If you just happen to be driving through or near Custer, Wisconsin next weekend (and who won’t be?), you might want to stop in on the 28th annual Energy Fair, sponsored by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA).
Or you could make it a destination. Either way, you’re going to get to hang out with clean energy experts you’re definitely going to learn something while you’re there. For instance, the fair features
- Inspirational keynote speakers, lively entertainment, great food, and local beer
- more than 200 exhibitors related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainability.
- A Clean Transportation Show, featuring exhibitors, vehicles and demos
When they say “inspirational” speakers, they mean people like JB Straubel, co-founder and chief technical officer of Tesla; CEO and co-founder of GRID Alternatives Erica Mackie, whose work brings renewable energy access to low-income communities; sustainable farm owner Chris Holman; professor and journalist for Midwest Energy News Kari Lydersen, who has been on this very show, and others.
There are also more than 250 workshops on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living topics will be presented. Here’s just a sample:
- 24 green building workshops, including ‘classroom’ education opportunities as well as some demonstrations featuring straw bale construction and introduction to cordwood construction
- 8 Biomass workshops, including introduction to new wood burning technology
- 14 workshops on energy efficiency and conservation, what you can learn from an energy audit or how to choose energy efficient lighting
- 39 Solar Photovoltaics workshops so if someone is thinking about wanting to install solar, the basics are at their fingertips
- Want to learn about how wind works and what to look for when siting a wind turbine? Try one of the 6 wind workshops
- 4 solar heating and cooling workshops, to help you learn how heating water from the sun works
One of the more interesting aspects of the weekend is what the fair organizers call
the literal “recharging” of the Fair site. The MREA and partners performed an electrical upgrade with a suite of advanced EV charging stations to accommodate the flood of attendees and electric vehicle enthusiasts their robust Fair lineup has attracted. There will be a Tesla Rally Saturday at the Fair, and a photo taken to document the ‘largest gathering of Tesla cars in the Midwest.’
The Fair will be held in Custer, Wisconsin, at the MREA’s outdoor fair grounds from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, June 16 and 17, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 18. New this year, a second Energy Fair will be held the weekend of September 9 and 10 at Harriet Island Park, in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a solar professional day September 8.
This morning, Peggy and I talk to Mark Klein, who is a founding MREA board member and president of Gimme Shelter Construction, which designs and builds energy-efficient homes and masonry stoves, and MREA Events Director Allison Lindquist.