Citizen energy at SolWest

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SolWest Renewables Fair is a community for off-grid and other independent folks. Its an annual gathering place, and now in its tenth year at the Grant County Fairgrounds in John Day, Oregon, July 25-27, 2008.
The keynote address, “Community Energy” is by Greg Pahl, author of The Citizen-Powered Energy Handbook. Pahl will describe the new Community Supported Energy movement.
A time-tested and highly successful strategy in Europe, community or cooperative ownership of local renewable energy projects is finally gaining momentum in North America. This is an idea whose time has definitely come, especially in light of the increasing price of fossil fuels, concerns about energy supplies, ongoing controversy about commercial-scale wind farms in some locations, and growing alarm about global warming. Pahl will cover examples of successful initiatives, the many advantages of community-based energy, as well as some of the obstacles that stand in the way of achieving greater community control of energy resources.
SolWest is the most comprehensive sustainable living fair in the northwest. Experts from all over the western US offer over fifty workshops for all ages and levels of expertise (free with fair admission). Workshop topics scheduled for this year include “Basics of Hydroelectricity,” “Solar Hot Water Overview,” “Solar Space Heating,” “Starting a Local Currency,” “Solar Cookery,” “Principles of Passive Solar,” “Basics of Solar Electricity,” “Residential Wind Systems,” “Water Pumping Choices,” and “Sharing and Protecting our Ideas.” Saturday is family day, with children’s workshops including “Pizza Box Solar Ovens and “Fun and Games with Solar.”
Transportation will be highlighted this year with classes by David Blume, author of Author of Alcohol Can Be a Gas (click here for the DVD), on making alcohol fuels and running engines on alcohol. The National Outdoor Leadership School’s solar and biodiesel-powered bus will make a stopover at SolWest, and the Oregon Solar Car Team will have their first prototype vehicle on display. Classes will be offered on making biodiesel fuel, choosing an electric vehicle, and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Over two thousand people visit SolWest the last full weekend of July each year to learn about and purchase complete solar power systems and components, solar hot water systems, solar pumps and wind-driven pumps, pump controls, hydro systems suitable for the smallest springs to large streams, solar roofing and home plans, home-scale wind generators, efficient lighting and appliances, books and magazines, and much more.
The SolWest Fair program is posted on the web at www.solwest.org, or a paper copy can be requested at: SolWest/EORenew, PO Box 485, Canyon City OR 97820. 541-575-3633 or info@solwest.org.

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