Renewable Energy Expo Nov. 8 at Klehm Arboretum

By Drs. Robert & Sonia Vogl
President and Vice President, Illinois Renewable Energy Association

Winnebago County, the Illinois Renewable Energy Association (IREA), Freedom Field Renewable Energy and Rock Valley College are co-hosting a regional energy recognition event at the Klehm Arboretum, 2715 South Main Street Nov. 8, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The event is designed to celebrate what has been done and is being done with renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Rockford area. Things really are happening right here!

We believe this event will alert businesses, industry and the public to the fact that the Rockford region is a leader in this field. It will also provide an opportunity for those involved in renewable energy to meet each other and network.

Exhibits by manufacturers, businesses and organizations will be on display. Visitors will learn about a variety of renewable energy options and how practices are being applied in the real world. On the first Saturday in October, people were given the opportunity to visit homes of others who are using and living with renewable energy in their homes. This is an extension of that concept.

Sponsors are demonstrating their leadership through supporting the Renewable Energy Expo. They will be recognized in the program brochure and displays. Large donors will be recognized during the program and by a banner at the event.

Three major speakers — Doug Scott, Howard Learner and Bob Vogl — will each present their perspectives on renewable energy in our futures. Scott is the director of the Illinois Commerce Commission, former mayor of Rockford and former director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Keynote speaker Learner is the president and executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center. He served on boards of the Environmental Law Institute and the American Council of Renewable Energy and was a trustee of the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. Vogl is a member of the executive board of Freedom Field and president of the IREA, which hosts the annual Illinois Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair.

A brief ceremony will recognize more than 30 individuals and organizations that have demonstrated leadership by example through their involvement in renewable energy activities. They were recommended by others who know of them. A professionally designed and printed, framed certificate will be presented to each.

Many people and hours were involved in planning and delivering the event. When Bob and Sonia Vogl, who are members of the executive board of Freedom Field, suggested that FFRE and IREA host the Winnebago County Renewable Energy Expo, the idea was highly endorsed. Chet Kolodziej, Sergio Zamora and Bob and Sonia Vogl were the nucleus of the committee. Winnebago County picked up the idea and expanded on it; KMK Media Group provided the publicity and programs.

Attendees, visitors and sponsors are encouraged to register online at A box lunch will be provided to those who pre-register. The deadline for exhibitors and sponsors to be in the program book was Oct. 25.

A personal note: We are particularly pleased that this event is occurring after years of our articles on energy efficiency and renewable energy in The Rock River Times, sponsoring workshops and hosting the annual Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair. Frank Schier, editor and publisher of The Rock River Times, deserves praise for his leadership, support and encouragement of the overall effort.

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. E-mail

From the Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 2013, issue

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