Fairfield University's Green Energy Night to feature a roundtable of Connecticut business people talking about renewable energy

With oil exceeding $100 a barrel, renewable energy sources - the wind, sun, water, and biomass - are increasingly being seen as vital for the future. On Wednesday, March 26 at 4:30 p.m., Fairfield University's Charles F. Dolan School of Business will host 'Green Energy Night,' featuring panelists from Connecticut-based businesses brainstorming about renewable energy opportunities.

The event will take place in the Dolan School dining room and is open to the public. The forum will include discussion about renewable energy - what it is, the business opportunities it presents, the trends surrounding it, and why the world must move forward with renewable energy projects, on both a local and global level. Green technologies and renewable energy (such as biomass, which is wood, crops, manure and garbage or geothermal energy, which is heat captured from within the earth) are seen as valuable raw materials to make sustainable, low-carbon energy products.

Panelists will include representatives from GE Energy Financial Services, based in Stamford; the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund; Fuel Cell Energy of Danbury; and Norwalk-based Mission Point Capital Partners and Plainfield LLC.

Norm Solomon, Ph.D., dean of the Dolan School, said, "The overall goal of Green Energy Night is to enable our students to understand the vital role that business can play in maintaining a sustainable environment. That is, that sound business practices and sound environmental management can go hand in hand."

The forum was the idea of Dolan School Advisory Council member Maive Scully, chief financial officer, GE Money and a 1976 graduate of Fairfield University with a bachelor's degree in finance. Her colleague Kevin Walsh, managing director and leader, Renewable Energy, GE Energy Financial Services, helped organize the forum and is one of the panelists. GE has invested in more than 25,000 miles of natural gas pipelines and put millions of dollars into wind, solar, biomass, hydro, geothermal and other renewable power projects.

Walsh, who graduated from Fairfield with a bachelor's degree in business administration, said that the opportunities to increase reliance on renewable energy are tremendous. "We're blessed in the U.S. with sunny skies and windy places - great natural resources (for renewable energy products). The potential to reduce our carbon footprint is another key asset of renewable energy."

The planned agenda is as follows:

  • Global Energy Needs - Walsh 
  • A Global Perspective - "Energy and the Environment, Regulation of Renewable Energy and Carbon Markets," Steve Taub, Senior Vice President, Renewables Marketing, GE Energy Financial Services
  • A Local Perspective - "Clean Energy in Connecticut," Robert B. Wall, Director of Market Initiatives, Connecticut Clean Energy Fund
  • A Technology Perspective - "Taking a Product to Market," Frank Wolak, vice president of Business Development, Fuel Cell Energy
  • An Investor Perspective - "Financing Low-Carbon Opportunities," Martin Whittaker, Director, Mission Point Capital Partners
  • A Developer's Perspective - Dan Donovan, Plainfield LLC 
  • The forum will end with a question and answer session.

Green Energy Night complements the University's green initiatives. Many projects are long underway, while new ones are in the works. Major projects include the University's eco-friendly Combined Heat and Power Plant (CHP), now fully operational. Last year, Fairfield's environmental steering committee of faculty, staff, and students launched a major campus-wide awareness campaign, "From Red to Green" for Earth-friendly living. 

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 18, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 210

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