North Dakota Leaders Unveil Plans for 2012 Renewable Energy Action Summit

Washington - Senators Kent Conrad and John Hoeven and Governor Jack Dalrymple today announced that the 2012 Renewable Energy Action Summit will kick-off on June 25 at Bismarck State College.

The day-long Summit will feature energy experts from across the nation highlighting research and development of renewable energy technologies. The Summit will also highlight North Dakota's renewable energy industry and explore new opportunities for expanded development.

"North Dakota is an energy powerhouse for the nation," Senators Conrad and Hoeven and Governor Dalrymple said in a joint statement. "We're bringing together a diverse group of renewable energy experts to share insight on our nation's most pressing energy issues. Working together, we can help build a more prosperous renewable energy sector, one that will help invigorate our national economy, create good-paying jobs, and help boost our national security."

The morning keynote speaker for the 2012 Renewable Energy Action Summit is Dr. Dana Christensen, Deputy Laboratory Director for Science and Technology at the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Pew Environment Group's Clean Energy Program, is the keynote speaker for the afternoon session. Featured panel discussions include:

Wind Energy: A pathway to sustainability

Speakers: Beth Soholt, executive director of the nonprofit organization, Wind on the Wires and Chuck McFarlane president of Otter Tail Power Company.

Panel focuses on how policymakers, researchers and industry leaders are working together to make wind energy viable and long-term. The speakers will also address how the uncertainty of federal production tax credits may impact the sustainability of wind power.

Geothermal Energy: Underground technology for the future

Speakers: Tim Reinhardt, US DOE Geothermal Technologies Program and Will Gosnold, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor Geology and Geological Engineering, University of North Dakota

Panel explores how we can tap into geothermal as a source for large-scale energy projects. Speakers will also discuss what legislative action has been taken to support and/or hinder geothermal development.

Ethanol: Fuel for today and tomorrow

Speakers: Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy and Greg Ridderbusch, Vice President of Business Development and Strategy of Great River Energy.

Panel examines ethanol’s role in filling and meeting long-term energy needs in the US.

Biomass: Leaving no potential energy sources unturned

Speakers: Mack Traynor CEO of Ultra Green

Panel provides an update on several biomass energy projects and discusses develop opportunities for biomass.

Earlier this month, Senator Conrad authored, and Senator Hoeven co-sponsored, an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill that would continue support for a number of programs to boost renewable energy development on farms and in rural areas. The bipartisan legislation provides $800 million in funding for core renewable energy programs for fiscal years 2013-2017 and would boost the economy and help create and retain jobs in our rural communities.

Summit sponsors include Bismarck State College, Great Plains Energy Corridor, Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson, and the North Dakota Alliance for Renewable Energy.

For additional information and the conference agenda, visit: http://info.bismarckstate.edu/energysummit/