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Renewable Energy Fair Targets Energy Independence

September 15, 2008

Hartington, NE – It's a high-cost energy world, and addressing that problem is the idea behind a first-ever Renewable Energy Fair this week. South Dakotans and people from other northern plains states are gathering at the Cedar County Fairgrounds in Hartington, Nebraska this Thursday.

Organizer Martin Kleinschmit is with the Center for Rural Affairs.

"We're facing some pretty high energy costs. We're also looking at a real possibility that this might be affecting climate, the energy sources that we're tapping into right now. We all share common energy resources. All we need to do is look at how our farm or how our community can best capitalize on them, on the renewable resources that we have, and how we might work that, in order to help solve some of these problems."

Kleinschmit says energy is driving the economy at all levels, and who owns the energy will determine the success of a region and state.

"We're all in this together. Rural America has a lot to benefit from the resources that they have. Just taking a look at those sometimes, that's all we have to do is take the time to think about them. We don't need to be limited by foreign oil or any other oil. We've got the opportunity to do it ourselves. So, let's take a look at that."

Kleinschmit says, unlike most fairs where there are only vendor booths to visit, the Renewable Energy Fair is featuring participants who will give presentations on hybrid and electric cars, home-built solar heaters, and USDA programs on energy efficiency. There will also be small-scale wind turbine presentations and an opportunity to see bio-diesel being made on the fairgrounds.

The one-day event runs Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

David Law/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - SD