Energy head

Misty Young

Photo by David Robert

At a renewable energy conference in Washington, D.C., last week, local public relations diva Misty Young was named as co-chair of communications committee for the American Council for Renewable Energy. The group seeks to educate folks about renewable energy sources. Misty Young, vice president of public relations for KPS/3 in Reno, served as deputy press secretary and education adviser to former Gov. Bob Miller and as executive assistant to former Nevada Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa. Find out more at

How’d you get into renewables?

I’m just an energy-head. I’m a geek for this stuff, I like it. I participated in 2002 American Solar Energy Society’s convention in Sparks as regional co-chairman of the event. I became fascinated with wind, geothermal, solar, whatever. I said, “Huh! I have to go to work anyway. I’d love to be doing work I find exceedingly valuable.” So now [KPS/3] finds client opportunities in renewables.

Why the rush for renewables?

Fossil fuels have a finite lifetime. In our lifetime, or most definitely our children’s lifetime, we’ll have to turn to alternatives for our fuel.

What’s the next best thing in alternative energy?

Probably wind power. It’s just coming down so much on the price scale. Wait, back up. The next best thing in renewables is that people are going to start putting this up on their houses. People in Nevada, under new legislation, can sell power back to the grid—net metering. And costs have come down tremendously while reliability has gone up.

Tell me about your car.

It’s a 2003 Honda Civic HEV, that’s hybrid electric vehicle, with ultra-low emissions. It’s incredibly cool and such a neat car to drive. You’d never know it was a hybrid. It doesn’t look different, drive differently or handle differently. It smells different because of the low emissions. And there’s a bonus—Ding! Ding! Ding! It gets 47.3 miles per gallon. That’s my around-town mileage.

Do you have renewable energy?

I wish I did. I have a passive solar home. I’m taking incremental steps.

I mean in a personal sense.

Oh my god, yes, and I don’t drink coffee. I totally do, I can’t help it. … I get excited, too. I think it’s cool. I’m working incredible hours, but I feel pumped up. I’m passionate. I wake up in morning and say, ‘Look at the beautiful photons floating around outside our window. We’ve gotta harness those to power our Sonicare toothbrushes.’

That’d be cool.

Think about all the incremental power additions we’ve made: mobile phone chargers, Palm Pilots, laptops. The usage curves are going up exponentially. We’ve got to find a way to meet this demand that’s renewable, so we’ll have some power there for our kids. It’s not our grandkids—or future generations. We’re talking about people living on the earth right now who will be dealing with fossil fuel deficiencies. It’s in the near future.