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 Community-Scale Permaculture Farm

The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm

By Josh Trought

With practical examples of alternative building, renewable energy, holistic forestry, no-till gardening, hospitality management, community outreach, and more

The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm describes not only the history of the D Acres project, but its evolving principles and practices that are rooted in the land, its inhabitants, and the joy inherent in collective empowerment.

For almost twenty years, D Acres of New Hampshire has challenged and expanded the common definition of a farm. As an educational center that researches, applies, and teaches skills of sustainable living and small-scale organic farming, D Acres serves more than just a single function to its community. By turns it is a hostel for travelers to northern New England, a training center for everything from metal- and woodworking to cob building and seasonal cooking, a gathering place for music, poetry, joke-telling, and potluck meals, and much more.

While this book provides a wide spectrum of practical information on the physical systems designed into a community-scale homestead, Trought also reviews the economics and organizational particulars that D Acres has experimented with over the years.

The D Acres model envisions a way to devise a sustainable future by building a localized economy that provides more than seasonal produce, a handful of eggs, and green appliances. With the goal of perennial viability for humanity within their ecosystem, D Acres is attempting an approach to sustainability that encompasses practical, spiritual, and ethical components. In short: They are trying to create a rural community ecology that evolves in perpetuity.

From working with oxen to working with a board of directors, no other book contains such a wealth of innovative ideas and ways to make your farm or homestead not only more sustainable, but more inclusive of, and beneficial to, the larger community. Readers will find information on such subjects as:

  • Working with pigs to transform forested landscapes into arable land;
  • Designing and building unique, multifunctional farm and community spaces using various techniques and materials;
  • Creating and perpetuating diverse revenue streams to keep your farm organization solvent and resilient;
  • Receiving maximum benefits and yields for the farm without denigrating resources or the regional ecology;
  • Implementing a fair and effective governance structure;
  • Constructing everything from solar dehydrators and cookers to treehouses and ponds; and,
  • Connecting and partnering with the larger community beyond the farm.

Emphasizing collaboration, cooperation, and mutualism, this book promises to inspire a new generation of growers, builders, educators, artists, and dreamers who are seeking new and practical ways to address today’s problems on a community scale.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm

Josh Trought

Paperback $40.00

The Permaculture City

The Permaculture City

By Toby Hemenway

Permaculture is more than just the latest buzzword; it offers positive solutions for many of the environmental and social challenges confronting us. And nowhere are those remedies more needed and desired than in our cities. The Permaculture City provides a new way of thinking about urban living, with practical examples for creating abundant food, energy security, close-knit communities, local and meaningful livelihoods, and sustainable policies in our cities and towns. The same nature-based approach that works so beautifully for growing food—connecting the pieces of the landscape together in harmonious ways—applies perfectly to many of our other needs. Toby Hemenway, one of the leading practitioners and teachers of permaculture design, illuminates a new way forward through examples of edge-pushing innovations, along with a deeply holistic conceptual framework for our cities, towns, and suburbs.

The Permaculture City begins in the garden but takes what we have learned there and applies it to a much broader range of human experience; we’re not just gardening plants but people, neighborhoods, and even cultures. Hemenway lays out how permaculture design can help towndwellers solve the challenges of meeting our needs for food, water, shelter, energy, community, and livelihood in sustainable, resilient ways. Readers will find new information on designing the urban home garden and strategies for gardening in community, rethinking our water and energy systems, learning the difference between a “job” and a “livelihood,” and the importance of placemaking and an empowered community.

This important book documents the rise of a new sophistication, depth, and diversity in the approaches and thinking of permaculture designers and practitioners. Understanding nature can do more than improve how we grow, make, or consume things; it can also teach us how to cooperate, make decisions, and arrive at good solutions.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Permaculture City

Toby Hemenway

Paperback $24.95

Local Dollars, Local Sense

Local Dollars, Local Sense

By Michael Shuman

Local Dollars, Local Sense is a guide to creating Community Resilience.

Americans' long-term savings in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds, and life insurance funds total about $30 trillion. But not even 1 percent of these savings touch local small business-even though roughly half the jobs and the output in the private economy come from them. So, how can people increasingly concerned with the poor returns from Wall Street and the devastating impact of global companies on their communities invest in Main Street?

In Local Dollars, Local Sense, local economy pioneer Michael Shuman shows investors, including the nearly 99% who are unaccredited, how to put their money into building local businesses and resilient regional economies-and profit in the process. A revolutionary toolbox for social change, written with compelling personal stories, the book delivers the most thorough overview available of local investment options, explains the obstacles, and profiles investors who have paved the way. Shuman demystifies the growing realm of local investment choices-from institutional lending to investment clubs and networks, local investment funds, community ownership, direct public offerings, local stock exchanges, crowdfunding, and more. He also guides readers through the lucrative opportunities to invest locally in their homes, energy efficiency, and themselves.

A rich resource for both investors and the entrepreneurs they want to support, Local Dollars, Local Sense eloquently shows how to truly protect your financial future--and your community's.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Local Dollars, Local Sense

Michael Shuman, Peter Buffett

Paperback $17.95

Food Not Lawns

Food Not Lawns

By Heather Jo Flores

Gardening can be a political act. Creativity, fulfillment, connection, revolution—it all begins when we get our hands in the dirt.

Food Not Lawns combines practical wisdom on ecological design and community-building with a fresh, green perspective on an age-old subject. Activist and urban gardener Heather Flores shares her nine-step permaculture design to help farmsteaders and city dwellers alike build fertile soil, promote biodiversity, and increase natural habitat in their own "paradise gardens."

But Food Not Lawns doesn't begin and end in the seed bed. This joyful permaculture lifestyle manual inspires readers to apply the principles of the paradise garden—simplicity, resourcefulness, creativity, mindfulness, and community—to all aspects of life. Plant "guerilla gardens" in barren intersections and medians; organize community meals; start a street theater troupe or host a local art swap; free your kitchen from refrigeration and enjoy truly fresh, nourishing foods from your own plot of land; work with children to create garden play spaces.

Flores cares passionately about the damaged state of our environment and the ills of our throwaway society. In Food Not Lawns, she shows us how to reclaim the earth one garden at a time.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Food Not Lawns

Heather Jo Flores, Toby Hemenway

Paperback $25.00