AREDAY summit kicks off in Snowmass on Wednesday night

Roughly 100 people gathered Wednesday in Snowmass for the start of the American Renewable Energy Day, or AREDAY, summit.
Maddie Vincent/The Aspen Times

On Wednesday night in a conference room on the first floor of the Viceroy Snowmass resort, roughly 100 people gathered for the start of the American Renewable Energy Day, or AREDAY, summit.

Hosted by the local American Renewable Energy Institute nonprofit, the multi-day speaker series and related film festival aims to promote actionable solutions to climate change, mainly those related to renewable and efficient energy.

For this year’s 16th annual summit, titled “The Politics of Change: Creating the New Hydrogen-Carbon Economy,” over 145 speakers will present on a variety of clean energy technology-, economy- and business-related innovations.

“Hydrogen is the only energy source that will provide baseload power in a predictable, reliable, resilient and deliverable way at the required frequency now provided by coal, oil and gas,” said Chip Comins, founder of AREDAY and leader of its related nonprofit, before the summit.

To kick the summit off, one of these innovations related to using hydrogen as a viable clean energy source was presented by Andrew Horvath, chairman of the Australian-based Star Scientific Limited research and development company.

With graphics and a short animated video, Horvath explained how his company is looking to switch coal out for hydrogen fuel, collected from green sources like wind and solar, at existing coal burning plants across the world through its hydrogen energy release optimizer, or HERO, technology, “keeping the turbine turning without the burning.”

Horvath’s talk Wednesday was a teaser to his more in-depth presentation scheduled later in the summit, which runs all day Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

But perhaps the clearest, most urgent message disclosed Wednesday night by both Comins and Wesley Clark, a retired U.S. Army general and leading energy consultant, was the need for more effective communication country-wide.

“This is the most important election of our lifetime,” Clark said to the people gathered physically and those watching via AREDAY’s internet livestream. “It’s not about who you vote for … it’s about what you do between now and the election. We need a climate education mobilization in the United States.”

Clark went on to say there’s a need to de-politicize and humanize conversations around climate change in America if true progress toward creating a cleaner, healthier environment worldwide is to be made.

Both Clark and Comins urged the Wednesday night audience to be part of this climate education mobilization by taking what they learn from the AREDAY summit to the masses.

“This autumn is the time for our groups to be out communicating with the public. We have to do that,” Clark said. “We have the information, we have the willpower … we can start it right here at AREDAY.”


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