By MATTHEW WEAVER
The coordinators of a rural energy development conference hope it will spark a variety of new opportunities for Western farmers.
The 10th annual Harvesting Clean Energy Conference takes place Feb. 7- 9 at the Tri Cities Convention Center in Kennewick, Wash.
Wind power is just the beginning of clean energy developments, said event coordinator Rhys Roth. During the conference, innovators will share their experiences and talk about technical and financial resources, Roth said.
"We're trying to create a platform where partnerships and new businesses can be born," Roth said.
One workshop focuses on the next wave of bioenergy technology, including biochar, one of several byproducts created when biomass is heated through a process called pyrolosis. Another focuses on the race to build electric cars, trucks and ag equipment.
The conference kicks off at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 7 with a keynote speech by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and a forum with Cantwell and Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash.
Other speakers include:
* Boeing Commercial Airplanes Geopolitical and Policy Analysis Director Richard Wynne will speak at 8 a.m. Feb. 8 about the potential role of agriculture in developing renewable energy sources for aviation.
* DAK Renewable Energy CEO David Kolsrud speaks at 12:30 p.m. Feb. 8 about farmers as renewable energy entrepreneurs.
* USDA Undersecretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager speaks at 8 a.m. Feb. 9.
Cost is $110 for individuals. Information: Go to www.harvestcleanenergy.org