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Windmill for Jan 26th, 2023

By PP Dwight Heikkila

PP Tom Barron introduced his good friend (and he has a lot) Joe Cannon to enlighten (pun) us about the Energy Industry, which he proved well-qualified to do. 

Joe spent his first decade in energy at world-famous GE working with fossil-fueled power plants. He then worked with cleaner energy systems at Boeing and then moved on to Empire Solar Solutions dealing in Demand Management, EVs, and commodities with much concentration on the grid, reliability, politics, and pricing. 

He then proceeded to give us a big-picture view of this critical subject, especially the amazing changes that occurred since he’s been involved. For example, coal produced 50% of our energy in 2000 and now contributes only 19%! Since 2011, many coal plants have been repurposed to generate electricity from natural gas turbines, which is now the cheapest and much cleaner than coal. Solar, which was so expensive that only subsidies made it possible, now is the cheapest! Gas, however, is very dispatchable (easy to ramp up or down at any time) and looks like about 50% of our production in the near future (40% right now). Nuclear power generation has held steady at about 20%, but no new power plants in the past 30 years here in the US.

Joe expects a mix of mainly natural gas, solar, and wind by 2040, which does not eliminate carbon dioxide, of course. In a few years, he expects that EVs will be faster, cheaper, cleaner, and cheaper to maintain than gasoline cars and trucks. Our big problem is that we have 250 million gasoline vehicles in the US, so the transition will take a LOT longer. 80% of buses, at least, should be EV by 2040. As for electricity generation, it won’t take long to ramp up and replace less efficient, dirtier supplies, but distribution is still a big problem.

This is a much more rational (and likely) future than the one I had in my ESG-harried mind. Factors like geography, the market, technological advances, cost, safety, and our health will all weigh heavily on our choices. When I heard that Texas is now generating 34% of its power from wind while California is only 20% renewable (I thought much higher), I realized how little I knew that was true!

It was a wonderful presentation. Thank you, PP Tom Barron for introducing us to Joe.

Special thank you to Nancy Cohen for leading the pledge, PP Nancy McCready for her “Thought of the Day” quoting Martin Luther King and, PP Gordon Fell for leading the crowd (not in unison) in singing “God Bless America”.



  • This Thursday's WVRC meeting, February 2nd, 2023, will be back at Guido's beginning with social hour at noon followed by our favorite Financial Advisors led by PP Steve Scherer on, "2023 - Buy of Sell?" This is always a fun, very informative and useful presentation you will not want to miss!!

  • January 28th, WVRC did a cleanup project in West LA. PE Steve Day headed up this project with 30+ volunteers including Rotarians, Rotaracts, family members and neighborhood volunteers. With brooms and shovels, the group cleaned up Cotner Avenue between Ohio and Olympic where many unhoused currently live. Congratulations and, thank you, PE Steve Day, for spearheading this wonderful hands-on project for WVRC!!

  • February 11, 2023, WVRC members and guest will visit and take a guided tour of the Academny Award Museum, VA Benjamin Fishter is organizing this event for WVRC. The tour will be from 10:15-12:30 with lunch following at the famous Canters Deli. Reservations are now closed for the museum tour but, you can always join the crowed at Canter's for lunch. Just be sure to RSVP with Benjamin Fisher.

  • District 5280 is travelling to Belize March 23-31st, 2023, for several life-changing service projects. Join your fellow Rotarians for the trip of a lifetime as you help improve the lives of people of Belize. Sign up on the district website.

  • The 2030 District Conference early-bird registration is now opened. It will be held in Indian Wells, May 4-7th at the beautiful Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa. Don't get shut out, reserve your room today!! All information can be found on the district website.

WVRC 2022/2023 Leadership Team

President: Chris Gaynor

President Elect: PP Steve Day

Vice President: Benjamin Fisher

Treasurer: Terry M. White

Youth/Vocational Service: Diane Good

Director/Peace: PP Marsha Hunt

Foundation: PP Steve Day

Global Scholarships: PP Chris Bradford

Webmaster: PP Ron Lyster

District Governor: Olivia Patterson Ryans

Immediate Past President: Nancy McCready

Secretary: PP Nancy McCready

Community Service: Aaron Donahue

International Service: Nevin Senkan

Director: PP Tom Barron

Membership: PP Mark Rogo

Director/Social Media: PP Aly Shoji

Windmill Editor: Teya McCockran