Burlington, Vermont: First city to be powered 100% by renewables

Go Lean Commentary

The idea of transforming to 100% renewable energy has been a dream for the Caribbean. It would accomplish 2 important objectives: environmental protection and economic efficiency.

Instead of dreaming, the following VIDEO demonstrates that it is no dream, but rather …

… energy based on 100% renewables sources is being done … now!

Title: Running on renewable energy, Burlington, Vermont powers green movement forward – http://video.pbs.org/viralplayer/2365415796

“Burlington, Vermont, the state’s largest city, recently became the first in the country to use 100 percent renewable energy for its residents’ electricity needs. In a state known for socially conscious policies, the feat represents a milestone in the growing green energy movement. NewsHour’s William Brangham reports on the implications for the country’s green movement.”

This is the energy-mix summary from this VIDEO:

  •  35% – from Bio Mass – Burning renewable wood pulp
  • 20% – Wind
  • 5% – Solar
  • 40% – Hydro-electric … from dams on 2 area rivers

Burlington - Photo 1

No doubt, these renewables bring many benefits in arresting “Climate Change”, but the economic benefits cannot be ignored. The City of Burlington, Vermont is expected to save $20 million over the next few years. But the biggest economic benefit is on the household level: no power price increases since 2009.

The environmental focus may be considered the primary focus of the Green movement. So be it!

This Green movement is a concept, a commitment and a cause that needs some assimilation in the Caribbean. The abundance of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere has been attributed to the devastating effects of Climate Change. The book Go Lean…Caribbean initiates with the pronouncement that our region is in crisis, one reason being Climate Change. The pressing need to be aware of this phenomena is pronounced early in the book in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 11), with these words, (the first of many “causes of complaints”):

i.    Whereas the earth’s climate has undeniably changed resulting in more severe tropical weather storms, it is necessary to prepare to insure the safety and security of life, property and systems of commerce in our geographical region. As nature recognizes no borders in the target of its destruction, we also must set aside border considerations in the preparation and response to these weather challenges.

The motivation behind the Go Lean book is to serve as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This Go Lean roadmap has 3 prime directives that are above and beyond combating Climate Change. They are defined as follows:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus, including energy security, to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

This is where the ‘Lean’ comes into play for this roadmap. According to the foregoing VIDEO, the strategy for renewables improves all the other societal engines: economic, [energy] security and governance. For the purpose of this Caribbean empowerment effort, ‘lean’ is more than just a description, it’s a noun, a verb, an adjective and an adverb. It is also a concept, commitment and cause in which the entire Caribbean region is urged to embrace and ‘lean in’.

The Caribbean is struggling with the costs and reality of energy. The Go Lean book relates (Page 100) that this region pays one of the highest rates in the world; averaging US$0.35 /kWh. The motivation of the Go Lean energy is to optimize energy options. The book posits that the average energy costs can come down to US$0.088/kWh with just a better mix of fossil-fuels and renewables.

The member-states in the Caribbean are not the only communities envisioning a 100% renewable strategy; consider Denmark here. This is en vogue right now, despite the different geographies.

Imagine 100% renewable; as it has happened in this US City of Burlington.

Burlington - Photo 2

Burlington - Photo 4There is so much to benefit from a consideration of Burlington. Demographics-wise, it is so similar to many Caribbean towns. It is the largest city in the State of Vermont. It is international and regional, situated on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, north of Shelburne Bay. It lies 45 miles south of the U.S.-Canadian (Vermont-Quebec) border and 94 miles south of Montreal. The City has a direct population of 42,417 (2010), but as the hub of the metropolitan area, consisting of the three northwestern Vermont counties has an effectual population of 213,701, approximately one third of Vermont’s total.[7]

If this city can get to 100% renewables, despite harsh winters for 3 months every year, imagine how much more so the Caribbean communities can with their near-365 days of sunshine. The mix for the Caribbean renewables will actually be different than Burlington, (or Denmark). Instead of wood pulp and hydro-electric, the Caribbean can consider tidal and geothermal (“Geyser”) steam-turbine energy (see Appendix below), in addition to the classic renewables of solar and wind.

These initiatives will take some strenuous effort on the part of Caribbean communities and governmental institutions. This heavy-lifting is part-and-parcel of the Go Lean roadmap. The roadmap details a series of community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to foster the progress in the pursuits of green energy generation. The following list applies:

Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices Page 21
Community Ethos – The Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Regional Taxi Commissions – to push renewables Page 25
Community Ethos – Non-Government Organizations Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Negotiations Page 32
Anecdote – Pipeline Transport – Strategies, Tactics & Implementations Page 43
Strategy – Harness the power of the sun/winds/tides Page 46
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 82
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Energy Commission Page 82
Anecdote – “Lean” in Government – Energy Permits Page 93
Anecdote – Caribbean Energy Grid Implementation Page 100
Implementation – Ways to Develop Pipeline Industry Page 107
Implementation – Ways to Improve Energy Usage Page 113
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Public Works Page 175
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Monopolies Page 202

The Caribbean energy needs are undeniable. The effects of fossil-fueled-driven Climate Change are undeniable. The Caribbean energy options are vast. There is simply the need for the commitment. The Go Lean roadmap shows that commitment. It is the quest to make this region a better place to live, work and play. This has been a constant theme of many other Go Lean commentaries; see this sample:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4294 The US trying to lead the Caribbean to energy security and energy independence; but rather their self-interest is pronounced.
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3743 The need for Trinidad to diversify from an oil-based mono-industrial economy; change is coming.
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3326 M-1 Rail: Alternative Green Motion in the Motor City
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3213 Gas prices drop below $2.00 – The world tire of gasoline price cycles
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2769 DC Streetcars – Green Manifestation and Model For Caribbean Re-development
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2585 A Lesson in History: Concorde SST inefficient fuel reality doomed innovative project
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2465 Book Review: ‘This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2276 The need for renewable – Climate Change may affect food supply within a decade
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2119 Cooling Effect – Oceans and the Climate
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1883 Climate Change May Bring More Kidney Stones
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1817 Caribbean grapples with intense new cycles of flooding & drought
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=926 Conservative heavyweights have solar industry in their sights
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=915 Go Green Caribbean – Renewable energy pursuits in the region
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=623 Only at the precipice, do they change

The Go Lean book opened (Page 3) with the job description for the CU technocracy to make better provisions for the region’s basic needs (food, clothing, energy and shelter), and then be in position to supply the rest of the world. There are energy (oil) exporting countries in the Caribbean (Trinidad & Tobago, Belize). Despite this reality, petroleum (gasoline and diesel) is very expensive in the region. Plus with the world’s fixation to graduate from fossil fuels – green movement – there is the need now to fully embrace renewable energy options, maybe even for 100%.

Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people, businesses, institutions and governments, to lean-in for the optimizations and opportunities described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean.

This is now more than just a dream. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


APPENDIX – The Geysers – 50 Year Anniversary – https://player.vimeo.com/video/58388803

The Special Properties of Geothermal Sites – Drill deep enough and the earth is hot everywhere, but converting that heat to power is a challenge. Sites such as The Geysers in Northern California USA, where the heat is close to the surface and deep rock layers are fractured to allow water to percolate through, are quite rare.

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