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PUBLISHED: 6:37 PM on Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Local alternative energy initiative gains momentum
In the span of a month the number of individuals involved in an alternative energy initiative and bio-diesel co-op has grown from the two original members to over thirty.

This initiative is only in its early stages, but the amount of local interest is encouraging to Anthony Distefano and Travis Reed, who have been responsible for organizing the effort so far.

With a stated objective of "Promoting and distributing information about alternative energy and environmental stewardship by initiating conversations and action in seeking solutions locally."

SEAK Solutions is enjoying a season of positive momentum.

"What I thought would require months of prodding and begging has developed in a matter of days." Distefano said at a Dec. 18, meeting.

"I can see that Juneau is ripe for alternative energy solutions."

An article that originated with the Juneau Empire made its way across the state through various media outlets.

"This is obviously a very important topic for all of Alaska as energy costs continue to rise and individuals begin exploring their options for heating their homes and fueling their vehicles," Reed said.

"There are significant opportunities right now with the potential for small scale projects to yield large scale results."

Distefano and Reed are looking forward to the formation of a bio-diesel co-op with non-profit status and are confident that they have been connected with individuals who have, "the skills and experience that we lack" in forming and administrating a legal organization. There is significant interest within the group to render fish waste into bio-diesel and this is one of the opportunities SEAK Solutions plans to explore in the next few months.

Outside of processing the proper paperwork through local, state, and federal agencies, the group's immediate goal is to build a small-scale reactor, which will process waste vegetable oil into bio-diesel.

"The sooner we can see tangible solutions at work, the more people will get involved in seeking more solutions," Reed said.

With extensive experience in bio-diesel processing and alternative energy efforts around the country, Distefano isn't worried about engineering a reactor.

"The real obstacles are organizing the nonprofit and maintaining momentum through the first year, I hope we will have a committed group that is willing to be creative and positive in our approach," he said.

Highlighting successful projects and available grants in the state, the Solutions team is acting as a networking forum for entrepreneur's, local businesses, and state agencies.

Connecting the right people to the right information is part of their agenda. To find out when this group meets or other information, go online to seaksolutions.org.


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