Our Energy Future, a public forum in Spencer Nov. 29
On Thursday, Nov. 29, Spencer and Van Etten residents will host "Our Energy Future," a public forum with three local experts in the field of conservation and renewable energy. The free event will begin at 7 p.m. in the Spencer Town Hall, 73 East Tioga St., Spencer, N.Y. Residents and municipal officials are invited to come and learn how we can enrich our communities and secure our energy independence by getting off fossil fuels.
"Many of us in the anti-fracking movement are also working positively toward a clean energy future," said Spencer resident Maura Stephens, a founding member of sponsoring organization SAVE S-VE. "Right now, as our own community has still not recovered from Hurricanes Irene and Lee and we are watching in horror the Sandy catastrophe, we must immediately act to stop hastening climate change. These speakers will help jump-start such efforts for our community."
The three presenters, Don Barber, Marguerite Wells and Art Weaver, were all featured in the recently released documentary Empowered: Power from the People. They all believe that renewable energy will make the human causes of global warming - burning of coal, oil, and natural gas - obsolete in less than 20 years, and will share practical information about how that will occur.
Don Barber grew up on a 300-acre family dairy farm in Danby. He received a BS and MS in engineering from Alfred University. After working as an engineer for a Corning for 10 years and earning a U.S. patent, he returned to farming his 65 acres. He also owned and operated a construction business for 25 years. Barber is serving his eighth term as Supervisor of the Town of Caroline, one of the initial consortium of local governments to purchase its electricity from renewable sources and the second New York state municipality to purchase 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. Caroline's new super-insulated office building is heated by the earth (geothermal) and powered by the sun (PV).
Scientist and entrepreneur Marguerite Wells is project manager for Black Oak Wind Farm, a 20-megawatt community-owned project in Enfield that will begin construction in 2013 and go online as early as next December. The project will supply energy to more than 22,000 homes. Wells is also co-owner of Motherplants, a nursery that specializes in plants for living roofs. The business uses renewable energy and environmentally benign growing practices. Wells earned a Bachelor's degree in animal science from Cornell University and Master's degree in environmental sustainability from the University of Edinburgh.
Van Etten resident and scientist Art Weaver's current project is Weaver Wind Energy - whose mission is to create "the world's most reliable small wind turbine." Its first product, a residential wind turbine rated at 5kW, is now in pre-production testing. This endeavor grew out of Weaver's experience at Renovus Energy, which he co-founded in 2003. Today Renovus is perhaps the most widely recognized local company doing renewable energy design and installation.
A question and answer period will follow the talks, and light refreshments will be provided. The building is wheelchair accessible. The forum is cosponsored by RAFT and the Coalition to Protect New York.