The license plate on the electric car reads SOLAREV and it’s really all you need to know about how Jorgen Rasmussen approaches environmental issues: he’s all about solar evolution and a little bit of climate revolution.
On his small farm in Otis Orchards, Rasmussen has built two huge solar panels that, over the last seven years, have generated more than 100 megawatt hours - or the amount of energy it would take to drive his electric car around our planet 16 times.
Born, raised and educated in Denmark, the mechanical engineer moved to Otis Orchards about 10 years ago via the East Coast, and Portland, Oregon.
We caught up with Rasmussen at the beginning of the global COVID-19 outbreak and he was quick to point out environmental positives that were reported out of China in the midst of an otherwise dire situation.
“So many factories have shut down in China that the air quality has gotten a lot better,” Rasmussen said. “And the quality of our air is what we should all pay attention to.”
Why is clean air the most important? Because you can go three or four weeks without food, three or four days without water but only three minutes without air, Rasmussen said.
To him, solar panels are not about ‘going off the grid’ - they are about preserving clean air for everyone. His solar panels produce much more power than he can use and he’s gotten rid of all gasoline powered tools on his little farm.
His cozy house is always warm and he jokes that in an effort to use more of the power he produces he’s even put a heater in the chicken coop.
“The chickens love it,” Rasmussen said.
With Earth Day on the horizon we talked about how to get the best bang for your buck when trying to preserve the environment.
“It takes less consumption, don’t buy so much stuff, and less driving your car,” Rasmussen said, “and more walking or riding your bike or taking public transportation - those are things we can all do.”
Recycling is important, too, but Rasmussen encourages people to think of reusing what they have instead.
Rasmussen’s approach to climate issues focuses more on the collective than the individual. Yes, we should aim to become sustainable he said but we should do so as a community.
At Avista, sustainability is a concept that has been core to the company’s purpose since its founding in 1889. Our current generation is 57% renewable and our goals include moving to carbon neutral by 2027 with 100% clean electricity by 2045.