Our Energy Future forums to examine next 50 years of American energy options

BEMIDJI, Minn. (March 29, 2011) — As the availability of fossil fuels dwindles, where will our energy come from? Will we turn to nuclear, solar, wind, hydrogen or hydroelectric power? Or might something new be discovered?

Bemidji State University’s Sustainability Office will present a pair of events on Friday, April 15, featuring Marc Huot, research and policy analyst from the Pembina Institute in Alberta, Canada. Huot will present on efforts to extract oil from tar sands, and later will lead a panel discussion with energy experts from a broad variety of disciplines to discuss the future of energy. Both will be held in Hagg-Sauer 100 on the Bemidji State campus and are free to the public.

Huot is a policy analyst with the Pembina Institute’s Oilsands Program. He is involved with researching and reviewing environmental impacts associated with oilsands development. His technical background includes knowledge of renewable energy, life-cycle assessment methodology and energy systems. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Alberta.

At 4 p.m., Huot will present on efforts to extract oil from tar sands and the potential environmental impact to such development efforts. The province of Alberta has currently leased around 84,000 square kilometers of land — an area roughly the size of Scotland — for oilsand development.

At 7 p.m., Huot will join nine other energy professionals from the region for a panel discussion to explore the future of energy production. The panel discussion will provide opportunities for audience participation and will include:
• John Persell (DFL-Bemidji), Minnesota State Representative.
• Joel Haskard, Clean Energy Resource Teams co-director for the University of Minnesota’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships program.
• Dave Larson, mayor of Bemidji.
• Jason Edens, executive director of the Park Rapids, Minn.-based Rural Renewable Energy Alliance.
• Brian Draxten, manager of resource planning for Otter Tail Power Co.
• Chris Waltz, energy advisory for Franklin Energy.
• Lynette Nieuwsma, general manager of Beltrami Electric Cooperative.
• Dr. Timothy Kroeger, professor of geology at Bemidji State University.
• Tom Goldtooth, executive director for the Indigenous Environmental Network.

“Our Energy Future” is sponsored by Bemidji State’s Sustainability Office and by funds generated by the University’s student green fee.

For more information, contact Erika Bailey-Johnson, Bemidji State University sustainability coordinator, at (218) 755-2560.

About the Pembina Institute
The Pembina Institute envisions a world in which our immediate and future needs are met in a manner that protects the earth’s living systems; ensures clean air, land and water; prevents dangerous climate change, and provides for a safe and just global community. The institute seeks to advance sustainable energy solutions through innovative research, education, consulting and advocacy.

For further information about the institute, visit http://www.pembina.org.