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Mother Earth News Fair

Our FAIRS bring living wisely to life with hands-on workshops in organic gardening, country skills, renewable energy and more.

Puyallup Speaker Spotlight: Scott Davis, Microhydro Energy Expert

Meet Scott Davis, microhydro energy expert. 

What are you going to speak about at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR? 

I have long had the ambition to make a microhydro documentary and this is my audition piece, I would think.

I am going to speak about generating electricity with small water powered alternators or microhydro at 9 AM at the Mitsubishi Stage.

Scott DavisWhat are you most looking forward to sharing with FAIR attendees?


I am sharing my view on how to use the two books I have written on the topic. Creating your own power system teaches many important lessons, of value to everyone. These lessons include dispelling myths about renewable energy and learning to differentiate between energy waste and energy scarcity. There will be many examples of people getting a high standard of living from renewables, both from efficiency and from the abundance of energy available from renewable sources, but especially from waterpower.

Of course, if you have a specific potential site in mind, the experience of dozens of other people facing similar challenges would be invaluable. In addition, I'll explain a way to get involved even if you don't have a site.

Tell us about your background with your particular topic. 

I dropped out of graduate school in 1976 to work on a village scale hydroelectric system and continued on to live and work with microhydro and other renewables for many years. My wife and I founded Yalakom Appropriate Technology, an award winning renewable energy project development company, to bring our experience to a wider audience. That's why I call it the "if I knew then what I know now" workshop.

We found many barriers to renewable energy development in BC, and so founded the non profit Friends of Renewable Energy BC in 2000 to try to overcome these barriers.

Why should fairgoers attend your presentation? 

Fairgoers coming to this workshop would learn lots about energy and how to maintain a high standard of living using less. Everyone would benefit from others' experience with renewables. Energy is a professionally confused topic, with well funded rivals such as the oil industry. Only experience cuts through the propaganda. That's why anthologies are so important. Of course, if you actually have a site in mind, then this workshop would be invaluable. After all, it's the "if I knew then what I know now" perspective.

How will you get to the Fair, and how far do you have to travel? 

Well, I hope to get to the Fair in a car with others from New Society Publishers, coming from Vancouver Island across on the ferry and down 101 more or less. A four hour super scenic trip, I think.

What are you most looking forward to at the FAIR? 

I look forward to meeting the people involved. Microhydro, my subject matter, was my hobby before it was a business, so I have lots of tales to tell.

What advice do you have for attendees? 

Advice for others? I am definitely a newbie at book fairs, but I would guess that a person should also pay attention to the informal, coffee break kinds of moments as well as the interesting events.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only one thing, what would you choose? 

Well, you know, being washed ashore on a desert island is a fantasy I have had since childhood. I have kind of been washed ashore on a desert island, in the sense of being suddenly thrust into the middle of nowhere with just what's in my's a long story involving bears and wagon wrecks, but whilst I would usually say that a Swiss army knife would be my first choice generally, in the event I found that I was happiest to find a axe to build a bit of a shelter with.

Actually, I was the very happiest to see the medivac helicopter, but I think the question is more along the lines of "what gear would you like to have"...

Interested in learning more? Check out Scott's book trailer on YouTube. 


Thanks, Scott. See you at the FAIR! 


Please visit the FAIR website for more information about the Puyallup, Wash. FAIR June 4-5, and upcoming FAIRs in San Rafael, Calif. and Seven Springs, Penn. Tickets are on sale now for all fairs.

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