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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Summary of RENEW's 2014 "We Mean Business!" Summit

2014 RENEW Wisconsin Energy Policy Summit
We Mean Business

RENEW Wisconsin hosted its third annual Energy Policy Summit, We Mean Business, on Friday, January 10, 2014, at the Pyle Center on the UW-Madison campus.  Although our previous summits pulled in large audiences and sparked many lively discussions, by all accounts RENEW’s We Mean Business summit topped them all.

By the numbers:
  • 241 registered
  • 211 attended
  • 3 standout keynote talks
  • 3 renewable energy business and policy panel sessions
  • 6 interactive breakout group discussions, each supported by its own policy brief
  • 6 clean energy projects inducted to the Million Watt Club
  • 7 people and/or organizations recognized as Renewable Energy Leaders
  • One gala social with beer, chicken skewers, and veggies

The purpose of the Summit was to inform, engage, and inspire those in attendance with the vast potential of renewable energy to invigorate Wisconsin’s economy and help it compete for new business ventures, while stimulating job growth and protecting the environment.  The vast majority of attendees received those themes in mega doses. 

A few quotes from e-mails received shortly after the event:

·        ”What an honor to be part of such a class production! Thank you so much.”
·        “What a great summit! It did so much of what I look for in an event like that with all the great info updates, various incredible contexts for all amazing initiatives and progress, and plenty of inspiration during a tough sledding season.”
·        “Just wanted to say thank you and congratulations.  The Summit always gets better.  You all did a great job with the speakers.”
·        “Great job with this year’s conference.  In my humble opinion, this was by far the best one you guys have put on yet, and it may be hard to top in 2015.  Great, engaging speakers throughout the day, and good panels too.”

There were three major themes that reverberated throughout the day:
1        A major transformation is occurring in the energy sector, driven by distributed applications of energy efficiency and renewable energy, which is rendering the traditional energy production business model increasingly obsolete.
2        Wisconsin is lagging behind the Midwest, much of the US, and the world in adopting and adapting to this new business model, dampening the state’s prospects for sustained job growth.
3        The opportunity for Wisconsin to dramatically increase its use of clean renewables still exists, but only through strengthening its policies along the lines suggested by RENEW.

All the Energy Policy Summit speaker talks (that were electronic) are located on the RENEW Website:

Tom Still's commentary on the Summit (linked below) was published in the Appleton Post Crescent.  Still is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Technology Council and acted as a moderator for the Research, Jobs, & Innovation Panel during the Summit.

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