I thought I’d kick off the company blog by telling you who I am and why I started this company. My name is Joe Strommen. I’ve been a software engineer by profession since 2004, and a lifelong resident of (the greater area of) Minneapolis, MN.
Previously: an armchair environmentalist
I have always cared for the environment in a non-specific sort of way. Like many of us that are too busy with the rest of our lives, I did “eco-friendly” things that required very little effort like basic recycling, upgrading incandescent lights, etc. I even spent several thousand dollars upgrading my home’s insulation (a three-pronged investment in the environment, lower utility bills, and my family’s comfort in an old 2-story Midwestern house).
As global climate change has become more obvious and more ominous over the years, I wanted to do more. As a well-paid engineer that works from home, I even had some time and money to throw at the problem. However, I found it very difficult to find a way to make a meaningful impact:
- I already limit my energy usage to reasonable amounts based on my (minimalist-leaning American) lifestyle.
- I have trees to the south of my house, so I cannot install rooftop solar panels.
- Buying an electric car to drive in a cold climate that would be charged with mostly-coal-generated electricity would be…not very helpful.
- I’m simply not willing to give up eating meat.
Eventually, I just gave up and forced myself to stop worrying so much. I decided that climate change is something that the energy industry would have to work out on its own.
The turning point
In November 2015, I read a fantastic article What can a technologist do about climate change? by Bret Victor (a brilliant researcher in computing and user interaction). Bret’s message was simple but powerful: every single one of us can contribute meaningfully to solving climate change, and it is in fact our responsibility to do so. I immediately knew that I had to make my contribution.
Now, here I am a few months later launching U.S. Clean Energy Fund. I’m positive that there are many people like me in this country who care about this issue, but are unsure of what they can do to help. My goal is to empower these people to make a meaningful impact on climate change in a way that also benefits them personally.
Introducing the fund
U.S. Clean Energy Fund will make it easy for everyday citizens to get involved with clean energy projects.
Our two criteria for success are:
- Economic success for everybody involved.
- Real-world reductions in our nation’s greenhouse emissions.
Long-term, my goal is for the company to be a meaningful part of a nationwide transition to 100% clean energy.
Just the beginning
Launching this company is the very first step, and there’s a long road ahead. These will be great challenges, and I promise you that I will do my very best to meet them.
Furthermore, I promise to be completely open, honest, and transparent about the company.
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