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Nine travel 8,500 miles from the Philippines for TREEDC conference

TREEDCBy Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.

A nine-member delegation from the Philippines traveled more than 8,500 miles to participate in the Tennessee Renewal Energy and Economic Development Council’s (TREEDC) first “International Renewable Energy Conference” this week in Cookeville.

It was all about collaboration around energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

The event opened Sunday with a reception and concludes later today. Warren Nevad, TREEDC’s Executive Director, said about 100 people pre-registered. The Tennesseans ranged from elected and appointed city officials to academicians, industry representatives, and several students from Tennessee Technological University which hosted the conference.

The three-day gathering was the latest in a series of activities where TREEDC and the Philippine delegation have explored mutually beneficial collaborations. In an earlier story, Nevad cited several key reasons that the country was selected as TREEDC’s first international partner.

The Philippines is a developing country that has high energy costs (more than $.25 a kilowatt hour), frequent blackouts, vast resources for renewables, a new energy renewable law that was passed in 2008 but only implemented in the past year, and the Renewable Energy Association of the Philippines.

One local company sees the exploration of partnerships with entities in the Philippines as very consistent with its vision.

“We have a long-term goal of being international, and the Philippines was a good place to get started,” ARiES Energy Vice President Mary Shafer Gill told us. She was one of several Tennesseans who recently visited the country as part of a TREEDC mission.

“I saw so much of the country in two weeks and made some great connections,” Gill explained.

In addition to speaking at yesterday’s event, she will host the nine members of the Philippine delegation tomorrow for a tour of Wampler’s Farm Sausage in Lenoir City, a regional leader in renewable energy and ARiES client.

Those who made the lengthy journey were: Naga City Mayor John Bongat; Angelica Baylong, President of the Philippine Association of Extension Program Implementers, Inc. and the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific; Amihan April Alcazar, President of the University of Pasig City; Richard Anthony D. Alcazar with the Tan, Acut, Lopez and Pison law firm; Gina Lapaz-Basa, Director of International Linkages for the Technical University of the Philippines; Romeo Zerrudo, President of Philippine Electronics; Fred Perdon, General Manager of the Philippines GNN News Network and Central Bicol State University; and Marites C. Geronimo, Executive Director of Philippine Normal University.

Bongat, whose community has a sister city relationship with Kingston, emphasized how important partnerships are to the country.

“The Philippines is one of the biggest users of renewable energy,” he said, adding that it is also a proponent of geothermal energy, thanks to its landscape that is dotted with active and inactive volcanoes.

“We hope the interaction with you will give us the opportunity to partner in the future,” Bongat said.

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