Members of IEC have been involved in several activities as follows:

Energy Matters Column

A monthly column is published in a local newspaper the Islands’ Weekly on energy related issues. The topics of discussions in past articles included home performance, renewable energy situation, energy contests, energy education at Lopez School, energy conservation as a strategy to delay impending rate increases, incentives for renewable energy (MORE program) and climate change. Click here to read.

Energy Matters Blog – Energy Matters articles and discussions of current energy issues, such as renewable energy permitting process, Fukushima nuclear accidents, energy conservation tips, policy and technology updates as well as news of IEC activities are regulated posted on the blog. The blog serves as an information venue to engage in broader community and public conversations on energy sustainability issues in the San Juan county and beyond.

Energy education

At Lopez Island School District, IEC members Chom and Chris Greacen volunteered to bring “energy and science” to elementary classrooms by using hands-on experiments and discussions on energy consumption, resources and conservation. They also teamed up with other parents to assemble a bicycle generator which proved to be popular among students. It has been a great tool to educate kids at the school and the broader community about the value of energy and energy efficiency.


Energy Challenge

IEC, in collaboration with OPALCO and Lopez Librarykicked off its first ever Energy Challenge on Lopez Island in Fall 2010. It was the first of a series of fun month-long energy contests with prizes and opportunities to learn and share with the community at large. The purpose of the first Challenge was to raise awareness among Lopez residents about energy (particularly electricity) consumption and conservation at the household level. The results were fun, educational and very inspiring! Plus it stimulated lively conversation among community members.  Read about the winning story and be inspired! And stay tuned for another Challenge. We are working on expanding the scope of the energy challenge and geographical reach to other islands beyond Lopez.

MORE Committee

Several IEC members joined the OPALCO sponsored committee to design incentive mechanisms to promote locally owned renewable energy program called Member-Owned Renewable Energy or MORE. Through series of meetings with input from IEC members and island representatives, the committee’s proposal, based on parameters defined by OPALCO, has been adopted as OPALCO’s new green power incentive program funded by voluntary contribution from members. To learn more or to sign up, visit OPALCO website or read the brochure.

Improving county code for permitting of small-scaled renewable energy systems

Currently there is no clear San Juan County guideline on what kind of small-scaled renewable energy systems are allowable and permissible. Permitting has thus proven to be prohibitively costly and time consuming. IEC member Rick Strachan has successfully gone through the process himself and hopes his experience is never to be repeated. IEC has put forth a model draft Renewable Energy Ordinance that aims to standardize and streamline the process for issuing building permits for small scale renewable energy projects. We have worked with the county to have key concepts incorporated in part or in whole into the county codes, but so far with no success yet.

Community Solar project

Community Solar makes sense if you can’t put solar panels on your own roof for some reason. Perhaps you live in the woods and have a shady roof, or live in a rental property. IEC is exploring the feasibility of community solar project on Lopez Island, owned and operated by locals. We hosted and helped lead a team of graduate students from the engineering department’s photovoltaic class at University of California at Berkeley to analyze the opportunities for community solar on Lopez with special attention paid to the possibility of doing community solar at the Lopez Island School District. IEC is also encouraging OPALCO to adopt ‘virtual net metering’ so that electricity generated by solar panels in a community solar installation can offset electricity bills in another location. More soon on this.

Energy Home Tour

This activity is in the planning phase. The idea is to organize a tour of houses with interesting energy features and broad range of solutions. If you are interested in having your house featured on the tour or being informed about this activity as it develops, please drop us an email (islandsenergycoalition at gmail dot com).


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