West Virginia University will look at the state’s emerging energy economy through industry experts, public policy organizations, environmental groups and academic institutions at the sixth annual National Energy Conference Oct. 20.
“Our goal is to bring together policy makers and practitioners, with a focus on sound science, to help lead West Virginia into an environmentally responsible and economically viable energy future,” said Shanda Minney, executive director of the Appalachian Stewardship Foundation.
According to James Van Nostrand, director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, the U.S. energy industry is undergoing a significant transformation, as it copes with the changing economics of electricity production and the availability of lower cost and renewable energy sources.
“Large and small-scale consumers, the environmental community and regulators have an increased expectation that electricity should come from more environmentally responsible and less carbon-intensive extraction and production processes,” Van Nostrand said. “West Virginia has a long history of meeting the country’s energy needs and, with some balanced planning, that does not need to change.”
The conference will address the range of energy options available to utility companies in addition to coal, including natural gas, wind and solar power. Presentations and discussions will explore topics such as the low-carbon economy, minimizing the environmental impact of mining and extraction, job creation in the energy efficiency industry, and “clean energy” jobs.
Among the conference speakers are Sarah Forbes of the U.S. Department of Energy; Aimee Curtwright of Pardee RAND Graduate School; Jim Fawcett of Appalachian Power; Thomas Minney of The Nature Conservancy; Mark Wenzler of the National Parks Conservation Association; Jeremy Richardson of the Union of Concerned Scientists; Susan Packard LeGros of the Center for Responsible Shale Development; Walton Shepherd of Natural Resources Defense Council; and Henry Love of the American Jobs Initiative.
The free, one-day conference begins at 8:30 a.m. at the WVU College of Law. Hosted by the College’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development and the Appalachian Stewardship Foundation, admission to the conference is free and the public is invited to attend. Registration for lunch is required via the conference website.
James Jolly, College of Law