GOOD

Buying Renewable Power Should Be as Easy as Downloading an App

Ethical Electric, a start-up run by a veteran progressive organizer, aims to connect people with power that matches their values.


Tom Matzzie, the founder of Ethical Electric, doesn’t have a background in the energy business. If, like me, you were once signed up for the MoveOn.org email list, you’ll probably remember his name from your inbox sometime around the middle of the Iraq war. It was this experience organizing progressive campaigns that helped lead him to his current business, which aims to link progressive-minded electricity customers to renewable energy.

Matzzie started transitioning his own home to wind and solar power after his father died of cancer in 2010. His father grew up next to a coal-fired power plant, before the Clean Air Act was in place. “His whole community was poisoned by dirty power,” Matzzie says, and there seemed to be some connection between the plant and cancer in the town. “I'd been a supporter of addressing climate change and clean energy as a progressive, but it became much more personal. I didn't want to spend any more of my money on dirty energy. I wanted to only support 100% clean energy."


He started by making his house as energy-efficient as possible, then added rooftop solar panels that could cover 30 to 40 percent of his energy needs. But he found that the process of going solar, “while hugely awesome,” required patience, risk tolerance, and financial flexibility. It was hard—too hard for most people.

“My instincts as an organizer kicked in, and I thought, 'this won't scale as fast as we need,'” Matzzie says.

Matzzie also found the alternative to installing solar panels—buying clean energy from an energy supplier—trying. The web forms weren’t clear. The companies didn’t know how to talk to him as a customer. After a customer enrolled in a clean energy program, the company would fall out of touch, offering little information about its efforts to support clean energy. He felt there was room for a different type of clean energy company, one that would make switching to clean power “as easy as downloading an app or buying a book on Amazon,” he says.

That’s what Ethical Electric promises to do. In deregulated electricity markets, delivering power—maintaining the power lines and the infrastructure that make up the grid—and selling power are two different businesses. If all goes as planned, Ethical Electric will sell power sourced from renewable energy projects to customers, starting this fall in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

As a start-up, it will offer two main products: Customers will be able to match their electricity consumption with renewable energy credits tied to clean energy projects within a few hours’ drive of their home, or they can participate in “shared solar”—buy a share in a community solar installation and count the power generated there against their home electricity bill. As the company grows, Matzzie plans to start buying power directly from local wind and solar projects.

What ultimately distinguishes Matzzie’s company from another clean energy provider is its commitment to progressive values—the ethics of electricity. “Clean is too generic. Green is too generic,” Matzzie says. He wants to show customers that “yes, we’re 100% clean energy, but we represent the total ecosystem of their values and are somebody they can feel comfortable doing business with.”

And that’s where Matzzie’s experience as an online organizer can help: He knows “how to get people to do things online for a good reason,” as he puts it. “Just like we saw people moving their money, we're going to be asking people to move their power bill to a company that supports 100% clean energy."

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Theo R.

Articles
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

Culture

In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News