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The San Diego Alternative Energy Meetup Group Message Board Special Events & Groups › Follow up for Jan. 25th Meetup: Strategy for Renewable Energy in San Diego b

Follow up for Jan. 25th Meetup: Strategy for Renewable Energy in San Diego by 2020

Joseph K.
user 8054532
San Diego, CA
Post #: 1
There are several topics that were brought up during this meeting that I would like to follow up with more discussion that we did not have time for during the event itself.

1). It was mentioned that there are no hydro-electric RE sources in San Diego due to the limited natural resources available for these types of plants (rivers, dams, reservoirs, etc.) I was wondering if anyone has considered looking into wave energy as a possible natural resource to exploit. Just a couple days ago the Santa Ana winds were blowing in 10 foot waves onto our beaches. There are massive amounts of energy being generated by these waves that we could potentially capture.

Of course the problem is that we do not want to ruin our beautiful beaches and coastline with industrial power generating stations, however I think there are a few isolated areas where something like this could potentially be built in order to add to our renewable energy portfolio. And if you expand the idea to include the entire state there are many more isolated areas along the coast, especially along the central coast of California where there are few people and good opportunities to harness wave energy.

Another good thing is there is loads of information and data available about the height of these waves, their consistency, direction, etc. provided to us by our local community of dedicated surfers! There is probably more scientific data available about the waves than just about any other resource we have.

2). It was also mentioned that there are quite a few people out there that downplay the importance of Renewable Energy sources because they do not believe in climate change or they dismiss the fact that we can do anything to control it. I would just like to say that there are other arguments to look at that support the need for Renewable Energy that do not hinge upon climate change and that cannot be denied by nay-sayers. For example: Air Quality. Whether the climate is changing or not our air quality is important and anyone who has ever driven through Los Angeles knows the air quality is bad. When you can see the air that you breath, it is not a good sign. And when the air that you see is brown... that is just disgusting. No one can deny that fossil fuels are producing smog and particulates and poor air quality as a result. Whether you believe in climate change or not, renewable energy sources are important to improve the air we breath!

3). This is my last point of discussion and for fair warning, some of you may find some of the things I'm about to write somewhat distasteful, but they are important and unfortunately the cold truth...

It was mentioned that businesses should be buying into commercial PV setups because their cost of electricity will go down. The number of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour was being thrown around and that it is crazy not to buy one of these systems because they are currently paying more than that. Economically it makes perfect sense and there is only a three year cost recovery period. But the business say, "well I'm not in the energy business, I don't need anything like this right now, I make dolls... not energy, etc." Basically they aren't buying.

When you think about certain industries that bring in massive amounts of money, for example the pharmaceutical industry, there is a reason why they are bringing in so much in sales. They hire teams of sales reps to hawk their products to doctors and hospitals around the country. They are selling out huge amounts of product, much of which people don't even need. Here we are with something that people desperately need and they are not buying. Members of the RE industry need to consider their sales force, and their marketing. They need to be hiring sales reps that are greasy, sleezy, morally questionable and slick as a cast iron skillet.

If you have seen the recent movie Love and Other Drugs (and I suggest that you watch it or read the book, Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, for entertainment if nothing else) then you should have an idea of what I am talking about. If you are a salesman and you tell a doctor, "my medication has 30% less side effects and is more efficacious on patients in this age group... blah blah blah" they say well that is all well and good, but the rep from the other company just sent me on a trip to Hawaii so I'll be prescribing their products. But if you take the same doctor for a night out on the town and some moral debauchery, next thing you know they are prescribing your boner medication to twelve year olds, your ADD meds to cancer patients and your Anti-depressants to people trying to quit smoking. I'm not saying any of this is a good thing, in fact, it is a terrible travesty in our health care system. But if the product you are selling is Renewable Energy and has the potential to benefit all man-kind, then I believe the ends justify the means.

The incredibly intelligent and technically gifted people that tend to be attracted to the Renewable Energy industry tend to overlook this. For the average business owner the product has to be more than just economically sound, more than just environmentally beneficial and technically well-made... it has to be sexy. It has to be be visceral, desirable, and seductive. I want it, need it, got to have it.

You can sit there all day and say its 80% more efficient and the cost recovery period is only 3 years and its environmentally sound... and all they hear is blah, blah, blah. You need to hire sales reps that are going to be able to charm their way past the secretary, get in the office with the owner, become like an old friend within a matter of minutes and get a contract signed before they realize they have even lifted their pen. You need to consider that you might need to wine them, dine them, show them a good time... before they are willing to trust you and buy your product. You need to pluck on their heart-strings in order to loosen their purse-strings, work with their feelings, not just their intellect.

Morally questionable? Perhaps... Monetarily favorable? Definitely! Unfortunately this is just the way that the world works. The big industrial giants know this, that is why big Pharma hires all these sleazy sales reps and why big hedge funds on wall street will pay people a million dollars a year just to wine and dine potential big money clients. It works!

So what do you folks think? Are you buying what I am selling?
A former member
Post #: 1
Hi Joseph,

Thanks for coming to the meeting last night. I'll do the best I can to respond to your comments.

1) Tidal power or Wave power could be a great source for energy, check out­ for more information from the Department of Energy. I know there are a few people trying to make this happen. Good luck getting this pass the core ecologists :)

2) Yes, Air Quality is something that people can't deny! A major part of that problem is transportation and hopefully we will see more manufacturers build low emission vehicles that get increased fuel economy.

3) What the solar industry needs is more marketing dollars (think of the Got Milk? campaign), but solar is still new to a majority of the population. There are many more complexities involved in the sale of solar electricity to businesses than selling Viagra to doctors who are being asked for the drug. Right now businesses are connected to the grid and thats fine with them. Solar can save them huge amounts of money but many still see it as a risky investment. It is easy for you and I to see that businesses need to install solar but when you get all of the parties involved in one room, it isn't as easy as it should be.
Check out one company from the San Diego area that used to do both Residential and Commercial, now they specialize in Commercial systems.­

Nice meeting you yesterday and I hope to see you at future meetups.
Joseph K.
user 8054532
San Diego, CA
Post #: 2
Hi Aaron, thanks for the reply!

I'll check out those resources you suggested. I just thought I'd voice some ideas to try to get the ball rolling on some discussion of the topic. It's like you say the more involved we get in the group and the more educated we get on these topics the better. I think we can bring in some new ideas and new thinking into the mix to overcome some of the challenges faced in the renewable energy industry.
Joseph K.
user 8054532
San Diego, CA
Post #: 3
Here is an interesting read from the American Energy Innovation Council:­

There are a lot of big names on this report. A lot of what they say seems to make sense, but it is a little frightening at the same time. Seems like the big wigs want to take over and control the entire sector for themselves. Or maybe this is just paranoia?

Check it out. It's good to see the interest in any case.
A former member
Post #: 2
Check out­ to view the presentation from Rich Caputo from Jan. 25th.
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