Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
ACEEE held its second Rural Energy Conference in the Midwest. This dynamic one-day event explored how energy efficiency and clean energy are increasing rural prosperity. Our interactive sessions, plenary panels, and networking breaks connected leaders from utilities, government, industry, nonprofits, financial institutions, and academia.
This conference gave the perfect opportunity to delve into clean energy solutions tailored for rural communities that will spur economic growth and energy affordability. Many rural residents spend a higher share of their income on energy costs than their non-rural counterparts.
We discussed the following topics as they relate to rural communities:
- Energy efficiency program design and financing
- Renewable and distributed energy resources
- Economic development
- Electrification of buildings and transportation
- Resilience and disaster recovery
- Energy affordability for low-income households
- 2018 Farm Bill and USDA programs
- Broadband access
Leaders from utilities, government, industry, nonprofits, financial institutions, and academia. Click here to view a list of organizations that participated in Rural Energy's 2018 conference.
Wahleah Johns is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Native Renewables, and she is a member of the Navajo (Dine) tribe. With Native Renewables, she works to electrify homes on the Navajo reservation using off-grid solar photovoltaics. Native Renewables educates community members on solar and renewable energy, and trains tribal members to install and maintain off-grid photovoltaic systems. Wahleah discussed Native Renewables' work during the keynote.
Our opening plenary looked at electrification efforts across the United States. Representatives from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, Efficiency Maine Trust, and Next Energy US shared strategies for electrifying rural communities. At our afternoon plenary, experts from the Colorado Energy Office, University of New Mexico School of Law, University of Michigan, and Environmental and Energy Studies Institute discussed how state policy can drive energy savings in rural communities. They shared policy opportunities such as statewide greenhouse gas reduction goals. Speakers included: