Before I attended the combined 2012 World Renewable Energy Forum (WREF) and American Solar Energy Society (ASES) national conference, I was just an islolated blogger toiling away on my own blog during my dwindling free time. I was writing as much as I could about the impact of energy efficiency, renewables, and sustainability to an audience that was frankly non-existent. I actually pondered giving up on the blog altogether. Why should I keep feeding energy to something that received an iota of comments, usually from some language challenged spam bots? I discovered the answer to that question at WREF 2012.
When I walked into the Denver Convention Center, I really didn’t know what to expect. I had been to a few other week long conferences unrelated to renewable energy and they were usually 90% yawns with the occasional gem of a speaker. But this conference was different. Oh yes, of course I’m a renewable energy junkie always looking for news on increases in solar cell efficiency or the gradual improvement of renewable portfolio standards in states across the nation, so I probably can’t be trusted to provide an unbiased opinion. However, you have to believe me when I tell you that being in the midst of people representing nations on every continent except Antarctica was intoxicating. During the week, my eyes were slowly opened to possibility once again.
Scientists, policy makers, advocates, radicals, environmentalists, community organizers, academics,geeks, and nobodies like me were gathered together for a week exchanging ideas, asking questions, sharing success and failures, and perpetuating possibilities of a future planet that practices, as the Brundlandt Commission stated, “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” I realized during a dizzying week of Ignite presentations, panel discussions, and plenary sessions that there were indeed kindred spirits working on behalf of a future while focusing on the present. WREF recharged my old fuel cell for what I hope is a long and fruitful life working towards a renewable, efficient, and sustainable world.
And last but not least, a huge thank you to the good folks at ASES who worked countless hours to organize a global conference nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. You’ve contributed fond memories to this blogger that I trust will last a lifetime. Now, I must get back to work…