AREI will host the 11th annual AREDAY Summit this Aug. 10-13 at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colo. With a theme of "Accelerating Solutions for the Great Transition," the 2014 Summit welcomes 39th U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who has remained a pioneer in solar power advocacy since his time in office.
The American Renewable Energy Institute (AREI) announces its 11th annual American Renewable Energy Day (AREDAY) Summit, to be held August 10 to 13, 2014 at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colo. With a theme of "Accelerating Solutions for the Great Transition," the 2014 AREDAY Summit will, among other notable presenters, welcome 39th U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who has remained a pioneer in solar power advocacy since his time in office in the 1970s.
"President Carter's work was undeniably key in laying the groundwork for the Great Transition," said Chip Comins, chairman and CEO of AREI. "As a country we've survived both the Great Depression and the Great Recession, and are now welcoming the Great Transition, in which we must take the critical steps toward an environmentally and economically sound future.
"The Great Transition is about us learning from the past, and realizing what it takes to fashion a better tomorrow," said Sally Ranney, president of AREI. "As Maya Angelou said, ‘Do the best you can until you know better…Then when you know better, do better.' This echoes the AREI mission in advocating for renewable energy project deployment, and underscores the efforts of President Carter, who among many achievements was first to install solar panels for hot water generation on the White House roof in 1979, in the midst of the Arab oil embargo, to inspire Americans to seek energy alternatives."
President Carter himself predicted at the time of their installation that "A generation from now, [the 32 solar panels and hot water heater] can either be…an example of a road not taken or…just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people." He additionally stated in a 1977 televised speech preparing Americans for the introduction of his energy proposals to Congress, "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of…permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power."
While the White House panels were ultimately removed, the solar industry has achieved record successes, with photovoltaic (PV) installations increasing 41 percent in 2012 to reach 4,751 megawatts of new capacity, and nearly 13 gigawatts of PV panel-generated power presently installed (according to Solar Energy Industries Association's (SEIA) Solar Market Insight Year in Review 2013). Additionally, the Invanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) complex, located in California's Mojave Desert, is presently the world's largest solar project at 377 megawatts (net) of power generation capacity.
Further evidence of Carter's solar industry work remains with the thriving Golden, Colo.-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), originally established during the president's administration as the Solar Energy Research Institute to foster solar energy technology research and development while popularizing knowledge about existing technologies, like passive solar, across the U.S. The Solar Energy Research Institute was designated as a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in September 1991, at which time its name was changed to NREL. Today it serves as the country's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development, including solar, wind, geothermal and fuel cell technologies.
The former President will join a gathering of distinguished thought leaders, change agents, business and energy experts, scientists, philanthropists and media representatives who will engage in meaningful, actionable conversations on climate change in Aspen in August. This includes returning AREDAY Summit supporters Ted Turner (Founder and Chair, Turner Enterprises, Inc. and UN Foundation), Dr. Sylvia Earle (Explorer-in-Residence, National Geographic Society), Dr. Amory Lovins (Founder, Rocky Mountain Institute) and Susan Reilly (CEO, RES Americas; Chair-Elect, AWEA), as well as several newcomers such as Catherine Bachand (CEO, ONE DROP Foundation).
"This year's AREDAY Summit is shaping up to be a deep immersion into charting the roadmap for true transition," Comins said. "With a powerhouse group of leaders from across all aspects of the climate change movement, we are preparing not only for the hard-hitting facts, but the serious commitment to action."
According to Comins, the AREDAY Summit structure additionally emphasizes the "Five E's" of AREI – Energy, Environment, Economy, Education and Employment.
"Our core mission across all our programs and events – including the annual AREDAY Summit and AREDAY speaker series, the American Climate & Education Literacy Initiative (ACELI), RENEW and Start-Up Green – is to emphasize the ways in which mass-scale renewable energy deployment is not only possible, but critical," Comins said. "Building on this notion, all of AREI's programs aim to define the environmental impact of renewable energy, followed by its economic effects, the educational tools necessary to sufficiently train the increasingly needed clean tech workforce, and the resources required to create jobs and new clean tech ventures."
Celebrating its 11th year, the AREDAY Summit has for more than a decade served as a crucible for melding clean tech and renewable energy innovation with the human capital and financing necessary for real-world deployment. As one such example, last year's Summit brought together all-electric, open-wheel vehicle racing series FIA Formula E visionary Alejandro Agag with those that were able to advance his carbon neutrality mission into reality.
"Alejandro Agag presented the FIA Formula E Championship concept at the 2013 AREDAY Summit to an audience that included Global Thermostat, a technology developer that has created a patent-pending mechanism for drawing CO2 from the atmosphere and safely storing it for re-use," explained Comins. "With a common interest in exemplifying how the automotive industry can, and more so must, reduce its associated carbon footprint, the two entities recently announced a partnership to model this during the championship, which begins this September in Beijing. This is just one of many examples of how the AREDAY Summit creates meaningful, actionable synergies that are also playing a tangible role in the Great Transition – proving that, like moving from combustion to electric engines, it is more than possible to transition from fossil to renewable energy sources."
The 2014 AREDAY Summit agenda includes a multi-day speaker series, film festival, sustainability expo and other ancillary events and activities to be announced. A limited number of 250 passes are available for this year's Summit, and can be purchased at http://tinyurl.com/AREDAY2014 until June 1 for the early bird rate of $900. Passes, if remaining after June 1, can be purchased for $1,200. For more information, visit www.areday.net.
The American Renewable Energy Institute (AREI) is a registered 501(c)(3) organization based in Colorado's Roaring Fork Valley. Focused in fostering actionable solutions around climate change, its programs emphasize the "Five E's" – Energy, Environment, Economy, Education and Employment – which run as threads throughout the organization's core initiatives. These include the annual AREDAY Summit and Speaker Series, American Climate & Education Literacy Initiative (ACELI), RENEW program, and Start-Up Green. For additional information, visit http://www.areday.net/arei/arei.html.
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