and Sam Brownback of Kansas, a Republican. Both are big supporters of wind power, although for different reasons. Arkansas has a hungry manufacturing industry that would like to do more business with the wind industry. After all, nearly 30,000 people of the 70,000 employed by the wind energy industry in the US work in manufacturing. Kansas, on the other hand, has a lot of wind, and now leads the country in total new wind energy installations in 2012. As the picture shows, Gov. Brownback is proudly rocking a wind turbine tie.
Another important speaker was Heather Zichal, who is President Obama’s climate change advisor. She reiterated that Obama has an “all of the above” energy strategy, and is a supporter of wind energy. Fortunately, she has a firm grasp of the fundamental issue facing the wind industry: the all important Production Tax Credit (PTC). In a nutshell, the PTC provides an important tax incentive to build wind farms, and can make all the difference from a project being a success, or not happening at all. As you might have guessed, the PTC expires at the end of the year. Sadly, it is up to our ineffective Congress to extend the tax credit, which is likely, but who knows what might happen with that crew. If the PTC goes bye-bye this year, it is expected to be gone for good and could seriously put the brakes on wind energy projects. Literally one tenth to one half as many projects are expected to be built in 2013 compared to this year because of the Production Tax Credit mess.
After this opening session, the rest of the day was educational sessions, with a heavy leaning toward the impact of the PTC and about expanding wind energy to undeveloped areas. Most presenters were pessimistic about wind energy in the US, especially in the short term. This is not good for a young person like me who wants to work in the wind industry! The villain in this story is natural gas, which is exceedingly cheap and therefore beating up wind energy. A would be savior is the US Congress, but that is a not an organization most people trust to make the right decision. So in the meantime, we can try to put a price on carbon, push for an extension of the PTC or just hope.
If this seems interesting, please check out this blog in the coming days as I’ll try to have a post for the Tuesday and Weds. sessions.
Dear Friends and Birke Supporters,
Thank you for taking the time to read this message and considering a contribution to Cool Planet to keep building a global/ local CLIMATE SOLUTIONS MOVEMENT.
In one week I will have completed (body and trail conditions willing) my 32nd American Birkebeiner Ski Marathon, 54 km across one of the most gorgeous cross country ski trails on the planet. It will take me 5.5 to 6.5 hours and my goal is to finish strong with the trace of a smile on my face and a heart full of appreciation for continuing my legacy of pushing myself beyond the boundaries where I would normally stop.
I am also skiing to awaken the ski community and our country to the message that taking action for climate cooling and building sustainable solutions for a healthy future for this and future generations can WAIT NO LONGER! If we are to heed what scientists are now telling us in ever strengthening voices.
Check this link from the National Academy of Scientists. This organization was founded in 1864 by President Abraham Lincoln to inform Congress about scientific matters.
Good things are happening all over the planet as people are awakening to a new way of thinking and communicating what is truly at the heart of the matter. Unfortunately it’s the negative press and the injection of doubt about the science of climate change that has been slowing the momentum of the movement. This along with the strangle hold that the fossil fuel industry has on Congress and the hundreds of highly paid lobbyists in our nation’s capital must be exposed to shift our country towards a clean, renewable energy future.
Your contributions will join hundreds of others who are supporting Cool Planet’s vision for sustainable homes, communities and planet by doing the following in 2012:
- SPEAK UP!!- a climate solutions leadership training program to give ordinary citizens the tools to be effective communicators about climate solutions in their lives and with their groups.
- Edina Goes Green- Working with the City of Edina and their Energy and Environment Commission, the Edina Public Schools Go Green Committee, the faith community, Chamber of Commerce, Edina Bike Task Force and the public utilities, Edina is leading the way as a MN Green Step City, and Cool Planet is a major partner in all of it.
- MN350 Leadership Team- Building on the work of 350.org and founder Bill McKibben, MN350 is leading the charge to awaken Minnesotans to take inspired action to address the urgency and possibility of the climate crisis. BIG NEWS!! Bill McKibben will be coming to ski the Birke with me next year in 2013 and plans are in action already!
- Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL)- Creating the political will for a livable plane. Cool Planet will continue to start and support the growth of CCL groups in all 8 Congressional Districts of MN (we now have 4 districts started, West Metro, South Metro, Alexandria, Bemidji, and Winona.
- Tar Sands Action- Fighting the proposed Keystone Pipeline from Alberta Canada to the Gulf coast. Cool Planet is planning a sustainable travel trip (no flying) in june 2012 with policy makers from the state to get a first hand account on the impact of the Tar Sands Oil Project on Minnesotans, one of the largest, dirtiest and most destructive excavations on Planet Earth. We can do better!
- Awakening the Heart- By encouraging people of all ages to bike and promote Living Streets, play Frisbee, garden and do yoga, Cool Planet is a small part of a global arising of passionate people that are asking the question……WHAT KIND OF A WORLD DO WE WANT?
Speak Up!! is Cool Planet’s new program to help train climate solutions leaders! This will be a Level 2 session for graduates of the Speak Up! level 1 training. We’ll hear from fellow Speak Up! grads and further our skills by working with Craig and Patricia Neal from the Heartland Circle and authors of “The Art of Convening”
The purpose of Speak Up!! is to give ordinary citizens of all ages the tools they need to be effective leaders of a Climate Solutions Movement in their neighborhood, school, faith community, civic organization, business and family.
The level 2 training is a workshop on Creating Essential Conversations
-Hear from current SPEAK UP!! activators
- Create confidence to present SPEAK UP!! conversations around the current climate
-Learn practical principles and techniques to convene conversations for action.
-Learn to build community, create and practice your personal delivery and HAVE
The next training will be on Sunday January 15th, from 2 to 5 PM at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2730 E 31st St Minneapolis, MN 55406. A tuition fee of $10-25 to Cool Planet-ECF is requested and no one committed to Speak Up!! will be turned away due to financial reasons.
If you are interested, please contact Paul Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 952-920-1547 or fill out the little form at the bottom of this post. We hope to see you there!
Here is what people are saying about Speak Up!!
“Hands-on tools to use with my friends and family at Thanksgiving dinner.” Deb, 55, Lakeville Friends of the Environment
“Informative, a simple and quick crash course on the science of climate change.” Zhe Yu, 21, Macalester College student.
Sunday, 27 November 2011
On November 28th, the 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) began in Durban, South Africa. The UN Climate Talks will span two weeks and include delegates from 194 countries but also hundreds of public interest organizations and thousands of activists from around the world will join them to advocate for a fair, ambitious and binding agreement that will reduce global emissions, build vulnerable nations’ resilience to climate change and foster a low-carbon green economy globally.