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* U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development energy initiatives

April 21, 2008

Renewable energy meetings to focus on rural possibilities

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Rising fuel prices and concern over greenhouse gas emissions have ignited interest in renewable energy.

Two public meetings sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Purdue University and others, will show how rural Indiana residents and businesses can benefit from clean energy.

Focus on Renewable Energy meetings take place Wednesday (April 23) at the Forest Discovery Center near Starlight, Ind., and April 29 at the Fishers Conference Center in Fishers, Ind. Both meetings run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

Those attending will learn about renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency programs and USDA grants available for improving energy conservation, said Chad Martin, Purdue Extension renewable energy specialist.

"We are seeing a growing interest throughout the state for installing systems involving renewable energy, such as anaerobic digesters and wind turbines, or conserving on-farm energy costs through improving inefficient grain drying systems or livestock facilities," Martin said. "The possibilities for rural Indiana can be far-reaching."

Wind power fascination already is blowing across the Hoosier state. Next month, an 87-turbine wind farm in Benton County is expected to begin operation, generating 130 megawatts of electricity - enough to power up to 40,000 homes. A second Benton County wind farm is planned, along with a 100-200 megawatt wind farm near Winchester in Randolph County.

"Until now, Indiana has not been a player in the wind power industry. These new projects will change all that," Martin said.

At the upcoming meetings, Martin will discuss Purdue's role in renewable energy. Other speakers include representatives of USDA Rural Development, the Indiana Office of Energy and Defense Development, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and seven power companies that serve Indiana. Those agencies and companies also are meeting sponsors.

Registration for both meetings is 8-8:45 a.m. and includes a continental breakfast.

The Forest Discovery Center near Starlight is located at 533 Louis Smith Road. The Fishers Conference Center is located at 9775 North By Northeast Blvd.

For more information, contact Martin at (765) 496-3964, martin95@purdue.edu; or Rob Swain of BioEnergy Development Co. at (317) 290-3100, robert.swain@in.usda.gov.

To learn more about Purdue's renewable energy initiatives, visit the Purdue Bioenergy Web site at http://www.ces.purdue.edu/bioenergy.

Writer: Steve Leer, (765) 494-8415, sleer@purdue.edu

Source: Chad Martin, (765) 496-3964, martin95@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
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