Illinois Renewable Energy Fair

By Bob & Sonia Vogl

Illinois Renewable Energy Association

The first Illinois Renewable Energy Fair will occur on August 10 &11 at the Ogle County Fairgrounds near Oregon.

It provides an opportunity to gather information and insights from people who have had experience with energy efficiency and renewable energy and to exchange ideas with home, business, and farm owners whose energy choices include renewable energy.

The Fair presents examples of individuals and communities who have developed diverse domestic energy sources. Their choices save money, provide jobs, help restore economic vitality to the farm economy, curtail pollution, and leave a heritage of clean air and water and biologically diverse natural areas. Clean energy choices reduce our reliance on foreign oil and increase our energy independence. They are acts of patriotism which enhance homeland security without sacrificing our personal freedom.

The Energy Fair offers a wide range of energy alternatives through exhibits, speakers, and more than 50 workshops. The keynote speaker and internationally known author, John Perlin, will present the story of solar electricity from space to earth on August 10. Solar electricity plays a crucial role in the operation of our modern society.

On August 11, keynote speakers include Mike Bergey, owner of Bergey wind generators, and Carlin Palmer of the National Renewable Energy Lab. They will discuss the dramatic increase in using small and large wind machines to generate electricity along with ways to integrate wind energy into our lives and communities.

Other featured speakers include Bill Moore of EV World, who will present the outlook for electric, hybrid electric, and fuel cells as transportation alternatives. Michael Vickerman of Renew Wisconsin will address the topic of oil supplies while Marty and Ruthanne Davis will discuss earth-sheltered housing.

Three featured speakers will address agricultural interests. John Sellers of the Charitan Valley Biomass Project will present the use of switchgrass in generating electricity. Hans Deitweiler of the Environmental Law and Policy Center will discuss the new farm economy. Bruce Papiech of Forever

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Power will discuss farmers as energy entrepreneurs.

Some workshops, such as using energy efficiently, basic electricity, economic benefits of renewable energy, community based programs of energy efficiency, hydrogen pipeline, history of wind energy, and Illinois solar history, will be of general interest .

Others, such as oil supplies, global warming, green building, sustainable architecture, sustainable living, natural landscaping, ecological restoration and urban sprawl, will address environmental and economic concerns.

Some focus on using solar electricity in an energy-efficient home, solar energy in the city, low-cost solar energy choices for the home and business, combined solar and wind energy systems, solar hot water, and using batteries in renewable energy systems.

Other topics appeal to agricultural interests. They include methane capture for electrical generation from anaerobic digesters, community-supported agriculture, and straw bale construction.

For those who would like to live in a community of people with environmental interests, a workshop on intentional communities will be presented.

As Americans, we take our intensive use of fossil fuels for granted with little consideration for the risks involved until supplies are disrupted or prices rise dramatically. The information gained at the Energy Fair can help us become more energy independent through the use of clean, sustainable energy choices.

Major sponsors are the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and Commonwealth Edison.

Watch for subsequent information in The Rock River Times regarding the Energy Fair.

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