Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States as well as a national pioneer of solar power, highlights the speaker roster at the 11th annual American Renewable Energy Day (AREDAY) Summit at the Jerome Hotel in Aspen, Colorado, August 10-13, 2014.
President Carter has been advocating solar power since his time in office in the 1970s. Carter will speak at a luncheon in his honor and also participate in an armchair conversation with American Renewable Energy Institute (AREI) President Sally Ranney on Tuesday, August 12. All Summit registrants will be granted tickets to these events. The AREDAY Summit is a program of AREI.
|President Jimmy Carter (photo credit: TheElders via photopin cc)|
The former U.S. President will be joined by nearly 100 experts from various fields like science, education and finance. Leaders of certain international organizations include UN Foundation will also give speeches at this year’s forum. The ongoing list can be checked on the website: 2014 Summit Speakers.
AREDAY’s purpose is to foster immediate action that addresses climate change through renewable energy development and deployment. The theme of this year’s Summit is Accelerating Solutions for the Great Transition. “The Great Transition takes into account what no longer works, and looks to new ideas and sources of energy, technologies, lifestyles, political will, equity and economic structures that will sustain an ecologically functioning planet of low-carbon economies, ” said Sally Ranney, President of AREI.
President Carter was the first president to install solar panels for hot water generation on the White House roof in 1979, to inspire Americans to seek energy alternatives, independence and conservation. He predicted at the time of their installation that “A generation from now, [the 32 solar panels] can either be…an example of a road not taken or…just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people.” Carter stated in a 1977 televised speech introducing his energy proposals to Congress, "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and the use of… permanent renewable energy sources."
While the White House panels were ultimately removed, the solar industry has achieved record successes, with PV nstallations increasing 41% in 2012 to reach 4,751 MW of new capacity, and nearly 13 GW of PV panel-generated power presently installed (according to Solar Energy Industries Association’s Solar Market Insight Year in Review 2013). Additionally, the Invanpah Solar Electric Generating System complex in California’s Mojave Desert is presently the world’s largest solar project at 377 megawatts (net) of power generation capacity.
Further evidence of Carter’s visionary solar industry work remains with the thriving Golden, Colorado-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), originally established during the president’s administration as the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) to foster solar energy technology research and development. SERI was designated as a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy in September 1991, at which time its name was changed to NREL. Today it serves as the country’s primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development, including solar, wind, geothermal and fuel cell technologies.
“President Carter’s work was undeniably key in laying the groundwork for the Great Transition,” said Chip Comins, chairman and CEO of AREI. “As a country we’ve survived both the Great Depression and the Great Recession, and are now welcoming the Great Transition, in which we must take the critical steps toward an environmentally and economically sound future.”