Expert Reveals How Alternative Energy Will Put Americans Back to Work

The old jobs are dead. Long live the new jobs.

That's the message Tom Rand sees in the current news cycle as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced in January that unemployment rates would take four to five years to get back to "normal." In the meantime, several states announced that alternative energy jobs were soaring.

"In America, we used to make things," said Rand, a new millennium combination of scientist and venture capitalist who believes the country's future hinges on the development and ownership of alternative energy technology. "We built cars, homes and other manufactured goods that we'd use here and export abroad. As our quality of life was raised, other countries used their lower economic classes to make up a new generation of cheap labor aimed at undercutting American made goods. Today, we have millions of manufacturing workers who have been displaced and are unable to find work. In the meantime, our dependence on fossil fuels continues to make Americans slaves to foreign oil. Alternative energy is the industry that can break that chain in a variety of ways."

Rand, author of the book KICK the Fossil Fuel Habit: 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World from Greenleaf Book Group Press (, said he is already seeing an explosion of new jobs in the alternative energy sector.

"A Colorado solar energy company is expected to create 1,200 new jobs within the next couple of years thanks to a $400 million loan guaranteed through the US department of energy and another $110 million in equity financing," said Rand. "The best thing about it is the company, Abound Solar, won't require the new hires to have experience in alternative energy. Because the jobs are manufacturing oriented, the typical skills learned in traditional manufacturing jobs are transferrable to the new initiative. And it's not just manufacturing, these technologies need to be installed. We're rebuilding an energy infrastructure, and that takes the trades - all the trades and lots of them."

Rand added that the wind power industry also received a big boost from the government with the renewing of a key tax credit, which is hoped to increase wind project installations by about 50 percent. That's just one part of the equation, though.

"A national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) policy was before Congress last year, but it didn't pass," Rand added. "If Congress succeeds in passing it this year, it would solidify the wind energy market enough that it could create several hundred thousand jobs as a result. Meanwhile in Florida, the renewable energy industry is hoping the legislature will pass a $1 consumer fee that would generate 95,000 new alternative energy jobs in that state. The bottom line is that the new energy jobs aren't a myth -- they are out there, and not only can they put America back to work, but they can also secure our energy independence for generations to come. It's just smart business for America."

Expert Reveals How to Choose The Best Shelter Dog For Your Family

Dr. Diane Pomerance wants to show everyone how to make your family happier -- and save a life at the same time -- in October.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) sponsors October as Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month to encourage Americans to turn their houses into homes by adopting a shelter dog. Each year, millions of dogs enter our nation's shelters, yet of the almost 59 million owned dogs in this country, fewer than 20 percent are shelter adoptees.

Pomerance, an activist who has owned more than 40 shelter dogs in her lifetime, thinks it's a shame that more people don't adopt from a shelter, because the most faithful, healthy and loving dogs are waiting there for new homes.


"People sometimes don't go to animal shelters to adopt a dog, because they have a lot of misinformation about these animals," said Pomerance, author of seven books about pets, including Our Rescue Dog Family Album ( "They think, 'I don't want to inherit someone else's problem,' or they simply think all the dogs there are abused or hard to train, or that they won't be able to find the breed that they want. All of those notions couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, up to nearly 60 percent of dogs in shelters are not strays, but pets whose families had to give them up because of a loss of income or a change in location. These are faithful, loving dogs who just need a home and some love."


The key is to know how to choose the right pet for your family, and Dr. Pomerance offered these tips to help families do just that:


  • Breed - Check online about the different breeds, their temperament, health & physical characteristics. Find out all you can about the specific animal from shelter workers and volunteers.

  • Lifestyle -- Think about your lifestyle and personality in terms of the kind of dog that would be more compatible with your home and your living situation.

  • Activity level -- Assess the activity level and exercise requirements of the dog you are considering. Are you able to walk your dog several times a day and play with him?

  • Age -- Figure out what age of the animal is best suited to you and your family. Which is more compatible with your age and lifestyle? Do you want an active puppy that needs attention and training, a middle-aged dog with established behaviors, or an older, less active dog?

  • Time - Do you have enough time for a quality relationship with a dog? Like children, they require attention, companionship, patience and interaction. They also require socialization and obedience training.

  • Budget - Research the costs of not only adopting a pet (adoption fee), but veterinary care, including spay/neuter, vaccinations, potential injuries or illness, regular checkups, toys, accessories, etc. Factor in costs of food, pet sitters or boarding while you're away. Keep in mind many pet shelters offer these services as part of the adoption fee, or at a discounted rate because many are not-for-profit organizations supported by private donations.

  • Space - Do you have sufficient room for a dog to move, eat and sleep comfortably? Further, are you legally allowed to have a dog on the premises/in your community? If you rent, make sure you are legally allowed to have a pet.

  • Shelter -- Find out as much about the shelter from which you are adopting your pet as possible - what is its reputation?  Is it a kill or no-kill shelter? What is the track record of the successful adoption of its dogs?

"Adopting a shelter dog is a lifetime choice, as these pets will likely spend the rest of their lives with you, and it is not something that should be taken lightly," Pomerance added. "That being said, it is a positive choice, and one that will bring joy and love into your home and provide your family a loyal, caring companion."

About Diane Pomerance

Diane Pomerance has a Ph.D. in Communications from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is widely regarded as a pet expert. She has written seven books about animals including the Animal Companions Series and her new book Our Rescue Dog Family Album (  She created, established and currently directs the pioneering and flagship Pet Grief Counseling Program for the SPCA of Texas in Dallas.

Enhanced Geothermal Systems Could Answer Energy Question

Expert Explains How Limitless Renewable Energy Exists Right Under Our Feet

The discourse on green energy almost always includes the upside of how great it is for the environment and the downside of how much it will cost.

With a stalled Green energy movement that seems to have convinced few people that it can actually replace our dependence on fossil fuels, Tom Rand thinks it's time to move the goal posts. An engineer who is also a venture capitalist who puts his money where his mouth is, his challenge is simple: America can either pioneer green energy as an investment that will pay off for centuries to come, or wind up paying someone else for the same solutions down the road.

That's why Rand, author of KICK the Fossil Fuel Habit: 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World, from Greenleaf Book Group Press (, thinks that Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) is one solution that we should not overlook.

"EGS is the game changer, and if pursued with vigor, could contribute in a huge way to getting us off oil," Rand said. "I see the solution both as an engineer and as a venture capital specialist, because it's not just about going green -- it's about going green, replacing our dependency on foreign oil and fossil fuels and becoming an energy solutions provider for the rest of the world. Instead of the world's biggest consumer of energy, we could also become the world's largest producer of energy solutions for the world."

Rand said EGS would not require a massive infrastructure overhaul, or the need to develop vastly complicated new technologies.

"The idea is simple," he said. "In most of the world, the ground 6 miles underneath our feet is dry, but as hot as the hottest aquifer. That heat can be mined, brought to the surface, and used to generate electricity. If we are serious about wanting to replace coal, we simply drill EGS holes beside every coal plant. Replace the boiler with a heat-exchanger. Keep the rest of the infrastructure. Turn off the furnace. Done."

Available around the clock, throughout the year, and available almost anywhere, EGS is suitable to be the workhorse of the world's electrical system ? with a constant baseload supply, according to Rand.

"It's got colossal potential," he added. "The ground beneath the US could easily provide all its energy needs for the foreseeable future. EGS is the real deal. If the U.S. energy producers spent a combined $1 trillion to refit the plants around the country, they could replace 75 percent of all U.S. electrical production with a solution that would cost consumers much less for their electricity needs."

How to motivate owners of existing coal assets to drill those holes? "If the capital for the EGS project is provided as low-cost debt", Rand says, "the cost of servicing that debt can made less than the existing coal bill." In other words, the owners of coal plants would see EGS as a benefit, not a competitor.

Drilling has started at two locations in Australia, one at Paralana, and a massive second project at Cooper Basin, according to Rand. There is an operational plant in Soultz, France and another one in Landau, Germany that has been in operation since 2007, producing enough power for more than 6,000 homes. Sweden and Japan are also in on the action. The first commercial plant in the US, partly funded by the US Department of Energy, is planned for Desert Peak, Nevada.

"Unlimited energy supply, lower costs to consumers and zero dependence on any other energy source that's bad for the environment," Rand said. "That's all upside, but the real issue for me as an investor is the fact that those who pioneer this solution will be the one to sell it to other energy firms around the world. We can do it here, or buy it from someone else later."

About Tom Rand

Tom Rand is a Professional Engineer and has Doctorate from the University of Toronto. He currently acts as Lead Cleantech Advisor at the Toronto-based MaRS Institute, which supports the commercialization of Canadian research and development. Before joining MaRS, Tom was a successful entrepreneur, founding Voice Courier Inc. in 1991, a telecommunications software company, leading its expansion to more than 100 employees in three countries, with revenue in excess of $20 million US annually. He sold it in 2005, after leading it for 12 straight profitable years. Tom is currently the Director of VCi Green Funds, a venture firm focused on early-stage low-carbon technologies.