Annual event showcases regional energy industry

Craig Hall, The Business Times

George Rossman envisions Western Colorado as a hub for innovation, technological advancements and other opportunities for energy production.

Even as the West Slope plays an important role in increasing energy independence with traditional energy sources, the region also is involved in the transition to alternative energy, Rossman said.

That’s why the upcoming Energy Forum and Expo in Grand Junction focuses on a broad range of developments.

“Because of the important role our region will play in the future of America’s energy needs, we feel it is important for the public and the energy entities to have a place where discussion, education and information can be shared,” said Rossman, whose company, Event Masters, promotes the Energy Forum and Expo.

The event is set for Feb. 24 at Two Rivers Convention Center, 159 Main St. The forum will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The expo will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The Energy Forum & Expo offers a venue for sharing the most recent news about energy development and display the latest technologies. That includes traditional and alternative sources of energy. Energy resources in the region include coal, natural gas, oil shale and uranium as well as such renewable energy sources as biomass, geothermal, solar and wind power.

To illustrate her point about the diverse energy opportunities in the region, Rossman said the forum will feature Douglas Kiesewetter, founder and chief executive officer of Brightleaf Technologies, a Montrose company that’s developed new technologies in solar energy. The forum also will feature Bryan Willson of Colorado State University, who will discuss research involving energy conversion into natural gas.

“We’ll have representatives from our educational sector, including Colorado Mesa University, Western Colorado Community College, Colorado State University and Colorado Mountain College,” Rossman said, “And we will have knowledgeable representatives from many companies spanning the energy industry from the Grand Valley and beyond who can answer your questions as they relate to the past, present and future of the industry.”

Networking opportunities will be plentiful for participants as well as they interact at the event.

“Once again, our booth space is sold out due to a tremendous response from the energy community,” Rossman said, “These companies are eager to reach out to the communities they are located in and serve. And in Western Colorado, there’s no better opportunity to have them all in one place than the Energy Forum and Expo.”