The 2014 Clean Energy Conference is being held this week in the Adirondacks.
This is the third year the conference has been held in the Adirondack Park. Running through Friday, the agenda includes energy efficiency and conservation, wind farms, hydropower, and the potential for the Adirondack region to develop a thermal energy economy based on biomass.
Conference founder and sponsor Dan Mason says the intent is to bridge a gap between people considering doing something with greener energy and businesses connected to the energy resources. “The first year conference we basically had one-third of the people from the business side, one-third of the people were from the purchasing side and one-third of the people were from the research side. This year, the philosophy of the conference is to talk to people even more specifically about real projects, real credits, real technologies and hence real solutions.”
Mason adds a key issue is that most people are perplexed about how to practically approach a clean energy project. “People know they need to do something. They don’t know where to begin. If I were to say to you I was buying a pickup truck, you’d know exactly what I was buying. But if I told you I’m putting a new heating system in my house, the question might be ‘Oh, really?’ And so the education to be able to ask the right questions is what’s transpiring.”
New on the agenda this year are field trips and training sessions. Attendees can opt to visit a net zero home in Lake Placid, a wood chip boiler facility at a local school, tour the Wild Center — designated the first LEED certified building in the North Country — or visit the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center at the top of Whiteface Mountain. There will be vendors, and the program includes seminars on biomass, hydro and solar power. Dan Mason says there also will be opportunities to find out how to finance projects. “This year we’re bringing in finance people. We’ve got a finance panel where people can talk about where to get financing. And we’re bringing in the specific technologies. Each location has different opportunities. For example some locations are near a small hydro plant. Another person may be living in a great big field and they might want to put in solar power. So every location has different opportunities that need to be optimized to get the maximum benefit.”
The Adirondack North Country Association is a co-sponsor of the event. Executive Director Kate Fish notes that biomass is a popular green energy sector in the region. “People are really excited about the economic potential of keeping our energy dollars local through using resources that are grown here, harvested here, processed here, and with systems that are manufactured in the state of New York. So there’s been a lot of interest in that. A lot of interest in solar. Solar thermal is another opportunity that people are really looking at. And then the energy that you don’t have to use is also a very important approach: i.e. efficiency. That’s a very important opportunity as well.”
A link for more information is available here.