Monday, March 19, 2012

Trident Tech to Host international Sustainability Symposium

by David Hansen

Trident Technical College and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), in partnership with the Danish and German embassies, will host a special day-long symposium, Sustainable Ways to Community Prosperity, March 27, with delegations from Denmark, Germany and the United States sharing their sustainability success stories.

A special student registration fee of $25 is being offered to all students with a valid student ID. The registration fee includes continental breakfast, lunch and a networking reception. The symposium will be held in the College Center on TTC’s Main Campus in North Charleston.
Representatives from Denmark, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union, will discuss how they are helping to fulfill their country’s pledge to be fossil-fuel free by 2050. Søren Hermansen, who has been a driving force behind the Danish success story, will be one of the speakers on the morning panel presentation, Think Globally-Act Locally: Sustainable Ways to Community Prosperity. In 1999, the Danish Island of Samsø took on the challenge to become energy self-sufficient within a decade. By 2009, the goal was largely accomplished. Hermansen was an instrumental part of the change and was named one of Time magazine’s Heroes of the Environment in 2008. Now the director of Samsø Energy Academy, his mission is to share the lessons learned and how attitudes and resistance transformed to acceptance and enthusiasm. Also on the panel from Denmark will be Lars Toft Hansen from the municipality of Thisted. Thisted now derives its energy off the grid, using sun, wind, geothermal power and biomass from the incineration of agricultural, industrial and household waste.

Germany, a leader in energy efficiency and renewable energies, will have 118 cities and regions supplied by 100 percent renewable energy in the near future. The mayor of Saerbeck, Germany, Wilfried Roos, along with Frank Hettler, public administrator for energy management for the City of Ostfildern, Germany, and Christian Vogt, head of corporate strategy and management with the municipal utility company of Munich, Germany, will discuss their municipalities’ move toward sustainability during the morning panel presentation.

Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley, who is on the Climate Protection Task Force of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, will speak and lead a discussion about Charleston’s many green projects. According to the mayor, 21st century Charlestonians will be remembered for protecting the region’s landscape and natural systems as 20th century Charlestonians are remembered for preserving the city’s magnificent buildings. Representatives from other South Carolina organizations focused on sustainability and renewable energy will also participate, including John Kelly and Elizabeth Cobert Busch with the Clemson University Restoration Institute (CURI). CURI was established in 2004 to drive economic growth by creating, developing and fostering restoration industries and environmentally sustainable technologies in South Carolina. In November 2009 CURI and its partners were awarded a $45 million U.S. Department of Energy grant, which was combined with $53 million of matching funds, to build and operate what will be the world’s largest testing facility for next-generation wind turbine drivetrains. The test facility is currently under construction at the institute’s research campus on the former Navy base in North Charleston.

Retired Air Force Gen. Ron Keys will provide the symposium’s keynote address, Parallel Paths – National Security and Community Prosperity. Keys is a member of the Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board and is a senior adviser to the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he provides expertise to projects on energy, transportation and national security. He also is the lead for the National Security Speaker Series and provides liaison to the Hamilton-Kean 911 Commission Homeland Security Preparedness Group project.

An afternoon panel presentation, The Business Case for Sustainability, will feature Duncan Seaman of automotive and motorcycle manufacturer BMW Group, Greg Towsley of energy-efficient pump manufacturer Grundfos, Martha Senf of global electronics, energy and engineering giant Siemens, and Dave Gustashaw of automotive manufacturer Volkswagen. These business leaders will share how their organizations have reaped the benefits of incorporating sustainability and energy efficiency into their business practices and products.

The symposium is open to the public. The general registration fee is $50. To register go to and click on Sustainable Ways to Community Prosperity under the events column.


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