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Vashon Group Looks At Energy Co-Op

Phyllis Fletcher
04/26/2007

If you want to use sustainable energy in your home, it's a lot cheaper if a group of people does it together. That was the idea behind a plan to form a public utility on Vashon Island that would build renewable energy systems. A ballot measure for the plan failed last fall. As KUOW's Phyllis Fletcher reports, a booster for renewable energy on Vashon is looking ahead to form a co-op.

TRANSCRIPT

RITA SCHENK HEADS UP THE ENVIRONMENTAL THINK TANK THAT PUSHED FOR A RENEWABLE ENERGY P.U.D ON VASHON. EVEN THOUGH IT DIDN'T WORK OUT, SKANK WAS POPULAR, HANDING OUT HER BUSINESS CARDS AT A "GREEN BUILDING" WORKSHOP IN SEATTLE THIS WEEK.

FLETCHER: "Open up your wallet and show me how many cards you have left."

SCHENK: "I have one card left."

BECAUSE HER FELLOW CONSERVATIONISTS WANT TO KNOW WHAT SHE'S UP TO.

SCHENK'S NEXT MOVE IS TO HELP FORM A RENEWABLE ENERGY CO-OP ON VASHON. SHE SAYS IT'S BEEN DONE IN OTHER PARTS OF WASHINGTON STATE. LIKE THE SAN JUANS AND BELLINGHAM.

SCHENK SAYS THE ENERGY SOURCE ON VASHON THAT HAS THE MOST POTENTIAL MAY SURPRISE SOME SOGGY NORTHWESTERNERS. IT'S THE SUN.

SCHENK: "We could produce about 20 to 100 times more solar energy on the island than the island needs, and that includes energy that you might want to use to run your car, to run the ferries, to do everything."

SCHENK FIGURES IT WILL TAKE ABOUT 300-THOUSAND DOLLARS TO START A CO-OP. THE MONEY WOULD COME FROM MEMBERS WHO BUY IN AT A SHARE PRICE SCHENK AND HER POTENTIAL FELLOW CO-OP-ERS HAVEN'T FIGURED OUT YET.

SCHENK AND HER GROUP ON VASHON ISLAND COULD TRY AGAIN TO GET A P.U.D ON THE BALLOT NEXT YEAR. SHE HOPES TO GET THE CO-OP OFF THE GROUND LATER THIS YEAR. PHYLLIS FLETCHER, KUOW NEWS.

© Copyright 2007, KUOW

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