Archive for the ‘clean’ Tag

Planning for Future Energy

A light reflecting solar power plant

A typical light reflecting solar power plant

The solar industry is no doubt a rising force in the energy market. With no emissions, solar is attractive because of its clean producing ways. Recently, solar advocates and lobbyists headed down to Washington to rally for a “permanent manufacturing tax credit” on solar panels. But while  solar energy is clean, I believe it is still likely that only energy companies will be using solar panels due to the hassle of having to install all the infrastructure on private housing for solar energy. But as I have consistently said before, I believe it is best to plan for flexibility because no one knows exactly what the future holds. If subsidies are given to solar, then they should also be equally allocated to similar clean energy sources such as wind and tidal (the debate is still on for nuclear), while also taken away from dirty energy sources like coal, natural gas, and oil.

One of the misconceptions people say is switching from coal and oil is impossible because too many people will lose jobs. According to The Energy Collective however, “Dow Corning [a solar panel manufacturer] deserves enormous credit for investing about $5 billion in manufacturing plants in Michigan—which sorely needs new jobs.” I consider it a testament to people’s ability to adapt to unique situations that would allow a state like Michigan- known for its (now declining) car manufacturing- would turn to solar manufacturing. It reminds me about how many different manufacturing factories in the 1940’s adapted to make war materials as a collective machine against a common enemy. Although the public attentiveness is not as acute compared to the time during the war, it still holds unquestionable parallels and these two situations show a lot about the human personality in times of serious needs and change.

On the other side of the coin, it should be the goal of policy makers to make clean energy available not to energy companies, but people; allowing people a reasonable cost to install solar panels, wind turbines, and any other clean energy method on their property is a first step because companies don’t change and live in the world, people do. At the same time, energy demanding buildings should also be plugged into the grid in the event they need more electricity, but I think more people and their businesses would appreciate energy more if they were producing it on their own. Now of course this is all completely unrealistic to have every single energy demanding building producing their own share of clean energy, but the idea may not be far from the future as solar panel companies are starting to find ways to make their product more durable and affordable. New development should try to embrace this change to make the individual buildings and communities more sustainable, flexible, and energy efficient.

Max Stember-Young, Rutgers University Student Intern, VERTICES LLC

All material including quotes and pictures from


A Little Local Service

President Obama recently launched an initiative to help Americans get involved in community service. In his youtube address to the nation, he asks volunteers all over the country to register their events on the government run site Although not everyone will be involved in a community service events, perhaps not even half, but at least President Obama is providing support for the people that do choose to volunteer their time.

In terms of community visioning, this program is a good way to get people “thinking globally, acting locally.” Whether someone volunteers because they enjoy keeping local parks trash, or because they want to make a difference in someone else’s life, it is all a part of the community. The community is the most important aspect in visioning.

In response to this video, a student run organization, the Student Conservation Association (SCA), has put together a checklist for how one can help. They list several possibilities:

  1. Plant a native tree
  2. Help clean up green space in my community
  3. Lessen the impact of my visit to parks
  4. Help educate others about making a difference
  5. Volunteer for a local park restoration
  6. Enter the green your school contest

You can visit and sign their Conservation Declaration form here.

Max Stember-Young, Rutgers University Student Intern, Vertices LLC