Are We Putting the Renewable Energy Cart before the Horse?

| 11/27/2009 11:52:00 AM

There’s a ton of activity right now aimed at increasing the number of renewable energy educators and trained installers throughout the United States, admittedly, even at educational institutes like mine, The Evergreen Institute’s Center for Renewable Energy and Green Building.

As important and exciting as this training is, I’m afraid we’re putting way too much of our energy into the creation of a well-educated pool of teachers and renewable energy professionals and nowhere near enough energy into creating market demand. We’re training professionals, but not creating anywhere near enough interest among potential homeowners and business owners – people who could benefit greatly from efficiency and renewable energy.

Bottom line: I’m afraid that, after a brief surge in enrollments in courses, many programs are going to wither and die. Why?
I am concerned that recent graduates of our programs will be terribly disappointed when they cannot find jobs in energy efficiency, solar electricity, wind energy, or other renewable energy fields.

To resolve this potential problem, The Evergreen Institute is embarking on an active campaign to bring the message to the people, notably that energy efficiency and renewable energy systems can make sense – on a variety of levels, economics being one of them. We’re even offering some free workshops to get people interested in what’s available!

I’d strongly urge others to join in on this vital work. Without public awareness of the many social, environmental and, of course, personal economic benefits of efficiency and renewable energy, this amazing upsurge in educational opportunities could die young – very young indeed!

Contributing editor Dan Chiras is a renewable energy and green homes expert who has spent a lifetime learning life’s lessons, which he shares in his popular blog, Dan Chiras on Loving Life. He’s the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute and president of Sustainable Systems Design. Contact him by visiting his website or finding him on .

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