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Community Energy Solutions is not just being highlighted here today because it happens to be a local group based near my home in Washington State. Their mission, in fact, may be quite like many other environmental advocacy groups, “to create change so that sustainable energy is no longer an ‘alternative energy’, but rather the energy of choice.” Though there are many spectacular organizations, here are some qualities that I feel make Community Energy Solutions (CES) particularly noteworthy.

  • Despite the fact that they’e located in Washington, this group is in no way adverse to solar energy. In fact, they have partnered with Habitat for Humanity to “solarize” Habitat Homes. To date,a solar water heater has been installed in one of the homes, which will help alleviate rising energy costs.
  • In January 2009, CES helped complete the Solar for Sakai project, a community solar project for Sakai Intermediate School on Bainbridge Island. Fifth and sixth grade students get a “hands-on learning experience” with the 5.1 KW photovoltaic system. Yes, it is another solar project. But equally as important, the project recognizes the importance in educating these young students about renewable energy. CES makes this optimistic statement, “We believe the effect this project will have on the student’s learning, and their future decision-making as adults, can only be positive.”
  • CES has a sweet Home Energy Efficiency Checklist.
  • CES uses a bottom-up, as opposed to the top-bottom, approach in order to actualize community support that will, with hope, “sustain long term effective change.” This organization also explains in their website that they understand each community is unique, so the advisory services provided by CES try their best to suit the distinct needs of each community.

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This, I feel, is the way people should keep trying to resolve environmental issues here in the U.S. and all over the world — with educational outreach that makes the students see themselves as a valid participant; and understanding that every place (both local and global) is facing different circumstances. There is no cookie cutter solution, but let’s tackle each challenge with an inclusive approach and positive attitude. We do have local, clean, renewable energy and power.