NOTES: 10:00-11:45 Applications 3: Sustainable Business Development

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 11/15/2004 - 00:46.

10:00-11:45 Applications 3: Sustainable Business Development

Assistant passes out participant folders

Moderator provides small group introductory comments and orientation - 10 minutes

  • 10:10 Group Discussion begins
  • 11:35 Assistants begin Question summary
  • 11:50 Questions to Question Sorter

Sustainable Business Development

Comments from this session - Overview - post your comments below

<>Very diverse and interesting group - scant notes as we were very interactive - no time for typing. Will try to compile from other groups and sources.
<> <>Group included Director of art department at Kent State - said she should be in the creative group but moderater (from Mandell School) said it is good to be in other networks

Also in group: Michael Kinsley, Economic Renewal Research & Consulting from Rocky Mountain Institute, working in Cleveant Area for Cuyahoga Valley Initiative; Peter Holmes; ED Dir. from N. Royalton; TeamNEO rep; REI contact 

Discussed how difficult it is to communicate good ideas and opportunities - that NEO should be a world class leader in sustainable development, energy, conservation, etc. - someone suggested we nee better mdia coverage - features on Green initiatives - someone else disagreed that the mainstream media will be useful - need to reley upon new channels of communications - PD is irrelevant - need new tools that bypass - use Internet for virtual community. Peter Holmes brought up REALNEO and we discussed its value in this cluster - have wind power site - view sustainable development as an important COIL.

Suggested OneCleveland needs content - possible fit with REALNEO

Michael Kinsley from Colorado suggests use low tech approaches/solutions to sustainability - energy conservation - local sourcing - local ownership - "Steel Commons" wrong model - has 20-some opportunities like these and if you can quantify economic benefits, dollars talk... people will listen - some experts in quantifying include Civic Economics of Chicago and Austin and AMIBA

We talked about structural poverty - how little most people in the suburbs seem to care about ecology, sustainability - SUV mentality - N Royalton ED says crux of the matter is mindset here is socially out of tune - industrial age thinking

Kent Art director - students aren't interested in seeing the world - they have fear - not in tune - not getting out of their comfort zone

TeamNEO rep talks to folks around region who do not embrace regionalism - want to stay in their boxes and not work beyond

Michael Kinsley says our problems are more typical (of other regions) than we think - but he has heard our politics are worse than NY - in other words, bad

Peter raises discussion of REALNEO and that only limit is the individual value we each bring to the network

Talk of knitting together thinking at various schools - general systems theory approach

Problem - folks have become very isolated in their sub-communities and do not share and communicate so they are very shortsighted - not a good platform to pursue regionalism

Michael Kinsley points out undamental flaw in our economy is subsidizing fossil fuel

We all conclude Just do it! Pick an activity and pursue that activity

One area offering local involvement - Cuyahoga Valley is doing globally unique world-class effort to maximize value of the waste output of ajoining industrial facilities to generate new wealth - see Cuyahoga Planning Commission website - like Mel Chin Recovery Field project... could do that here

Need good, innovative, strategic leadership - N. Royalton just passed a charter amendment to complete a master plan rezoning 2,500 acres, with 260+ acres for mixed use and new town center - good leadership and effective communications can accomplish major objectives.

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History's Lesson

I remember this meeting well, which transpired nearly three years ago and I believe it serves to remind us that we have not been a fast-moving nor progressive region.  We must ask ourselves, what will it take to truly drive progress?  The answer comes up the same every time - lead by example and triumph through sacrifice.  I believe that is what we have fought to do, since before this meeting, in East Cleveland.  The regions or places with the most incentive to move will do so, given the appropriate levels of awareness raising and effort.  I've learned that individual efforts to drive these efforts and polarize the masses can be inspirational but it only happens, as alluded to in the notes above, when the collective mindset aligns with the individual's pioneering one. 

I've also learned from personal experience that forces that be can resist our efforts if they feel threatened by change and the ramifications of such change mean a shift in the current state of affairs.  In a city which has long-resisted progressive movements the natural instinct is to inherently - even subconsciously - resist even positive change introduction.  And I've felt my own personal efforts hindered or thwarted at times by others who would like to lay claim to 'possessing' that particular concept or idea as theirs.  To this I can only shrug off my frustration at such ego-centricity on both individual and organizational levels and perhaps lighten the mood and diffuse traditionally territorial behavior by chiding, 'Same Team , guys!  Same team'.

Can we teach old dogs new tricks?   I believe we have a growing number of frustrated citizens who think progressively and are excited by new ideas, but are uncertain how to move a system that is currently manned and programmed by an elite few.  If a conservative city looks primarily to national leadership that is likewise conservative it can only lag behind a laggard.  It seems all-too convenient that a wind-energy discussion intended as a public

meeting is not made apparent until it has nearly transpired - by one of our stalwart awareness-raising team members Jeff Buster.  Again it takes a citizen watch to open the door for voices and choices that might not have been accessible otherwise.  I am most definitely attending this meeting, and it will be our responsibility to report back the findings and make the attempt to positively influence its outcome.  Such has been, in my opinion, one of the greatest value points of Realneo to date, across countless regional changemaking events.


 As we all should be well


As we all should be well aware of the interest to introduce alternative energy is to reduce the creation of carbon dioxide.  Which a growing concern as it is escalating rather than diminishing, however the quandary in North Eastern Ohio is what benefit would it achieve how much C02 output reduction could be attained? 

If you tell a power system engineer that carbon output is a criterion then they respect the criteria.  However, simply adding production will simply add cost.  Do not assume wind energy is free; the cost of energy production is mostly equipment, and labor.  


This is a matter for engineers, the cost of wind is high and the equipment to insure that the carbon dioxide output is being reduced also complicated.  Requires a knowledge of power systems to indulge in that complexity.   It is entirely possible to have wind turbines on the lake and not reduce C02 output.   That has to do with forcing something on people that truly do not believe in it, or do not truly have total control of it.  That is because not all electricity generated gets used; keep in mind no batteries exist.  Power production does not have variable settings.  Just because the wind is blowing does not mean it is enough to turn off a generator.   In order to do that it requires complex controls, as the wind is blowing then it has to be enough to signal a plant to shut down a module of energy production and adjust the load for the shift on the grid. 


I do not want expensive wind turbine spinning on the lakefront and higher utility bills if the amount of CO2 that is being produced has not diminished.  So that being said CPP is out of the picture and First Energy would have to produce a plan that defines what module of energy production a wind farm would replace and the amount of CO2 that replacement would produce and how much it will cost to the consumer.


Considering that First Energy has I believe a coal fired plant in Eastlake and also Avon then those facilities would have to described in detail, how do they break out production in what units of production, then those units tied to the turbines with controls that insured consequential periods of downtime, being replaced with energy produced by the turbines 


That being said then it would need to demonstrate a reduction in coal consumption, with out seeing that nothing changes.   I am a pragmatic person and I do not fall for any nonsense verbal or otherwise.  I need to see a reduction in coal consumption, how idiotic would it be to pat your self on the back for wind turbines if the plant kept burning the same amount of coal!    

I am so serious these wind turbines could be spinning on grids that have not reduced CO2 output.  They could be sending feel good energy into a grid that is discharging into the air!     Excess generation gets discharged ask a power system enginneer, ask them if they ever release excess steam pressure?