I recently had a chance to catch up with John Sarver. John became the executive director of the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA) on March 1, 2012.
For those of you not familiar with GLREA, the non-profit organization helps promote, educate and advocated for:
- solar, wind, hydro, biomass and other clean energy technology
- energy efficient materials and practices
- passive solar building design
- public awareness of alternative fuel vehicles and
- distributed generation utilizing clean fuels
Green job training
John is particularly excited about the new job training programs and educational opportunities happening in Michigan. John says, “it’s a chicken or the egg problem…which comes first…green jobs or green education?” But Michigan is in a great position because we currently have both. “There are a lot of great wind turbine technician trainings,” John tells me, “it’s just a matter of people knowing about them and where to find them.” Over the past five years, interest has been on the rise.
Kalamazoo Valley Community College has a great program for wind training and Aquinas College has a MA program in sustainability development. There is someone for everyone right now. We’ve been able to see first hand out important and reciprocal all of this is with the Gratiot County Wind Farm.
But what can people do on a personal level?
John took some time to tell me about his own adventure into generating solar power at home. “It’s great,” says John. The panels on his roof are integrated into Consumer’s programs. John goes on to tell me, “I didn’t think it was real complicated but I’ve been involved forever.” For people who haven’t been involved forever, John recommends talking to the Michigan Energy Demonstration Centers for help sorting thourgh paperwork. John still gets and energy bill every month but he also gets a separate notice of credit. Sometimes it evens out and other times he owes a little back to the power company.
John wraps up our interview by telling me:
There are many reasons for people to make energy efficiency improvements, not just for economic reasons:
- be green
- be innovative
- be the first on your block
See John’s blogs on www.micheen.org