|SEPTEMBER 23 & 24, 2008 RAMADA INN TOPEKA, KANSAS|
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The 9th Annual Kansas Wind and Renewable Energy Conference, held September 23-24, 2008, in Topeka, was a great success. Over 700 people from 25 states were in attendance.
"The world energy challenge is a great opportunity for Kansas," according to Kansas Lieutenant Governor Mark Parkinson, as he welcomed delegates to the annual event.
With tremendous renewable resources, especially from agriculture and wind, Parkinson said the State will have the capacity to generate over 1000 megawatts of electricity from wind by the end of 2008, exceeding a 10% goal announced in 2007 by Governor Kathleen Sebelius.
According to a 2008 report from the U.S. Department of Energy, the President's goal of 20 percent generation from renewables by 2030 could result in a $7.8 billion economic impact for the State. This could result in some 23,000 construction jobs and over 3,000 permanent jobs for Kansas.
Keynote speaker Dr. James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, one of the nation’s foremost climate experts, told a capacity crowd stated that if carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase it will eventually mean the end of life.
Hansen said some scientists claim global warming is part of a natural climate cycle by pointing to past eras of higher temperatures.
But Hansen said the CO2 increases over the past few decades have been caused by humans burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas. Along with the increase in CO2 have come dramatic temperature shifts and environmental distress signals, such as the melting of glaciers, rising sea levels and expansion of deserts, he said.
"Humans are now controlling the mechanisms for climate change," he said.
The president of the American Council of Renewable Energy (ACORE) told the attendees Kansas has a tremendous potential for many types of renewable energy – including wind, solar and biomass. Michael T. Eckhart said attracting renewable energy companies to Kansas will increase the economic base by bring new component manufacturers, new systems engineers and installers, renewable energy equipment manufacturers and support professionals.
Conference attendees heard from two Kansas members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC is made up of experts from throughout the world. The Kansas representatives were Dr. Charles Rice of Kansas State University and Dr. Johannes Fedderma of the University of Kansas.
A record number of sponsors and exhibitors in 2008 helped create a very successful event.
Presentations and brief bios of nearly four dozen presenters can be found on this website, along with the sponsors and exhibitors.