Poor Handmaids, Sister Mary and the Radical Leadership of Love

As I’ve posted numerous times previously, we’re constantly inspired by what this group, the Poor Handmaids, are doing at the Center at Donaldson. The major renewable energy projects they’ve undertaken in a short period are impressive enough to stand on their own, but I’ve been interested in what makes it all work in a time

Don’t believe Duke Energy when it says it wants to set the record straight on SB559 (Take 2)

(This piece is as submitted to the Raleigh News & Observer and unpublished by it. This is a second version of an AIRE blog piece, with this one offering some numbers to go along with the rhetorical critique offered in the first version.) ————————————– By Steve Owen, Ph.D. and Nancy LaPlaca, J.D. A recent News

Energy, Cooperation, and Possibilities: Nathan Schneider’s take on the pope’s climate encyclical

I’ve just read a chapter from a forthcoming book that I think recommends itself as necessary reading for AIRE’s project partners and anyone working toward democratic energy, sustainable communities, and humanity’s common future. I don’t intend this to be a chapter review. Instead, I want to highlight some of the key ideas in it and

Nancy la Placa, a brilliant energy policy analyst joins the AIRE team

AIRE has been a fan of Nancy LaPlaca, J.D., ever since she relocated to North Carolina in 2014. Now, AIRE’s extremely gratified to be working together with her as she brings great energy and passion, as well as deep knowledge and experience of utilities policy into our practice. Nancy has three decades of experience in

Tilting at the sun, again (Vernal Equinox 2019): They do it 4 times a year

The wonderful people at the Center at Donaldson up in Plymouth, Indiana are paying attention to the natural world, or maybe I should say our earthly home in relation to its travels in the solar system. In case you haven’t noticed, the sun has risen in the sky after what has been for many a

Being local in a time of madness: Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Last night (aka ‘Fat Tuesday’) I said a few words at Mountain Mardi Gras, a “friend raising” event AIRE co-organized with the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country. From all accounts, the evening was as near-perfect as it possibly could have been. Our proclamation tagline was “Come hell or high water, there’ll be Mardi Gras

Toward Microgrid Learning: Poor Handmaids and The Center at Donaldson

With Phase 1 solar now operational and generating good results, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ with their various missions at The Center at Donaldson are wasting no time lighting up a Phase 2, some 5 times bigger (just over 500kW). The provincial and lay leadership behind this great work (and I do mean to

EV Moonshot Part 2: What we’ve learned driving our Nissan Leaf (around the dark side of the moon)

Making a commitment to drive an EV involves a pretty serious paradigm shift. Universal EV adoption is a critical step toward decarbonizing transportation, so long as we’re driving on renewable energy (not coal, natural gas, etc.). Driving an EV to get around town is a no-brainer; you can charge at home or at work and