On this Earth Day 2021, VECKTA Project Development Specialist Stephen Kapp shares thoughts on the imperative need for a sustainable future. VECKTA is committed to building the renewable energy future today.
Earth Day 2021
Last night for the first time I watched Sir David Attenborough’s film released in 2020: “A Life on Our Planet.” Having enjoyed many of his narrated films over the years such as the famous Planet Earth series, this film was more personal, reflective, and…emotionally stirring. In fact, he goes on to say this is not so much (anymore) about saving our planet, but rather about “saving ourselves…” He intersperses current footage with his early films and TV documentaries as a young man in desolate locations when unspoiled wildlands were a much greater percentage of the earth’s surface, and ambient carbon dioxide emission levels were only starting to rise at an accelerating rate. Few narrators have been so eloquent and engaging as Sir David, a great educator and ambassador for our living world.
The Future In The Balance
It was, in my opinion, his capstone work (which he referred to as his “witness statement”). Having originally been enraptured by his film-series storytelling prowess complimented with exceptional videography during my college biology class, now at the end of his life (at 93 years old at the time the film was made)…his tone was different. To that end, he closed the 83 minute video with these words: “We’ve come this far, because we are the smartest creatures that have ever lived. But to continue we require more than intentions, we require wisdom.” I indirectly gained a newfound and deeper understanding of (explorer, mountaineer, conservationist, botanist) John Muir’s famous 1911 quote: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” Essentially, all of these creatures and natural processes are interconnected ecosystems across our planet. As Sir David implores, “it’s now time…to establish a life on our planet in balance with nature…”
To provide some hope and direction to viewers at the end of these annihilation-style storylines typical of environmental call-to-action initiatives (especially prominent with climate-change scenarios), Attenborough does use the time-honored recipe of closing with proactive ideas for the viewer to adopt and encourage others to aspire to. Sir David then speaks of the common carrying-capacity defined suggestions: reduce population growth, create no-fishing zones, stop eating meat, stop deforestations, achieve higher food crop yields…and move to more renewables. Of these, possibly only the latter is seen in a more positive (sun)light with the highest acceptance rate of the list, and greatest near-term potential of making a measurable impact. He further states, “Move to renewable energy and run our world on the “eternal energies of nature’ – solar, wind, water, and geothermal energy…Renewable energy will be more affordable, cities will be cleaner and quieter, and renewables never run out.”
Working Today For A Green Tomorrow
Pew Research Center surveys show almost 80% of Americans really want green energy such as solar and wind (across all political lines), 15% more than a decade ago. With the power sector accounting for about 30% of U.S. greenhouse emissions, addressing this aspect has become increasingly important. For example, this trend has also greatly accelerated the model of Community Choice Aggregators (CCA’s) – especially in California. Fostering the ability for consumers to obtain a higher percentage of renewable power than their prevailing electric utility, CCA’s are typically providing over 50-65% renewables (and sometimes 100% renewable power) in the electricity supply mix. These efforts are indeed part of the mix of solutions, but achieving them requires a new set of insights, tools, processes and technologies to get to where we believe we need to go. For example, these renewable resources are much more variable than our traditional, high-density fossil fuels or nuclear power plants, and need “firming” such as storage systems and smarter monitoring and control optimization systems to obtain the simultaneous yet sometimes conflicting goals of reduced emissions, high reliability, resilience in the face of planned and unplanned events, minimal environmental and community impacts, and lower operating costs over the long term.
At VECKTA, our focus and mission is to address the challenges and opportunities in powering our grids, communities, homes, businesses, and infrastructure – and bringing dispersed parties together towards that end. It is heartening that we can contribute towards positive energy solutions with purpose by seeking to innovate, challenge limits and prioritize marketplace collaborations. As our automobiles and mobility vehicles have transitioned from internal combustion engines (ICE) to electric/ICE hybrids and are now increasingly fully electric, so too is the journey for our power and energy systems. There is an unwavering intent of our team to provide cost savings, emissions reductions, resilience & reliability, and safety & security associated with our advanced platform. In fact, we are indeed harnessing the “eternal energies of nature” whenever possible by fostering the development of optimized and intelligent distributed generation systems to accelerate the next energy transition. In closing, VECKTA is earnestly doing its part to strive for a “balance with nature” as we pursue sustainable projects and initiatives together.