2008 0207 MB Reflections: Ohio's Energy Portfolio @ Insivia.com

Submitted by Betsey Merkel on Sat, 02/09/2008 - 16:59.

Technology and Organization Opportunities to Accelerate Innovations in Open Source Economic Development

The February 7, 2008 Midtown Brews forum, Our Ohio Energy Portfolio: Economic Development in Your Backyard, brought together perspectives of Cleveland government, foundation and citizen decision makers. Elisa Young, traveled from Meigs County, Southern Ohio, to share her perspective as a seventh generation land owner, report on current local costs to human life, and natural resource devastation in proportion to the affect of current concentration of, and construction of future power production facilities. The Open Conversation was generated by about 100 participants and joined by 30 members of the Smaller Indiana social network contributing questions and observations via broadcast video and chat. Government leaders City of Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone, City of Cleveland, Ward 17; Nolan Moser, Law Fellow, Ohio Environmental Council ;  Andrew Flock, Painesville Councilman; Andrew Watterson, Cleveland Sustainability Programs Manager, City of Cleveland Department of Utilities; and Foundation leader, Richard Stuebi, BP Fellow for Energy and Environmental Advancement at The Cleveland Foundation, NextWave Energy, Inc., Founder and President.

The Open Discussion focused on issues and revealed the magnitude of the topic, the enormity of consequences, and our failure to innovate.

Was this conversation really just a result of a lack of technology and organization innovations, a long-term lack of citizenry participation and business leadership? ...

How did we get to this point?

Our situation has changed. We're required to make decisions at a level of comprehension beyond our capability, exaggerated by unforeseen forces and at a new speed. Tomorrow, the forces will be more complex, the speed will have increased and window of time, shrunk.

Why should we be surprised?

Consider what's involved. Of all animals on earth, humans score the lowest in cognitive capability to plan for the future, and our brain capacity based on size is miniscule in proportion to the scale of the new kinds of decisions we are responsible to make.

Leaders are experiencing previously unexperienced - 

  • Forms of change
  • Quantum levels of change
  • Leaders are required to interact with new economic systems
  • Required to respond to unforeseen future forces
  • Navigate a landscape comprised of a few resource rich decision making entities verses a pool of burden bearing constituents (you can flip ownership of burden with the same disastrous unbalanced outcomes, the point is responsibilities are not shared)

We are all in this together, and ultimately, we are all affected equally. Regions and their communities are experiencing a whiplash of issues, topped with a new misunderstanding of speed, lack of planning, strategy, and metrics to guide regional decision-making in this new landscape. What will be required for people to halt uniformed guesswork, lavish and desperate spending of resources on quick stop solutions? Because of a confluence of perfect storm factors, every decision made will affect our survival sooner than our experience tells us.

This is not about finger pointing, back slapping, or deal making between a few individuals or corporations, it is about the power of collaborative leadership, employing critical thinking skills to scale brainpower, engaging high end technology innovation, and designing new models of organization.

Moving forward.

Here is what I learned in my conversations with others at Thursday’s Midtown Brews:
  • There is a need to dramatically increase alternative energy innovations
  • Dramatically increase funding for research
  • Ensure open access to results
  • Regular apolitical theoretical and practical summation of research
  • Identify future forces affecting energy
  • Build open networks to engage the public, private business leadership, government
  • Design technology tools for a new rate of speed and visualization

Navigating these new landscapes requires new learning. Adopt the practices and tools of Open Source Economic Development (158.5 KB) deployed by I-Open. I-Open is creating the open spaces to build the open networks for new conversations focused on regional transformation. With our technology partner Near-Time.net, we are building online collaborative communities to sustain the conversations between face to face meetings, share information, and accelerate enterprise development for regional transformation.

Some next steps to learn about new practices and tools:

You can learn from our national partners practicing OSED and Strategic Doing to advance networked models of transformation:

Begin by participating in these Northeast Ohio networks:

Some next steps: Get involved with I-Open
Participate in the next Midtown Brews Open Conversation; contact Webtego and Insivia – two Midtown technology companies leading regional transformation and ask what you can do to support their efforts; attend the I-Open workshop April 23 – 25 Workshop: A Networked Approach to Building Prosperity in Communities and Regions , Punderson State Park Conference Center; join the Midtown Brews online collaborative community.

We are moving ahead to deploy Open Source models of economic development in Northeast Ohio and across the nation. We want to hear from you. What do you think?

The Big Picture.

How we connect to other U.S. regions figuring this out?
What is our opportunity to align as a region and what are our next steps?

START A NEO STRATEGIC DOING PROCESS (27.4 KB). Create alignment, the collaboration, and the innovation we need to move forward.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) spoke about society’s need to prioritize technology and organization. We can depend on one false constant: we think we have time.  What will it take to stop and focus?

( categories: )

stopping by the woods on a snowy evening

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
- Robert Frost

So I thought to stop on this snowy evening and connect the dots as it were between Frost, Thoreau and Emerson. (I'm taking off my sweater now because perhaps, I have miles to go before I sleep...)

Reading through Paul Hawken's Blessed Unrest last night I came upon the passage that reminds us of the connection between two great minds, two of our first environmentalists and social justice activists -- Emerson and Thoreau. "Mr. Hawken traces the roots of this emerging movement-with-no-name back to the Code of Hammurabi, applauds Rachel Carson role, then concentrates on the widely ignored and revolutionary ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Henry David Thoreau and his 7,000 page journal enter the conversation, Mr. Hawken pointing to clear parallels between Thoreau’s rejection of injustice and today’s activists inspired by his Civil Disobedience. Mr. Hawken brings Emerson and Thoreau into the present, with the story of how profoundly history is changed by many, many, many, many seemingly tiny, inconsequential acts." This in particular, when Thoreau was in jail because he had determined not to pay poll tax (because of the Mexican American war -- the great American imperialistic wallop -- why we annexed the Wild West), Emerson asked Thoreau, "What are you doing in there?" Thoreau answered, "Waldo what are you doing out there?" Everything is connected.

If the government is unjust then the just man is in jail... Now think on that for a bit... Think on civil disobedience... just let those ideas swirl around a bit like the snow that is blowing outside the window... OK.

So because everything is connected, we in Cleveland are connected to Indiana and India; we are connected to Mexico and New Mexico. So it was not at all inappropriate that Elisa Young whose family for 7 generations would be outraged that we in Cleveland or in Indiana would be willing to push aside or ignore the connected part of us which is Southeast Ohio. So when Ithink about a Wiser Earth, the sense of hoplessness... but then the david and goliath idea inserts itself and I begin to see the dots connecting among the small organizations. via open source technology. Thank you I-Open, Midtown Brews, Meet the Bloggers. Together we can change the world. We're going from a "world created by priveldge to a world created by community". No longer can we be a world created by corporate giants.

Thousands of organizations, people and  groups now are inspired by civil disobedience.


 In order to live life, sometimes trespass is necessary.  The Right to Ramble in England came to be because of the Kinder Trespass.

Today, in Cleveland, Ohio, our "trespass" must be taken in  a new dimension.

Not as dumb as we may appear


« Not as dumb as we may appear


Proposed AMP-Ohio coal plant cost jumps $400-500 million


The estimated construction cost of the 960 megawatt American Municipal Power Generating Station (AMPGS), proposed to be built in Meigs County, will be almost half a billion dollars more than last reported, according to an updated feasibility study delivered to AMP-Ohio more than a week ago but not released to the public.


The new figures were shared privately with a select group of local officials from northeast Ohio public power communities at a closed-door meeting in
Wadsworth Tuesday. Ohio Citizen Action, which opposes the plant for environmental and economic reasons, learned about the cost increase from several participants. OCA sent an open letter Thursday to AMP-Ohio President Mark Gerken demanding the public release of the study, performed by consultant R.W. Beck. An AMP-Ohio spokesman has subsequently confirmed to at least one reporter that the new feasibility analysis raises the plant’s estimated construction cost from $2.5 to $2.9 billion.


These construction costs don’t include about half a billion dollars in estimated financing expenses.


Municipal councils in most of AMP-Ohio’s member communities, including Cleveland, passed ordinances in the Fall authorizing their publicly owned electric systems to sign fifty-year take-or-pay contracts for various shares of the AMPGS plant’s output when and if it’s completed. These decisions can be reversed without penalty until March 1, 2008. A number of cities including Cleveland, Oberlin, and
Painesville are in the process of reviewing their commitments.


Cleveland Public Power is currently slated to receive 8% to 10% of AMPGS-generated power, and/or pay 8% to 10% of its costs (under the terms of the proposed take-or-pay contract the payment will be due whether or not the power is delivered). Cleveland City Council has scheduled a final hearing on the matter for February 22, and hired Ion Consulting of
Denver to conduct an independent review of the project.


Another consulting firm, Scott Balice Strategies of Chicago, released an analysis last week which argued that the price of AMPGS power to the participating cities is likely to be much higher than AMP-Ohio’s projections, due partly to construction cost increases but mostly to much higher costs of Federal CO2 reduction legislation than AMP-Ohio is predicting.


(By way of disclosure, I’ve been working with Citizen Action for the last three weeks as a part-time paid consultant on the organization’s effort to stop or slow the AMPGS project until communities like
Cleveland have taken a much harder look at alternative power supply strategies. I accidentally learned about AMP-Ohio’s secret meeting from an entry in the Wadsworth City Council Public Service Committee minutes from January 9 (see page 7), which included a frank discussion of how to keep the gathering of public officials immune from Sunshine Law requirements.)


Re-Posted From: http://www.callahansclevelanddiary.com/?p=487