From the Outreach Director:
Enjoy clean air and clean energy discussion
this May in KalispellBY CY BERRYMAN %CODE1%
Each spring the NW Energy Coalition holds its semi-annual NW Clean & Affordable Energy Conference and board meeting east of the Cascades. This May 18-19 we’ll be in Kalispell, Mont.
Kalispell is the perfect setting for a spring meeting. Nestled in the Flathead Valley in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, it boasts beautiful outdoor scenery from Glacier National Park to Flathead Lake.
If the beauty of Big Sky country doesn’t pull you to Kalispell, our impressive list of conference panelists and speakers will. A keynote address by Bill Drummond, Deputy Administrator at the Bonneville Power Administration, will kick off the events. Drummond, who formerly managed the Western Montana Electric Generating and Transmission Cooperative, will explain how BPA is helping electric cooperatives capture energy efficiency.
Panels throughout the day will evaluate our local and regional clean energy progress. For example, representatives of local utilities, businesses and citizen groups — including Flathead Electric Cooperative and Citizens for a Better Flathead — will explore clean energy development in the Flathead Valley, where much has changed since the Coalition last met there in 2003.
If you are interested in renewable energy policy, you won’t want to miss our panel on Northwest renewable energy standards, which have come under fire from some state legislators. Our panelists range from stalwart renewables advocate Rachel Shimshak of the Renewable Northwest Project, astute and challenging Montana Public Service Commission chair Travis Kavulla, Scott Bolton from coal-owning utility Pacific Power (aka Rocky Mountain Power) and Gaelectric vice president Van Jamison from the renewable energy development company’s Great Falls, Mont., office.
Montana has more than 900,000 megawatts of wind potential but contains nearly one-quarter of the nation’s coal reserves. Our afternoon panel will consider the future of coal in the West, including coal economics, mining impacts and potential export of coal to Asia via West Coast ports.
For those yearning for adventure, we’ll venture outside of Kalispell for a private Saturday afternoon tour of Algae AquaCulture Technology’s “Green Power House.” This facility uses an innovative technology to take agricultural and industrial wastes, such as wood chips, and combine them with nitrogen-fixing algae to create methane, bio-oils, heat and off-grid electricity. (For information about the process, visit AACT’s Facebook page)
Our May conference in Kalispell is a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of Flathead Valley while engaging in dynamic discussions of clean and affordable energy. Spring is upon us and state legislative sessions are ending, so this a great time to head to the Flathead Valley for some of that clean mountain air!
To see the full agenda, register and learn more, visit www.nwenergy.org/conference