Friday, July 25, 2014

Join the Movement!

Fossil Free Alaska puts the spotlight on energy and climate change and how to end our dependency on fossil fuels. 

We (Ceal Smith & Kerry Williams) feel the rising cost of this dependency in our pocketbooks, but we know many others feel it too - especially in our rural communities. 

Beyond economics, climate change is reeking havoc on Alaska's ecosystems including our world class wildlife populations and fisheries.  The rate of change here is twice the national average and accelerating.   Indeed, climate change driven by the excessive carbon emissions threatens the very existence of life as Alaskans know it. 

As we engage in the Measure 1 effort (vote YES!) we can't help but wonder: in the long run, how can Alaskans wean its government off a declining resource in an era of climate change?  (for more on this see Ceal's Compass OpEd). 

To overcome powerful entrenched interests, we're going to need People Power to build a strong statewide grassroots movement, one person, one household, one business, one community at a time. 

On the home front, Kerry and I are as dependent on fossil fuel as anyone in Alaska. To put our lifestyles in alignment with our values and begin to move Alaska policies in alignment with our goal, we are embarking on our own 100% fossil free journey which we'll document in this blog.

As a consultant and founder of the Renewable Communities Alliance, Ceal has loads of experience with energy policy.  She has organized grassroots campaigns in the lower 48 and is a leader in the emerging Energy Democracy movement in the US.

Kerry is an old-time Alaskan, inventor, photographer and construction engineer who has worked all over the state.  In the mid 80's, he was lead engineer in the first World Solar Challenge, a 3,021 km (1,877 mi) solar car race across Australia.  In the 90's he was a solar PV distributor.  He's currently working on a 100% solar powered car prototype that will eventually be Open Source, but that's down the road a bit.....

Our first goal is to get more energy efficient at home.  Then we'll put solar panels on the roof.  We'll look at Alaska's energy efficiency programs (rebates, tax credits, etc.), calculate costs, research technologies and figure out the how to's.  We'll explore rooftop solar incentives (or the lack thereof), talk to utility companies, solar panel wholesalers, calculate costs, estimate energy savings, figure out how net metering works, find the best deals and how to minimize shipping costs, and the like.  

So you don't have to, we'll do the research and math and share it all here!

Then we'll do it all again for solar thermal, small wind turbines, microhydro/wave/tide energy, heat exchangers....etc. 

Let's build a movement!

As we unwrap Alaska's renewable rules and policies, we'll organize specific grassroots actions that we can take together to make switching to local renewable energy easier and more affordable, on and off the grid. 

We'll share the experience of others we meet along the way (let us know if you're already using the power of the sun, wind, water and biofuels in your home or community and we'll figure out how to get your story on the blog).  

Sign up for emails, join our Facebook group, invite your friends. 

Check back to see how things are evolving. 

~ And (last but not least) tell us what you think about the Fossil Free Alaska initiative in the comments below. 

Update on the AKCAN investigation into Alaska oil and gas emissions

A recent Alaska Institute for Climate & Energy investigation of oil and gas industry emissions revealed that industry is flaring or vent...