Could a space-based nuclear weapon trigger the simultaneous meltdown of every nuclear power plant on the East Coast? And has the plunging price of renewable power rendered every other form of energy obsolete? Nuclear whistleblowers Maggie & Arnie Gundersen think so. They also assess whether Iran’s nuclear program poses a threat to the US. The Gundersens know the nuclear business from the inside: Arnie Gundersen is a nuclear engineer who defended the nuclear industry for 20 years, managing and coordinating projects at 70 nuclear power plants in the US. In 1991, after complaining about lax nuclear safety to his superiors, he was fired, and the industry turned on him. That’s when he and his wife Maggie Gundersen, who worked as a spokesperson for the nuclear industry, became leading critics of nuclear power, forming Fairewinds Energy Education. Arnie Gundersen now consults on nuclear power. (July 10, 2019 broadcast)
Mary Powell has been president and CEO of Green Mountain Power since 2008. Powell and GMP have been pioneers: the utility is the first to help its ratepayers go off the grid, the first to offer residential solar customers the Tesla Powerwall battery and the first and only utility to achieve B Corp certification. Powell is among the few women in the country to lead an energy utility.
In May 2018, the National Audubon Society awarded Mary Powell its Rachel Carson Medal, given to women who have advanced the cause of conservation. The award is named for the marine biologist and author of The Silent Spring, whose work is credited with helping create the modern environmental movement. Powell discusses how she shook up a stodgy energy utility to make it more nimble and responsive to customers, why an electric utility supports renewable power, “leading with love,” and surviving cancer and the loss of her house in a fire. (June 20, 2018 broadcast)
Mary Powell, President & CEO, Green Mountain Power
Paul Burns is executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, a position he’s held since 2001. In just the past few years, VPIRG has played a major role in the nation’s first ban on fracking, new regulations on toxics, and the movement to have GMO foods labeled. Previously, Paul worked for 15 years as an attorney, advocate and organizer for PIRGs in New York and Massachusetts. Burns talks about Ralph Nader and the PIRG movement that he launched, why he pursued public interest law, and how he was inspired by Lois Gibbs and her fight for environmental justice in Love Canal. He also discusses the backlash against renewable power in Vermont, toxics, government ethics, clean power, Gov. Phil Scott and Donald Trump. (January 11, 2017 broadcast)
Should communities have more say in where renewable power is located? A group of farmers wrote to the Vermont Legislature this week to defend their ability to locate renewable power on their farms. We talk with a farmer and a solar power provider about some of the challenges in siting renewable power. (April 6, 2016 broadcast)
Nearly five percent of the Vermont’s workforce now participates in clean energy activities, and the clean energy economy has grown nearly 10% since 2013, according to a new study from the Vt Dept. of Public Service.
The clean energy sector comprises over 2,500 businesses employing more than 16,000 workers. Businesses project roughly 1,000 more workers by March 2016, a growth rate of 6.2%.
We look at the current state of renewable energy in Vermont and the challenges ahead.
All things All Earth: Vermont renewable energy pioneer David Blittersdorf, founder of wind energy company NRG Systems and solar power company All Earth Renewables, talks about his green journey, the importance of mixing business and politics, and his advice to new graduates. Andrew Savage of All Earth discusses the company’s innovative green employee benefits.
Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power and one of the few female energy company executives in the country, talks about Vermont’s renewable energy initiatives, the controversies over wind and nuclear power, and women and leadership.