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TREEDC’s international conference is a celebration of partnerships

TREEDC-tekno(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a two-part series on the upcoming TREEDC international conference.)

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

The upcoming “International Renewable Energy Conference” will be a celebration of the Tennessee Renewable Energy & Economic Development Council’s (TREEDC) commitment to building global partnerships that benefit the organization’s members.

The event, set for October 12, 13 and 14 at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, is expected to draw 250 to 300 attendees, including education and local government leaders from the Philippines, the country that TREEDC selected at its initial global partner.

Warren Nevad, TREEDC Director and Municipal Management Consultant at the University of Tennessee, said the organization’s “International Exchange Program” was conceived in 2012 to:

  • Create sister city or college matches for research and development;
  • Build social responsibility programs and awareness;
  • Offer local communities a toolbox of clean energy solutions designed to meet local needs and resources; and
  • Create market opportunities for businesses in Tennessee and the partner countries.

At the time of initiation, TREEDC considered five countries – Germany, India, Kenya, Peru, and the Philippines. After careful evaluation, TREEDC made its decision.

“There was so much potential (in the Philippines) because of where they are located,” Nevad explained. The developing country 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.

TREEDC’s initial visit to the country occurred in March 2013. Over the past 18 months, Nevad has made five trips to the Philippines, and TREEDC has hosted five forums. Twelve colleges/universities, one province, and six cities from the Philippines are now TREEDC members.

As many as 10 of those organizations will be represented at the October conference. One session on international best practices will feature representatives from the Philippine Association of Extension Program Implementers, Inc., Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific, the Renewable Energy Association, and the Philippine Department of Energy.

TREEDC has an International Director based in the Philippines. He is Doug Jackson, a Tennessee Valley Authority retiree.

For more information on the upcoming conference, click here.

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