Energy Fair

The first-ever Illinois Renewable Energy Fair will be held this weekend, August 10 and 11, at the Ogle County Fairgrounds in Oregon, Ill. (off Highway 64 between Oregon and Mt. Morris). The fair is a great opportunity to learn about using wind, solar, or biomass power in your own home or on your farm. Speakers will include author John Perlin, Mike Bergey, president of the small wind turbine manufacturing Bergey Windpower, Michael Vickerman of Renew Wisconsin, John Sellers of the Chariton Valley (Iowa) biomass project, and myself, discussing the New Farm Energy Economy.

Energy Freedom through Farming!

Illinois Renewable Energy Fair a Great Opportunity to Learn about Renewable Energy!

WHEN: The Illinois Renewable Energy Fair is on Sunday, August 10-11, 2002.

Presentation times are listed below.

WHERE: The Ogle County Fairgrounds at 1440 Limekiln Rd, Oregon, Ill. Easy to find off Route 64 between Oregon and Mt. Morris.

WHAT: The Illinois Renewable Energy Fair offers a great opportunity to learn about ways to become less reliant on imported energy and more self-sufficient using new fuels from renewable resources. With the recent announcement of two wind energy farms in Illinois (in Bureau and Lee counties), interest in renewable energy is surging in the state. These wind projects offer opportunities for farmers to diversify their income by growing not only traditional crops but also harvesting the next generation of new clean energy crops. While Illinois boasts a strong wind resource, however, Illinois has many other renewable resources as well.

WHO: Hans Detweiler, Policy Advocate at the Environmental Law & Policy Center,

will speak on the “New Farm Energy Economy” at 12:00 noon on Sunday, August 11. He will also discuss the potential for on-farm renewable energy generation both as an energy source and as new farm income. Wind energy, biomass energy (such as energy crops or energy capture from crop and livestock wastes) and energy efficiency all offer enormous untapped farm benefits. Detweiler will use the recently released “Repowering the Midwest” for context, a report which lays out a clean energy development plan for Illinois and the Midwest.

Several other speakers will highlight ways in which farm communities can benefit from renewable energy programs. At 10:45 a.m. on August 10, John Sellers, Field Coordinator of the Chariton Valley (IA) RC&D Biomass Project, will describe the first project “co-firing” switchgrass from 600 acres of CRP land in a coal-fired electric plant to reduce CO2, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide. The new farm bill permits increased use of CRP plantings for fuel.

Presenting at 2:30 p.m. on August 10, Bruce Papiech of Forever Power advises farmers to install their own utility-sized wind generators on their land and sell electricity to utilities, suggesting this approach will yield more annual income to the farmer than merely leasing land to wind farm developers.

For farmers and rural landowners interested in installing a small wind turbine on their property simply to supply power to their own home or farm, Mike Bergey of Bergey Windpower will be speaking at 1:15 p.m. on Sunday about small wind turbine performance and economics, and to answer any questions.

Biomass products from farm operations can be used to provide heat and generate electricity that exceeds most farm needs, allowing farm operators to sell electricity to the grid if economic incentives make it profitable for the farm operator. On August 11 at 10:45 a.m., Duane Hanusa of Alliant Energy describes their experiences with biomass projects in Wisconsin.

Additionally, on August 10 at 3:45 p.m., Esh Noojibail of Anergen Corporation will take the mystery out of digester technology, which processes animal and agricultural wastes and turns them into usable forms of energy.

For the complete schedule of Fair speakers and events, see Major sponsors are the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and ComEd.

l “Natural Gas Supply Projections Risky:” A report released by the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies (CEERT) underscores North America’s growing reliance on natural gas and questions the assumptions that gas supplies will continue to largely be produced domestically from inexpensive conventional resources. The CEERT report, “Risky Diet: North America’s Growing Appetite for Natural Gas,” presents strong evidence indicating that North America will increasingly depend on more expensive unconventional natural gas resources, including imports from other continents. “It is dangerous for California to rely on optimistic forecasts about plentiful and affordable natural gas,” said V. John White, executive director, CEERT. “The only strategy that makes sense is to diversify our energy portfolio and to do it soon.” (see

l California Governor Gray Davis recently signed the nation’s first meaningful global warming law, working to cut CO2 emissions from cars and trucks in the nation’s largest state. In this Washington Post opinion piece, Davis explains why he signed the law (see

For more information, contact: Hans Detweiler, ELPC, (312) 795-3720 or

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!