More than 140 speakers, including former President Jimmy Carter, have been lined up for the 11th annual American Renewable Energy Day summit in Aspen.
The event brings together prominent individuals from the public and private sector. Its goal is to spark dialogue, commitments, collaborations and investments that foster climate-change solutions and a rapid transition to a clean energy economy.
The Summit will be held at The Hotel Jerome from Sunday through Wednesday. There will be no street exposition this year.
“It’s jam-packed with speakers and presentations,” said Chip Comins, chairman and CEO of the American Renewable Energy Institute, which hosts ARE Day. “We’ve outdone ourselves.”
Tuesday’s luncheon will feature Carter, 89, who was elected president in November 1976 and served one term.
He will be introduced at 12:45 p.m. by author-historian Doug Brinkley. At 1 p.m., Carter will participate in a conversation with Sally Ranney, president of the institute, titled “The Life of a Global Leader: Lessons of Statesmanship in Action.” At 1:45 p.m., the institute will present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Carter and his wife, Rosalynn.
“Carter was the one who put the solar panels in the White House back in 1979, and when he did that he kind of de facto started the solar-energy industry worldwide,” Comins said. “He told the country that we needed to become energy efficient and energy independent. Had we listened, we’d be in a lot better shape today.”
Carter has authored more than 20 books since his presidency ended in January 1981, the most recent being “A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power,” which was released in March.
“President Carter has turned his attention to the gender issue and equality, so we are also honoring his interest in that. We have a very dynamic women’s panel before his luncheon.”
The $165-per-person luncheon is sold out, but Comins said there could be some last-minute availability. To check on possible inclusion, people should drop by the hall next to the Hotel Jerome ballroom before noon and check with Comins’ assistants.
The summit is expected to contain many other highlights. It starts off on Sunday at 9:45 p.m. with remarks and a question-and-answer session with U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. That program is free and open to the public.
At noon on Sunday, the institute will join forces with the Aspen Business Luncheon to present Forrest Sawyer, former anchor of ABC’s “Nightline.” The topic of his conversation with Comins will be “Media: Accelerating Problems or Solutions?” The luncheon cost is $30.
Popular blues-folk artist Taj Mahal, an avid conservationist and environmentalist, is scheduled to participate in a panel discussion, but will not be performing in a concert associated with the event as he has in recent years. Comins said ARE Day operates on a small budget and cannot afford to pay Taj Mahal’s full fee.
However, Comins will moderate Taj Mahal and three others on Monday at 7:15 p.m. for “A Conversation: Music and Movies Change the World; Building Awareness Through the Arts.”
As an adjunct to the summit, the Pitkin County Library on Saturday will show a series of short films related to the environment and energy. Free and open to the public, the ARE Day Film Festival starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m.
Other well-known speakers on tap for the four-day event include broadcasting mogul Ted Turner, business magnate T. Boone Pickens and hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer.
For a full schedule of speakers and events, or information about full passes to the summit, visit the website www.areday.net.