DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock joined renewable energy leaders today to kick-off the inaugural World Renewable Energy Forum (WREF), an international conference that will bring thousands of representatives from 66 different countries to downtown Denver.
The WREF is presented by three Colorado-based organizations: the American Solar Energy Society, Colorado Renewable Energy Society and National Renewable Energy Laboratory, as well as the World Renewable Energy Network and International Solar Energy Society.
“We’re excited to host this inaugural event with global energy leaders to discuss how we can meet the world’s economic, environmental and security challenges through the advancement of renewable energy technologies,” Mayor Hancock said. “The Denver metro area is a national center for such industries as cleantech development and renewable resource R&D, and this forum will shine a bright spotlight on these booming sectors.”
The WREF will run from May 13 through 17 and have an estimated $3.5 million direct economic impact for the city. It will feature global energy leaders including U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Citigroup Managing Director and Global Head of Environmental Finance Mike Eckhart and Chief Executive Officer of Abengoa Solar Santiago Seage.
“Denver and its metro neighbors are widely recognized as leaders in innovative, sustainable energy technologies, which is exactly why the city is a premier host for the Forum,” WREF Program Chair Dr. Chuck Kutscher said. “There is a lot of excitement over WREF because renewable energy is growing at a remarkable rate and countries are rethinking how to develop and use energy for future generations.”
Over the past two years, more than 20 solar and wind companies have announced their expansion and relocation plans to the Denver metro area, leading to an overall 6.4 percent growth rate in the energy sector in 2011. This growth can be directly attributed to some of the world's largest energy industry leaders, like SMA Solar Technology and General Electric, relocating and growing in the region. These companies have helped to create over 21,000 jobs and make Colorado a national leader in solar jobs per capita.
Mayor Hancock today also announced the City and County of Denver’s latest job gains in the renewable energy sector. Since 2010, more than 100 jobs have been created through programs and initiatives managed by the city.
“The growth of energy jobs right here at the city is just one example of how Denver is leading the charge to support and grow our green economy,” Mayor Hancock said. “Just this week, we launched a call center that will assist Denver residents and businesses on their path to save energy as a part of the Denver Energy Challenge.”
In conjunction with the WREF, the Colorado Renewable Energy Society will be sponsoring Electric Avenue, a free and open event that will showcase electric vehicles and related technology on May 16 and 17 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and at the Colorado Showcase conference.
“The 2012 CRES annual educational conference is called Showcase Colorado because we are working diligently to connect Coloradans with the global marketplace,” CRES interim-Executive Director Lorrie McAllister said. “We’re excited to leverage the international talent, organizations and networks that will be in Denver for the Forum to move Colorado’s green economy forward.”
CLICK HERE to learn more about the WREF’s conference and events.