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Energy Independence Fair and Workshops August 14 in Brookings

August 5, 2010

Our friends at Dakota Rural Action are hosting a great event to promote energy independence on Saturday, August 14 at the McCrory Gardens Straw Bale House in Brookings. Here’s DRA’s press release:

Brookings, SD – Dakota Rural Action is hosting a free, public energy fair with workshops on Saturday, August 14th at the Strawbale House in McCrory Gardens in Brookings. An informational fair will last from 1:00 pm until 7:00 pm, with the energy workshops running from 1:00 pm until 4:30 pm. Following the workshops, DRA will provide a free SDSU Ice Cream Sundae Bar, with refreshments, for people that attended.

“With energy rates going up and wages not, a lot of folks are looking for ways to spend less on energy.” Said, DRA member, Cory Heidelberger, “So there’s a lot of excitement about learning about practical steps people can take right now to reduce the amount of energy they have to buy.”

There will be four workshops and one panel discussion. The workshops will concentrate on how people can create home grown renewable energy projects and increase energy efficiency in their home, on their farm, or at their business.

“All [the speakers] have experience working with energy alternatives and issues. Those in attendance can learn from their experiences and network with others with similar concerns.” Said Donna Hess, another DRA member involved in the event planning, “Then they can top off the day with a cool treat on what is likely to be a hot day — SDSU ice cream sundaes!”

The fair will be open throughout the afternoon and will be a chance for people interested in creating their own renewable energy / energy efficiency projects to get in contact with businesses and organizations which have the resources and knowledge to help them achieve their goals.

“[The speakers] have experience with real, practical energy projects and the policy and financing involved with some projects.” Cory points out, “We won’t be talking about wishes and dreams. We’ll be talking about projects and products that homeowners and communities across South Dakota can take advantage of right now.”

Pat Spears, President of Intertribal Council on Utility Policy, will kick off the event at 1:00 pm speaking about the opportunities for strawbale house construction. Straw bale buildings are incredibly efficient and literally use home grown technology that supports South Dakotan farmers.

Robert Byrnes, owner of Nebraska Renewable Energy Systems, will follow up at 1:45 pm with a presentation about integrated farm energy systems. Robert has been developing a demonstration project on his off-grid farm in Lyons, NE which displays a wide variety of technologies suitable for farm and home energy production. He prides himself on his systems’ functional application of renewable energy production and utilization in an agricultural environment.

After a brief intermission, Chris Johnson, of Alternate Energy Professionals [a Green Certified Builder], will present at 3:00 pm about different renewable energy and energy efficiency options. Chris works with people across the U.S. integrating energy efficient technologies and renewable energy projects into homes and businesses. He specializes in energy audits, energy consulting, maintenance programs and design.

At 3:45 pm the keynote panel discussion featuring three speakers will take place. All three speakers will talk briefly about their experiences, and then it will be open for audience questions. Featured speakers are:

  • Darlene Bresson, an Area Specialist for the USDA Rural Development office in Watertown, SD. She has extensive experience with USDA’s energy programs and works with individuals wanting to develop and fund small wind farms.
  • Tom Holt, the Member Services and Marketing Manager for East River Electric Cooperative. Tom has been involved with and oversees East River’s energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.
  • Don Amert, a citizen from Madison, who has been trying to start his own wind turbine project. He has gained a lot of practical technical, legal and political knowledge from his experience as an interested citizen trying to get his foot in the door.

This event will connect people with businesses and opportunities to move toward greater energy independence!

For more information and/or directions please access our website at www.dakotarural.org, or contact Luke Temple at luket at dakotarural dot org or (605) 697- 5204.

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