Renewable

On Sept. 19 and 20, downtown Keene will welcome hundreds of thinkers and doers from communities across rural America for the Radically Rural Summit. Wendy Guillies, president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, will kick off the second annual summit and send attendees into an array of 19 sessions across two days.

In addition to the five original program tracks — arts and culture, community journalism, entrepreneurship, Main Street and working lands — Radically Rural welcomes a sixth track for the 2019 summit: renewable energy. In its first year, the track will explore actionable solutions to bridge the rural efficiency gap, share how rural regions can advocate for electric vehicle charging infrastructure and teach effective practices from 100% renewable communities that are popping up across the country.

Did you know rural households spend 33% more of their income on energy expenses than their urban and suburban counterparts? This “efficiency gap” sends local money to circulate in more populated regions and lessens energy resiliency, keeping rural regions at a disadvantage.

Renewable energy’s first session, “Bridging the Rural Efficiency Gap,” aims to explore practical solutions. Hear about the challenges and successes from leaders in the industry, including Sarah Brock, the energy program manager for Vital Communities in White River Junction, Vermont.

Interested in bridging the gap in your own community? Take home their practical tool kits that can be adapted and implemented in your own community.

Join the track’s second session, “Charge It: Electric Vehicles are Here. Are We Ready?,” to explore how rural communities can advocate to stay current with technological advances and trends, when funding  and support for electric vehicle charging infrastructure prioritizes urban areas.

Electric vehicles are quickly gaining popularity, not only for the fun driving experience, but as they are three times more efficient than those that consume gasoline. An upstart manufacturing company has launched an electric pickup truck with a 400-mile range, prompting major manufacturers to follow suit and facilitating increasing interest across rural regions.

“Ready For 100%” communities are bubbling up around the country, including state and district-wide pledges from Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Nevada, Washington, Maine, New York and Washington, D.C.

But far away doesn’t mean far-fetched. In fact, 28% of the U.S. population resides in communities that are committed to transitioning to 100% clean energy. Right here in Keene, community leaders have passed a resolution to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and 100% renewable energy for transportation and heating by 2050.

Attend “Crazy Good: On Our Way to 100%” to learn effective practices from communities who have successfully begun their transitions toward 100% clean energy and start making a plan to introduce in your own community.

On Friday afternoon, all attendees will gather to close the summit with a keynoted fourth session, “Bridgeable Gaps: The Fuel for Rural Change.” In terms of economic development, rural communities are lagging behind and lack the infrastructure and connectivity to participate in advances of economic growth.

Keynote speaker and Executive Director of the IC² Institute, Art Markman, believes that rural regions and small cities play a crucial role in the national and global economies and will share research and observations about the exciting future rural communities envision.

Certain to be more and more a part of the sustainable lifestyle many seek, renewable energy offers economic and household opportunities to small towns everywhere. Tax credits, net zero construction and solar power are all part of a new business and personal landscape taking hold in rural settings.

What makes regions like yours most likely to adapt and adopt this approach to energy use? T

For more information and tickets to Radically Rural: the Full Experience and CONNECT2019, visit radicallyrural.org/register.