Acceleration – a theme from Future Earth – Research for Global Sustainability

by George A. Garland, DBA, Director, Energy Project, UNA-SNY

The Great Acceleration provides a planetary dashboard of 12 socio-economic and 12 earth system trends that help explain why we the future of the global community is now up to us. (http://www.futureearth.org/blog/2015-jan-16/great-acceleration).  Yesterday I blogged Clean Power Win. So how can we accelerate progress toward that win?  Here are some thoughts of what we might review and analyze.

Success stories – What did they do, how did they do it, what did it cost, what are the payoffs? The 3,000 plus wastewater treatment plants have a basic mission to clean water. Managing the residuals from that basic mission to generate energy, save other residuals from landfills, and reduce costs for the ratepayers is extra. Success stories which make clear the means and benefits from taking on that extra risk will ease the path for stakeholders in wastewater treatment plants to play a vital role in promoting energy efficiency and production of renewable energy.

             Peer matching – Decision makers trust other decision makers in similar positions to answer questions on concerns about things that can go right or wrong and appreciate local challenges. Public works directors trust public works directors. Mayors trust mayors. City managers trust city managers. Peer matching facilitates access to officials responsible for successful projects for those considering change.

Information exchange – Governors, State legislators, mayors, city managers, public works directors, and various professionals have annual meeting with break out sessions on topics of interest. Support break out sessions on moving waterwater treatment plants from using 3% of electricity produced in the US to producing 6% of the electricity used in the US at these annual meetings. How is a Massachusetts program to encourage anaerobic digestion working? California? Which of the 47 States which the US Environmental Protection Agency found to have energy efficiency programs are happy with their results?

Dashboard – What would a dashboard tracking success stories in achieving energy efficiency and capacity to produce renewable energy look like?

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