MU summit to focus on innovative energy sources

By The West Virginia Record | Oct 11, 2006

HUNTINGTON -– Marshall University's Center for Business and Economic Research is hosting the West Virginia Innovative Energy Summit on Thursday, Oct. 19 at the Charleston House Holiday Inn in Charleston.

The summit, sponsored by the West Virginia Development Office, runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration is $35, which includes all materials, continental breakfast and lunch. For online reservations, visit or call Gael Setliff at (304) 696-4321.

The theme of the summit is that West Virginia can lead the nation in the production of energy from innovative sources. Keynote speaker U.S. Undersecretary of Energy David Garman will highlight the need for developing renewable and alternate fuels to bring energy independence to the nation.

"Having Secretary Garman keynote the meeting shows how important West Virginia is to the nation's energy future," Paul Hardesty, director of the West Virginia Public Energy Authority, said.

Dr. Cal Kent, director of Marshall's Center for Business and Economic Research, said "with rapidly growing U.S. and world energy demand facing a slower growth in energy supply from traditional fuels, we can anticipate high energy prices and shortages. Our dependence on supply from unfriendly and hostile countries will grow," he said.

The way out of these problems, Kent said, lies in the development of alternative and renewable sources of domestic energy.

Speakers at the summit will showcase the development of these alternative sources in West Virginia into a new industry with high-wage jobs. Renewable and alternative sources under discussion include energy from coal waste, landfill and coal bed methane, wind, wood waste, biomass, chicken litter and enhanced oil recovery. The speakers, associated with the production of energy from alternative or renewable sources, will demonstrate its feasibility in West Virginia.

Christine Risch, director of research for Marshall's center, said that although no single solution exists, "Using innovative sources of energy can reduce prices, enhance national security and strengthen the economy."

Over the past few months, the center has produced reports for the Appalachian Regional Commission and the West Virginia Development Office on the development of innovative energy in the region and in West Virginia. Kent said those reports demonstrate sufficient potential for West Virginia to create an entirely new industrial complex centered on alternate and renewable energy sources.

"This is as much an economic development summit as it is an energy summit," said Jeff Herholdt, manager of the West Virginia Energy Efficiency Program of the West Virginia Development Office. "West Virginia's great progress must be accelerated if we are to assume national leadership."

At the summit, business and government leaders will learn about current renewable and alternate energy developments in the state and what the future can hold for this industry. Kent said West Virginia has long been a leader in traditional fuels, coal and natural gas, and has the opportunity to lead in innovative energy as well.

Kent also said innovative energy contributes to our nation's energy independence and can increase jobs in West Virginia. Additionally, he said, most alternate and renewable sources of energy do not possess the environmental impacts associated with traditional fuels.

In addition to Secretary Garman, speakers at the West Virginia Innovative Energy Summit include James Allen, Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority; Meredith Boyd, Eastern Kentucky Power Cooperative; Wayne Brown, Western Greenbrier Cogeneration; Mark Chatfield, West Virginia University; Paul Dudenas, East Resources; Steve Friend, American Bituminous Partners; David Groberg, Invenergy; Shawn Grushecky, West Virginia University; Paul Hardesty, West Virginia Public Energy Authority; Dave Henry, Beard Technologies; Michael McGolden, Coaltec; Ken Means, West Virginia University, and Joseph Zupanick, CDX Gas.

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