Outlining Energy Opportunities

April 11, 2003
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GRAND RAPIDS — West Michigan business leaders can gain some insight late this month on commercialization opportunities in alternative energy technologies.

Outlining their views on Monday and Tuesday, April 28 and 29, will be what The Right Place Inc. describes as some of the most respected industry and public-sector leaders.

Speaking will be Barton Marcois, U.S. Dept. of Energy; Keith Blurton, Fraunhofer USA; Fred Keller, Cascade Engineering; Paul Tebo, DuPont; Steve Arwood, NextEnergy; David Hollister, Department of Consumer and Industry Services; and David Cole, Center for Automotive Research.

Based on the presenters, topics will range from wind power and fuel cells to geothermal heating and cooling and hybrid autos, and the systems that support all of them.

The conference, entitled “Capitalizing on Manufacturing Opportunities: A New World of Energy Resources,” is sponsored by a coalition including The Right Place, Consumers Energy, Cascade Engineering, Bay Windpower, Grand Valley State University and Muskegon Area First.

“Alternative energy, if properly positioned, should create new opportunities for West Michigan businesses,” said Michelle Cleveland, vice president of The Right Place.

“This event,” she added, “is designed to bring manufacturers together to understand the variety of ways in which industries are looking at generating power for not only vehicles, but stationary sources and military equipment.”

The conference begins at 5:30 p.m. on the 28th with a reception and dinner at the Amway Grand Plaza.

The gathering will reconvene the next morning at the Eberhard Center.

Cleveland said the conference will provide those who attend an introduction to the alternative energy market and will include discussions on trends in alternative energy, the state and national development strategies for alternative energy.

She said it also highlights a number of local projects.

Cleveland explained that the session is the first in a series of regular forums, with future sessions exploring more focused details on alternative energy technologies and opportunities for their commercialization.   

 The conference moderator, J. Gregory Northrup, stressed that applications for many alternative technologies are still years away.

But he noted that some alternatives — geothermal heating and cooling of a Zeeland high school and installation of a fuel cell complex in downtown Muskegon — already are in use.

And of others Northrup said, “there is an increasing likelihood that many of these will be introduced in the next five to 10 years.

“It’s the right time to get out in front of manufacturers to help them take best advantage of this emerging market,” he added.

Admission to the conference is $195. To make reservations, one should call The Right Place, 771-0304.   

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