Show Seminars Focus on
by Geoff Parks
An array of seminars will be presented during the Northwest Agricultural Show at the Portland Expo Center next month, and three will focus on renewable energy. Oregonians for Renewable Energy Policy wants to help "rapidly transition Oregon's energy reliance from fossil fuels to decentralized, renewable resources such as wind, solar, hydro and biomass," said Jon Roschke, the organization's education and outreach director.
He said the organization's purpose is simple: Advocate policies that "pay people to use renewable electricity. We're a citizen advocacy and awareness group, and for rural organizations, we know that people want to see how they can make money on it."
OREP got the initial idea for a national renewable energy market from Germany, where that country's Renewable Energy Act of 1999 provided fixed prices for 20 years to individuals and companies wishing to install one of the four renewable energy resources on their property -- in effect, paying people to sell back unused energy at that fixed price to the national grid.
"In this country, people won't make much money initially," Roschke said, "but this process distributes benefits to everyone."
Known in the U.S. as CLEAN Contracts (Clean Local Energy Accessible Now), the agreements with businesses and individuals are intended to open new energy markets.
The first seminar is on installing solar power on homes, farms or businesses. It will be hosted by Randy Feldhaus of Synchro Solar of Portland, a contractor specializing in the design and installation of solar electric and solar hot-water systems. It will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. in D202-203 of the Portland Expo Center on Thursday, Jan. 31.
From 10 to 11 a.m. in the same room Roschke will present an overview of legislative efforts this year to boost individual renewable energy projects.
The third presentation will run from 11 a.m. to noon on the same day and location and address installing wind power on homes, farms or businesses.
"We'll be there just trying to make people understand all the options out there," Roschke said. "It's simply creating an additional profit center for those businesses and has been pretty well received by the rural community from what we've seen (initially)."
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