MREA announces keynote speakers for this year’s Energy Fair
As the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) prepares for its 27th annual Energy Fair, which will be held June 17-19 in Custer, the MREA announced two of the fair’s keynote speakers.
This year, John Farrell and Nomi Prins will be added to the list of keynote speakers at the fair.
Prins, a former Wall Street executive, speaker, distinguished senior fellow at the nonpartisan public policy institute Demos and author – most recently of “All the Presidents’ Bankers” – will take the mainstage Saturday, June 18.
In the midst of the 2016 elections, Prins’ presentation will address the financial system, how its structure benefits those in power, and possibilities for energy and campaign finance policies that benefit the general public.
“We are thrilled to have Nomi Prins as a keynote speaker this year,” said Doug Stingle, MREA development director. “Her work to expose hidden ties between moneyed Wall Street interests and public policy is eye opening and incredibly relevant today in helping understand the forces that are working to slow the adoption of clean energy,” he said.
Prins will cover the historical relationship between powerful political figures and key bankers and how banking and energy policies can be structured to work for the people. Prins’ insight comes from an extensive financial career and education.
Fairgoers will have the chance to hear from someone who has not only been in the trenches, but who also has a deep analytical understanding of the most intricate securities and their documentation, as well as the political-financial environment on a domestic and international basis. Prins will give attendees a clearer vision of today’s realities and a better strategy for implementing a sustainable future.
Prins has been featured alongside prominent thought leaders and Nobel Prize winners in numerous documentaries, including “Heist,” “Plunder” and most recently, “The Big Fix,” which garnered standing ovations at the Cannes Film Festival.
She’s appeared as a commentator on economic, financial and political issues for BBC World, RTTV, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, CSPAN, Democracy Now!, Fox and PBS. In addition, Prins has been featured on hundreds of radio shows globally including CNN Radio, Marketplace, NPR, BBC and Canadian Programming. Her writing has been featured in The New York Times, Fortune, Newsday, Mother Jones, Newsweek, The Guardian, The Nation, Alternet, Slate and LaVanguardia.
The second keynote speaker the MREA announced is John Farrell, the director of democratic energy at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
Farrell will discuss the importance to fairgoers of taking control of the nation’s energy future. His 50-minute presentation will address how 21st Century energy sources, such as distributed wind, solar and energy storage, and distributed technology, such as smart phones, have changed the once natural monopoly of the electricity system.
He will explain how it is no longer necessary, or economical, to give monopoly utilities control of the energy system, when decentralized control and ownership can more rapidly and cost-effectively transform the grid to cleaner energy resources and economically reward communities.
Farrell has provided data-rich presentations on local renewable energy for the common citizen from Presque Isle, Maine; San Francisco, Calif.; and Berlin, Germany. He has also keynoted conferences like Solar Energy Focus in Washington, D.C.
With the recent extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for renewable energy, Farrell’s insight and expertise on the subject will give attendees a comprehensive view of what to expect in the renewable energy market.
“At the end of the day, discounts for clean energy are a good thing, and this extension is worth cheering. But we hope that as the market matures, Congress will look for ways to give more ordinary Americans a way to buy into our clean energy future, whether they have tax liability or not,” Farrell said.
“Having a keynote like Farrell who can paint the picture of a future with a more effective grid-system that benefits local communities and electric consumers makes him a must-see. 2016 is a year to embrace democracy in America and apply that democracy to our electric grid,” said Allison Lindquist, MREA event coordinator.
In addition to sitting in with keynote speakers, Energy Fair attendees can choose from 200-plus workshops ranging from topics about electric vehicle maintenance, home-brew wind power and building solar dehydrators for their garden bounty.
Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and previous Energy Fair keynote said, “MREA puts the practical punch into the movement for a livable planet. It’s filled with folks who actually know how to make the future work; we have lots and lots of partners around the world at 350.org, but none with more know-how, savvy and drive than the people at MREA.”
MREA is a small, education-based nonprofit organization that erects a tent city in Custer. Community members, partnering organizations and volunteers bring necessary knowledge and skills needed to make the fair a continued success. They are a vital component in addressing current developments, solutions and obstacles facing the planet.