Welcome to Austin!

Leaders from across North America’s renewable energy industry are gathering in Austin, Texas, February 23-25 for the 2010 edition of Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo North America. The show and conference are now in their seventh year and the Texas state capitol is one terrific place to talk renewables

Austin Energy, the city’s utility and our host utility sponsor, is a recognized leader in North America when it comes to having renewable energy and energy efficiency as part of its DNA. Roger Duncan, the utility’s CEO, will deliver one of his valedictory speeches during the Keynote Session on the afternoon of February 23. He is retiring March 1 and his career achievements place him among the utility CEO elites for his creative thinking when it comes to renewable energy.

Joining Mr. Duncan on the Keynote Session podium will be Martin Gross, president of ABB’s Power Systems business in North America; Barry Smitherman, chairman of the Texas Public Utilities Commission; and Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Their comments should spark lively discussion on transmission issues throughout the week. (Chairman Wellinghoff also joins a mega-session panel to discuss transmission issues on Thursday morning, February 25.)

A highlight of every conference is the technical tours for attendees. This year ERCOT, which operates the state’s transmission grid, is opening its control center to conference attendees. I plan to host this tour and am looking forward to seeing the facility, which is a short drive from Austin’s downtown convention center. Other scheduled tours will visit a Lower Colorado River Authority hydroelectric facility, visit downtown energy-efficient buildings and offer an overview of Austin’s Pecan Street Smart Grid project.

Plan to be on hand during the Keynote Session as colleagues from RenewableEnergyWorld.com and I present the first Excellence in Renewable Energy Awards. Awards will be presented for “Project of the Year”, “Leadership in Renewable Energy,” “Utility-scale Renewables,” “Distributed and On-site Renewables,” “Building-integrated Renewables” and “Innovation in Renewable Energy.” A “Reader’s Choice” award will also be presented, selected by readers at our online site.

The 2010 exhibit floor is the largest to date and solidifies the show’s reputation as North America’s largest all-renewables exhibition. You’ll find companies from the solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and biomass sectors ready to discuss products and services that will meet your needs.

Networking opportunities abound and Austin isn’t anything if not a good place for good food and entertainment to foster business talk. The music scene is legendary and the city’s restaurants will be more than welcoming during our time in town.

Full conference details are available at www.renewableenergyworld-events.com. I’ll look forward to seeing you in Austin!

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