What's the future for renewables in Illinois?

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-112248466521697.jpg’, ”, ‘Gov. Rod Blagojevich’);

Energy wars, high energy prices, dwindling supplies, climate change and deteriorating environmental conditions have placed energy issues in the spotlight.

While Congress tries to resolve the differences between the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate views on national energy policies, states, communities and individuals are taking action to move away from our excessive reliance on imported oil. This year’s Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Fair, Aug. 13-14 at the Ogle County Fairgrounds near Oregon, will focus on actions at the state level.

Hans Detweiler, deputy director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, will cover the highlights of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s Sustainable Energy Plan, which calls for 2 percent of the state’s total electrical consumption ito be produced by renewable energy by 2006, increasing to 8 percent by 2012.

Bob Lieberman of the Illinois Commerce Commission will lead a panel discussion of what the Governor’s plan means for the state of Illinois and where we should be headed in the future with efficiency and renewable energy.

Mike Pasqualetti, a member of the Governor’s Advisory Board on Renewable Energy in Arizona, will discuss how the myths and realities of renewable energy have slowed their acceptance and how we can best proceed toward a sustainable energy future.

Other presentations will address community efforts to reduce energy consumption and increase the use of renewable energy. Michael Vickerman of RENEW Wisconsin will discuss Madison’s efforts to reduce the adverse economic impacts of rising energy prices and looming energy shortages. Barry Matchett of the Environmental Law and Policy Center will outline the various options communities have for financing their own wind projects.

Government actions have a powerful impact on renewable energy opportunities. These sessions will point out those opportunities and what lies ahead.

Admission is $5 per day for adults, $3 per day for youth 12-16, and free for children younger than 12 (accompanied by an adult).

More than 100 businesses will host booths at the expo, agencies and organizations will have displays. Many provide samples or items for purchase.

There will be 55 workshops on renewable energy topics including solar, photovoltaics, wind power, government and agency programs, lifestyle and health, renewables in buildings and the urban setting and alternative fuels and transportation. There will also be activities for children, including making solar cookers, songs and cooperative games.

For more information, visit the IREA Web page of www.illinoisrenew.org.

From the July 27-Aug. 2, 2005, issue

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