Green Energy: Simply Ponderous

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In one of the LinkedIn Energy Forums I’m a member of (Linked:Energy http://linkedenergy.net/  – great forum by the way),  question was posed: “Will green energy ever become the primary energy source?” This elicited a lot of commentary (Over 280 posts including one from yours truly) and even more discussions about defining green energy. The commenters all had great points, insights and passion about various technologies and political and business influence. As I reflect on the lively discussion, it makes me think how far we’ve come in just a decade. While some of the renewable technologies (solar, wind, hydro, etc.) have been around for some time, we’re finally getting to the point where adoption has increased and system costs are starting to come down. According to Ken Bossong, from SUN DAY Campaign, “Renewables now provide 12% of domestic energy production, 14% more than 2010; and renewable electrical output increased 25%, which contributes to 13% of U.S. power” (see Renewable Energy  World article: http://bit.ly/xUeyax ). Yes, it will take some time to get the pricing down to where average consumers can take advantage of clean energy, but it seems we’re headed in the right direction. Right now, we need all the energy resources we can get our hands on. Our appetite for electricity will not be abated – think data centers, recharging millions of smart phones, iPads and the like. And, don’t forget about the advent of electric cars. Luckily, the evolution of the Smart Grid brings hope for a more intelligent electrical distribution system that will incorporate not only renewables and smarter instrumentation and monitoring, but faster and more secure communication networks and home area networks.

While the momentum for green energy adoption marches forward, energy efficient technologies are taking hold. From energy efficient computers, IT/networking gear and even the products that protect equipment from power outages are all much more efficient than a decade ago. While not as exciting as solar or wind or the myriad of other renewable technologies, being smarter and more efficient with our energy use is the best way to start on the path to energy independence. Baby steps will lead to giant leaps.

What do you think?

Happy marketing,

PJ Jennings, President

Jennings & Associates Communications

www.JandAcommunications.com

Like Kermit the Frog Said: It’s Not Easy Being Green

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For the past decade, environmental issues have crept into corporate-speak. Eco-friendliness has gone from being a differentiator to a must-have for consumer companies. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Are corporations engaging in sustainable behavior because it’s the right thing to do or because they are forced to by public opinion? It’s important to care about motives because the tides change. If a company has made a “green” decision mostly or solely based on import prices and fuel surcharges then what happens when those prices come down?

In the Six Laws of Green Marketing, Colleen Kramer highlights why sustainability needs to be an integral part of the company and not just a temporary add-on. Her observation regarding the Patagonia company rings true: if you are genuinely trying to do the right thing, it’s OK to stumble in front of your audience. After all, the road to green is truly paved with good intentions. Patagonia’s transparency regarding greening the company’s logistics may be a compelling example to other companies leery of faltering; however, if companies continue to assess green initiatives with the same return-on-investment analysis they would use with any other capital project, many projects will fail before they are even started.

One of our clients, VYCON, has the good fortune of working with EasyStreet Online Services, a cloud, managed services and colocation provider in Oregon. Utilizing wind power and flywheel energy storage, EasyStreet has a long-standing green commitment and seized the opportunity to be a beacon of how to build energy efficient data centers. Reliability, sustainability and having a low carbon footprint are part of the ethos of the company – and they end up serving the company well, financially, when the energy bills come in.

If your company or your clients are looking to tout their eco-friendliness as a marketing ploy, remind them that this is the age of transparency. We counsel clients that small but genuine change is much more meaningful and has a longer-lasting impact on the company’s image, as well as the bottom line.

Our Clients are Leading the Way to a More Sustainable Energy Nation

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This is a very exciting time for companies with sustainable green solutions as we have never in our nation’s history had the conversation nor desire to increase energy efficiencies as much as we do today. Regardless of political affiliation,  you have to give credit to the current administration for getting renewable energy and Smart Grid technologies out of R&D and into the field.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 has allocated $40 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs with an additional $11 billion to make the electrical grid “smart.” Private sector companies are also helping to fund pilot projects – everything from smart meters and Smart Grid communications to electrical vehicles, flywheels, intelligent battery systems (Lithium-Ion), biomass, fuel cells, solar and wind farms to name a few. As someone who has been promoting energy efficiency and power quality solutions for the past two decades, it’s very exciting to see the technological advancements and willingness to bring these solutions to the marketplace.  It’s also inspiring to see our national defense incorporating clean energies such as solar and energy storage systems at Forward Operating Bases that vastly reduce the amount of fuel consumption, transport logistics and casualties in fuel convoys. And, green combat vehicles are on the horizon too – think Prius on steroids.

Our clients including Eaton, EcoDog, International Battery, Marway, VYCON and others are leading the charge in developing solutions that increase energy efficiencies, store solar and wind energy, improve power quality from the grid, monitor and manage electricity and help homeowners reduce their electrical bills with smart home energy management technology. We’re very proud of our clients’ skills, dedication and vision to help our society reduce our dependence on foreign oil and to be more smart about our energy consumption. The road ahead will be challenging, but by continual education and clearly demonstrating an attractive return on investment (ROI), our clients and many other companies will succeed in getting our nation on the path to energy security and freedom.

Happy marketing,

PJ Jennings

 

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