Producer/Host: Steve Kahl
Program Topic: A proposed Consumer Owned Utility for Maine
Key Discussion Points:
a) CMP and Versant rankings among national utilities
b) Pros and cons of consumer-owned Pine Tree Power
c) role of OurPowerMaine.org in getting Pine Tree Power on the Nov 2023 ballot
Guest: Seth Berry, former chair of the legislature’s energy committee
About the host:
Steve Kahl is Professor of Science at Thomas College where he teaches environmental and energy courses and advises the student sustainability club. He writes the monthly ‘Sustainability Minute’ email which is distributed to over 1,200 readers. He is a member of the Quarry Road Recreational Area board of directors where he is advocating for a net-zero energy new welcome center. He has advised the board of WERU on the current plan for the station to become 100% solar powered in 2020. Steve is a member of the Green Campus Coalition of Maine, the working group of sustainability directors at Maine college campuses.
Steve’s past positions include Sustainability Director at Unity College where he developed a plan for the college to become 100% solar powered and earned the college the prestigious STARS Gold ranking with the American Association of Sustainability in Higher Education. Before that, he was Director of Environmental and Energy Strategies for the James Sewall Company of Old Town where he led a Maine Technology Institute research project that found that Maine could be 79% solar powered if all suitably-oriented rooftops had solar PV panels.
Prior to moving home to Maine, he was a member of the Energy Commission in Plymouth NH where he was obtained funding for the renovation of a town office building to net-zero energy and the installation of 160 KW of solar PV panels on town properties included a major PV array at the sewage treatment plant that offsets 40% of its electrical costs.
In his own home, he has installed two air-source heat pumps to completely eliminate heating oil, a hybrid hot water heater to reduce his water heating costs by 70%, and insulated the basement and attic to further reduce energy consumption and increase comfort. He would like to install rooftop solar panels but so far his shade trees that also produce maple syrup each year have convinced him otherwise. However, he has solar panels on his summer place at the lake and hasn’t paid for any electricity there since 2011.
Steve has a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from the University of Maine.