Alternative Energy Meetup Recap

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Despite the dreary weather last night, about 25 of us made it to the Charleston Alternative Energy Meetup at Huger’s Restaurant. These monthly meetings are hosted by local greenlebrity Ian Sanchez, and bring together a wide range of people interested in biodiesel, solar, wind, wave, and nuclear energy.

The meeting kicked off with a 30-minute presentation from Mike Arendt, a local fisheries biologist. He walked us through national solar and wind energy trends, home energy efficiency 101, and a case study on his own solar hot water installation. He is a data-driven guy, so he had wonderful facts to back up his talking points. I really liked his view that when discussing energy initiatives, the kilowatt is the base unit – not the dollar.

The second half of the meeting was an informal around-the-room discussion on various topics. I enjoyed learning about radiant barriers, the Sustainability Institute’s green home, and Andy Cohen’s used vegetable oil extraction and filtering business. Overall, it was a well-rounded, smart group of people all working towards the common goal of a sustainable future.

While this is my first meeting, I already want more. If we continue to meet like this, we’ll certainly learn a lot – but what will actually happen? I would like to see this group take action, and advocate on behalf of all Lowcountry residents to push for solar, wind, wave, and nuclear power options (instead of the massive coal plant being built in the Peedee). This is an amazing collection of minds, and I think our goal should be output, not input!

Cheers to Ian for setting this up each month – no easy task with his busy schedule, I’m sure. But he does it for the same reason we all go – passion for this planet and a desire to do more. If you feel the same way, the next meeting is on February 20th. I hope to see you there!

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