Thursday, July 5, 2012

Opening My Eyes to Possibility: An Insider’s View of WREF 2012

Before I attended the combined 2012 World Renewable Energy Forum (WREF) and American Solar Energy Society (ASES) national conference, I was just an islolated blogger toiling away on my own blog during my dwindling free time. I was writing as much as I could about the impact of energy efficiency, renewables, and sustainability to an audience that was frankly non-existent. I actually pondered giving up on the blog altogether. Why should I keep feeding energy to something that received an iota of comments, usually from some language challenged spam bots? I discovered the answer to that question at WREF 2012.

When I walked into the Denver Convention Center, I really didn’t know what to expect. I had been to a few other week long conferences unrelated to renewable energy and they were usually 90% yawns with the occasional gem of a speaker. But this conference was different. Oh yes, of course I’m a renewable energy junkie always looking for news on increases in solar cell efficiency or the gradual improvement of renewable portfolio standards in states across the nation, so I probably can’t be trusted to provide an unbiased opinion. However, you have to believe me when I tell you that being in the midst of people representing nations on every continent except Antarctica was intoxicating. During the week, my eyes were slowly opened to possibility once again.

Scientists, policy makers, advocates, radicals, environmentalists, community organizers, academics,geeks, and nobodies like me were gathered together for a week exchanging ideas, asking questions, sharing success and failures, and perpetuating possibilities of a future planet that practices, as the Brundlandt Commission stated, “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” I realized during a dizzying week of Ignite presentations, panel discussions, and plenary sessions that there were indeed kindred spirits working on behalf of a future while focusing on the present. WREF recharged my old fuel cell for what I hope is a long and fruitful life working towards a renewable, efficient, and sustainable world.
And last but not least, a huge thank you to the good folks at ASES who worked countless hours to organize a global conference nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. You’ve contributed fond memories to this blogger that I trust will last a lifetime. Now, I must get back to work…


Paul Patane said...

Great Post! I have been doing the same thing as you for years and to a seemingly non existent audience. Now I am a paid writer in the industry and have attended several renewable energy conferences over here in the UK myself, I am glad I kept the blog up. Now it is updated daily and my views are growing as a result of my other work crossing over into my blog. Really inspiring post my friend. Have re-posted on my blog :-)

Solar MA said...

Happy to hear you were re-energized (Haha) by the renewable resources conference you attended, we need more and more of these, people discussing and concerning because the dumb are full of confidence while the genius withhold with doubt sensing that they're too far fetched with their ideas, but we must do whatever it takes in this day in age to make this planet green once again.

-Sharone Tal

Justin A. Rickard said...

Thanks for your comments Paul. I'm glad you are keeping up the writing. We need as many renewable energy communicators as we can get. Cheers!

Justin A. Rickard said...

You're right Sharone. We must do whatever it takes to make this planet green again. Thanks for commenting!



Great take on solar.

Wishful Thinking

*Before adding PV, wind, or solar thermal to your residential or commercial structure, the first step is to analyze this structure's energy consumption through a professional energy audit. I'd like to see some public education on the importance of an energy audit for any structure. Remember Smokey the Bear's forest fire shtick drilled into our heads over the last few decades? How about something like, "Henry the House" desperately wanting to know how much energy he consumes and wastes throughout the day?

*With over 300 sunny days a year on the Front Range is it too much to ask for solar PV and thermal modules on every residential and commercial unit (after an energy audit of course)?

*How about affordable plug-in electric cars that go more than 100 miles on a charge with PV and wind powered recharging stations?

*Dreaming of companies large and small adopting business sustainability practices to maximize profits, reduce their carbon footprint, and enhance the lives of their employees and the communities that surround them.


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