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Happy Solstice from Holy Solar! This year has seen an amazing growth of alternative energy, real action from Washington and credible promises of much more to come from what may prove to be the administration which solves the energy crisis.
We’ve been away for a couple of months performing seasonal agricultural work on the Coast, and just now completed our regular migration to the Southwest. The price of biodiesel has not been as fast to fall as it was to rise, and remains up to twice the retail of petro-diesel.
Fortunately, we were able to navigate the 1000 miles of highway without resorting to dinosaur diesel, thanks largely to the four fueling stations we depended on, and several contributing riders. By pooling fuel costs, were able to complete the trip at a personal cost of $.15.mile.
We made our usual stops at the Biofuel Station in Laytonville and the Real Goods pump at the Solar Living Institute in Hopland (map). The BioFuel Oasis in Berkeley (map) saved our schedule by staying open late (8pm) and by selling easy-to-use 5-gallon jugs. This extended our range to cover the distance to Los Angeles non-stop, where ConservFuel provided the best price and hours of the entire journey.
The bad news came a few days later-ConservFuel in West LA, where we had just purchased 47 gallons, was discontinuing biodiesel. For those who travel long distances on biodiesel as well as local consumers, this essential oasis has been the only 24-hour provider of B99 in Southern California.
This was the e-mail we received from Kent at Socalbug.com:
The owner of the ConservFuel Station in West LA/Brentwood has decided to stop selling biodiesel !!!
See the explanation on the http://www.conservfuel.com/ website.
Write Dansk a letter and or email them @ firstname.lastname@example.org include email@example.com ( Kris Moller ) as a cc: in your email.
However don’t be too harsh, we do not want them to get sour on biodiesel as Dansk also owns the Palisades Gas-N-Wash which is still selling biodiesel.
Do your part to keep biodiesel for sale at ConservFuel.
Write your letter, spread the word and take action.
Here is what we had to say about it:
Dear Biodiesel Providers:
We were most saddened to hear of the closure of the biodiesel pump at Conserv fuel, especially after our recent fill-up just last week, when we purchased what will apparently be our final tank of hard-to-find biodiesel there.
On our seasonal trips from Arizona to Oregon, Conserv is a critical stop. We usually arrive at odd hours and the end of our tank. I honestly do not know how we will manage our next trip, as there is a huge void of biodiesel throughout that stretch of 1-10.
Many people do not understand why we use biodiesel, even when petro-diesel is cheaper. There are many reasons, from socio-political, to environmental, but the at the bottom of it all is a belief that biodiesel is a superior alternative which must be supported even at a higher cost. We are not wealthy people, but there is no compromising on this for us. We resort to petro-diesel only in the gravest emergencies, when there is literally no possibility of obtaining biodiesel.
We are cognizant of the difficulty of maintaining an unprofitable product, but urge your reconsideration of this move. The year has been a turbulant one for fuel prices, and next year may become more so. Biodiesel may again become a strong and profitable product as breakthroughs in algae and jatropha feedstocks swell supplies.
Please be aware that this closure is a major inconvenience, not merely to the local population of committed biodiesel users, but to travelers on the nation’s highways who lack other oases of supply. This issue is quite serious; we are quite literally stranded without a 24-hour station.
We may not have been contributing to your company’s coffers as well as consumers of cheaper fuels, but biodiesel users are dependant on the West Hollywood B100 pumps, and without them, the journey toward a greener future is detoured.
We urge your reconsideration.
Holy Solar Alternative Energy Bus
And we were pleasantly surprised to see this response:
After careful reconsideration and deliberation, Dansk Investment Group has decided that the loss our valuable biodiesel customers is not worth the potential increase in profits that would be gained by switching to the lower cost diesel #2. In large part, due to the numerous, well articulated emails we have received regarding our customers reaction to our removal of biodiesel, Dansk has decided to bring back biodiesel (B99) to Conserv Fuel in West Los Angeles!
Your emails are testament to the exceptional loyalty that Conserv Fuel biodiesel patrons have demonstrated regarding your commitment to purchase biodiesel. Conserv Fuel will once again continue to be the sole retail supplier of biodiesel (B99) in the greater Los Angeles area. Please note that our higher biodiesel sales price relative to diesel #2 is due to our higher wholesale supply costs. There is currently a lack of biodiesel supply in California which has resulted in biodiesel selling at a premium price to diesel #2.
We appreciate you taking the time to express your sentiments and would like to inform you that your voices have been heard. We understand that your loyalty to Conserv Fuel is linked to our supply of biodiesel, so we will be switching back to selling biodiesel (B99) hopefully by December 20th, 2008. We will keep you updated on our return to biodiesel at www.conservfuel.com
We appreciate you for your continued support
Dansk Investment Group, Inc.
Ours was merely one of many letters that surely led to this reversal, and this demonstrates the importance of expressing the importance that alternative energy makes in our lives to those deciding whether to provide it.
If you use biodiesel in LA, or expect to ever need to, please send a brief letter of thanks to the folks at Dansk Investments…and stop by the ConservFuel station to fill up often once biodiesel is restored there on December 20.
Dansk Investments & SoCal Bug jointly share this weeks “Green Leap of Faith Award” for believing in biodiesel through these rocky times.
ConservFuel can be contacted through email at firstname.lastname@example.org
They are open 24 hours a day, located at
11699 San Vicente Blvd
West Los Angeles, Ca 90049
(Click for directions to ConservFuel)
To find directions and more information about biofuel stations and availability in your area, Holy Solar recommends consulting NearBio – www.nearbio.com
Search Engine Giant Google Wins Green Leap Award
This is a new feature we’ve added in order to highlight organizations and companies who have made noteworthy contributions to developing a clean energy policy based on renewable power. We recently profiled Cal Green Lending, Real Goods, and Nanosolar, and these companies are retroactively awarded this distinction as well.
Today we’d like to salute…well…a giant media corporation. Not just any multibillion-dollar press magnet, either; Google is the most active web entity on Earth, attracting over 80 million visitors daily to its search result pages and other web services.
“To Google” has become an infinitive transitive verb meaning, “to instantly research any topic.” According to our site statistics, there is a 75% chance you arrived here via Google referral.
Google exercises god-like power over the Internet, defining the user experience and revolutionizing the core concept of advertising with the Google Adsense program, which enables millions of independent content creators to easily place ads on their site.
The start-up in San Jose has gone on to become one of the wealthiest corporations on Earth, and many online talking heads (and the courts) regularly debate the dangers of concentrating so much power in a single company. What is not debatable is that Google is one of the most active corporate voices on behalf of alternative energy.
Google has been putting these considerable funds where its press releases are, adding the world’s largest solar array to the Mountain View facility, and we’ve reported previous;y on the investment founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have made in the ultra-thin printed solar modules from Nanosolar.
The latest news is the best yet: the “.org” side of the loudest voice in technological development has issued a bold plan to “Green the Grid” and shift the majority of energy production away from fossil fuels by 2030. Drafted by Jeffrey Greenblatt, who is the Climate and Energy Technology Manager for Google, the analysis recommends an investment of $4.4 trillion in a combination of solar, wind, and geothermal power. The program calls for 88% of grid electrcity to be produced from earth-friendlier technology by the target date.
We’d like to quibble a bit with the low goals for the vehicle fuel aspect of this plan…a piddling 38% percent reduction of petroleum in 20 years. The plan focuses on using electricity for transportation , which is nice, but will require a completely new infrastructure of charging stations and new vehicle factories,
Greenblatt also oddly presumes that electrical power will be cheap and abundant, which seems unrealistic, considering the effort which will be needed to accommodate existing and inflating demand for household and commercial electricity. We’d be robbing the lights to pay the tank.
At Holy Solar, we’d like to see 80% or more of a reduction in petroleum fuel by 2030, which can not be accomplished with electric cars alone. We were not able to find a single reference to the role of biofuels. Also, the notion of offering rebates to “retire older cars early,” is wasteful of the existing vehicles and the energy that went into building them.
It also ignores the millions of poor who have never owned a new car and probably never will. This was clearly a plan drawn up by someone with a well-paying career, but the fact is that this comes at a time when auto manufacturers are struggling to sell new vehicles at all.
So, as you stride up to the podium to collect your award, Dear Google, please do take a moment to think bigger about the potential of biofuels to achieve for vehicles what solar, wind and geothermal power do for electricity…allow a gradual shift while salvaging the existing infrastructure. Let’s not throw millions of vehicles to the scrap heap when a simple modification can make them burn more cleanly.
Nevertheless, this plan is admittedly a first draft; what we’d like to salute is the way this media giant is pioneering the dialogue about going beyond the inconvenient truth to investing in the technology to make this the time for a Green Revolution. Therefore, Google is hereby named winner of this week’s “Green Leap Award.”