Utilities Manager: Learn and Prepare

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Jane Alexander, Editor-In-Chief
"Energy is wealth," says Christopher Russell, energy consultant and author of Industrial Energy Harvest. "Fuels and power are forms of currency."

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The sooner you learn how these and other energy facts of life impact your operations, the better. That's why you can't afford to miss this upcoming opportunity to hear from Russell in person. He, along with a number of other noted energy experts from across the country, will be among the featured speakers at ENERGY SUMMIT 09, in Grand Rapids, MI, on Thursday, June 25. Attendees can count on learning plenty at this exciting conference—including new ways to reduce their energy costs and how to prepare for looming carbon regulations. The information-packed event runs from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Eberhard Center, on the downtown campus of Grand Valley State University (GVSU).

Russell's presentation will "connect the dots" between energy use and business performance. It's based on his extensive experience working with corporate energy managers, utilities, trade associations and government agency energy programs.

Other speakers in the morning sessions and afternoon workshops will focus on energy use in commercial and manufacturing facilities, how to prepare for emerging carbon caps and trade markets and the growing use of renewable energy sources. Topics will include efficiencies in lighting, compressed air, pumping, steam and HVAC systems, as well as fuel switching, waste reduction, process changes and leak reduction, to name but a few.

Another key presenter will be Peter Garforth of Garforth International, which has offices in Toledo, OH and Brussels, Belgium. Garforth, a renowned expert on integrated energy planning, will explain the approaches that allow entire corporations—and even entire communities—to achieve breakthrough reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas creation and simultaneously enhance competitiveness and market attractiveness. Garforth was formerly head of Strategy at Owens Corning where he initiated a global program that has yielded tens of million of dollars in energy productivity.

0409-um-energy_img2A West Michigan company that is one of a handful developing carbon credits nationwide will also be on the conference agenda. Dr. David Armstrong of Viability, LLC will talk about the role that carbon credits play in funding energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Viability identifies financial incentives for companies, such as federal and state grants, tax credits, carbon credits and renewable energy credits.

Attendees will gain an understanding of carbon credits and how they can be used to offset standards, thereby avoiding penalties or create income by selling excess credits to other firms. Impending regulation is going to put penalties in place for those exceeding carbon emission standards as a measure to control climate change. Europe, Canada, Japan and most other industrialized countries have established standards to meet emission limits arising from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The U.S. is expected to announce its climate protection and carbon policies this fall. Since 2005, the European Union has been using a cap-and-trade system that sets a ceiling limit for overall emissions associated with a system for buying and selling credits as needed to meet the limits.

The carbon regulations are a response to limit manmade climate change through reducing CO2 emissions and five other greenhouse gases—methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (NOx), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). Going forward, companies can reduce their carbon footprint by reducing energy consumption and switching to clean and renewable fuel sources. To do so, however, large energy users will need to aggressively manage comprehensive energy efficiency programs, implement new technologies and use more clean and renewable energy sources.

Other speakers are expected from the U.S. Department of Energy, the American Council for Energy Efficient Economy and The Right Place, a regional economic development organization. They will be joined by presenters and exhibitors from Armstrong International, Baldor Dodge Reliance, Sun Chemical, Azon USA, the Michigan Energy Office, the Technical Energy Performance Group, Structure- Tec, Hatch Corporation and Sullair, among others. ENERGY SUMMIT 09 is being coordinated by Blue Strategies Group, in partnership with Maintenance Technology magazine. Blue Strategies is forming an educational foundation to promote knowledge about energy, innovation and market diversification. For more information, call 269.352.4583, or visit www.energysummitonline.com A full conference agenda will be available on the Website by April 30.

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