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Matt Chester's picture
Energy Analyst Chester Energy and Policy

Official Energy Central Community Manager of Generation and Energy Management Networks. Matt is an energy analyst in Orlando FL (by way of Washington DC) working as an independent energy...

  • Member since 2018
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  • Nov 23, 2021

At Energy Central, we're excited to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving this week!


In preparation of that and how so many in our community will be spending time around the table with their friends and family later this week, I'm curious about what energy conversation starters you'd love to see come up. Best manners dictate trying to minimize any political talk, which is where a lot of the energy discussion may tend to go these days, so where do you hope to steer it instead to inspire and share with your loved ones?

  • Cool new technologies in the power sector?
  • Answering common questions like why all power lines aren't underground to avoid outages?
  • What aspects of your job in the energy industry you most?

How do you hope to share some education on the energy sector this Thanksgiving? 

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I am excited about the announcement today that Voltus is going public. Voltus is an energy aggregator.

This topic is something I would talk about around the kitchen table because it is exciting to see the marketplace rewarding distributed energy resources aggregators finally!

Are Your Holiday Purchases the Children of Carbon Emissions?

On the heels of COP26, a lot of folks have been talking about their disappointment with the world leaders who set underwhelming carbon reduction goals because they aren’t going to get us where we need to go fast enough. But this burden doesn’t just rest on government bodies and businesses. Consumerism, the preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumer goods, is a very real contributor to climate change.

According to the article, “Consumerism Plays a Huge Role in Climate Change, “A new study published in the Journal of Industrial of Ecology shows that the stuff we consume—from food to knick-knacks—is responsible for up to 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and between 50 and 80 percent of total land, material, and water use.”

With COP26 fresh on my mind, my holiday gift-buying well underway, and black Friday mayhem on the calendar for many courageous Americans, I want to ask my Thanksgiving guests:

  • How can we exercise our hard-earned buying power in environmentally responsible ways that don’t kill the economy?
  • When it comes to utility services, how can our utility providers better educate us about environmentally responsible options and behaviors?
  • What’s the one thing we can do in 2022 move the needle towards being more responsible consumers?

​​​​I look forward to hearing about your energy-related conversations, as well. Happy Thanksgiving!

For more context, check out this article Are Your Holiday Purchases the Offspring of Carbon Emissions? | Energy Central

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Nov 23, 2021

I love this, Vanessa-- great way to make these important topics tangible and real to the people in your life who aren't knee deep in the energy field like we all are!

There's been a lot of talk about Congress pushing legislation to add a carbon tax to all use of fossil fuels, including the fossil fuels used to generate electricity, which IMO is the only choice to eliminating GHG and address climate change. The prevailing attitude I hear is, Yeah, make those dirty polluters pay for their sins. Only one problem with this "false belief", it's not the polluters that are paying the carbon tax, it's all of us consumers that are paying the carbon tax, the "dirty polluters" are simply collecting the carbon tax from us. Here's how I explain this to my relatives and friends. I use a sales tax analogy to show that a carbon tax is just like a sales tax. The merchant that "charges you" the sales tax isn't receiving the money that you pay for sales taxes. It isn't the greed store owner that is "making out" on the sales tax - that money goes somewhere else. The same is true for carbon taxes, electricity consumers will pay the carbon tax, which will be included in the price of electricity, which you'll pay in your monthly bill under the "energy charge". A consumer will pay the carbon tax, even if they try  to do all the right things by electrifying their home heating/cooling and transportation with an EV. Talk about unintended consequences.

Vanessa Edmonds's picture
Vanessa Edmonds on Nov 23, 2021

Interesting conversation point. Is there light at the end of the tunnel?