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Renewable energy forums scheduled for Colorado

DENVER – A series of three community educational forums on renewable energy will be held, beginning March 5 to provide information and solicit feedback from Eastern Colorado citizens. Wind generation of energy, biofuels, solar production, and other energy alternatives will be discussed. The forums are free and open to the public.

The alternative energy forums will be held as follows:

March 5, 11:30 am-3:00 pm
Northeastern Junior College Hayes Student Center

March 6, 7:30 am-11:00 am
Fireside Junction Restaurant, 2295 9th St.

March 7, 7:30 am-11:00 am
Lamar Community College Trustees Building, Room 121

“Renewable energy, such as wind turbines and raising crops to produce electricity or on-farm fuels, is an excellent economic opportunity for agricultural producers, as well as for entire rural communities,” said John Stencel, RMFU president. “In addition, increasing renewable energy alternatives is important for national security, particularly with the United States on the brink of war.” The forums will feature a variety of speakers addressing different aspects of renewable energy development. These include: reducing water use with alternative crops, incentives for renewable fuels producers, community resources available to renewable fuel producers, financing & business structure options, and small-scale renewable energy systems that work. In addition to speakers, the forums will feature several displays, including a wind machine, solar panels, and biofuel samples.

Among the topics to be discussed at the forums is a renewable energy standard bill that is currently before the Colorado Legislature. The bill would require public utility companies to purchase a minimum of 900 megawatts of renewable energy by 2010 and 1800 megawatts by 2020. Eighteen hundred megawatts represents 16 percent of Colorado’s current use. This compares with 1 percent of Colorado’s current electricity coming from renewable sources.

Texas passed a renewable energy standard bill in 1999, under then-Governor George W. Bush. The Texans are more than halfway to their goal in less than one-third of the time specified in the bill, and the policy is responsible for adding more than $1 billion in new wind development to the tax base.

The forums are sponsored by RMFU, U.S. Department of Agriculture Resource Conservation and Development regional offices, the Governor’s Office of Energy Management and Conservation, Northeastern Junior College (Sterling), Morgan Community College (Limon), and Lamar Community College (Lamar). Additional renewable energy forums will be held in western Colorado in the upcoming months.

For more information on the forums and speakers, contact Tom Potter at 303-283-3528 or tom.potter@rmfu.org.

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