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These days there quite a bit of controversy about the increased production of our global energy needs from alternative energy sources. Wind power, solar energy, and moving water are traditional sources of alternative energy that have made leaps in terms of progress over the past decade.
The problem and often the most debated topic is that fossil fuels are non-renewable.
We had the chance to interview Mr. Tom Cummins the CEO of American Power & Gas. Cummins shed light on all things oil and gas.
There is a great deal of information and enthusiasm today about the development and increased production of our global energy needs from alternative energy sources. Solar energy, wind power and moving water are all traditional sources of alternative energy that are making progress. The enthusiasm everyone shares for these developments has in many ways created a sense of complacency that our future energy demands will easily be met.
Mucklai: Renewable energy is something your company appears to be very interested in, tell me how your involvement with this can create benefit for the economy and the consumer in general.
Cummins: There are two areas that we are interested in. One is the improvement in the production and generation of solar energy. The other, is the ability to store this energy. As the ability to produce and store this energy increases, the energy will become cheaper and more efficient, which is needed to be able to provide renewable energy on a very large scale. In fact, you will only need a very small percentage of the US territory collecting solar energy to produce enough to support the entire United States. For example, with a tiny corner of Nevada we could provide the whole United States with power.
Mucklai: How did American Power and Gas come to be?
Cummins: Originally, we were a sales company exclusively. We had a company called Consumer Sales Solutions, which serviced energy suppliers, just like we do now. Then about 6 years ago, we made the decision to move up the food chain, to become those that we serviced. We made that decision to go from a sales company to an energy company. That’s also when we made a bigger decision, to not just become another one of those “guys,” but to get in there and accelerate the adoption of clean energy in our society. We currently serve the states of New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Our headquarters is based in Florida, and we have two additional offices in Colombia and Italy.
Mucklai: What is the overall purpose and goal of your company in the Energy Industry? i.e. what is it that drives your company to demand results?
Cummins: We are a for profit business, so we have to pay the bills and make everything right and be profitable – but we also have to do something that we can be proud of. There’s the aspect of whatever dollar we make today we still have to be here tomorrow and face up to it. Our biggest focus challenge is in the area of education. We are a very elite organization driven by that purpose and we work very hard and are very focused, but it is the educational process which is everything. We have to educate our staff, who have to educate the public. Because, logically, we are at a point in the not too distant future. It might not be today, and I don’t know if it is going to take one year, two years or even ten years, but there will be a shift to where you can get non-fossil fuel, sustainable energy for the same price you pay to pollute the air, and who would choose otherwise if that was the case? That is what we are disrupting – the status quo. We are going out there and saying, yes, you can have everything that you want, but you don’t have to hurt the environment to get it, nor do you have to pay through the nose to get it. That’s what we are working on here to do and we are pushing forward with that.
Mucklai: Energy seems to be a global concern, whether it’s cost, availability, practicality etc. How do you fit into that as a solution?
Cummins: American Power and Gas and other like-minded people have driven the cost of the wind power and the solar power down to where it is probably 1/3rd of what it was 10 years ago. At one point, only a wealthy company would switch to green energy for the public relations viewpoint, but now it is getting to the point where the average man on the street can go “you know what, I am willing to do that!” Today, it is at the point where the average homeowner will take their $100 power bill and make it $125 instead; or the businessman will take his $400 bill and make it $450. It’s no longer absurd, to the point where they go “no way Jose.” I can even give someone a fixed rate product that is 100% green, right at or very close to what the utility is charging. It has taken a very long time to develop a product like that because utility prices go up and down based on the weather. This is now a place where they can not only get a price guarantee, but they also get the “feel good” about doing so. They feel that they are actually doing something about helping the planet, because they are now one of those people – the kind that is taking the time, making the effort and the responsibility to make a better world. For us, it is a very key point to get back to being a purpose-driven company.
Mucklai: The need for Green Energy is evident across the world, what sort of solutions to you bring to the table to solve those needs?
Cummins: We are working on some programs where we can circumvent the quote “system” and allow us to be able to provide green power in places like Florida, Georgia and other areas where it is not conventionally allowed, but that’s a whole other thing that we are working on. We have a phenomenal amount of territory and we can probably expand it 100%, just here in the United States. There are all sorts of financing options that will offer the possibility for a family or business to switch to renewable energy with barely any costs up front. Green energy from wind turbines gets sold on the utility or supplier level, which is one of the green energy options we provide. The more people who use green energy, the more the prices go down. It’s really a matter of each individual taking responsibility and switching to green energy.