AIRE and Co-operate WNC have been in dialogue for several months around the questions of how do we cooperate to incubate a solar cooperative practice that harnesses the power of aggregated purchasing to reduce the cost of solar and how do we nurture a cooperative enterprise that sustains solar adoption and creates livelihoods for underserved
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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