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Demystifying Capacity Charges

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Understanding all the parts of an electricity price quote can confuse many. There is the rate per kWh as well as the specific charges for Generation, Transmission and Capacity. Clean Currents and other energy suppliers do not include distribution charges and taxes in the price quote. As part of helping you be an informed green energy shopper, we are going to focus on demystifying the Capacity charge.

You may have noticed that your electric bill contains several different charges: distribution, generation, transmission, among others. The distribution portion of your bill goes to the local utility, whether or not you choose an alternate supplier like Clean Currents. This portion finances the maintenance of local power lines. The Generation and Transmission (or “Energy Charge”) are controlled by the electric supplier you choose and account for the generation of energy and the transportation of it across long distance power lines – called transmission lines. Transmission lines are similar to the local distribution lines maintained by a local utility, but since they cross utility regions and state lines, they are maintained by a “market operator”. In our area, this operator is called PJM. This entity is in charge of our regional power grid, and in addition to maintaining these long distance transmission lines, also makes sure the regional grid is balanced and operates smoothly. This function is financed through capacity charges, which are included in the Energy Charge.
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WABA Bikes into our Hearts

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National Bike Month has been a blast. Aside from down right chilly weather and some rain showers, we’ve had a great time getting back on our bikes after the winter and getting to know some of the great biking organizations in DC, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

One of our favorites — and newly wind powered — is the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA). As the DC region’s non-profit biking association, WABA promotes bicycling as a fun, affordable mode of transportation that builds community, keeps you healthy, and keeps environment healthy too.

WABA advocates for better bicycling conditions and transportation choices. They also educate the community about safe bicycling through classes and events. They do all of this with the vision of fully-integrated transportation system in the DC region that links transit, trails, bicycling, and walking.
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Finding My Windy Roots

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Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago for WINDPOWER 2013:  the American Wind Energy Association’s annual conference and trade show.

As a conference volunteer, my primary responsibility was to administer surveys to representatives of fifty different companies that manufacture components for wind turbines here in the United States. There are approximately 8,000 parts in a wind turbine, and about two-thirds of those parts are sourced from manufacturing plants located in the U.S.

Over the course of three days, I spoke with representatives of companies that manufacture nacelles, towers, bearings, lighting, and what seemed like everything in between.

The characteristics of the manufacturing plants and their parent companies varied. Some supply parts exclusively to the wind industry, whereas for others, the wind industry represents only 5% of their business.
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Local Schools Top EPA Green Power Partner List

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As if we weren’t already bursting our buttons in pride over the high quality schools in the DC metro area, several area schools were just recognized by the EPA for their renewable energy purchases through the Green Power Partnership program.

Four 100% Clean Currents powered schools graced the top 20 K-12 list: Bullis School, Norwood School, Maret School, and Melvin J Berman Hebrew Academy. Beyond their commitment to renewable energy, here’s a bit about why we love them:

Bullis School

Bullis School is an independent, co-educational school in Potomac, MD.  Educating students in grades 3-12, its mission is to provide a balanced academic, artistic, athletic and community service experience. Bullis’ vision to prepare students to be ‘caring citizens and critical thinkers’ is apparent in its green principles.

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Bike to Work Day Demystified Courtesy of WABA

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Happy Bike Month! We’re all about this mode of transportation, and the many ways we’ll celebrate our bicycles this month. To kick things off, we asked the Washington Area Bicycle Association (WABA) to send us tips for participating in Bike to Work Day on May 17th. Not only is it a great day celebrating biking in DC, MD and VA, but it’s also a primary way to tally bike commuters. So check out these tips, and we’ll see you May 17th!

What is Bike to Work Day?

Bike to Work Day is a yearly event that encourages commuters to bike to work. BTWD is a free event and open to everyone in the DC and Baltimore area. It’s a celebration of biking in our region! This year, it’s on Friday, May 17.

Why should someone who has never biked to work give it a try?

Besides being one of the most convenient, least expensive ways to get around town, it’s fun! Bike commuting is better for the environment, your wallet, and your waistline.

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Yup, it’s Air Quality Awareness Week

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We bet you didn’t know its Air Quality Awareness week! Well, it is. And that means it’s time to learn a bit about how air quality affects all of us.

The American Lung Association just released their 2013 State of the Air report. While overall, air pollution is decreasing, 43% of people still live in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution.

Unhealthy levels of ozone and particle pollution put people at risk for a range of health problems from asthma to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Some groups, including older, younger, and people with asthma and cardiovascular disease, are especially at risk.

The primary culprits of smog, ozone, and particulate pollution are emissions from coal power plant and cars. Although regulations are tighter on coal power plants, they are still among the largest contributors to air pollution and produce 84 known hazardous pollutants including arsenic and mercury along with carbon dioxide.

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5 Tips for Improving Your Indoor Air Quality at Work

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Air Quality Awareness Week isn’t just about the air outside. If you’re anything like me, you spend most of your day at work inside. The air inside our offices can be more polluted than the air outside. According to the Oregon Environmental Council, poor indoor air quality can result in flu like symptoms including headaches, sore throats, and itchy eyes.

Here are 5 tips for improving your indoor air quality:

1. Open the windows or store front door. Let the air from outside circulate and carry away some of those dust particles. Remember to turn off the A/C first and don’t open on code red and orange days.

2. Bring nature inside with plants! The Mother Nature Network has created a list of 15 houseplants for improving air quality.

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What Makes You Feel Energized?

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As we’re asking people to Energize Responsibly this spring, we wanted to know what gets people up and moving. Here’s what we found:

The American Lung Association just released their new State of the Air Report for 2013, and things are looking up, especially for Baltimore, MD. But, nationwide, there are 131.8 million people living in areas with unhealthy pollution — that’s 42% of the nation!

Despite advances in reducing pollution from coal fired power plants, they are still one of the largest contributors to particle pollution, ozone pollution, mercury, and climate change.

By switching your home to clean, wind power you’re helping us get one step closer to clean air for everyone. Have you taken the pledge to ditch dirty air yet? If not, join us and be part of a clean energy future.

MORE:

Let’s Ditch Dirty Air and Energize Responsibly

Energize Responsibly

American Lung Association State of the Air Report 2013

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Let’s Ditch Dirty Power and Energize Responsibly

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It’s spring — finally! The cold of winter is melting away, buds are bursting into flowers, trees are becoming green again, and we’re all making a bee line for the outdoors. Time to get out the bike, the running shoes, the bat and ball, and PLAY! But, what are we all breathing while we’re soaking up the glorious sun?

Turns out Maryland has a problem with smog and air pollution. In 2012, 11 out of 15 counties studied earned a failing grade for air quality from the American Lung Association. Also, Baltimore County experienced 32 Code Red or Code Orange Ozone days in 2012, enough to receive an F in the ALA’s State of the Air Report.

So how does this impact us?

Ozone pollution has serious health effects, and disproportionately affects the young, elderly, and people who exercise outside.  Ozone pollution causes shortness of breath, coughing, asthma attacks, increased susceptibility to respiratory infections and more. Baltimore leads the state of Maryland in asthma deaths and has one of the nation’s highest rates of hospitalization for children with asthma.

Wind Power means Cleaner Air

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500 Miles and 500 Stories – A Worthwhile Trip

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This Sunday, I had the privilege of watching Cassie Meador’s How to Lose a Mountain — the story of her 500 mile journey to uncover the energy sources that power her home in Takoma, Washington, DC. Cassie’s inspiring story hit home with the audience as we were taken through a journey of gain and loss, despair and hope, and the use and reuse of our natural resources.

This innovative social and environmental initiative touched various communities between DC and West Virginia, where Cassie visited a mountain top removal site. Along the 500 mile journey, Cassie engaged community members, taking stories of individuals along the way to incorporate in her How to Lose a Mountain performance. The incredibly creative interpretation of the story captivated the audience and opened eyes to the delicate relationship between humans and our surroundings.

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Meet Nick Zahn, Clean Currents Customer of the Month

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“I work everyday to be an example for green living,” says Nick, our Baltimore based customer of the month.

As a Geologist for the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Solid Waste program, he spends his days protecting the environment from water and air pollution caused by landfills. Previously, he worked as an energy efficiency analyst with ecobeco, quantifying savings from energy efficient home improvements.

His commitment to sustainability goes beyond his day job. From reducing his energy consumption through BGE’s smart energy saver program to biking to work, he reduces green house gas emissions. And, for all the electricity he does use, it’s offset by Clean Currents wind power.

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Philadelphians Saw the Power of Wind

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Last week, we did something a little crazy. We took a 20 foot, human powered wind turbine on a tour of Philly to show the power of the wind.  We traveled through Rittenhouse Square, Manayunk, and even to a Flyers game to spread the word to Philadelphians that local, Pennsylvania wind power is available for their home.

The turbine was built by the talented artists and craftsmen of Frank’s Kitchens, a local Philly artist co-operative specializing in building human powered kinetic sculptures.  Frank’s Kitchen used all found and recycled materials, including an old car axel. People could come up and take the turbine for a spin with the hand crank wheel. By turning the wheel, people could experience how strong the wind needs to be to make the blades of a turbine spin — and have a little fun at the same time.
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We’re Reel-ly Excited for the 21st Annual Environmental Film Fest in the Nation’s Capital!

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We love March! Usually, it feels like winter is coming to an end and spring is just around the corner. But even with the “snowquester” in the forecast, we still love this month because of the Environmental Film Fest. The festival is the largest showcase of environmental films globally, bringing hundreds of films from 50 countries to DC. But most importantly, at least according to us, the Festival is wind powered by Clean Currents.

The 21st annual Environmental Film Festival takes place March 12 through 24, presenting 190 documentary, narrative, animated, archival, experimental and children’s films selected to provide fresh perspectives on environmental issues facing our planet.  This year’s Festival theme is the vital role of rivers and watershed in the global environment. This will be explored in works from 50 countries and include hundreds of films seen for the first time.

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Can You See The Power?

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This week, we’re taking a 20 foot wind turbine on a road trip through Philly to celebrate opening up shop in Pennsylvania. Yup, you read that right — we built a 20 foot wind turbine made of upcycled materials that you can hand crank!

Think you’re as powerful as the wind? Join us at Rittenhouse Square, Manayunk Brewery, the Flyers — Penguins game, and LOVE Park to give our turbine a whirl and find out. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled, too.  We’re giving prizes to the first person to spot the turbine each day and to whoever captures the best picture this week. Winners will be announced on Friday at LOVE Park and through Twitter.

Join the fun by following us on Twitter @CleanCurrentSol, #SeeThePower, on Facebook, and learn more about how to See The Power. We hope to see you out there!

After this week, there will be no doubt that Philly residents can get 100% local PA wind power for their home or business with Clean Currents.

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Dance Exchange is Dancing into a Greener Future

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Join Them & Switch Your Home to Wind Power Today!

Help us support Dance Exchange’s mission to address social and environmental issues through expressive art and movement: switch to wind power before Earth Day (April 22nd) and Clean Currents will donate $30 to Dance Exchange.

Clean Currents is the region’s leading independent and sustainably certified green energy company, offering residents clean, renewable wind electricity.

Dance Exchange is an intergenerational company of artists that creates dance and engages people in making art. They stretch the boundaries between the studio, stage, and other environments to make dances that are rooted in the particularity of people and place.  Through local, national, international, and online projects they gather and create community to contribute to a healthy and more sustainable environment.

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Clean Currents Shores Up Support for Offshore Wind

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Encourages Energy Suppliers to Back Offshore Wind Act of 2013

Clean Currents presented a letter of support for Maryland’s Offshore Wind Act of 2013 to State Representatives in Annapolis, MD today in anticipation of final passage of the bill. Although other suppliers were invited to lend their support to the letter, Clean Currents is the only supplier signing on.

The bill mandates electricity suppliers and electric utilities to utilize a certain percentage of offshore wind in their energy mix while preserving the integrity of the restructured electricity market.  The bill would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, bring economic activity to Maryland, and provide a long-term stable electricity resource.

“Mandating the use of offshore wind as part of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard is a vital part of growing the clean energy economy. It will be good for Maryland’s economy, our environment, and our future. We support this bill without hesitation,” states Gary Skulnik, Clean Currents’ President.

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Interview with Jason Schwartz: What it’s like to Work for a Benefit Corporation

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Leah Stonefeld is the winter semester marketing & communications intern at Clean Currents. She is a graduate student at American University where she is pursuing a Masters of Arts in Global Environmental Policy. Leah has a passion for renewable energy completed undergraduate studies at Arizona State University, School of Sustainability. Besides renewable energy, one of Leah’s main reasons for wanting to intern at Clean Currents was our B Corp status.

As a new intern at Clean Currents, I wanted to discover why staff chose to work for a Benefit Corporation. I met up with Jason Schwartz, V.P. of Sales at Clean Currents to discuss what makes working for a Certified Benefit Corporation so unique.

Prior to working with Clean Currents, Jason was the Senior Sales Strategist for Kurlan & Associates. He also has experience as an entrepreneur, starting his own business Bkind Foods, LLC in 2009. Jason has extensive experience consulting on executive level coaching, sales team training and development, and leadership development. He has a M.S. in Organizational Change Management from the New School University.

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The Courts of Devon Purchases 100% Wind Power

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The Courts of Devon is proud to announce that it has purchased Renewable Energy Certificates (REC)s from wind farms in the United States that is equivalent to 100% of its common area electricity load. This was done to offset the carbon emitted from the conventional generation of the electricity needed to power the common areas. By purchasing 100% wind power from Clean Currents, a Maryland-based green energy supplier, the electricity consumption of The Courts of Devon is now carbon neutral.

The wind power purchase of 268,680 kilowatt-hours of electricity by the Courts of Devon is equivalent to removing 417,924 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the atmosphere or removing 28 single-family homes from the electric grid for a year.

“Buying renewable energy makes sense — sustainable energy use increases value, which benefits our policy owners, and it’s a win for the environment,” notes Angela Scodellaro, Washington, D.C.-based asset manager for Northwestern Mutual, which owns The Courts of Devon.
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Who We Are

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The Clean Currents mission is to energize communities for a clean energy future by enabling individuals and businesses to make responsible choices that protect their bottom line while reducing their environmental impact.

Since 2005, Clean Currents has helped 10,000 individuals and 3,000 businesses make the switch to wind power in Maryland, DC and Pennsylvania. We’ve also donated over $20,000 to community greening projects through our award winning Green Neighborhood Challenge program.

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Breaking down the B Corp Basics

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What happens to your favorite, socially responsible ice cream maker when a multinational corporation sets its sights on acquiring it? That is exactly what happened in the case of Ben & Jerry’s, and they had no legal options but to sell to the highest bidder — even if that company’s values didn’t align with their social mission.

So, how do socially responsible businesses hold themselves responsible to their stakeholders when corporate structures put shareholders and financial profit first? Enter Benefit Corporations and Certified B Corporations.

By providing legal structures that increase transparency, accountability, and performance, Benefit Corporations and B Corps are changing the way we do business.

Certified B Corporation vs. Benefit Corporation

There are two ways for companies to participate in the B Corp movement: Certified B Corporations are 3rd party certified by non profit B Lab and Benefit Corporation is a legal status administered by the state.  “B Corp” generally refers to either of these types of organizations.

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Energize Responsibly

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There’s nothing like reaching the top of the mountain or crossing the finish line. But what are you breathing while doing it? Take the pledge to support wind power at home and join a movement of people who are committed to a sustainable, healthy future.

Plus, your pledge qualifies you to win prizes including:

  • A Specialized Bike
  • A ChicoBag DayPack loaded with a Klean Kanteen and other goodies
  • Charm City Run Gift Card
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The Fest is Wind Powered: How About You?

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This year, The Philly Farm & Food Fest is powered by 100% local Pennsylvania wind. And, your home can be too!

Clean Currents is the region’s only Certified B Corp green energy company. The Fest team loves them because they give back to the community, but you’ll love them because you can get 100% local wind power at home.

To celebrate all things local, Clean Currents is buying your ticket* to the Fest when you sign up for wind power at home before April 12th.

*24 -48 hours after you sign up, Clean Currents will send you an email with instructions for how to redeem your complimentary ticket to Philly Farm and Food Fest. You’ll just enter a promotional code to get tickets you can print at home – so easy!

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3 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2013

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I recently had the opportunity to sit down with long-time friend and wind powered business owner, Lynn Anne Miller of 4GreenPs. Lynn founded 4GreenPs in 2006 after a successful career in marketing for venture-backed tech start-ups and Fortune 500 firms. 4GreenPs started as a traditional strategic marketing firm. At the same time, Lynn became personally interested in green living and sustainability issues. And so naturally, she combined this passion with her formal marketing expertise and 4GreenPs began working with green businesses. Mom Made Foods in Alexandria became her first green client in 2008. Since then, her clients have included Elysian Energy, FRESHFARM Markets, Seventh Generation, and the Livability Project.

With her wealth of knowledge from across the marketing spectrum, I chatted with Lynn about the most common marketing mistakes she sees growing businesses make.

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Wind Powered Business Directory

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These Businesses Mean Green

We encourage you to support our diverse wind powered customers. You can grab a coffee, shop for food or home goods, get a haircut, and go out for dinner all while supporting companies that have made a conscious effort to green their operations by switching to Wind Power through Clean Currents.

*The map below shows just a few of our commercial wind powered customers throughout the region

You can join the Clean Currents Green Community by switching your HOME or BUSINESS to clean, affordable wind power.

The following is a directory of our wind powered business customers:

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Clean Currents Supports Offshore Wind Energy Act 2013

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This is the year Maryland can take a step forward towards a clean energy future and the Offshore Wind Bill is one giant leap in the right direction. Clean Currents fully supports this bill and we applaud Governor O’Malley’s leadership in working to bring it to this point.

I call on other energy suppliers that supply green power to join us in standing firm with our colleagues in the environmental, faith, labor and business advocacy world in support of offshore wind power in Maryland. You can’t be authentic if you sell wind power on the one hand, but do nothing to support, and sometimes actively oppose, the development of wind off Maryland’s coast. I offer Clean Currents’ help to educate the public about the importance of this bill and the importance of Maryland taking it’s next big step towards a cleaner, greener, future free of the threat of climate change and air pollution.

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Clean Currents Wins Green America’s People & Planet Award

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Wind Power Provider Recognized as Leading Edge Green Business

Clean Currents announced today that it has won Green America’s People & Planet award, recognizing America’s best green businesses with innovation in clean energy. Winners are granted $5,000 to invest in their green initiatives. Clean Currents was selected as a winner of this award for their Green Neighborhood Challenge program (GNEC).  GNEC gives community groups and non-profits an opportunity to raise funds for green projects while increasing support for clean energy.

“We are honored to have won the People & Planet Award as it reinforces one of our main goals: to link green-minded businesses, individuals, and organizations together to build more sustainable communities. Thanks to Green America, we can further our Green Neighborhood Challenge program by energizing neighborhoods around clean energy and green projects to build a cleaner, greener future together,” commented Gary Skulnik, Clean Currents President.

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5 Tips for An Energy Efficient Holiday

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The holidays are a time of joy, good cheer, and excess. From Aunt Muriel’s indulgent cake to gifts galore and lights everywhere, it’s easy to set aside your environmental standards. We make it easy for you to lower your impact — and your electricity bill — this holiday season with 5 easy steps.

1. LED holiday lights: Let’s be honest – a Christmas tree isn’t finished until it’s bright enough so you can see it from space. That said, holiday lighting in the US consumes the equivalent electricity consumption of 500,000 homes in one month. Invest in LED lights – they use only 10% of electricity needed to light incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer. And, they don’t get hot – reducing the risk that your tree will go up in flames.

How to: Recycle your incandescent lights at holidayleds.com and receive 25% off your purchase of LED lights. Or, drop off your old lights at area MOM’s Organic Market. Grab LED lights at ACE Hardware, Target, and other major retailors. See how much energy your lights use with this fun calculator.
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Meet Farmland LP the Future of Sustainable Farmland

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Back at the B-Corp Champions Retreat, we met Jason Bradford of Farmland LP. After chatting about sustainable food and the future of US farmland, we were hooked on the mission of Farmland LP. We sat down with Jason to learn more about Farmland LP and their unique model that cultivates farmland sustainability.

Jason Bradford with Mac Stewart of Vitality Farms.
Vitality Farms leases Farmland LP land in Oregon to raise sheep and cattle.

Clean Currents: What does Farmland LP do and why is it important?

Jason Bradford: Farmland LP buys farmland and converts it to certified Organic, sustainably managed farmland as an investment fund, similar to a REIT.  We specialize in sustainable agriculture and integrating crop and pastured livestock rotations.  Our goal is to play a role in the transformation of the food system while benefiting the environment, supporting quality jobs, producing healthy food, and returning a financial profit for our investors.

Organic food sales in the U.S. have been growing between 15-20% per year since 1990 and yet the rate of conversion of U.S. farmland is lagging far behind.  Organic food is therefore more likely to be imported, and yet people also want local food.
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Clean Currents attends the Social Venture Institute Conference

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The Social Venture Institute conference took place October 19th & 20th in Philadelphia, PA. Over 200 representatives, owners, and members of a multitude of socially conscious businesses operating across the mid-Atlantic came together to connect, learn, and share their experiences. A rousing set of speakers, including Maggie Anderson (author of Our Black Year), Alejandro Velez (Founder of Back to the Roots), Mandy Cabot (Founder of Dansko), Michael K. Pearson (Founder of Union Packaging), and many others, provided great context and insight into the world of social entrepreneurship, its impediments, and advantages in the greater Philadelphia region.

Throughout the conference, there was amazing energy in the room. Much like our experience at the B-Corp retreat, we were reminded yet again that special things happen when socially conscious businesses come together. Spending two days with business owners whose mission goes beyond their own profits was inspiring. And, sharing challenges and insights about ways to make a profit without sacrificing our core values reminded us why we are a socially conscious business to begin with. Thanks for a great event, Sustainable Business Network!

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Blustery or Clear Future for Domestic Wind Power?

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Join us for a webinar on the state of wind power in the US, November 7th

Recently, we’ve seen headlines like the east coast has enough offshore wind potential to power one third of the country and twice as many coal power plants will be decommissioned by 2016 as originally estimated. Sounds pretty good for the wind industry, but what about the questionable renewal of the Production Tax Credit? And how will the upcoming election change the future of wind power?

Join Clean Currents for a webinar on the wind power potential in the US – where we are now, and where we’re headed – presented by Stan Calvert. Stan Calvert brings 30 years of experience in advancing renewable energy research and policy to this presentation. Currently with NeoNiche Technologies, Stan worked with Department of Energy for 20 years. He will share his expertise on wind power potential in the US and what it means for our future.

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Sandy is Coming: What you need to know

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Hurricane Sandy is decending on the East Coast today, bringing wind, rain, snow and storm surges. Here are some resources to help you stay safe.

1. Stay safe and dry!

2. Report power outages to your power distributor (Pepco or BGE).

PEPCO and BGE maintain power lines and distribute your power, even when you are a Clean Currents customer. Check their websites or call them for up to date information about your power should it go out. Click here for BGE. Click here for Pepco.

3. Stay up to date with current weather conditions. Check your local news, Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang, and the Weather Channel for current news on Hurrican Sandy.

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Kelly Richmond: Grassroots Organizing Rock Star!

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DC resident, Kelly Richmond was searching for a way to reduce her carbon footprint. After figuring out how easy it was to switch her apartment to Clean Currents’ wind power, she got inspired to spread the word.

Kelly started her own Green Neighborhood Challenge campaign among her neighbors in her Cathedral Heights apartment building. After assisting 7 neighbors in making the switch, Kelly branched out into the surrounding neighborhoods. She wrote to local list serves and put announcements on environmental websites. She even developed her own presentation on making the switch to wind power which she gave to community members at local public libraries. But, where Kelly found most of her success was in personal connections with the wide network of her friends in the DC area.
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Wind Powered Balitmore Week wraps up with a Bang!

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Last week, Clean Currents hosted the first ever Wind Powered Baltimore Week to celebrate Baltimore’s dedication to renewable energy. We hosted events like mixers and happy hours, wind powered businesses offered up deals and discounts, and we rounded everything out with an ice cream social the likes of which have never been seen before.

We kicked off the week in style, with a mixer at the Black Olive, overlooking the beautiful Baltimore Harbor. The following evening, we were joined by Abigail Hopper, MEA Acting Director, Maryland Senator Catherine Pugh, and many more to acknowledge Baltimore’s commitment to a clean energy future.  Hosted at Woodberry Kitchen, attendees heard inspiring messages from Ms. Hopper, Senator Pugh and Spike Gjerde, co-owner of Woodberry Kitchen.

Abigail Hopper shared, “Wind energy brings numerous benefits to the State, including homegrown clean energy, sustainable jobs, reduced public health costs, lowered greenhouse gas emissions and significant progress towards meeting our renewable energy portfolio standard.  Wind Powered Baltimore Week recognizes Baltimore businesses that are committed to Maryland’s renewable energy future.”

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Jodi’s Climb for Hope

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When my sister, Jodi, was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer I couldn’t sit still. I went to Mexico and climbed an 18,500 foot mountain – Pico de Orizaba. On the descent with my friend Eric Kronthal, I came up with the idea of raising money through mountaineering to fund important breast cancer research. And so, Climb for Hope was born.

Six years later, over 100 beginner climbers summited mountains on 4 continents, and CFH has donated over $600,000 to Johns Hopkins University for a vaccine under development. This vaccine addresses some of the most aggressive and lethal forms of breast cancer, and CFH has helped speed up Dr. Leisha Emens work by more than 6 months, potentially saving thousands of lives. One day, this vaccine could be used preventatively in high-risk women.

My sister lost her long battle to breast cancer at age 45. To ensure Jodi Buerger’s name would live on, we changed the organization’s name to Jodi’s Climb for Hope. Now, she will be synonymous with great work because in Jodi’s words, “I want my daughter to grow up in a world without that disease.”

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Clean Currents is donating $25 to Jodi’s Climb for Hope for each household that switches to wind power. Learn more about Jodi’s Climb for Hope and what you can do to support the fight against breast cancer.

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Wind Powered Baltimore Week Kicks Off

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Join the fun, hon! Today we’re launching Wind Powered Baltimore Week to celebrate the vibrant wind powered community in Charm City. With events scheduled at wind powered businesses throughout the week, discounts and deals, and an ice cream social grand finale, there’s no better way to experience Baltimore this week.

Starting today, the following deals and events last all week:

  • Bambeco: 10% off entire site with code WINDWEEK
  • Michele’s Granola’s Autumn Breeze Special: Retail sized package of Apple Quinoa for only $5. Visit Michele’s Granola at the Catonsville, 32nd Street, or Baltimore Farmer’s Markets
  • Village Learning Place & Woodberry Kitchen: Donate to kick start the Little Free Library project in Charles Village and receive a gift certificate to Woodberry Kitchen.
  • All Star Pest Management: $50 off new service for customers that sign up with a reoccuring service plan.

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Eighteen Area Non-Profits Join Forces to Support Wind Power and Save on Electricity

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Clean Currents Assembles Local Non-Profits in Sixth Round of Successful Wind Power Purchase

Clean Currents, a leading green energy provider in the Mid-Atlantic, announced the successful execution of the sixth Nonprofit Energy Alliance purchase, a green electricity purchasing cooperative arranged by The Nonprofit Roundtable, Nonprofit Montgomery, and the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County.

By working with Clean Currents, the eighteen area nonprofits in the energy alliance were able to leverage collective buying power to take advantage of lower electricity rates.  Collectively, the eighteen nonprofits purchased 3.9 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of wind power, with an aggregate savings compared to standard rates through their local utilities of approximately $25,000 per year.  The fourteen participants renewed their commitment from past rounds: CentroNía; Latino Economic Development Corporation;  Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care; Metro TeenAids; DC Scores; Vesta, Inc.; A Wider Circle; Joe’s Movement Emporium; Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church; Emmanuel United Methodist Church; Great Hope Homes; Montgomery Housing Partnership; Washington Revels, Inc. and Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, MD. In addition, four new organizations joined NPEA VI: Advocates for Justice and Education; First Baptist Church of Ken-Gar; Washington School of Photography; Whitman-Walker Health.

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B Corps Take Over the World!

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Last week, Gary and I had the opportunity to attend the 3rd Annual B Corp Champions Retreat in Half Moon Bay, California. B Corp certification is a voluntary certification socially minded companies can use to report on and improve their impact on employees, their community and the environment. We became a B Corp in 2010. We went out to this year’s retreat, our second, with our friends from Nana Design, another MD socially responsible business who we recruited to join the B Corp movement this year.

The community of B Corps has grown in the last year (630 companies and counting) and the retreat was a much larger group than last year. It is incredible to spend a few days among such an inspiring group of businesses. We all share the belief in the power of the private sector to do good not only because we can but because it is our responsibility to our communities and the world. The retreat is not like another conference, where you sit in over-air-conditioned rooms and struggle to stay awake. In fact, we spent most of the retreat in a big tent outside with a nice ocean breeze talking, listening to stories, brainstorming, and doodling with scented markers. There was even an impromptu song at the end there…
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We all Scream for Taharka Brothers

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Taharka Brothers makes handmade ice cream with a mission. Creating change and connecting with the community is at the heart of the company’s soul as Taharka Brothers was one of the companies to file for Benefit Corporation status in Maryland.

Switching to wind power was a natural choice. As Darius Wilmore with Taharka Bros. explained to us, “Sustainability is important to our business because it’s important to the overall health of our economy, society and planet – it’s the responsible thing to do.” The company uses their purchasing power to create change. Taharka Brothers has built personal relationships with the farmers in Haiti where they source ingredients and uses Facebook to educate consumers about the lives of those behind the ingredients. You will also find local ingredients in their ice cream as they are strong believers in supporting the local economy. On a recent visit, we discovered a large bag of Michele’s Granola waiting to be combined into the next magical creation.

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Green Neighborhood Challenge BLAST OFF!

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On October 1st, 2012 a diverse range of community groups in Maryland and Washington, D.C. launched their 60-day Green Neighborhood Challenge (GNEC) campaigns to educate and inspire members of their communities to switch to wind power at home. Participating groups receive a $30 donation from Clean Currents for every associated household that switches to wind power. The donations earned through GNEC fund local greening initiatives that directly benefit participating communities.

The Silver Spring YMCA launched their GNEC campaign October 1st at a Healthy Living Workshop for Latino mothers and their children. “Part of healthy living is living in a way that keeps our community and planet healthy” Says Patricia Coronado, Director of Membership for the Silver Spring YMCA.

Other groups that launched their GNEC campaigns this week include the Washington Waldorf School in Bethesda, MD, Seaward Academy in Washington, D.C., the Calvert Hills Neighborhood in College Park, MD, and The Zenith Apartments managed by Bozzuto in Baltimore City.

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An Educated Consumer is our Best Customer

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Growing up in the New York area, I remember a certain clothing store’s commercial that had the tag-line, “an educated consumer is our best customer.” Exelon/Constellation’s recent foray into the anti-wind camp makes this point especially true in the green energy world. For Clean Currents, and other truly green companies, an educated consumer is indeed our best customer.

Exelon/Constellation is “publicly leading an organized campaign against the (wind) industry’s #1 priority,” according to the spokesman for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the premier wind power group. Exelon/Constellation is apparently leading efforts to abolish the Production Tax Credit (PTC), set to expire this year.  The PTC is a huge driver in getting wind farms built, along with consumer demand through voluntary purchases and state Renewable Portfolio Standards. In fact, uncertainty surrounding the renewal of the PTC is already negatively affecting the wind industry, causing the loss of domestic manufacturing jobs. Exelon/Constellation’s efforts against the PTC is a serious enough issue that AWEA has expelled Exelon/Constellation from the group. As the AWEA spokesman notes, this is not just a “difference of opinion,” but rather the fact that Exelon/Constellation is leading the efforts to kill the PTC, thereby curtailing the development of wind power.
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