The Politics of Renewable Energy at PGRE&F 2007

Among the members of the U.S. government in attendance at the Power-Gen Renewable Energy & Fuels (PGRE&F) conference in Las Vegas this week will be Neel Kashkari, the principal author of the energy message in President Bush’s January 2007 State of the Union address.

Building on the momentum of proposed renewable energy legislation coming out of the 110th Congress over the past two months, Kashkari, senior advisor to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr., is set to discuss the President’s “Twenty in Ten Initiative,” which aims to replace 15% of current gasoline use with biofuels by 2017. “The U.S. renewable energy industry is approaching the tipping point of accelerated and sustained growth. If we can establish a higher degree of sustainability in public policy our growth rate will double again,” said Michael Eckhart, president of the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE). Produced by PennWell, and co-hosted by ACORE, PGRE&F is the largest all-renewables conference and exhibition in North America — bringing together top executives and representatives from the wind, solar, biomass and biofuels, hydropower and geothermal sectors to explore technical, strategic, regulatory, structural, economic and political issues. Now in its fourth year, attendance at PGRE&F is up nearly 75% with more than 2,000 attendees and over 170 exhibitors registered for the three-day event, which begins today with a number of pre-conference workshops and an opening reception in the exhibit hall this evening, and runs through Thursday, March 8 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. In addition to Kashkari, the newly elected Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons is scheduled to address the importance of renewable energy in Nevada — and nationwide — during a special plenary session on Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. Last month, Gibbons signed an Executive Order supporting the development of renewable energy and streamlining the permitting process for renewable energy projects in Nevada. “I am looking forward to attending this year’s POWER-GEN conference on renewable energy. It is critical that we reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil,” said Governor Gibbons, who has stated in the past that he wants Nevada to become energy independent. “Greater independence can only be achieved through the development of our renewable resources. I have made this a priority in my home state of Nevada and encourage leaders in other states to look at the many renewable resources that are available across the nation,” added Gibbons. Other featured speakers at PGRE&F include Alex Dreyer, CEO of Horizon Wind Energy; the man referred to as the “father of ethanol,” David Vander Griend, CEO of ICM Inc. in Colwich, Kansas; Dr. Dan Arvizu, director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and John Mizroch, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. For up-to-the minute news, photos, video clips and more, be sure to check out’s Special Event Coverage of PGRE&F.
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