By Jennifer Runyon, conference chair, Renewable Energy World Conference and Expo North America
I wanted to take a minute to introduce our show, Renewable Energy World Conference and Expo North America. This year for the first time Renewable Energy World Conference and Expo North America is moving to Orlando to run alongside the world’s largest conference and expo for the traditional power generation industry. POWER-GEN International, now in its 24th year, attracts a whopping 1,200 exhibitors and, in 2011, brought in more than 20,000 attendees representing 92 countries.
Now, oil, gas, coal, nuclear, and renewable power will all be exhibiting, attending conference sessions, networking, listening and learning under one roof in what will be an unprecedented event.
As far as I’m concerned, this is the industry event that the renewable energy community has been waiting for. When I started with RenewableEnergyWorld.com five years ago, I asked then, when will renewable energy be thought of as just another form of power generation? When will we reach the point at which all power is just power?
I think Renewable Energy World North America’s co-location with POWER-GEN International signifies that, at least in one way, we have made it. As conference chairperson for the event, I have made sure that all of our educational sessions are significant to the entire power generation industry. We cover renewables from soup to nuts so that utilities and traditional power generation professionals can cross over and learn about the great strides that renewables have already made in the power industry. There are hundreds of renewable energy professionals present here at the show right now and I encourage you to network with them as much as possible.
The conference sessions dive deep into the specific renewable energy technologies as well as looking at transmission, integration, storage, and more. One of the mega-sessions will tackle the newly elected U.S. government with a panel of energy lobbyists discussing what to expect in 2013. In a second mega-session we’ll hear from the U.S. military and find out what renewable energy technologies are in use on the battlefield today and what more is needed.
Renewable energy is everywhere, gathering momentum and gaining ground all over the world. In fact, did you know that right over your head, on top of the Orange County Convention Center, there's a 1-megawatt array that covers an area equivalent to five football fields? The system is the largest rooftop solar array in the Southeast. Johnston Controls developed the project, which features almost 6,000 SolarWorld panels that were installed by Florida-based Solar Source.
This is the year -- and this is the show -- in which renewable energy will leap into mainstream power production. I hope you’ll get involved.