It all started with a grant.
Treasure Valley Community College Dean of Instruction Susan Tinker applied for a grant that became the seed for a renewable energy summit that college and industry officials hope will help jump-start an industry and rebuild the economy in the valley.
The 2010 Renewable Energy Summit, a joint effort of Sunenergy World and TVCC, will be held Feb. 18 and Feb. 19 at Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario. It will focus on wind, solar and biofuels as sources of energy to power existing industry and create opportunities for new industry, create jobs and support a new program at TVCC to train students to fill those jobs.
Addressing these issues will be a variety of experts in the field of alternative and sustainable energy, including those who are already involved in production of biofuels and use of alternative energies representing the public sector as well as private industry.
“I hope to heighten awareness of renewable energy,” Roger Findley, associate dean of workforce development, said.
Findley said his goal is that people will go to the summit and become interested in investing in alternative energy systems to investigate further and go through with an installment. That would lead to companies needing people to work in the field, doing such things as installations and maintenance.
“We’re developing a renewable energy tech program (training students to work in the industry),” Findley said.
There would be an entry-level tech program, a one-year certificate and a two-year degree program.
“We’re going to be training these folks,” Findley said. “There will be plenty of jobs to sustain the economy.”
Focus topics during the summit will be economic incentives that have improved the viability of renewable energy, new business opportunities and potential workforce development challenges, impacts of new technologies in the extensive deployment of solar energy and biomass systems and new curriculum and career paths to be available at TVCC.
Presenters for the event will include Don Hollis, USDA Energy Grants; Stephanie Page, Ag Energy Opportunity in Oregon; Mark Stokes, Idaho Power; Sunenergy World, solar designs and installations; Stoel Rives, LLP, legal implications of renewable energy; Jim Kleinburd, carbon credits; Kurt Christensen, renewable ag energy; Findley, educational opportunities; and Steve Norberg, soybean as biofuel.
Sunenergy World, a solar energy company, is installing three solar heating systems in the new National Guard Readiness Center in Ontario as research for determining what works best for future installation in other Guard facilities, Findley said.
“This is a window of opportunity,” he said, referring to the current political climate. “Let’s jump through while it’s here.
“We want to stimulate the economy with a new basic industry. We’ve lost all our basic industries.”
Admission is $65 for individual tickets, $50 per person if purchased as part of group at the door and $15 for students, and includes lunch and access to all speakers and exhibitors.
Larry Meyer, Argus Observer – http://www.argusobserver.com/articles/2010/01/29/news/doc4b6329a72a1a1581969823.txt