Chelsea Green Publishing

Power from the People

Pages:288 pages
Book Art:Black and white photos
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603584098
Pub. Date August 13, 2012

Power from the People

How to Organize, Finance, and Launch Local Energy Projects

By Greg Pahl
Foreword by Van Jones

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
August 13, 2012

$19.95

Over 90 percent of US power generation comes from large, centralized, highly polluting, nonrenewable sources of energy. It is delivered through long, brittle transmission lines, and then is squandered through inefficiency and waste. But it doesn't have to be that way. Communities can indeed produce their own local, renewable energy.

Power from the People explores how homeowners, co-ops, nonprofit institutions, governments, and businesses are putting power in the hands of local communities through distributed energy programs and energy-efficiency measures.

Using examples from around the nation - and occasionally from around the world - Greg Pahl explains how to plan, organize, finance, and launch community-scale energy projects that harvest energy from sun, wind, water, and earth. He also explains why community power is a necessary step on the path to energy security and community resilience - particularly as we face peak oil, cope with climate change, and address the need to transition to a more sustainable future.

This book - the second in the Chelsea Green Publishing Company and Post Carbon Institute's Community Resilience Series - also profiles numerous communitywide initiatives that can be replicated elsewhere.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Bookwatch Review-

Greg Pahl, an environmental activist who co-founded ACORN and served as an intelligence officer in the military during the Vietnam War, presents a "community resilience guide" for the local energy movement. He organizes the book into four progressive sections. The first consists of three essays that outline broad trends in energy usage and sourcing around the world, conservation and re-localization, and the need to rethink our relationship to energy. The second turns to household energy use and how to become more efficient or produce your own energy. The third and largest section explores alternative energy sources in different localities where they have been implemented. They include solar, wind, geothermal, and new fuel-sources for combustion. The very last chapter in that section turns to "exceptional community initiatives." Part four is Pahl's "call to action" and advice for preparing for action. A resource guide in the back includes energy programs, community development, and transportation. Community Van Jones provides a forward.

"Energy is at the heart of our 21st century economic-ecological crisis, but most writing on the subject is suffused either with immobilizing anticipation of doom or giddy wishful thinking. Here at last is a genuinely helpful energy book, one that's realistic and practical. If you want to actually do something about our energy future, here is where to start."--Richard Heinberg, senior fellow, Post Carbon Institute; author, The End of Growth

"Talk about down-and-dirty. Or rather, down-and-clean! Here's the actual useful detail on how to do the stuff that really needs doing. Read it and get to work!"--Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

"Greg Pahl's superb guide to community energy and how to unlock its potential is essential reading for anyone interested in the economic future of the place they live. As a Community Resilience Guide it is just that--a powerful guide showing how enhancing your community's resilience is a key form of economic development. And there is nowhere better to start than with rethinking our relationship to energy. You will find yourself waking up at 3 a.m. to scribble down the ideas and actions that this book has inspired. Make sure you keep a pen and paper by the bed."--Rob Hopkins, author of The Transition Companion

"Greg Pahl's Power from the People is an inspirational guide to the burgeoning community-power movement. His case studies of people who are making a difference are often tales of endurance and survival, but also powerful testaments to the human spirit. Bravo to Pahl and Power from the People for explaining how feed-in tariffs have produced a community-power revolution in Europe and how they can do the same here in North America."--Paul Gipe, author of Wind Power, advocate, and renewable energy industry analyst

ForeWord Reviews-
"The movement to source energy at the local level has boomed in recent years. Power from the People is a good guide for entrepreneurs looking to get in on the trend in an environmentally conscious way. Community energy has multiple facets, and this book covers them in a logical way. Part One discusses the various aspects of energy localization, including sections on “Energy and Our Communities” and “Rethinking Energy.” Part Two brings the discussion down to a hyper-local level with “Your Household’s Energy Resilience.” This section expounds on the point that there are several steps to energy efficiency, and the first is energy conservation. The book provides concrete advice for the homeowner seeking to reduce their energy consumption and then offers ways that a homeowner can reduce their dependence on outside power generation. It covers relatively unknown topics such as geoexchange and micro-hydro and also includes tips specifically for urban dwellers. From there, the discussion expands to include the entire community. Part Three addresses the parallels and differences between consumer energy and consumer agriculture. The book details important steps to setting up cooperatives, partnerships, and community investment in the project and expands to discussion of specific types of energy. Part Three also offers specific examples of communities around the country that have successfully relocalized many forms of energy. From the Burlington Cohousing Solor Project in Vermont to liquid biogas initiatives at Quad County Corn Processors in Iowa to geothermal power plants at the Oregon Institute of Technology, Power from the People gives real-life examples of the ways that a community can energize itself. Containing appendices with extensive endnotes, a virtual library of additional resources, and a glossary of common industry terms, this book provides a great starter guide for anyone pursuing a local energy project."

Booklist Reviews-
"Pahl’s alternative energy guidebook, The Citizen-Powered Energy Handbook (2007), urged homeowners to cut their dependence on fossil fuels and looked at communities, such as those in Asheville, North Carolina, and Sweden, where locally produced, renewable energy has already made a significant impact. With its focus on U.S.-based technologies and resources, this follow-up volume offers brass-tacks practical advice on the planning, organizing, and financing angles of implementing alternative power without waiting for big government to pitch in. In 14 impressively detailed and inspiring chapters, Pahl explains why our current reliance on fossil fuels is unsustainable and provides concrete how and where examples of coops and neighborhoods in states from Oregon to Vermont, in which such energy sources as solar, wind, and geothermal are now supplementing and even supplanting conventional power. Along with an extensive guide to grass-roots power associations and online resources, Pahl gives sound advice on how individuals can conserve energy. For any private citizen or community looking to cut the cord from corporate utilities, Pahl’s manual delivers a cornucopia of ideas."

AWARDS

  • Winner - Atlas Awards, 2012 Accomplishments

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Greg Pahl

Greg Pahl is the author of numerous books on energy and also writes for Mother Earth News and various other publications on biodiesel, wind power, wood heat, solar energy, heat pumps, electric cars, and a wide range of other topics related to living in a post-carbon world.

His books include Power from the People: How to Organize, Finance, and Launch Local Energy Projects (2012, Chelsea Green), Biodiesel: Growing a New Energy Economy (2005, Chelsea Green), Natural Home Heating: The Complete Guide to Renewable Energy Options (2003, Chelsea Green), The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Saving the Environment (2001, Macmillan/Alpha Books), and The Unofficial Guide to Beating Debt (2000, IDG Books).

Pahl has been involved in environmental issues for more than twenty-five years. In the 1970s he lived off the grid in a home in Vermont with a wind turbine atop an 80-foot tower that provided for his electrical needs. He is a founding member of the Vermont Biofuels Association as well as the Acorn Renewable Energy Co-op. Pahl attended the University of Vermont and was a military intelligence officer in the US Army during the Vietnam War.

ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR

Biodiesel

Biodiesel

By Greg Pahl

For anyone who is trying to keep up with the extremely rapid developments in the biodiesel industry, the second edition of Biodiesel: Growing a New Energy Economy is an invaluable aid. The breathtaking speed with which biodiesel has gained acceptance in the marketplace in the past few years has been exceeded only by the proliferation of biodiesel production facilities around the United States--and the world--only to confront new social and environmental challenges and criticisms.

The international survey of the biodiesel industry has been expanded from 40 to more than 80 countries, reflecting the spectacular growth of the industry around the world. This section also tracks the dramatic shifts in the fortunes of the industry that have taken place in some of these nations. The detailed chapters that cover the industry in the United States have also been substantially rewritten to keep abreast of its many new developments and explosive domestic growth.

An expanded section on small-scale, local biodiesel production has been added to better represent this small but growing part of the industry. Another new section has been added to more fully explore the increasingly controversial issues of deforestation and food versus fuel, as well as GMO crops. The second edition concludes with updated views on where the industry is headed in the years to come from some of its key players.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Biodiesel

Greg Pahl, Bill McKibben

Paperback $19.95

AUTHOR VIDEOS

Fossil-Fuel Free: Greg Pahl Explains His Wood-Pellet Boiler

Greg Pahl explains his Solar Domestic Hot Water System

Greg Pahl Saves Energy and Money with a Fireplace Insert

Greg Pahl Explores a Sustainable Green Home

How Geothermal Heat Pumps Work

How Geothermal Heat Pumps Work

Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS)

Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS)

AL GORE: Green Energy by 2018 (7/17 Speech)

AL GORE: Green Energy by 2018 (7/17 Speech)

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

The Transition Starts Here, Now and Together

The Transition Starts Here, Now and Together

By Rob Hopkins and Lionel Astruc

One day in 2005, Rob Hopkins, an ordinary British citizen, started knocking on his neighbors’ doors in the small town of Totnes, where he had just settled in. He was proposing that they come together to organize nothing less than a new, locally based economy. A new model, the Transition Town, harnessed resources at hand and modeled a new way of life: no longer expect food to arrive from the other side of the planet at great fuel costs, but instead create short food supply chains and cultivate all the available land (gardens, rooftops, municipal parks); no longer complain about pollution, but rally fellow citizens around a project of local renewable energy cooperatives; no longer rail against the banks and the stock markets, but adopt a local currency that enriches the community. His experience has been successful not only in Totnes; it has spread to 1,200 cities in 47 countries. Each of the Transition Towns are transforming their communities, without fanfare, without outside funding, making them more autonomous and more resilient to the crises looming ahead—a network of oases offering a wealth of solutions.

Hopkins’ charisma and his story spur us all to become the best we can be. He has revived a sense of hope, buried under years of resignation and the disillusionment of “economic realism.” The saga of the Transition Towns movement inspires us all to take action and tap into the unimagined capacities we all have to promote change.

Available in:

Read More

The Transition Starts Here, Now and Together

$

The Nourishing Homestead

The Nourishing Homestead

By Ben Hewitt and Penny Hewitt

A practiculture way to grow nutrient-dense food, produce healthy fats, and live the good life

The Nourishing Homestead tells the story of how we can create truly satisfying, permanent, nourished relationships to the land, nature, and one another.

The Hewitts offer practical ways to grow nutrient-dense food on a small plot of land, and think about your farm, homestead, or home as an ecosystem. Much of what the Hewitts have come to understand and embrace about their lives of deep nourishment is informed by their particular piece of land and local community in northern Vermont, but what they have gleaned is readily transferable to any place—whether you live on 4 acres, 40 acres, or in a 400-square-foot studio apartment.

Ben and Penny (and their two sons) maintain copious gardens, dozens of fruit and nut trees and other perennial plantings, as well as a pick-your-own blueberry patch. In addition to these cultivated food crops, they also forage for wild edibles, process their own meat, make their own butter, and ferment, dry, and can their own vegetables. Their focus is to produce nutrient-dense foods from vibrant, mineralized soils for themselves and their immediate community. They are also committed to sharing the traditional skills that support their family, helping them be self-sufficient and thrive in these uncertain times.

Much of what the Hewitts are attempting on their homestead is to close the gaps that economic separation has created in our health, spirit, and skills. Ben uses the term “practiculture” to describe his family’s work with the land—a term that encompasses the many practical life skills and philosophies they embody to create a thriving homestead, including raw-milk production, soil remediation, wildcrafting, Weston A. Price principles, bionutrient-dense farming, permaculture, agroforestry, traditional Vermont hill farming, and more. The Nourishing Homestead also includes information on deep nutrition, the importance of good fats, and integrating children into the work of a homestead.

The Hewitts’ story is reminiscent of The Good Life, by Helen and Scott Nearing, and is sure to inspire a new generation of homesteaders, or anyone seeking a simpler way of life and a deeper connection to the world.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Nourishing Homestead

Ben Hewitt, Penny Hewitt

Paperback $29.95

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2

By Brad Lancaster

Turn water scarcity into water abundance!
Earthworks are one of the easiest, least expensive, and most effective ways of passively harvesting and conserving multiple sources of water in the soil. Associated vegetation then pumps the harvested water back out in the form of beauty, food, shelter, wildlife habitat, and passive heating and cooling strategies, while controlling erosion, increasing soil fertility, reducing downstream flooding, and improving water and air quality.

Building on the information presented in Volume 1, this book shows you how to select, place, size, construct, and plant your chosen water-harvesting earthworks. It presents detailed how-to information and variations of a diverse array of earthworks, including chapters on mulch, vegetation, and greywater recycling so you can customize the techniques to the unique requirements of your site.

  • Real life stories and examples permeate the book, including:
  • How curb cuts redirect street runoff to passively irrigate flourishing shade trees planted along the street
  • How check dams have helped create springs and perennial flows in once-dry creeks
  • How infiltration basins are creating thriving rain-fed gardens
  • How backyard greywater laundromats are turning "wastewater" into a resource growing food, beauty, and shade that builds community, and more.
  • How to create simple tools to read slope and water flow
  • More than 225 illustrations and photographs

 

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2

Brad Lancaster, Joe Marshall

Paperback $39.95

Together Resilient

Together Resilient

By Ma’ikwe Ludwig

Intentional community as a model for a low carbon future

We know that we need to reduce our personal carbon footprint, but for all our awareness, real change is a rare commodity. Real hope comes from looking unflinchingly at our current circumstances and then committing wholeheartedly to creative action. Never has that been more urgently needed than right now, with the climate crisis looming larger every day.

Together Resilient explores intentional community as a viable model for a low carbon future. While looking realistically at the state of the world and the realities of climate disruption, it finds hope in examples of communities that already live high quality lives that the planet can sustain.

It also looks at community as an essential element for surviving the coming (and already present) changes with more resilience and grace, and offers concrete examples of building community as a tool for reducing carbon emissions, outside the context of residential intentional communities.

From small solutions to the full re-invention of the systems we find ourselves in, author Ma’ikwe Ludwig  mixes anecdote with data-based research to present a wide range of options that all embody compassion, creativity, and cooperation. Above all, Together Resilient is a call for for citizen-led, community-based action: why wait for the government when you can take action today, with your neighbors?

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Together Resilient

Ma’ikwe Ludwig

Paperback $17.95