What did the Seattle native say to the Pillsbury Doughboy?
Umm, why’s that relevant you say? Well, contrary to common assumptions (and well-worn weather jokes), solar energy is actually plentiful in our vitamin D deficient city. In fact, Germany gets less sunshine than Seattle, but on sunny weekends, nearly HALF of their energy production comes from solar.
Here at home, less than ONE PERCENT of our energy is solar, but SVP’s newest Investee is turning that around!
Northwest SEED (Sustainable Energy for Economic Development) works to establish a clean, diverse and affordable Northwest energy system based on efficient use of renewable resources, with maximum local control and ownership of energy assets.
Their programs focus on multiple energy solutions, including conservation and efficiency, solar energy, wind energy, and rural renewables. Through technical assistance, workshops, research and publications, online resources and websites, and energy campaigns they are making a measureable impact.
Northwest SEED’s solar group purchasing campaign has resulted in 475 solar installations to date, which produce over 2,200 megawatt-hours of clean electricity every year. Plus, through their energy conservation programs with Washington’s Native American communities Northwest SEED replaced more than 200 inefficient refrigerators, saving tribal members money while removing nearly 140 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually.
“Northwest SEED serves as a technical expert, interpreter, convener, catalyzer and access point to bring sustainable energy technology into our communities,” says Ellie Humphries, the Chair of SVP’s Environment Grant Committee. “They are the boots on the ground combating climate change and empowering us to seize new opportunities to be resilient. Plus, they serve an important role in providing more affordable sustainable energy solutions for underserved and diverse populations throughout the region.”
Through the grant evaluation process, members of SVP’s Environment Grant Committee were able to meet with staff and board members from Northwest SEED.
“We were impressed with how knowledgeable, dedicated and competent the staff is and how eager they are to engage with SVP Partners on capacity building projects,” says Grant Committee member, Sherri Richardson. “They are an excellent fit for an SVP relationship.”
One June 3, 2014 the Grant Committee voted to award Northwest SEED with a $40,000 unrestricted grant with the intention of developing a 3-5 year funding relationship that would include volunteer hours from SVP’s skilled Partners.
“The award of the SVP capacity building grant couldn’t have come at a better time for us,” explains Northwest SEED Executive Director, Jennifer Grove.
“With respect to mitigating the effects of climate change, time is not on our side and the need for rapid action is greater now more than ever. While we’ve made significant strides over the past 13 years, we have ambitious goals and are ready to scale up our efforts.”
“With SVP as a Partner,” Jennifer continues, “we will be able to invest in our growth and push the needle forward so that clean, sustainable energy is available to all citizens in our region. SVP’s diverse Partners have multiple sets of fresh eyes to help us explore expansion opportunities and uncover hidden assets. Our communities are ready to step up to the global warming challenge and Northwest SEED is excited to work with SVP to light the way.”
Sherri echoes Jennifer’s enthusiasm for the relationship.
“Northwest SEED’s services and leadership is in high demand from municipalities and communities and our committee could clearly see ways in which SVP could help them chart a growth trajectory to meet that demand.”
In fact, according to Jennifer, SVP has already helped Northwest SEED tackle some important issues. “Participating in SVP’s grant making process created new opportunities for our team to engage with one another. We found the process in and of itself very therapeutic for our organization!”
“Each step pushed our thinking forward on how we could best deliver our programs and advance our vision of a clean energy future,” Jennifer continues. “We gained a lot from the feedback we received along the way and were thoroughly impressed with the depth of volunteer engagement. In addition, our board members found the process to be fun as it allowed them to channel their passion and expertise towards a very specific task that was of significant importance to the organization.”
Well, we certainly couldn’t ask for a better start than that! Welcome aboard Jennifer and Northwest SEED!! We are delighted to be an accomplice in your courageous work.