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Gas Rush Stories ~ Part 13: Renewable Energy Experts

January 17, 2013

Gas Rush Stories, part 13: Renewable Energy Experts from Kirsi Jansa on Vimeo.

Unconventional gas is being promoted as a bridge technology towards a renewable energy future. This episode of Gas Rush Stories asks Harry Lehmann, General Director of the Division of Environmental Planning and Sustainable Strategies at the Federal Environmental Agency of Germany, Patricia DeMarco, Director of the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University, and Professor Terry Collins from the Institute for Green Science at Carnegie Mellon University to share their views on this topic.

Gas Rush Stories also visits Feldheim, a small village in former East Germany. Feldheim is one of the first 100 percent renewable energy communities in Germany.

Here is the home website for Gas Rush Stories — over one dozen short documentaries on the natural gas drilling industry by Kirsi Jansa.

Kirsi Jansa also recorded the keynote at Protecting Our Waters’ Freedom from Fracking Conference 2011, a spellbinding talk by Sandra Steingraber, for any who haven’t heard this scientist — a “poet with a knife” — speak about fracking.

For an examination of federal subsidies for coal, oil and gas and the federal government’s role in creating the uneven energy playing field upon which renewable energy technologies enter, see “What Would Jefferson Do?

Longer interviews with Harry Lehmann, Patricia DeMarco and Terry Collins appear in Gas Rush Stories Extras

  1. January 18, 2013 9:35 am

    Renewable Energy Legislation Hearing Jan. 29 in Bryn Mawr
    via Rep. Greg Vitali (D-PA, Delaware County):

    The House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. Jan. 29 at Ludington Library, 5 S. Bryn Mawr Ave., Bryn Mawr, to discuss renewable energy legislation I have introduced.

    Scheduled speakers include:
    • Brian Crowe, PECO’s vice president of Energy Acquisition;
    • Tom Bell, former executive director of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Technology Development;
    • Bruce Burcat, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition;
    • Christina Simeone, director of PennFuture’s Energy Development Center; and
    • Tanya McCloskey, acting Consumer Advocate.

    H.B 100 would increase the amount of electricity that electric distribution companies like PECO must obtain from renewable sources to 15 percent by 2023. The current requirement is 8 percent by 2021.

    H.B. 200 would provide $25 million per year to the PA Sunshine Solar program. This program, which is currently out of money, provides rebates to homeowners and small businesses that install solar systems.

    The public is welcome to attend, but public testimony is limited to written comments. There is a free parking lot behind the library on Bryn Mawr Avenue. If it is full, metered parking is available in township lot 7, which is across Lancaster Avenue from the library.

    Greg Vitali

  2. Iris Marie Bloom permalink
    January 21, 2013 1:19 pm

    Thanks for the post, Eric, always great to see Kirsi Jansa’s work. Thanks for that vital information from Greg Vitali (pun intended), Liz. I hope everyone attends and submits written testimony on 1/29.

    In addition to pushing for good renewable energy bills, it’s important to be alert to and push back against the bad initiatives, like this attack from ALEC against renewable energy in North Carolina (you can bet this ALEC attack is just the opening volley for 2013)

    And, it’s key to push actively FOR energy conservation and efficiency — yes, push for reduced consumption. Otherwise the fracking industry will keep arguing that fracked gas power plants are needed to meet the “need” which is not need at all, but rather waste to which we’ve become accustomed while our whole energy economy has been floating on a bed of cheap fossil fuel. That era is over. Tell your legislators — ideally live and in person — and be ready to back up your words with actions. 2013 is the year for dramatic change.

  3. January 22, 2013 2:37 pm

    Having been in the sustainable energy realm for the last 15 years or so as a trained engineer, I can say that I heartily support the direction of Kirsi’s short documentary. Anyone who thinks the anti-fracking movement is a bunch of naysayers who don’t offer any constructive alternatives should watch this movie.

    The film moves from an explanation of why unconventional gas is a false short-cut to renewables, to the town of Feldheim in Germany that is leading the way in doing something about providing a real alternative. Not only is the town self-sufficient for electricity and heat but it provides a practical example that other communities or regions including in the U.S. can follow — one that both delivers on the promise of real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and moves toward more decentralized control of power production and consumption.

    What did the prez say in the inauguration just yesterday, something like “move from the privileged few to empowering the many?” The example of Feldheim as shown in the film is dead-on.

    Francis Vanek, PhD
    Senior Lecturer and Research Associate
    School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Cornell University
    and lead author of
    “Energy Systems Engineering: Evaluation and Implementation (2nd Ed, 2012)”

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