Grassroots clean energy advisory group connects solar, wind leaders with citizens seeking solutions

A Whitehall-based clean energy organization thought they might have 25 people at their first community meeting where they planned to present information on residential wind turbines.

When they opened the door, there were 150 people waiting to get in to talk with representatives from Cascade Engineering/Swift Rooftop Wind Energy Systems, EarthTronics/WindTronics and Bauer Power about residential wind generation. 
The group, White Lake Innovative Natural Development Solutions (WINDS), began when Joyce Brownell, a retired Ferris State University teacher, wanted to attract an alternative energy company to share office space with her business, Quiet Times Massage, 215 Mears.

Soon, a dozen people were involved and the goal had changed.

"Our goal is to bring information to people who are interested in finding a more economic way to deal with their energy costs," Brownell says. "We want to help harness the information on solar and wind, and find natural solutions to energy issues."

WINDS is tossing around the idea of securing nonprofit status and obtaining grants to help local businesses offset the costs of converting to clean energy. 
 The group also hopes to become a resource for people looking for jobs and training in the alternative energy industry.

"One of our original concerns was to find work for people who could be installers of wind turbines or could build them," Brownell says. "We think the name of the future is the natural harnessing of wind and sun. We need to create new jobs for this new world of ours."

On June 25, WINDS plans an open forum to discuss solar power. Speakers include John Sarver of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth, and Adam Bearup of Hybrid Homes, LLC. The meeting starts at 7:15 at White Lake Congregational Church, Whitehall.

Source: Joyce Brownell, White Lake Innovative Natural Development Solutions
Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected].


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