Nebraska’s Energy Fair

Event provides residents opportunity to learn about reducing energy costs and gives them a hint of better things to come.

Energy resources are as close as the sun.

Energy resources are as close as the sun.

iStockphoto.com/rotofrank

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Hartington, Nebraska – The Center for Rural Affairs host the first Renewable Energy Fair ever in the state of Nebraska on September 18. The Renewable Energy Fair takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cedar County Fairgrounds in Hartington.

Participants will learn about small and utility-scale wind turbines, see bio-diesel being made on the grounds, hear speakers discuss hybrid and electric cars, learn about USDA programs on energy efficiency and renewable energy systems, and delve into the concepts of home-built solar heaters and energy conservation programs and practices. 

"Many people feel like victims in today's high-cost energy world. The goal of this fair is to provide examples of things folks can do today to reduce energy costs and give them some hint of better things to come in the future," says Martin Kleinschmit of the Center for Rural Affairs. "This is not intended to be an in-depth discussion of any renewable energy concept, but rather, a quick exposure to ideas and practices out there. The fair will feature one-hour presentations with an opportunity for one-on-one discussions throughout the day.

"Energy drives the economy at the local, state and national level,” Kleinschmit says. “Who owns the energy can influence the success of the region. The more we control our energy system the more we control our future. Gaining control of our energy bill is not only about new renewable energy systems or exciting new technology. Often the best way to reduce energy costs is conservation. The best energy savings are gathered through the kilowatts and gallons not used. The Iowa Energy Center will be at the fair to show how saving energy can be rewarding and fun at the same time.”

Other topics that will be presented at the Renewable Energy Fair include: climate change discussion, carbon credit program, cutting crop inputs and livestock feed costs, school wind projects, energy safety, and much more. 

"We have the desire to do something about energy costs. Sometimes we just need to see ideas and talk to others before we put these measures into place. The fair is designed to provide that opportunity," Kleinschmit says. "It is fitting to hold the Renewable Energy Fair in Hartington. It gives us the opportunity to re-visit the projects featured in the Small Farm Energy Project, hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs in 1978. To view a summary of that project, visit www.CFRA.org."

According to Kleinschmit, the farmers involved in the Small Energy Project saved up to 17 percent on their energy bills. And most savings could be credited to practices added or behavior changes rather than devices they made or purchased, demonstrating that knowledge is as important to technology when it comes to energy savings. The Renewable Energy Fair will provide opportunities to visit with farmers involved in the Small Farm Energy Project.

For more information, contact Martin Kleinschmit at 402-254-6893 or martink@cfra.org. Check the Center's Web site for more details.    

The Center for Rural Affairs was established in 1973 as an unaffiliated nonprofit corporation. It was formed by rural Nebraskans concerned about family farms and rural communities, and the staff works to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities.