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Federal stimulus package and the Aug. 8-9 Energy Fair

July 23, 2009

Illinois’ share of the federal stimulus money for renewable energy and efficiency programs is expected to approach $97 million. Details will be coming soon now that the state budget has been settled. This year’s eighth annual Illinois Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair (Aug. 8-9 at Ogle County Fairgrounds in Oregon, Ill.) will be an excellent event to attend since many of the ideas from the fair fit well with the intent of the stimulus.

The money will have a significant impact on energy efficiency and renewable energy interests. As huge as the package is, questions are already being raised regarding the need for another federal stimulus once the impacts of this effort are better understood. Considering that energy security, climate change and the need for jobs are major issues, we can expect to see a continued focus on energy since it is the basis of our modern civilization.

Renewable energy sources will benefit from these efforts. Hans Detweiler of the American Wind Energy Association will provide an overview of the status and future of utility scale wind projects in North America, stressing the importance of expanding the grid to accommodate renewable energy sources. In this vision, Illinois will be an important player in both wind generation and electrical transmission.

Illinois had only a pilot small wind program in 2006 and 2007. A new program under consideration could be included in the July 2009 budget. Bill Fabian will discuss small wind systems on Saturday, based on his experiences with them. Vendors and installers of small wind systems will be available for those interested in them for communities, homes, farms , schools, park districts and nature centers.

Geothermal developments and opportunities will be covered by Dirk Dypold of Advanced Geothermal. His presentation will review 10 years of installations and various system designs. Bob Deja, an engineer at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., will discuss their experience with geothermal heating and cooling in two campus buildings. Other system installers will have booths at the event as well.

Bill Haas, formerly of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (IDCEO) and now with the sustainability section of Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure, will discuss the stimulus package Saturday, Aug. 8. We expect to have a representative of IDCEO available both days to present their programs, including those funded by the federal stimulus package. Large cities and counties are receiving direct grants while small communities will be eligible for program funds administered by IDCEO.

“Finding Green Jobs” will be addressed both days of the fair. Jason LaFleur will present an overview of green career paths in sustainability, including renewable energy, energy auditing and green building.

Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko will share ideas about ECOpreneuring—either as a profit or nonprofit venture—as a means to create the change you seek in the world. Examples at the fair include Russ Rybicki of Progressive Asset Management with suggestions on socially-responsible investing techniques, a profit venture, and JustGoods of Rockford, a nonprofit venture.

Major sponsors of the fair are the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, the IDCEO, ComEd and The Rock River Times.

Any program changes will be posted on illinoisrenew.org.

Drs. Robert and Sonia Vogl are founders and officers of the Illinois Renewable Energy Association (IREA) and coordinate the annual Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair. The Vogls and the IREA are members of the Environmental Hall of Fame. Dr. Robert Vogl is vice president of Freedom Field, and Dr. Sonia Vogl is a member of Freedom Field’s Executive Committee. The Vogls consult on energy efficiency, renewable energy and green building. They have 3.2 kW of PV and a 1 kW wind generator at their home. Forty acres of their 180-acre home farm are in ecological restorations. They are active in preserving natural areas and are retired professors from Northern Illinois University. E-mail sonia@essex1.com.

from the July 22-28, 2009, issue

One Comment

  1. james clancy

    July 31, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I recently read about Solar City,a company that installs energy systems.They will lease them to the customer installed complete.They have 3200 installed in Cali,Wash,andArizona.Does Il. have a simalir company?

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