Listening to the national dialogue on energy policy can be a little discouraging. Not only does it feel like progress is not happening fast enough, it often feels like as a regular person you’re just not going to have any way to influence energy policy. Enter Vote Solar. Vote Solar is a grassroots solar policy advocacy organization that reminds us that all politics is local and that tremendous progress can be made by focusing on local regulatory roadblocks.
Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio is Adam Browning, the executive director of Vote Solar. Driven by a vision of affordable and widespread renewable power, Browning co-founded the organization after a successful campaign in San Francisco for a bond measure that would enable more residents to adopt solar power. While they now have national reach, Vote Solar does not concentrate its efforts on a national front – as Browning likes to say, “If your plan involves congress, it’s a bad plan.” Listen now as Browning describes to host Alex Wise how solar initiatives are being advanced from deep blue California to scarlet Georgia, on the basis of simple economic sense.
The wind – it flies our kites and fills our sails, and, since the 7th Century, humans have been harnessing its power to pump water and mill grain. So how far have we come since then? The modern wind power industry didn’t really start until the late 70s, yet over the past three years worldwide wind-powered energy generation has doubled. But this endlessly renewable power source is still relatively untapped and only accounts for about 2% of global electricity usage.
This week on Sea Change Radio, we hear from two wind power executives about the burgeoning potential of wind. First, host Alex Wise talks to Michael Payne, a 15-year veteran of the industry who’s helped develop some of the world’s largest wind energy projects in the U.S., Europe and Asia. He tells us about the technical, environmental and regulatory hurdles that the industry faces. Next, we speak with Corwin Hardham, the CEO of Makani Power. This company, whose name means wind in Hawaiian, is developing a cutting-edge way to capture the power of the wind using airborne wind turbines that fly like kites and generate more power than conventional earthbound turbines.