What is solar for? AIRE’s new plan for cooperative, sustainable communities solar

This guiding question borrows from the title of a collection of essays, “WHAT ARE people FOR” by agrarian writer, Wendell Berry. It is provocative because it calls our values into question and challenges assumptions. Our conversations and activities at AIRE have recently asked a similar question out of the same vein– What is solar for?

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

Here we are in 2019: Quilts as a metaphor for small roles in system change

Because it’s cold outside, but mostly for other reasons, I’ve been thinking about quilts, so I wanted to write about them as a reflection on the past year and in contemplation of the new one upon us. My family made one of those “barn quilts” that we see so much of in rural country for

Clean Energy Credit Union: At long last, a finance cooperative just for clean energy

One of the obvious challenges in going solar, whether you’re a nonprofit organization or an aspiring green energy citizen, is paying for it. We’ve always said that solar is a finance problem, and it is, although there are conspiring barriers. I recently visited with Rick Tazelaar of the Clean Energy Credit Union at a Pearl

Cooperation: Can We Reimagine and Recreate it for Energy for Everyone?

I recently spent some time with Nathan Schneider in Boulder, Colorado. He’s a Media Studies professor at the University of Colorado Boulder and the author of a new book, Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition That is Shaping the Next Economy. I recommend it! Let me connect some dots as to how the book relates

Repost from Virginia: Shining light on rural electric cooperatives

We encourage folks to check out Seth Heald’s piece on Power for the People VA, where he opines that “Electric co-ops are supposed to operate democratically, but do they really? And what happens when they don’t?” Check out what he has to report on a petition he and fellow members filed at the state’s utility

Are rural electric cooperatives cooperative and democratic?

In a sense, community-owned renewable energy and democracy are somewhat synonymous terms. Some may assume that electric “cooperatives” are democratic, but that would be an assumption worth testing once in awhile. A decade ago, two colleagues and I, attended a particularly interesting annual meeting of our electric utility, Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation, or BREMCO