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Clean Power

The Energy Ethic

By Sandy Reisky

Synopsis of a presentation given at the Tom Tom Founders Festival, April 11, 2014.

solar cost growth

wind cost growth

Our generation is witnessing the rapid adoption of new energy technologies that are cleaner, cheaper and more convenient.

People are responding to new energy choices, they are installing solar panels and buying electric cars, they are insulating their homes and consuming less. In the US, every four minutes a new home or business goes solar. Collectively, we are changing our energy future by adding more clean energy to the grid, using less gasoline and embracing efficiency. Consequently, energy is becoming more democratic as individuals play a more active role in determining our energy future.

The implications are profound. In the past, centralized decisions made changes to our energy system slow and difficult to influence. People concerned about energy issues like climate change and pollution had few opportunities to advance clean energy. But now, for the first time, the power to change energy is in our hands.

With new energy technologies we can see a viable path to a clean energy future, and our energy ethic compels us to act. It draws on foundational values we share like independence, self-reliance, personal initiative, and personal responsibility. As people adopt clean energy the energy ethic strengthens in our society. We are empowered, we refuse to be demoralized by climate change, and we reach for the solutions we can implement today, in our own lives, to address carbon pollution.

How we think and talk about energy is important. We need to share our energy ethic. The success and viability of clean energy is a story worth telling. As the energy ethic takes hold, politics and policy will follow, and we will create a better energy future.

About the Author: Over the course of fourteen years in the renewable energy industry, Sandy Reisky’s companies have developed over $1 billion of wind and solar generation facilities now operating in the United States and Canada.

In 2009, Sandy founded Apex Clean Energy, Inc. The company is developing a portfolio of utility-scale wind projects nationwide.  Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Apex employs a team of over 80 professionals.  Apex recently completed construction of a 300 MW ($490 million) facility that began commercial operations in Oklahoma in December. This is the largest single-phase wind energy facility in the state.

He entered the industry in 2000 as president and founder of Greenlight Energy, Inc., a wind energy company.  After successfully developing $700 million of projects in Kansas and Colorado, Greenlight was acquired by BP Alternative Energy in 2006. Subsequent to the acquisition, BP has brought over $2 billion of the Greenlight Energy projects into commercial operations.

After the sale of Greenlight, Sandy launched three companies in the renewable energy sector: Columbia Power Technologies, a wave power technology company, Greenlight Biofuels, a biodiesel company, and Axio Power, a developer of utility-scale solar generation facilities which was acquired by SunEdison in 2011.


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