University of Minnesota to Host Midwest’s Premier Energy, Economic and Environmental Conference

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  • Members of the media: To attend the E3 conference for free, contact Eve Daniels (, 612-626-2670) in advance for a press registration code.
  • To request an interview with an E3 conference presenter, contact Todd Reubold (, 612-624-6140).

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (11/9/2009) -- How do we provide sustainable fuel, food, fiber and freshwater to a global population of 9 billion people in our lifetime? That’s one of many urgent questions on the agenda during E3 2009: The Midwest’s Premier Energy, Economic and Environmental Conference, taking place Nov. 17 in St. Paul, Minn.

Hosted annually by the University of Minnesota’s Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE), a signature program of the Institute on the Environment, the E3 conference explores current technologies, environmental benefits and market opportunities in renewable energy. Each November since 2004, representatives from academia, business and industry, government and other sectors join together to share new knowledge and discoveries.

Lawrence Kazmerski, executive director of science and technology partnerships at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will deliver the keynote presentation. The former director of the National Center for Photovoltaics, Kazmerski joined NREL (formerly called the Solar Energy Research Institute) in 1977 as the first staff member in photovoltaics. He’ll offer an overview of the latest photovoltaic technologies, as well as the inside scoop on his work at NREL.

Other highlights include a “super panel” discussion, moderated by Institute on the Environment Director Jonathan Foley, with representatives from all sides of the food-versus-fuel debate: Michael Doane, director of agricultural economics and sustainability with Monsanto; Kevin Stringer, director general of petroleum resources with Natural Resources Canada; Nathanael Greene, director of renewable energy policy with the Natural Resources Defense Council; and Rick Tolman, chief executive officer with the National Corn Growers Association.

Along with a variety of research posters and exhibitor displays, the conference will feature 15 breakout sessions focused on a series of big questions in five different tracks: Renewable Fuels and Products; Renewable Electricity; Energy Policy, Environment and Economy; Special Topics; and Workshops.

The big questions range from “What’s the best use for biomass?” and “What are the biggest bottlenecks to the deployment of solar energy systems in the United States?” to “Where is the climate change debate headed?” and “What can we learn from renewable energy leaders in other countries?” And, as a new highlight this year, a series of workshops will showcase student-led renewable energy projects, sustainable campus initiatives and energy-efficient business efforts.

E3 2009 takes place Nov. 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. Free transportation to and from the event is available on both the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. E3 attendees can also receive a discount registration rate for a half-day conference on Nov. 18: Putting Minnesota on the Map: Next Steps for Building a Smart Grid Coalition.

The E3 conference is presented by IREE, in partnership with lead sponsors Faegre & Benson and Piper Jaffray, in addition to more than a dozen category sponsors. Proceeds from E3 2009 will help fund scholarships for University of Minnesota students studying renewable energy and the environment.

Visit for complete details, including the agenda, speaker bios, shuttle schedule, conference hotel and more.