Renewable Energy: Recapping the First Illinois Renewable Energy Fair

Renewable Energy: Recapping the First Illinois Renewable Energy Fair

By By Robert & Sonia Vogl

The first Illinois Renewable Energy Fair was a highly successful event, judging by the number of participants and the overall positive response to the event.

Sixty workshops provided information to nearly 2000 interested participants. Land owners and farmers learned about many new opportunities in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs in the new federal farm legislation. Switchgrass cultivation for sale to power plants and wind-generated electricity and were of particular interest.

Efficient use of energy in homes, businesses, industry and communities had a practical, cost-effective appeal to participants. For example, the cost of buying an energy-efficient refrigerator can pay for itself in three to five years through savings on electrical bills alone.

Homeowners had opportunities to discuss alternative methods to heat their homes including outside wood furnaces, geothermal heating devices, and solar hot water systems.

A host of volunteers set up facilities and cleaned up after the event, directed traffic, registered participants, shuttled audio-visual equipment from one presentation to another, and were essential to the Fair’s success. They also enjoyed being involved: “I thought the Fair was amazing; I had a wonderful time working at the information booth.”

Organizers were frequently thanked for their efforts: “I came to learn and was very satisfied,” and encouraged to hold another Fair: “It was great—please do it again next year.” The Illinois Renewable Energy Fair 2003 is already in the minds of all involved.

The ultimate measure of success is how much energy is saved and how many new renewable energy units are installed as a result of the Fair. Judging by participants’ reactions, the transition to a cleaner, greener, more cost effective energy future was accelerated as a result of this event.

A very special thanks is due to Frank Schier and all the support he has given renewable energy and efficiency in The Rock River Times.

Robert & Sonia Vogl are from the Illinois Renewable Energy Association.

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