Welcome to Culver Electric Currents—your monthly e-source for industry news and product information, including the latest educational and promotional items, trends, tips, stories, and events.
This month, learn about the first offshore wind farm in the US, the value of expanding your communications to include the environment, and more best practices for public outreach this Earth Day.
Culver Company’s Products Group can help you select or create the right educational and promotional products for your outreach efforts. Be sure to check out Culver Electric Currents each month for your industry product news.
The first offshore wind farm in the US is now online and producing electricity. Located off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, the small wind farm consists of five turbines that provide 30 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 17,000 homes. Ninety percent of the island’s energy needs will be met through the wind turbines with more being transferred back to the New England electricity grid. Block Island, a resort area that has few year-round residents, had previously relied on diesel-powered generators for its electricity. Now and for the first time, the island’s power will be connected to the mainland, and residents hope it will improve reliability. Overall, about one percent of Rhode Island’s energy will be produced by the wind farm. The wind farm cost about $300 million to build and will reduce the island’s carbon emissions by 40,000 tons.
Commonplace in Europe
Although this is a landmark event in the US, wind farms are far more common in Europe. According to WindEurope.org, there were six new wind farms, encompassing 338 turbines, constructed in Europe during 2016. Europe now has wind farms in 10 countries with 3,589 wind turbines that provide a total capacity of 12,631 megawatts. With so much experience behind it, the European wind industry has matured to the point where the US is now able to benefit from its learning, experience, and declining prices.
The Future of Offshore Wind
According to the Department of Energy, wind farms that operate offshore are more efficient than inland wind farms, since ocean winds are generally stronger and more consistent than those on land. A report released by the Departments of Energy and the Interior last September estimated that the “total offshore wind energy technical potential is equal to about double the nation’s demand for electricity.” So why has it taken this long to build one little offshore wind farm?
For starters, they are expensive and have lengthy payback periods, often requiring government subsidies. Other barriers include complex siting regulations, potential wildlife endangerment, and complaints from residents about wind turbines that obstruct their pristine ocean view. In particular, the first major offshore wind project, a 130-turbine project off Cape Cod, was plagued and ultimately defeated by the “not-in-my-backyard” complaint.
And yet, those governing coastal states are increasingly setting goals for more reliance on renewable energy. New York wants 50 percent of its power to be sourced from renewables by 2030. Planning is now in the works by the Long Island Power Authority for a wind farm of 15 turbines just off Montauk with potential to supply 50,000 homes. Massachusetts will begin their efforts again with the passing of a recent bill that requires utilities to contract with offshore wind farms for power to exceed 50 times the output of the Block Island Wind Farm.
An additional obstacle to offshore wind, however, could be President Trump, who opposes renewable energy programs in general. The National Offshore Wind Energy Strategy, an extensive plan to develop a viable nationwide offshore wind industry, was launched in September 2016 by the Departments of Energy and the Interior. The program’s goal is to have 20 percent of the nation’s electricity generated through wind power by 2030. With a new administration taking over, the fate of this program—as well as all energy subsidies—is uncertain.
April 22nd is Earth Day. Has your company established a plan for promoting the environment? For most utilities, safety is a primary communication priority, but expanding that message to include caring for the environment can position your utility as a responsible environmental steward while creating lasting value for your community. If you haven’t already, consider making Earth Day a cornerstone for your plans. Whether you create your own event or sponsor another’s, you benefit from the shared efforts of organizations nationwide and the focused attention of media and community. It’s an efficient way to get your plans started.
No matter which types of environmental initiatives you choose to implement, the key is in sharing the results of your plan with your community—including frequent updates if your programs are ongoing. This way, residents will see the specific progress you are making on improving your utility’s environmental performance and how these efforts benefit the community. After all, many consumers believe that whether we distribute energy or use it, we’re all in this together and need to find ways to help protect the environment. You’ll find that investing in the community in this way will transform any ambivalence into positive perceptions and strengthen customer satisfaction across your service area.
Utilities large and small are expanding their community outreach to include environmental conservation. As the energy industry continues to evolve, there seems to be no shortage of ways to get creative in how your utility can make an impact. Here are some unique ways other utilities are making a difference:
Whether it’s an Earth Day event or a tree reforestation project with the local school, consider including a branded, promotional product to maximize impact. According to industry research, 50 percent of consumers who receive a promotional product form a more favorable opinion of the organization who gave it. The same study reports that the majority of customers recall your promotional giveaways (94 percent). In fact, most keep, reuse, or share them—giving your goodwill and important message longevity.
Any of our products can be customized to include your company name, logo, and contact information. Let Culver’s product experts help you select the right product for your environmental outreach efforts. Give us a call at 800-428-5837, email email@example.com, or visit www.culverco.com/catalog.
Including the local school system in your public outreach plans is an effective way to show you are invested in the safety of our children. It’s a responsible way to demonstrate corporate citizenship—you’ll also create goodwill and improve customer satisfaction. Utilities with high levels of customer satisfaction often experience more favorable regulatory outcomes.
At Culver, our products are designed to make your job of working with the school systems easier. Developed to align with state and national academic standards, our materials can be easily integrated into the curriculum. To enrich the teaching experience, we’ve created a teacher’s guide, including pre- and post-tests that are available for download on our website. All of this helps to turn teachers into deputies for your public education program.
Take a look at two of our bestsellers on the subject of electrical safety. These booklets not only meet educational standards, but they are also filled with fun activities and experiments that engage students through hands-on active learning.
The Shocking Truth about Electrical Safety (Grades 4–8, #36250) teaches kids how electricity travels to ground. The experiments help kids “get” this principle—creating a lifelong lesson to avoid touching any circuit and ground at the same time.
It’s a Wired World (Grades 4–8, #36695) helps kids develop critical thinking skills by asking them to write down their predictions of which things are conductors. After they test to see what happens, they’re asked to discuss how the results compared to their predictions.
Consider using these materials for your public outreach efforts. You’ll create teacher advocates, empower students with critical safety principles, and you’ll reach their parents—our research shows that three quarters of students take these booklets home to share with siblings and parents.
For pricing and ordering information, give us a call today at 800-428-5837, or visit www.culverco.com/catalog to view our full catalog.
With Earth Day in April, it’s the perfect time to educate about outdoor electrical safety. Outdoor community events are a great way to reach children and parents alike. When you connect with families in this way, your message will have the added impact of being context specific. You’ll be able to easily introduce outdoor scenarios where children and families may intercept electrical dangers outdoors and how to stay safe. You’ll show your commitment to the community, create goodwill, and improve customer satisfaction.
Using the right educational literature with the right promotional item at the right community event can engage children and families in a way that transforms learning into lifelong behaviors. Consider using a promotional item to reinforce your educational message. Our research shows that when you pair a branded promotional item with educational material, recipients are more likely to remember your company’s name and message.
As they grow, children become increasingly independent explorers of the outdoors. Culver’s Outdoor Electrical Safety Activity Booklet leads youngsters on an outdoor adventure exploring the dos and don’ts of outdoor electrical safety by using puzzles, word scrambles, and secret message decoding. Creative problem-solving concepts are combined with enhanced vocabulary and the universal symbols for “No” and “Danger” to effectively reinforce learning.
Linemen are admired by all members of the community—especially children who are fascinated by their work high above the ground in bucket trucks and on poles. This fun sticker sheet allows kids to dress their lineman in appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) stickers, including a hard hat, insulated gloves, protective eyewear, gaffs, body harness, and more. It’s also a great way to reinforce the ways kids will intercept potential electrical dangers in the outdoors. Stickers include a brief description so that children understand the purpose of each piece of equipment and the hazards that they're intended to prevent. Sticker sheets can be customized with your utility logo and company colors on the lineman’s hard hat, shirt, and pants.
For pricing and ordering information, give us a call today at 800-428-5837 or visit www.culverco.com/catalog to view our complete catalog.