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The EPA Proposes Carbon Pollution Standards for New Power Plants

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As we all know, the government is currently shutdown. But, once those 700,000 federal employees are back to their regular grind, things will pick up right where they left off (well, we hope). So, we’re digging into the EPA’s proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants.

On September 20th, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed carbon-pollution standards for future coal and natural gas power plants. This was the EPA’s first step in moving forward on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan announced this past June. Currently, about one third of all greenhouse gas pollution in the U.S. comes from electricity generation at power plants.

When presenting the EPA’s proposal, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy commented “Climate Change is one of the most significant public health challenges of our time. By taking commonsense action to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, we can slow the effects of climate change and fulfill our obligation to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our children.”
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McCabe’s Cooks up a Sustainable Future

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McCabe’s Restaurant in Hampden is taking on sustainable dining one dish at a time. After reading a review on Yelp which described McCabe’s as having “…soul of a West Village gastropub”, we had to learn more. We sat down with Cora Flynn, General Manager to discover all the different ways this Hampden gem is embracing sustainable dining.

CC: Why did you think it was important to support clean, renewable wind energy?

CF: We feel it is important to support clean, renewable wind energy because we are invested in the future for our children and would like them to live in an environment that is healthy and viable.  Choosing a sustainable resource is just one way in which we feel we are reducing our impact globally and locally.

CC: Why did you pick Clean Currents?

CF: We chose Clean Currents because it is community oriented, an environmentally responsible choice and it was surprisingly affordable.
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Winners Chosen in “Lots of Power”, A Contest to Transform Vacant Lots

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Teams made up of teens and design professionals from throughout the Philadelphia region

Two winners have been chosen in “Lots of Power,” an initiative sponsored by wind power company Clean Currents  focused on one of Philadelphia’s greatest problems, vacant lots. Over a six-week period, five teams of high-school age students and professional designers and architects have developed innovative concepts for specific vacant lots in Kensington.  The two winning concepts–one chosen by a panel of jurors, and another by the public, via social media–will receive a grant provided by Clean Currents to be implemented.

“Lots of Power came directly from conversations that we had with Philadelphia residents, many of whom named vacant land as one of the largest problems in their communities,” said Gary Skulnik, President of Clean Currents. “We had five outstanding concepts submitted, and we are confident that the winning concepts will help transform their neighborhoods in a way that benefits everyone.”

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The Wind Beneath Blackbird Pizzeria’s Wings

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Three years ago today, Mark Mebus and Ryan Moylan opened Blackbird Pizzeria, a (that’s right you guessed it) 100% vegan restaurant specializing in pizza that dabbles in sandwiches, salads, and wings (okay, maybe you did not guess the vegan part).  More than just a niche market endeavor, Mark and Ryan set out to create an extension of themselves as individuals.

Blackbird Pizzeria began to manifest itself about 15 years ago when Mark made the decision to become vegan.  He also attended the Natural Gourmet School in New York and has worked in two vegan restaurants over the last decade.  His partner, Ryan Moylan, a graphic designer educated at the School of Visual Arts in New York is also vegan–so there was really no question in their mind that their restaurant would be vegan.

There was also no question of whether or not Blackbird would run on clean, renewable energy.  With a commitment to sustainability, and a little peer pressure from their circle of friends, Mark and Ryan now run Blackbird on 100% wind power.  In addition, the restaurant sources from local farms, uses compostable packaging, turns used fry oil into biodiesel, and recycles and composts when possible.  “We feel as though everyone should be considering the environment”, Mark explains.
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Forming a Green Generation

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The Alpert Family Aleph Bet Jewish Day School has some really fantastic sustainability initiatives on campus! Head of School Nan Jarashow spoke with us, familiarizing us with this impressive new member of the Clean Currents family.

Aleph Bet is a tight-knit community, educating fewer than 40 elementary students. In 2011, they moved into a new facility, and sustainability started taking precedence. They immediately strove for Maryland Green School certification, which they achieved in 2012. This program assesses factors such as facility construction and operations, curriculum, and school practices.

Aleph Bet dove head first into involving the young student body, getting them excited for clean practices and sustainability. The school focuses on waste, educating students to separate everything between trash, recycling, and compost. Nan told us of a particularly feisty first grade girl who is now “the recycling police” and heartily reprimands anyone who even considers incorrectly disposing of something!
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Electricity Deregulation

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Customer Choice in a Deregulated Electricity Market

Nineteen states – including Maryland, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania – have deregulated electricity markets.  Deregulation segments the three main components of electricity service (GenerationTransmission, and Distribution) and allows competitive suppliers like Clean Currents to take part in the process.  The competition that results from deregulation benefits customers by offering new electricity products (like wind power) and various price options.  Customers still have the option of remaining on their utility’s Standard Offer Service (SOS), but as more people realize they have a choice when it comes to their electric supplier, more are taking the initiative to make the switch.

 

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Catering Wherever the Wind Blows

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The pioneering spirit runs strong in the Wool family. Mitch Wool owns The Bean Bag Deli & Catering in Rockville. Although the deli moved locations several times, the Wool family has been in business for 36 years! When his parents started the company in the late 1970′s, there were only three coffee shops in the entire DC area, making them, in Mitch’s words, “true pioneers”. This entrepreneurial spirit clearly passed to the next generation; not only is Mitch a pioneer of clean energy as a customer of Clean Currents, he continually drives his family’s business in diverse new directions.

Although loyal lunch customers visit the deli itself, catering has become the business’ most dynamic and exciting aspect. The Bean Bag fills virtually any request, from mobile espresso bars to tantalizing sandwich menus to specialty donut stations. Often, Mitch even accommodates customers’ requests for uncommon, off-the-menu items. This includes teaching himself how to prepare crab and purchasing the necessary equipment for an omelet bar!
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Awards & Recognition

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It’s nice to be recognized for our leadership in empowering businesses and individuals to support clean energy. Here is where we brag a little:

B Corp – 2013 Best for the World, Environmental Impact

Green America – People & Planet Award Fall 2012

Renewable Energy Markets – Best Marketing Campaign by a Green Power Supplier 2011

#196 in Inc. Magazine’s 2011 List of 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America

The Gazette of Politics and Business 2011 P&B53 List of Exceptional Companies

B Corp, Rookie of the Year and Double Dip Award 2011
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Why Support Clean Renewable Wind Power?

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Clean Currents notes four major rationales for supporting renewable energy:

Energy Security & Independence:

Supplies of fossil fuels that power our automobiles and electric generators come from increasingly unstable parts of the world.  Although most coal power that is used to generate electricity in the United States comes from domestic sources, a large percentage of the oil, diesel, and natural gas that is used to supply our electric generators comes from abroad.  Abundant and free wind and sun grace our country and we should harness it in order to secure a more stable energy future.

Decrease Air Pollution & Ecosystem Destruction:

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Bedrock Billiards – Racking up the Savings

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Tucked away on Columbia Road behind the bustling main drag of Adams Morgan’s 18th Street sits Bedrock Billiards.  This neighborhood favorite is constantly bustling with patrons venturing in to enjoy the craft beers on tap, shuffle board table, large TVs playing whatever sports are in season, and of course the billiards tables.

Keeping this show running is no easy task. It  requires a lot of energy both in the form of General Manager Ben Fiske’s attention, and in the kind that keeps the lights on and the beer cold.

At Clean Currents, we monitor our customers’ energy use patterns to help identify large changes. We noticed a large drop over a 2-year period in Bedrock Billiards’ energy use and decided to investigate.

Turns out Bedrock Billiards was tired of wasting money on high energy bills and chose to do something about it. Through a mix of big and small changes, they were able to bring down their electricity bill by about $200 a month.
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Our Green Commitment

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At Clean Currents, we believe that businesses have a responsibility to protect and improve the natural environment while conducting their operations.

Our commitment to environmental stewardship runs through all facets of our operations, including:

  • Offsetting all of our electric, operational, and travel-related greenhouse gas emissions
  • Purchasing environmentally friendly products
  • Providing a green benefits package to employees
  • Maximizing energy-efficiency in the office
  • Recycling all office-related materials
  • Supporting sustainable business partners and associations
  • Lobbying for positive environmental legislation

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Honoring the Body, Spirit and Environment

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When speaking with Anthony V. Wojnar D.D., RMT, founder and Senior Teacher & Practitioner at Life Holistic Center, the tranquility of the man is immediately apparent. He is deliberate and insightful, revealing layers of meaning throughout our conversation.

Anthony is a reiki master. Reiki is a spiritual practice that connects the human consciousness with the energy of the universe by drawing it through the crown chakra and channeling through the palms. Reiki can promote healing on many levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual, while also helping with relaxation, stress and pain relief.

In our conversation with Anthony, there was plenty of cause for reflection. He described his journey to self healing when conventional medicine was ineffective against his chronic fatigue. Anthony now runs his practice from his newly constructed Violet Studio- which is attached to his residence- not only working to heal individuals, but also taking on students with whom he shares the teachings of reiki.
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Wine and Wind

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A staple of the Silver Spring community will soon celebrate its tenth anniversary. Adega Wine Cellars & Café opened its doors in August 2003, and has been satisfying customers’ cravings for tasty food and spectacularly curated wines and beers ever since. In honor of this exciting milestone, we spoke with manager Jarrod Jabre.

Immediately upon entering the café, I could tell that this was different than any other place I have been. The atmosphere is open and spacious, yet quaint. Their extensive selection of wine and beer is displayed throughout the dining area, resulting in a very cool, laid-back vibe. The chalk-written menu indicates fresh food made with care, and many of the wines represent local Maryland vineyards.

Jarrod is the face of the company. With the support of owner Walter Rhee, he is a driving force behind much of Adega’s efforts. Not only did he spearhead the process of converting both his home and Adega to Clean Currents wind energy, but he also oversaw the café’s switch to entirely biodegradable to-go materials.
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The Home-Business Connection

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Entrepreneur Bob London embodies the link between sustainability in business and in personal life. Bob has a stellar, forward-thinking disposition. As a senior marketing executive for several large companies over the years, Bob recognized small and medium businesses’ need for marketing expertise and leadership, despite lacking the funds to hire a full-time executive. From this, London, Ink was born.

Through his business-to-business consulting firm, companies have access to Bob’s marketing expertise without the expense and risk of hiring a full-time senior marketing executive. Bob calls his role “Virtual VP of Marketing,” –sometimes referred to as “Outsourced Chief Marketing Officer” or CMO–allowing him to serve companies on an interim basis and explore these clients in order to determine the best marketing approach for them. The increased flexibility of having a portfolio rather than a single employer allows Bob to work out of his home.

He found the inspiration to make the switch to wind power from his children. Bob’s two sons are increasingly conscious of sustainability issues, from food ethics to pollution. Bob cites his children’s engagement as motivation; he wants to live a life that makes his kids proud.
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Lots of Power

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When Clean Currents opened in Philadelphia, we wanted to learn more about the challenges facing our new city’s neighborhoods.

The answer: Vacant Lots

About the Project

Lots of Power brings high-school-age youth together with creative professionals – including architects and designers – to develop innovative ways to use vacant lots for the benefit of the Kensington community.  Over six weeks, teams will examine sustainable uses for vacant lots that will improve the community.

Two winning concepts will be chosen through a jury process and public voting this fall.  Two teams will recieve grants to implement their projects – giving them the power to be the change in their community.

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What are Renewable Energy Certificates (recs)?

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What is a REC?

A REC stands for a Renewable Energy Certificate. RECs were created by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as tools to track the environmental benefits associated with renewable energy.  One REC is equivalent to 1000 kWh of renewable energy produced – which is roughly the amount of energy that an average single-family home in the Mid-Atlantic consumes in one month.  When a renewable energy generator such as a wind farm produces electricity, it places that electricity onto the electric grid.  The electric grid collects electricity from all power generators (coal, oil, natural gas, wind farms, nuclear reactors, hydro dams, solar panel fields, etc).  This aggregated electricity is then transmitted through wires to homes and businesses.

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Fabulous Food and Fun at Eat Local First Week

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Clean Currents staff with Ben’s Chili Bowl’s Nizam Ali

It’s summer in DC and that means two things: It’s really, really hot and there’s a smorgasbord of delicious local food. That’s why we can’t wait for Eat Local First Week July 22-28th. Eat Local First Week is part of Think Local First DC’s campaign promoting a sustainable AND local economy. The event is a week-long celebration of local food and restaurants.

This year’s theme is “Crops, Commerce and Community: How Local Food Grows a City”, and the week is packed with events. Tours of edible gardens, “Femivore Talks”, and brewery tasting all topped off with the Farm-to-Street Party at the end of the week.

Since we love all things local, Clean Currents is donating $30 to Think Local First for each household that switches to wind power before July 31st. By switching to wind power with Clean Currents, you’re not only keeping our air cleaner but also supporting the local economy.

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Meet Dave Greene

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Hey, I’m Dave Greene.

By now you’ve probably realized I’m a pretty odd guy. I’m always out at community events, shopping at the farmer’s market on East Passyunk, getting into some harebrained scheme to make my life more sustainable–but have you ever actually seen me?

If you have, you should probably get that noggin of yours checked out because this here Philly dude does not *actually* exist. Not in the way you do. You see, I am the child–the brainchild, if you will–of a loving company: Clean Currents.

The folks at Clean Currents took one look at our fair city of Philadelphia and said, that there’s an awesome city, and we’re gonna offer it some green wind power. But, it’s not just about green energy — there are many ways to get your green on. So how does a company make green living easier? How does a badass group of people with a badass product and more integrity than my carbon fiber bike frame get Philadelphians to live green and have a little fun at the same time?

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Green-e Energy Certified Wind Power

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What is Green-e Energy?

Clean Currents offers wind power sourced from both local and national sources and is the ONLY energy company in the Mid-Atlantic region to exclusively offer products that are Green-e Energy certified.

Established and administered by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions, Green-e Energy is a certification standard that ensures that a renewable energy product meets strict environmental and consumer protection standards.  When you choose Clean Currents wind power you can be assured that:

  • You are supporting new renewable resources: The windmill, that produced your renewable energy was built since 1997
  • There has been no double selling: You are the only one that can claim the benefits of the wind power you purchased; these benefits include the fact that renewable energy produces little or no greenhouse gas emissions
  • Your purchase goes beyond business as usual: You are buying renewable energy beyond what is required by law or claimed within a state mandate, and are helping expand the production of domestic renewable energy

For more information on Green-e Energy certification, call 1-888-63-GREEN or visit www.green-e.org.

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More Clean Energy on the Horizon for Maryland

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A new wave of clean energy production is coming to Maryland, from just off the state’s shores. In accordance with the Offshore Wind Energy Act of this April, 40 new wind turbines will be constructed off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. The project is projected to be completed by 2018, and is a big step in meeting the state’s green energy goals.

A Green State on the Rise

According to a recent Clean Edge study, Maryland is currently 25th in the nation for supporting clean energy development. As a home state to many of Clean Currents’ 10,000 individual and 3,000 commercial customers and with the Offshore Wind Act in place, it’s clear that Maryland is fighting to rise in those rankings. The new turbines will certainly be putting wind in the sails of Maryland’s fight against climate change. This installation alone could reduce annual carbon emissions by 378,000 tons.

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Testifying to Protect our Customers

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Clean Currents’ own Claire Douglass testifying to protect customer rights

Clean Currents testifed at the DC Public Service Commission (DC PSC) hearing on deceptive marketing and sales practices by alternative energy suppliers.

Complaints about deceptive marketing practices by alternative energy suppliers have skyrocketed over the past few years, prompting a hearing. Many of our customers have faced issues with other alternative energy suppliers, ranging from being enrolled without consent to being unable to cancel their contract. We find these practices unacceptable and are calling on the Public Service Commission to do something about it.

We are asking the DC Public Service Commission to institute higher standards for transparency and accountability to ensure consumer protection among alternative energy suppliers operating in the District of Columbia.

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Conscious Corner: Multiple Paths to Healthy Living

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Wind powered Conscious Corner is a family of stores and a restaurant that are dedicated to healthy living. The cornerstone of the shopping experience is Roots Market (2 locations) which offers a wide selection of natural food products. Conscious Corner also includes, Boulder (1 location), Nest (1 location), Great Sage, and Bark (5 locations).

We sat down with Kathryn Hamilton who handles marketing for Conscious Corner to learn more about the values that drive this unique shopping opportunity.

CC: Why did you think it was important to support clean, renewable wind energy?

KH: Conscious Corner firmly believes in living and consuming consciously. As our mission statement says, we are passionate about the planet we share and strive to adopt policies and programs that align with our mission, such as wind power.

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Clean Currents Solar PPA

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A Clean Currents Solar PPA Puts Affordable Solar Power Within Your Reach

Protect Your Family Against Rising Energy Costs

With a Clean Currents Solar PPA, you pay us for the power your solar system produces each month, but at a rate that can be lower than your current utility rates.

Get All Your Clean Energy on One Convenient Bill

There’s no hassle of going to different vendors.  With a Clean Currents Solar PPA, you get your on-site solar power and your grid-delivered wind power all on the same bill!

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“Sometimes a girl’s gotta have some chocolate!” – Carrie Underwood

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Are you like Carrie Underwood and need to have your chocolate fix? Now you can feel a little less guilty as you partake in all the wonders of chocolate. The artisan factory of SPAGnVOLA Chocolatier is wind powered by Clean Currents!

Sustainability is key, from the actual growing of the cacao beans to the roasting and finally, the beautiful chocolate creations. SPAGnVOLA grows the cacao beans at their estate in Hato Mayor Del Rey, Dominican Republic and their Gaithersburg factory is where all the magic happens.

We sat down with Laura Brooks to learn more about SPAGnVOLA and why the environment is important.

CC: Why did you think it was important to support clean, renewable wind energy?

LB: Clean energy is important because it follows SPAGnVOLA’s philosophy of clean and sustainable practices.

CC: Why did you pick Clean Currents?

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Clean Currents: The Matchmaking Business

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Bikers rest after a morning of touring Baltimore’s parks

True love blossomed between wind powered businesses at the Tour Dem Parks, Hon annual bike ride. Clean Currents came out to feed weary athletes pedaling their way through Baltimore’s parks.

Riders young and old got to enjoy a taste of Michele’s Granola and B’more Organic’s drinkable yogurt. B’more Organic operates around their core values of generosity and sustainability – they donate 10% of all profits to the charity Jodi’s Climb for Hope. Michele’s Granola, – named after founder Michele Thornett- sells wholesome, mind-blowingly delicious granola, which happen to make excellent energy-boosting snacks in the middle of a long bike ride.
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States Take Charge on Clean Energy

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Christie Johnson is the summer Customer Engagement Intern at Clean Currents. She is a rising junior in the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service with a concentration in Environment & Energy studies.

I was skeptical. Entering the briefing “State Clean Energy Initiatives and the Value of Federal-State Partnerships”, I had no preexisting knowledge of state sustainability efforts. As excited as I was to attend, I was prepared to be wholly underwhelmed. My expectations were completely surpassed.

Representatives from across the U.S.- literally from Alaska to Massachusetts- spoke about clean energy ventures in their states. From impressive solar statistics in California, Massachusetts and Connecticut to the prospect of offshore wind in Maryland and a long-time-coming hydroelectric dam in Alaska, it became clear to me that states are pursuing far more clean energy initiatives than I was aware.

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Wind Farms

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The United States has some of the best wind resources of anywhere on earth.  In fact, the country’s wind power potential exceeds 30 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, or nearly 10 times the country’s existing power needs (NREL Wind Resource Potential, 2010).

Clean Currents buys renewable wind energy from a number of domestic sources which vary depending upon which Clean Currents wind power product you chose (National Wind or Neighborhood Wind™).

Clean Currents sources its Neighborhood WindTM from Pennsylvania

The Highland North Wind Farm is located within the PJM electric grid, covering Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.  Electricity produced by the wind turbines at Highland North feeds directly onto the same grid that our homes, businesses, shops, and schools pull power from.  By choosing Clean Currents Neighborhood Wind™, you are helping to increase the share of renewable energy right here in our region.

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B-Corporation

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What are Certified B Corporations?

Certified B Corporations are companies that take into consideration social and environmental factors when making business decisions. They pay attention to the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit. To formalize this committment, they undergo a third-party audit of their operations to ensure that they:

  • Meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards.
  • Meet higher legal accountability standards.
  • Consider community stakeholders. 

 greencommitment

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Green Summer Travel Tips

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Who doesn’t love to travel light? Less of a load is always a welcome change. Reduce the load on your mind by traveling “light” and green! Here at Clean Currents, we came up with some great ways to minimize your impact on the planet while you enjoy your summer vacation.

1. Choose a local destination. Never been to that museum in the city? Or how about the beach only a train ride away? There are tons of local vacation destinations all over the U.S. and sure to be plenty in your state. Better yet, have a “staycation” and explore your own town! It’s a perfect chance to relax and enjoy the tourist sights in your area.

2. Travel Green. Avoid the stress and chaos of the airport AND cut your carbon emissions. Carpool or take public transportation to your vacation destination and once you get there! By finding a destination with public transportation, you can save money and emissions by avoiding renting a car. If there is no public transportation, rent a bike. It’s a great way to explore a new city and no need to find a parking spot!

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I Heart CC

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For almost 4 years, I’ve been part of the Clean Currents team as we’ve worked hard to transform the relationship customers have with their electricity supplier. We want our customers to love their energy company. Based on some of our recent surveys, we’re doing pretty well on this front with both our business and individual customers. Getting positive comments from customers through emails, social media, and at events has been one of the most rewarding parts of my job.

Now that I’m getting ready to say goodbye to head back to school, I wanted to share some of the reasons why I LOVE Clean Currents.

1) We care.

The people that work for this company have a tremendous amount of passion. As a group, we care about climate change, the environment, our community and – of course – our customers. Our kitchen conversations are often about local volunteer opportunities, our awesome new CSA, the Stop Keystone rally over the weekend, or an interesting Grist article about sustainability or environmentalism. In terms of caring about customers, my coworkers will stay late to figure out the answer to a tricky customer question or work evenings and weeknights to attend an event for one of our business customers — and always with a smile.

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(Em)powering Philadelphia

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There are thousands of mentoring programs in the country serving three million youths. Dozens of states and cities have launched mentoring programs, and many corporations have their own initiatives. If there is one thing that Americans seem to agree on, it is that millions of children need guidance from positive adult role models.

That’s why it was so easy to create Lots of Power, our new mentoring program in Philadelphia that addresses one of the city’s biggest problems–vacant lots. Our project will pair high-school age students with professional designers and architects to research and develop innovative concepts for specific vacant lots in Kensington.

During the six-week program, teen participants will work in teams with professional mentor to gain real-world experience using design thinking to discover and exhibit creative potential, communicate their ideas and take positive action in their communities.

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How Clean Currents Wind Power Works

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Residents and businesses in Washington, DC, Maryland and Pennsylvania have the power to choose their electric supplier. If you pay your electricity bill, you can choose to support renewable energy every time you turn on your lights.

The Quick Answer

When you switch to Clean Currents, you will still receive one electric bill from your utility. However, Clean Currents will be responsible for the generation and transmission of your power. For all the electricity you use in your home or business, we purchase enough Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to match your electricity usage.

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Purchasing Wind Power: It’s Like Buying Organic, but a bit Different

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It’s the summer — the season of fresh produce. So, what does that have to do with wind power? Because purchasing power impacts markets:  both farmers markets and energy markets.

When you want to buy organic strawberries at the grocery store, you select the ones with the green sticker from the organic section and bring them to the checkout.

You’ll pay a little extra for that organic produce, and part of your payment goes to the organic farmer who produced the strawberries.  In this transaction, it’s clear that your purchase supports the sustainable growing practices that organic farming represents.

Unfortunately, being a socially responsible energy consumer isn’t quite as simple. If it were, I have a feeling that we would be using much more renewable energy in the US, and that Clean Currents might already be a fortune 500 company.

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These People Really Know How to Energize Responsibly

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This spring we’ve gone from Charm City Run’s birthday celebration to Tour Dem Parks, Hon! to ask you what makes you feel energized. We got some great answers ranging from hiking, biking and running to an office favorite of: “I’m on a trail deep in the woods; I can’t hear anything but the trees blowing”.

Hundreds of people have pledged to Energize Responsibly by ditching dirty power and supporting wind power at home. And, these three lucky pledge takers are taking home our grand prizes:

  • Katrina W. — Specialized Brand Bike
  • Bob B. — ChicoBag Day Pack filled with a Kleen Kanteen and Michele’s Granola
  • Paul L. — Charm City Run gift card

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Melissa & Brian go Solar Thermal

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Melissa and Brian of Davidsonville, MD, recently installed a solar thermal system on their roof. They talk with us about why they chose to install a solar thermal system and gave us some tips on how to live a greener life.

Where did you first hear about Clean Currents’ solar water heating solutions?

We first read about Clean Currents in a local magazine called Nesting, and when we asked an environmentally-savvy friend about her solar water panels, she whole-heartedly recommended Clean Currents. Now we recommend Clean Currents.

Why did you choose to have a solar water heating system installed on your home?

We have a big house that, if we’re not careful, could take us down in energy costs. As a family of five we use a lot of hot water — for bathing, dishwashing, and clothes washing. Since we use well water, we essentially have free water. With the solar thermal system, we essentially have free hot water.

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What Does 3,500 Mean to You?

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Back in April, June 10th seemed forever away. Now, it’s just around the corner. Why are we obsessed with June 10th? Because it’s the last day to be part of Energize Responsibly, of course!

(Insert awesome flashback music here)

This spring, we launched Energize Responsibly: our initiative to motivate 1,000 people in the Baltimore area to pledge to ditch dirty air and support wind power at home.

Pledge-takers are entered to win:

  • A Specialized bike
  • A ChicoBag DayPacker filled with goodies
  • Charm City Run gift cards

Don’t worry! There’s still time to be part of Energize Responsibly and get a chance at these awesome prizes. Enter by taking the pledge to Energize Responsibly.

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We are Celebrating the 41st World Environment Day

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World Environment Day is back again! It’s a great reason to celebrate our world and participate in positive environmental action…but what exactly is it?

World Environment Day was first celebrated 41 years ago at the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. The conference began on June 5th, 1972, and is considered a breakthrough event in the development of international environmentalism. It opened up international dialogue on human interactions with the environment, which had not been addressed on the global scale before.

The conference helped build a framework for governments and international organizations to deal with environmental issues, current and future. Today, the UNEP uses June 5th to continue the tradition of education and discussion around international environmental problems. Each year there is a new theme and a new country acts as the official World Environment Day host.

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A Conversation with Andy Shallal: Bringing a New Meaning to Community

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For those of you who have had the delight of dining at the famous Busboys & Poets, you’ve probably noticed the inspirational murals lining the walls. These beautiful pieces are the works of art of Andy Shallal, a well-known artist, activist, and founder of Busboys & Poets.

Andy has been in the restaurant business for years, but in 2005, he opened the first Busboys & Poets at 14th & V St, NW. These restaurants combine the elements of art, books, performance, culture, and good food under one roof. As Andy describes it, Busboys & Poets is, “a place where multiple layers of things are happening”.

The inspiration for Andy’s unique business model is rooted in his goal: to break-down barriers and create a holistic community in which the city’s ethnic, literary, arts, and international elements are combined. Andy’s heroic efforts speak to his influential role in redefining the DC community as a less segmented and segregated community.

Poetry — Andy’s personal favorite — serves as a great art form and a community builder that actively brings people together to foster this vision of community. Running about 20 poetry programs monthly, Busboys has been instrumental in inspiring a renaissance of poetry in the U Street area.

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Electricity Pricing – What to Expect

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Electricity prices are notoriously difficult to predict and are affected by factors such as weather, economic conditions, required investments in aging grid infrastructure, and resource availability. In the past several years, the economic recession stifled demand for electricity. At the same time, an abundance of natural gas resources available by new drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling led to increased supply. Both of these factors contributed to a significant dip in overall wholesale energy prices in recent years. However, the general trend is that energy prices, like the prices of other goods, rise over time. In our grid region (called PJM), there is an added upward pressure on prices right now as a result of record high capacity charges to finance improvement to the regional grid (Learn more about Capacity Charges). This impacts everyone – even those selling wind power.

So what does it mean for your business?
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Clean Currents Named to 2013 Best for the World List

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We are grateful to be recognized by B Corporation as a 2013 Best for the Environment on Environmental Impact honoree.  This designation is given to the top 10% of B Corporations in the Environmental Impact category. The diverse list of honorees includes businesses from 30 industries and 11 countries.

Certified B Corps voluntarily meet higher standards for transparency, community engagement and environmental impact. Collectively, we are changing the way business is done — making the triple bottom line as important and effective as the financial bottom line.

Clean Currents was one of the first companies in the state of Maryland to complete the B Corp assessment and adopt the B Corp legal framework into its operating structure and was the first company in the state of Maryland an the United States to file to become a Benefit LLC.
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