LOS ANGELES, May 22, 2018 – Today, the Sierra Club announced the completion of its latest documentary, Reinventing Power: America’s Renewable Energy Boom, which takes the viewer across the country to hear directly from the people making our clean energy future achievable. These individuals are working to rebuild what’s broken, rethink what’s possible, and revitalize communities. Critically, Reinventing Power underscores the notion that jobs, economic growth and innovation don’t have to be sacrificed for a clean environment. Over the film’s 50 minutes, it focuses on people in eight states whose lives were changed by the renewable energy industry while exploring various aspects of clean energy from innovation to installation.
The film, which was produced by Los Angeles based Transit Pictures and Executive Producer Amber Valletta of A Squared Films, will premiere at the Ahrya Fine Arts by Laemmle Theater on June 5, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are free for the public. The full film will be available to watch in Fall 2018. Director Tony Valentino and Executive Producer Brennon Edwards of Transit Pictures, Amber Valletta and those featured in the film are available for interview upon request.
Michael Brune, Executive Director for Sierra Club, issued the following statement:
“Clean energy is more than just a solar panel, wind turbine, electric car or a battery. It is an industry driven by thousands of hard working people in every state across our country. We wanted to tell the story of the people building our clean energy future, driving innovation and fighting for community access. This is a true American story and the people behind the scenes are worth celebrating.”
Tony Valentino, Reinventing Power’s Director, issued the following statement:
“Through the course of making this film, we met incredible people who showed us the depth of this industry. Clean energy is helping people find new opportunities as our economy shifts, it’s bringing in steady revenue for our farmers, and it is driving breakthroughs in clean technology. We saw how clean energy is made and got to experience how it is changing people’s lives for the better in a deeply personal way. It is exciting and an honor to share these stories with the world.”
Stories in Focus
Block Island, Rhode Island
Bryan Wilson lost his business during the 2008 recession but he, and the island he calls home, found a new future in offshore wind. After relying for decades on diesel generators for power, Block Island played a critical role in building the nation’s first, and only, offshore wind project. Today, Bryan is a wind technician and is helping this small town lead the country on clean energy.
Northern Cheyenne Reservation, Lame Deer, Montana
Kaden Walks Nice wants to bring clean energy to the Northern Cheyenne reservation after the tribe spent decades sitting in the shadow of the West’s most polluting coal plant. As a full retirement of the Colstrip coal plant looms, Kaden is advocating for wind turbines to be built on his tribe’s land to replace that coal power, while bringing jobs and revenue to the reservation.
Gratiot County, Michigan
Chris Bruce worked in the automotive industry for years until the recession wreaked havoc on the industry. During this time, Michigan had the highest unemployment rate in the country after Chris and thousands of others lost their jobs. Industry volatility prompted leaders in Gratiot County to create a plan that would diversify its economy, and wind energy sits at the center of that plan. Now Chris is using the skills he learned in the automotive sector on these wind projects, which supports the local school district and generates new revenue for the community.
Pete Rivera and Kenneth Thompson have seen firsthand how bad energy choices can create economic disparity and damage vulnerable communities. All too often, the people who lack access to clean energy are the same people living with fossil fuel pollution in their neighborhoods. As the clean energy industry grows, Pete and Kenneth are fighting to bring community solar to low-income communities of color, which are historically left out of the energy debate.
The clean energy boom would not happen without American innovators, and the scientists working at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) have been central to making clean energy cheaper, better and faster. Right now, NREL scientists are working on what they call their most transformative clean energy technology, which will speed up our adoption of solar power far faster than anyone could have imagined.
Pasquotank and Perquimans Counties, North Carolina
Steve Harris’ family has been farming for generations and know firsthand how risky being a farmer can be. Weather is unpredictable and costs can fluctuate. One thing they did notice was the wind was always blowing, which is why Mr. Harris’ family said yes to building North Carolina’s first wind farm on their land. Today it’s not only providing a steady income to their household, but to the county as well.
St. Louis, Missouri
Matt Reuscher was a proud coal miner, but between drought and economic shifts in coal, he lost his job. Having grown up in a family of coal miners, Matt never thought he’d work in clean energy. With a family to support, he looked into solar opportunities and today he is a rooftop solar technician for Missouri-based Straight Up Solar.
Isaiah Robinson grew up watching severe smog pollution hover over his community and the unemployment rate grow. Then, BYD Motor, a electric bus and truck manufacturer, moved to the city to help tackle both problems. The company employs hundreds of people, including Isaiah, and only has plans to expand. Now, he and his family watch and ride the buses he builds in Lancaster.
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.
Transit Pictures is a Los Angeles-based production company with a passion for human interest stories. Transit uses new media technology and creative storytelling to introduce their viewers to people and experiences from across the globe.