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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to Deliver Keynote Address for 4th Annual Appalachian Energy Summit

By Josiah Clark

Environmentalist and clean-energy advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will be presenting the keynote address for the 4th annual Appalachian Energy Summit at the Schaefer Center of Performing Arts, Monday, July 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Kennedy Jr. is a well-known environmental activist, author and attorney specializing in environmental law, whose successful legal actions has earned him a reputation as a defender of the environment.

He will be addressing why good environmental policy equals good business policy.

In May 2010, Time magazine named him one of the “Heroes for the Planet” for his work in restoring the Hudson River. Today, he serves as president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, is senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council and chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper.

Amory Lovins, the chief scientist with the Rocky Mountain Institute, will join Kennedy Jr. after the keynote address for an exchange regarding the challenges and opportunities for paving the way toward a clean-energy future.

Lovins is an international consultant, experimental physicist, environmental scientist and the 1993 MacArthur Fellow. He is considered by many to be among the world’s leading authorities on energy use and sustainable energy supply.

Lovins was named by Time magazine as one of the world’s most influential people in 2009.

Elisabeth Wall, communications specialist for the ASU Office of Sustainability, wrote that the summit was created “to drive energy innovation, infuse sustainability into the learning experience and, in the process, save the UNC system money.”

She said the need for an annual summit came out of a challenge to reduce North Carolina’s energy expenditures.

“We are on track to save $2 billion and reduce our energy costs by 30% by the year 2025,” said Wall, who confirmed that the state is on track to meet that goal.

She said that meeting the goal requires everything from making sure buildings are constructed in a sustainable manner, to switching to energy-efficient light bulbs.

Chancellors, CFO’s, provosts, faculty officers, campus architects, sustainability and transportation directors and more than 70 carefully selected students from the UNC school system were invited to attend the summit.

The summit will last for three days, and attendees will be invited to take part in workshops, presentations about energy innovation, sustainability and savings, and attend panel discussions.

Industry panelists include Greg Merritt, Vice President of Marketing and Public Affairs for CREE, Chris Halpern, President of Celtic Energy, Chuck McGinnis of Johnson Controls, Pam Maines, Vice President of Sales for Pepco Energy Services and Chad Roberson, Principal of Clark Nexsen.

“Our expectation is that like-minded educators will examine our model and appropriate some of the summit’s initiatives at their own institutions,” said Ged Moody, the Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Sustainability.

According to a press release from ASU’s Office of Sustainability, initiatives led by summit participants have generated $449 million in savings to date, system wide.

“I am thrilled for the 4th Annual Appalachian Energy Summit to get under way. This conference brings world class energy and sustainability thinkers together with higher education leaders from across the state so that we may all learn from one another. It also has become a reunion of sorts for those professionals to convene and for the local community to take part in the keynote event,” said Moody.

The website for the 2015 Appalachian Energy Summit lists the summit objectives:

• Educate our students to be leaders of tomorrow
• Reduce and stabilize the UNC system’s average annual energy expenditures
• Transform and stimulate the North Carolina economy
• Position our colleagues in the UNC system and private universities as national leaders
• Create a culture of environmental and economic sustainability

Find a detailed list of savings data from each of the universities participating in the summit here.

Visit the Appalachian Energy Summit website for more information about the summit and sustainability initiatives at ASU.

See some images below from last year’s Appalachian Energy Summit:

3rd Appalachian Energy Summit. Photos from ASU's Office of Sustainability.
3rd Appalachian Energy Summit. Photos from: ASU’s Office of Sustainability.


3rd Annual Appalachian Energy Summit. Photos from the ASU Office of Sustainability