Renewable Energy
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Community Forum

Whether your community is 

     geographical (a neighborhood, town, or peninsula),
     organizational (a club, union, or society), or
     philosophical (with an interest in spirituality, arts, or academics), 

a dynamic exists in the relationship of community to the rest of the world. 
The rest of the world is changing, particularly in terms of economics, energy, and environment.  This forum invites all communities and their members to participate in a populist movement toward balancing the local with the global, the popular with the corporate, and one community with another.  Solar energy will be the central theme, as you will see.

Jumping to the community at large - the Earth - may we recommend reading Oliver Morton's "Eating the Sun" - How Plants Power the Planet" c.2008..."Eating the Sun is a call to arms.  Only by understanding photosynthesis and the flows of energy it causes can we hope to understand the depth and subtlety of the current crisis in the planet's climate.  What's more, nature's greatest energy technology [photosynthesis] may yet inspire the breakthroughs we need to flourish without such climatic chaos in the century to come."

 Bottom Line: Global Heating will mean a food crisis

Despite climate changes affecting the ocean levels and rain patterns, the fundamentally worst impact to life is a crisis in food supply, as the cycles of nature - Carbon, Nitrogen, Hydrological, and more - will change, impacting the evolution, production, and nutrition of plants we eat.  Hmm.

Sol Ecole at Solar Motive in Port Townsend opened its 2010 workshop series...
   January 9 Solar PV (Residential & Commercial Aspects)
   January 16 Electric Bikes
   January 23 Wind Power
   January 30 Solar Thermal
Classes will be offered again, so stay tuned.

FYI - The Emergency Resource Guide can help you plan and prepare for emergencies in the broad sense...prepare for terrorism - bomb threats, radiation exposure, and chemical agents, prepare for biological agents - anthrax, botulism, pneumonic plague, smallpox, tularemia, and viral fevers, and prepare for nature - earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, floods, landslides, mud flows, hot weather, the West Nile Virus, windstorms, and winter storms (like the one we had this past winter of 2006-2007 in Washington State).  Such preparedness may facilitate finding ways to reduce energy dependency and consumption!   From DOH Publication #750-115 Revised January 2007.

Jonathan has been traveling again, seen recently at a community college:

Community colleges are bringing solar demonstrations to campus, along with updated curricula to train the next generation of technicians. [Jonathan]

On the subjet of "resources", we should all know and understand the Jevons Paradox....

The more efficiently we use a limited resource, the more of that resource we will use.

This applies to one of the biggest trends today - scrapping old clunkers and buying fuel efficient cars.  The result of our nation's push toward fuel efficient cars will actually result in our further consumption of oil, the very well known limited resource of the modern age.  The company's founder thinks of this paradox every time he "fills up" his electric vehicle with free solar energy.  The electrification of the US transportation system can not occur fast enough.


Port Townsend, WA

The E.F. Schumacher Society has a commitment to local economies.  Review their website,, and know the universality of the issues we face here locally, in our communities, while realizing that sustainability is just as much about our relationship to others as it is about our relationship to the earth.

OES' Jonathan Clemens returned from Massachusetts, where he was photographed in Hull, MA, in front of their very own wind turbine.

       Jonathan in Hull, MA (near Hingham, south of Boston, MA)

Is this a form of Community-Supported Energy, or CSE?  If Renewable Energy is to really have an impact on sustainable communities, there must be strong community support and local ownership.  An organization that knows that quite well is Community Solutions of Yellow Springs, Ohio.  Jonathan's philosophy, and that of Olympic Energy Systems, is community-oriented.  Jonathan does not "push" or "hard sell" solar energy products (which are mostly made in distant places), as he is trying to 1) build local solutions and local know how, and 2) grow the local solar energy industry on the North Olympic Peninsula using the existing contracting community and with a wise use of our, and individual's, limited resources.

Throughout the OES website you see references to LOCAL businesses the company is working alongside.  Ultimately, we need to relocalize our basic necessities of food, shelter, and energy...themes OES is already developing...the role of Grange and local food education, SIP buildings and the potential of Zero Energy Buildings, and local solar energy systems sized appropriately and developed after first establishing energy savings and conservation.

Ever see a strip mine for COAL?  Our founder saw this in Gillette, WY...

A relevant ANNOUNCEMENT...

The Amish (of Indiana) already get the idea of harvesting the sun...

Many thanks to local artist Marty David, who answered a commission to paint the office of Olympic Energy Systems...

            308 - 10th Street

We have a retail store in Port Townsend, Washington, near the Boat Haven entrance, with electrical components, solar equipment, books, parts, electric bikes and more.  Solar Motive has been a significant player in support of the solar movement in the region, offering a collaborative network of solar owners, enthusiasts and professionals.  The store is evolving into a Solar Design Center.  So stop in or call, (360) 385-7477.

Left over from our old home page...News, etc.

In 2009 and on, the North Olympic Peninsula will need:

What does a sound renewable energy future involve?

  • Acquiring Awareness and Knowledge (about energy, the earth, science, and society)
  • Living to Principles of Sustainability

          Such as Alan Durning's summarized principles: 1) Put Safety First, 2) Measure What Matters,
             3) Let Prices Reflect Costs, 4) Build Compact Communities, and 5) Make Every Child Wanted

  • Insisting on Reasonable Economic Returns (in our personal and collective investments)
  • Promoting Public-serving Policies (in government and institutions)

And now back to matters of energy and economics...

Federal Tax Credits available! $150 Furnace, $200 Windows, $300 Water Heater, $500 Insulation, AND 30% (uncapped) for Solar Panels (Photovoltaic or Thermal).  Use FORM 5695 (w/ IRS Form 1040).

Washington State residents now enjoy a sales tax exemption on solar hot water systems, as well as solar electric systems!  Access the Leglislation List for legislators in Washington State, to say hello and thank them for their work in supporting renewable energy.

A 30% Federal Tax Credit (previously to a cap of $2,000 for residential systems), for the cost of solar photovoltaic and solar hot water systems, will be available for systems put into service between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2007, recently extended to 2008, and now uncapped!  OES has developed its Renewable Energy Cost Model (RCM), first available in Summer 2004, helpful to those considering RE solutions to their energy needs.  The RCM can illustrate the savings resulting from passage of the Senate Bills SB 5101 and SB 5111 and The Energy Policy Act of 2005.  For an RCM description, click RCM Abstract or see our page.

Simply, a host of solar incentives are available, including Net Metering, Federal Tax Credits, Utility Rebates, Production Payments (by Utilities), and Green Tag Subsidies.  The Federal Tax Credits and Utility Rebates apply to solar thermal systems, as well as solar PV.

A positive Present Worth (which you get with the available incentives) is like receiving a bonus for investing in a solar energy system.  The (System Cost) capital, if it were to sit in a bank account, would have a Present Worth of zero.

For FREE informational charts on Solar PV Grid-Tie System Planning and Site Evaluation, click System Planning, presented at the recent Grid-Tied Solar Electric System as Energy Supplement Workshop in Port Hadlock, Washington.

Going back a few years to The Beginning...(we see why clean coal and nuclear energy were emphasized in the Bush Energy Plan of 2001, for they represent the lea$t co$t paths to replacing diminishing supplies of oil)...




Olympic Energy's Jonathan Clemens snaps a self-portrait in front of First Energy's Nuclear Power Station in Northwest Ohio (on Lake Erie), known since the early 1970's as Davis-Besse.  The cooling tower can be seen from all of the Lake Erie islands to the north.

A 6 inch deep hole, into the 6 1/2 inch thich carbon steel pressure vessel at Davis-Besse, was discovered in February 2002, a result of the presence of boric acid (from the boron in the cooling water) was further found that the sump system in the containment building was inoperative. 

If the 1/2 inch of steel had failed, high pressure radioactive water would have escaped from the reactor vessel and, with the backup cooling inoperative, would have likely led to a meltdown.

As of 2006, there are 435 operating nuclear power plants in the world, with 29 currently under construction.  Plans are in place for several dozen more plants.  The 103 US nuclear plants provide about 20% of the US electricity, while the 86 in France provide 80% of that country's electricity.  The fastest construction rates will be in India and China.  Most of the uranium fuel is produced in Canada and Australia, with Russia fast becoming the world's production leader.  The emergency shutdown of 4 of (Forsmark) Sweden's ten nuclear power plants in the summer of 2006 reminded the world of the dire safety concerns with nuclear power generation.

Solar energy products are FOR SALE, each and every day...

Any solar energy product or system component available on the retail market - NEW

(OES will get it for you at competitive prices...PV panels, inverters, charge controllers, batteries, mounting systems, solar trackers, etc.)

Trace Equipment Rack $100 (good for mounting inverters, breakers, etc.) - USED
SOLD! Electric Generating Equipment $3,500 (50 KW Generator and Turbine) - USED
FOR SALE Southwest Windpower Whisper H40 Wind Turbine Kit w/ Pole, $1500 - USED
FOR SALE Structures To Go 8 x 12 Shed, $2,000 - NEW

      and more For Sale

ATTENTION:  Electrical and General opportunity awaits you

Let Olympic Energy Systems assist you in acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to install Solar Photovoltaic systems.  These alternative energy systems are increasingly a part of daily life, an adjunct to the electrical systems and components you already install everyday.

Take the steps to provide this valuable service to your clients of installing solar PV and be a part of a thriving trend.  JOIN the Olympic Energy Network to partner with Olympic Energy Systems for an expanded business offering, increased business, and improved economic security for the future.  The Olympic Energy Network is a system for connecting prospective solar energy system owners with capable and available contractors for installation, while facilitating equal opportunity for all electrical contractors to participate.

Solar Workshops in Washington State in Spring and Fall...

See for details.  A few days or a week (of class combined with field work) and you gain an education that can support your goal of becoming a solar contractor!



  • OES welcomes Mark Gilbert to its staff, helping with consultations.
  • OES now has a Product Development group in Ohio, focusing on Buildings, Transportation Systems, and efforts in R&D.
  • SOLAR 2007 was in Cleveland, Ohio July 7 - 12  "Sustainable Energy Puts America To Work"  Olympic Energy Systems was there, as our founder studied engineering at CWRU in Cleveland and attended SOLAR 1999 in Portland. We are planning to attend SOLAR 2009 in Buffalo, NY May 13-16.


         Jonathan on Amtrak!   Cleveland, Ohio        The Heliodon (a tool)    Exhibit Hall

  • Pick up your free copy of the "Emergency Resource Guide" (Call us at  360-379-2536  360-379-2536 or contact the Department of Health at
  • Free SOLAR ENERGY FAIR @ Quimper Grange Port Townsend TBA
  • FM 94.9 in Seattle on November 28 hosted a discussion of Washington State's I-937 (RE Portfolio Standard Bill), featuring US Representative Jay Inslee, who believes our energy focus should be on Global Warming, Jobs, and Farmers.  2nd generation ethanol will use cellulosic technology.  Yea!  Our state's solar advocate, Mike Nelson, weighed in with optimism that PV modules will be made in Washington soon, per the goal of SB 5101/5111.
  • Clallam County PUD now offers rebates ($$$) for Solar PV Systems
  • ATTENTION CONTRACTORS! Solar Workshops on Guemes Island, WA every Fall and Spring - see or for details...a few days or a week and you gain a wealth of information!
  • The Annapurna Center for Self-Healing gets its first  Solar Hot Water System 
  • A Sequim retiree gets his first Solar Hot Water Pre-Heat System
  • OES participated in the 1st Annual Renewable Energy Symposium and Expo in Everett, Washington on Saturday August 19, 2006
  • OES is happy to refer earth-friendly folks to the Ancient Earth School of Natural Building on Whidbey Island, Washington - we have similar goals for sustainability
  • Did you know? Biomass has overtaken hydropower as the leading source of renewable energy in the US, per the Farm Foundation.
  • National Solar Tour SAT October 7, 2006 was here - thanks ASES!
    See for details.
  • The Marblemount Hydro Project gets its yearly maintenance...see the new paint
  • The Lake Sutherland Hydro Project received its new turbine/generator gear
  • The Olson Creek Hydro Project begins its preliminary design phase
  • SIP buildings are on the rise in the Puget Sound region - two recently went up on Whidbey Island.  The kits were made in Port Angeles, Washington.
  • The new main office of Olympic Energy Systems is complete...walls, floor, roof are SIPs



 Whidbey Is.

The Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) building is strong, well-insulated, and fast to fab on site.


Ralph Nader, well-known consumer advocate, has this to say about the United States:

"I think the country needs a transportation system that doesn't just cater to a few powerful vested interests like the auto industry, oil industry, or the tire industry, the asphalt and concrete industries.  That means, we need a transportation system with the most modern technology that will be convenient, safe, energy efficient, less polluting, respectful of land uses, and above all, able to transport people short and longer distances in metropolitan and suburban areas in a reliable fashion."

Taking the train (on Amtrak's Empire Builder or Sunset Limited) across the US uses about 1/4 of the fuel per person as that used when flying.  CALL 1-800-US-RAIL or go to


If we have to have cars, then we ought to have energy efficient ones, so review for great information on that common sensical, yet innovative, effort.

To those who have ventured to this point, let us introduce you to the Washington Grange.  If you have ever wondered about those nicely-kept, country-ish buildings in many of the state's towns and rural areas, these are local granges.  They are part of a long-established, progressive organization, at the local, state and national levels, who look out for the interests of rural communities and of the well-being of everyone.  Olympic Energy Systems is located in Port Townsend, Washington.  Its Quimper Grange proudly stands at 1219 Corona Street.  Contact us if you are interested or wish more information.

"The Role of Grange in the Post Peak Oil World"

Quimper Grange Garden:  Squash, Beans, Tomatoes, Kale, Corn and more...

If you are a farmer or are vitally interested in the health of our agricultural system, then you should know about the incentives in the National Energy Policy Act of 2005 and grants provided by the US Department of Agriculture.  You should also know that energy and energy security are primary concerns of The Grange.  Membership in The Grange can provide you an opportunity to make a very real contribution to a sustainable energy (and agricultural) future.


OES at Earthday 2006 in Port Townsend; Our new office building was manufactured by Structures Tech of Port Angeles and distributed through Structures To Go - a Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) based design providing energy efficiency, durability, modest price; This is our meet and greet room.

Quimper Grange #720 is a part of the Washington State Grange founded in 1889, which is yet part of the originating National Grange (formally, the Patrons of Husbandry) founded in 1867.  This community-oriented organization is moving forward in new ways to meet modern needs, while maintaining its self-styled character of "green" and organic.

Quimper Grange #720
1219 Corona Street (end of Sheridan)
P.O. Box 1844
Port Townsend, WA 98368

The Grange is:

  • Progresssive and Non-Partisan
  • A Social and Educational organization
  • Preserves the interests of "rural" communities
  • Family-oriented
  • Not just for farmers
  • Not a religious organization
  • Releases an annual Legislative Handbook
  • Believes in One Voice One Vote

The effort put into the 2008 Grange Garden at the Quimper Grange Hall in Port Townsend is almost entirely that of a group of young and spirited members of the community, whose dedication to the cause of local food production and learning is admirable.  Thanks!

BOOK REVIEW (old, but not outdated...)

"Cultivating Agricultural Literacy: Challenge For The Liberal Arts"
by W.K. Kellogg Foundation, January 1985

Beginning in 1976, the foundation began to encourage the incorporation of education on food, agriculture, and natural resources in liberal arts undergraduate cirricula.  The goal:
foster awareness and understanding about the role of agriculture to the nation and world -
to look at agricultural issues in the context of society's broad goals.

By the 1980's...

<3% of US population live on farms
>90% of US population have been non-farm for over 30 years
>80% of US population are employed in jobs with no connection to agriculture, including processing, distribution, or equipment manufacture or supply

Of 13 million students in college, only 152,000 are majoring in Ag disciplines.

Introduce (in addition to the basic and "conventional" ag ed) concepts of sustainability, local buying, and organic farming and one sees the importance of a liberal arts education including the broad issues of the day - an educated population predisposed to change and progress and prepared to make decisions with the greater context in mind.  [JAC] 

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