Upcoming event to highlight diverse energy industry

George Rossman
George Rossman

Phil Castle, The Business Times

An upcoming event in Grand Junction once again will offer a mix of speakers and vendors involved in different types of energy production: a little bit traditional fossil fuels, but also a little bit alternative and renewable sources.

“We’ve got a little bit of everything,” said George Rossman, who organizes the annual Energy Forum & Expo.

The effort is intentional, Rossman said, in drawing attention to a diverse energy industry in Western Colorado that includes natural gas and coal, but also bio fuels and solar power. What’s more, an all-of-the-above strategy likely will be needed to meet growing energy demands, she said. “It’s going to take it all to make it work.”

The ninth annual Energy Forum & Expo is set for Feb. 28 at Two Rivers Convention Center, 159 Main St. in downtown Grand Junction. The forum will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., while the expo will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both the forum and expo are free and open to the public. More information is available online at www.energyexpoco.com.

About 4,000 people attend the Energy Forum & Expo each year, Rossman said. Some come for the forum, others for the expo and still others for both.

The forum is set to begin at 9 a.m. with a presentation by John Felmy, chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute. Felmy is scheduled to return to the forum for a third straight year to offer an overview of energy production and national energy policy.

A presentation set for 10 a.m. will explore the role of U.S. coal mines in supplying global markets, in particular mines in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. Steve Doyle, an international coal marketing with Doyle Trading Associates, will lead the discussion.

At 11:10 a.m., the forum will switch gears to alternative energy sources with a presentation on small scale methane-to-energy projects.

Michael Coté, president of Ruby Canyon Engineering in Grand Junction, will lead the presentation. His firm has been involved in efforts around the world to capture methane from coal mines, dairies and landfills to use for energy production. Ruby Canyon Engineering recently was selected as the best greenhouse gas consulting and verification company in North America in the results of an annual magazine survey.

After lunch, a 1:30 p.m. presentation will offer information about efforts to both improve forest health in Southwest Colorado and produce energy from  wood chips left over from thinning. J.R. Ford, managing partner of Renewable Forest Energy, will lead the presentation.

Meanwhile, the expo is expected to feature about 60 vendors, including companies involved in the exploration and production of fossil fuels as well as those involved with harnessing renewable energy. Vendors also will include companies supplying products and services to the energy industry as well as area colleges and universities that offer educational programs tailored to those working in the sector.