Employing Renewable Energy

Employing Renewable EnergyJust as our food system has been shifting to be more local, decentralized and sustainable in the past 20 years (breaking the 60-year cycle of increasingly decentralized food production and distribution using industrial practices), so too has our centralized and fossil fuel dependent energy system begun to change. Energy efficiency is often recognized as a better investment than extracting more coal, oil and natural gas for our electrical, thermal and transportation needs. Energy from renewable sources including biomass, solar, wind, hydro, biofuels and geothermal now produce 16% of final energy globally. The amount of renewable energy is growing rapidly, driven by climate change concerns, peak oil, energy price increases and government subsidies shifting from fossil fuels to renewable. But as with changes in the food system, lasting progress toward a more sustainable energy system will happen with millions of homes and communities embracing local, renewable energy.



Farm at South Village South Village CSA

An innovative approach to small scale, renewable energy production and distribution The Farm at South Village is a 10‐acre, certified organic farm with community gardens and a conservation nursery, located at the heart of the South Village community in South Burlington, VT. The farm plays a vital role in connecting residents, students and neighbors with local food production and is also successfully revitalizing part of an abandoned dairy farm into a valuable local agricultural resource. In the summer of 2011, a 150kW, 528-panel photovoltaic solar array was installed on the Farm at South Village. It is currently generating electricity for a consortium of users including the South Village community and Farm, and the City of South Burlington. This group net-metered solar array is a proof-of-concept project that’s demonstrating the economic and social value of independent, community-based energy production, as well as the functionality of new smart grid monitoring and optimization systems. We hope to employ this solar energy resource to power the proposed multi-farm food hub at South Village using the Transverter technology. Will and his son Dylan developed and operate the solar array.

Vermont Energy and Climate Action NetworkVermont Energy and Climate Action Network

A small state shows the way to a cleaner, more secure energy future Climate change is an urgent problem that can’t wait for a fix from Congress, which remains stalemated. States must lead the way by taking action at a more local, more manageable scale. Vermont has been a global leader in advancing energy efficiency and has committed to a range of innovative programs that are accelerating renewable energy generation. This leadership has been supported by the multi-stakeholder statewide Vermont Energy Action project that has informed the new Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan. These planning efforts led Vermont’s commitment to energy independence and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, aiming for 90% renewable sources of energy by 2050. Priority areas of policy focus are new technologies (including the Vermont/Sandia Labs partnership, opening the door for a statewide “smart grid”), new ways to support and access capital to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency, and regulatory reform. Will is an original member of Energy Action Now and is involved with statewide energy planning for new financing and the Sandia Labs partnership.

Heart TransverterHeart Transverter

Smart technology allows a rapid transition to diversified power generation The Heart Transverter technology has been in development for over ten years and is nearly ready for commercial launch. It will introduce significant enhancements to the current Inverter technology used in the vast majority of today’s solar PV systems. The Heart Transverter enables Smart Grid integration with renewable energy generation, reducing electric utility costs while providing energy security for the end user. It will allow the blending of several currently dispirit market segments including Smart Grid, micro-utilities, renewable energy and residential UPS and backup power. Will is working to commercialize the Transverter in Costa Rica and Vermont.


New Economics InstituteNew Economics Institute

Advancing a new economics as if people and the environment mattered The New Economics Institute (NEI) unites the 23 years of experience of the New Economics Foundation (nef) in London together with the 30 years of experience of the E. F. Schumacher Society (EFSS) in the U.S. to promote a new, sustainable economy. Will Raap serves as the Institute's Co-Chair. NEI works actively to develop a vision and tools to make a transition to a "low-resource, high-wellbeing" sustainable economic future, challenging old economic assumptions and outdated policies around the world. The organization collaborates with policy-makers, businesses, reformers, organizations, intellectuals and innovators worldwide to promote positive economic change. Select projects of the New Economics Institute are nurtured by the Green Business Incubator.

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