Meeting notes

Islands Energy Coalition meetings notes
April 28, 2011

Orcas Landing – 10:30 -12:20

Those present: Chris and Chom Greacen, Cynthia Moffitt, Winnie Adams, Eric
Youngren, Vince Dauciunas Anne Bertino., Sandy Bishop. Rick Strachan, Bruce
Creps, and Ron Zee.

Updates: Eric is on the Board of the Funhouse. They are planning as Solar Science
Fair in August. August 6 Saturday is tentative date. Lots of fun ideas are being
floated. Eric will let us know more as they firm up their plans - lots of interest in the
idea. We talked about replicating the idea on the other islands as well.

Chom secured a $140 grant from OPALCO to purchase an inverter for the bicycle
powered smoothie making machine after the Parents of 4th graders on Lopez
donated and helped Chris and Chom build the bicycle generator. It has been used in
the school to help kids understand energy generation and use awareness.

Chris reported on the community solar bill. Because OPALCO has relatively low
annual revenues ($20 million) there is only about $5K available for pay out for
community solar projects. Combined with other incentives it may still be attractive
but the limit of $5K annual pay-out changes the picture.

Anne and Winnie spoke about a meeting with Brad Williamson, CEO at Islanders
Bank. Islanders has favorable rates for a Get Connected program. Loans are
available from $2,000 to $10,000 for home improvements including energy
conservation and renewables. Members of IEC will arrange to meet with Brad
on the different islands and find out more. It was suggested the bank waive the
$100 fee. Anne mentioned OPALCO would certify the work has being done when
appropriate. Loan information is a part of what is offered as part of the Snap Shot
program. There is discussion about whether loan guarantee monies are available.
We will inquire.

Upcoming election for OPALCO Board members:
Vince D. and Ron Z. each spoke about what motivated them to run for a position
with OPALCO. Vince has had a varied career and has touched on every technology
from bouncing radar off astroids and squirting DNA on chips. He has become very
interested in knowing how much energy is consumed in SJC. He came up with an
idea of a 50-50-50 initiative. If islanders could grow 50% of our food, and produce
50% of our energy and fuel we will be a stronger more sustainable community.
He acknowledged that there is much research to be done to even know if we have
the capacity. He was inspired to throw his hat in the ring to try to influence SJC in
production of energy.

Ron was motivated by education the community and choice. Building a stronger
more self-reliant community. Ron wonders how OPALCO can better engage coop
members for greater progress in energy conservation and renewable energy
development? He spoke about choice and how to better educate members on
energy issues we face today and in the future.

We discussed the importance of everyone getting the vote out - typically only
about 10% of the members vote. If we want to influence the outcome we need to
encourage people to vote and exercise their choice of candidates.

Discussion on raising funds earmarked for conservation in the County
Vince mentioned there may be some funds through the Blue Print for a Secure
Energy Future, offered through the federal government. Funds are made available
to local utilities or governments to figure out a plan for energy conservation and
meeting energy challenges.

The Monterey Institute of International Study has invited Chris and Com to
design and teach a course. Perhaps a Lopez net-zero goal could be a topic. Sandy
mentioned that U of Idaho is also interested in sending students to Lopez for various
courses on place-based learning and sustainability. We will pursue this further
together. There can be some cool projects to investigate on electric cars, net-zero
communities, etc.

Anne B. mentioned that in 2010 1,181,291 KWH have been saved through
conservation efforts. If the average household use is 1000 KWH per home/month
this means that about 100 houses have been taken off the grid. Load growth is
projected at 1.5% and conservation in 2010 about 1%. All of this is based on
projections and not real measurements.

It was acknowledged that there is a great deal of untapped energy areas of
conservation and efficiency measures. O-Power has teamed up with Seattle City
Light on a model program. There has been a 2% decrease in energy with those
households in the program.

We talked about the OPALCO member survey done a few years ago and that a clear
majority of members were willing to pay up to 3% more for energy to help support
renewables and conservation efforts. Before proposing a .25 cent per kwh sur-
charge we want to create a plan for the most effective use of funds to help us reach
stated goals. Chom will take the lead on a sub-group. Most everyone present at the
meeting will help her. Tasks include: 1) stating goals 2) come up with a plan 3)
estimate costs 4) focus on a wide-spread community based education program.

Try to get this drafted by June 15 and unveil at the farmers markets this summer,
the SJC fair and other venues. Stay in communication with OPALCO board members
and staff. Remember that IEC has a broader mandate – we are not just looking at
energy from the grid but all forms of energy. Also, the impacts of our decisions
and lifestyles can have a cruel affect around the globe – we need to stay cognizant
of this fact and plan accordingly to lessen our impacts. Education is key. Justice is
important. The sub-group can let us know if they help and how the plan is coming.

Here are some links about ‘Open Source Blue Prints for Civilization’ that were
mentioned during the meeting:


  1. I would like to be on your email list to be notified about meetings and activities. Thank you

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