Clean Energy Forum Nov. 16 concludes 2017 Climate Smart Conversations

Montana’s transition to a renewable energy future is the focus of Climate Smart’s final 2017 community climate conversation. The November 16 forum features local businesses and examines Montana’s potential to thrive in a clean energy economy. Hosted by Xanterra at Cedar Creek Lodge, the forum highlights six Flathead businesses that play a role in the emerging clean energy economy of the Flathead.

Energy Forum: Envisioning Montana’s Clean Energy Economy
Thursday, November 16, 7 – 9 p.m.
Cedar Creek Lodge Conference Center, 930 2nd Ave W, Columbia Falls
“The Flathead is at the cutting edge of energy innovation,” said Matt Folz, Director of Sustainability for Xanterra and chairman of the Climate Smart Green Business Working Group. “Thanks in large part to Flathead Electric Cooperative’s willingness to invest in local power generation, we have great things happening with community solar, micro-hydro, biomass cogeneration, energy efficiency, and the landfill gas plant.”
Battery storage is a key technology for storing and balancing renewable energy generation, said Climate Smart chairman Steve Thompson. “With the presence of successful startups ViZn Energy and ZAF Energy Systems, the Flathead is poised to become an innovation hub for non-lithium batteries.”
Forum panelists include:
  •        Jacqueline Sussman, University of Montana Research Fellow
  •        David Bopp, Flathead Electric Cooperative
  •        Paul Siblerud, ViZn Energy
  •        Paul McKenzie, F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber – Biomass Cogeneration
  •        Diane Yarus, Airworks Heating and Cooling Solutions
  •        Andrew Valainis, Montana Renewable Energy Association
  •        Jeff Arcel, Aeon Renewable Energy
  •        Barbara Calm, Calm Veterinary Clinic (installed rooftop solar for business in 2008)
The November 16 energy forum is the fourth in a series of events sponsored this fall by Climate Smart Glacier Country. Climate Smart is a nonprofit partnership formed by local businesses and organizations, local communities and Glacier National Park to develop local solutions to the challenges of climate change.
“To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need clean, renewable power. That transition is happening in the Flathead,” Thompson said. The 2017 educational series focuses on local solutions and has examined the implications of a warming climate for Flathead farming, forestry, water resources, snow recreation, hunting and fishing.
Previous events in the series include:

Thursday, September 28, 7 p.m. in Whitefish: TOMORROW – A film about community, creativity and. Co-sponsored by AERO, the Alternative Energy Resource Organization, and Farm Hands – Nourish the Flathead. Venue: O’Shaughnessy Cultural Arts Center.

Monday, October 16, in Kalispell: MONTANA CLIMATE SCIENCE DAY – An afternoon presentation of the first Montana Climate Assessment by a team of scientists at the University of Montana and Montana State University. Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow closed the event with an evening talk: “Fire and Ice: Are Extreme Conditions the New Normal in Glacier National Park?” Co-sponsored by UM, MSU, and Flathead Valley Community College. Venue: FVCC Arts and Technology Building Large Community Room.

Wednesday, November 8, 7 p.m. in Whitefish: FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN: A Multi-Media Evening of Fishing & Hunting, Climate Change & Snow Featuring Hilary Hutcheson, Ryan Busse and Todd Tanner. Co-sponsored by Protect our Winters, Conservation Hawks, and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. Venue: O’Shaughnessy Cultural Arts Center.

The 2017 Educational Series was funded with the generous support of the Whitefish Community Foundation, Whitefish Credit Union and the Cinnabar Foundation.