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Michigan hosts state-focused peak oil conference

Michigan hosts its third peak oil conference of 2008 later this month. The three day event, the Conference on Michigan’s Future: Energy, Economy and Environment, takes place at Crystal Mountain Resort, in northern Michigan, over the November 14 weekend.

This third conference follows the International Conference on Peak Oil and Climate Change: Paths to Sustainability held in Grand Rapids in May and the Fifth U.S. Conference on Peak Oil and Community Solutions: Plan C Conference held in Rochester in October.

The Conference on Michigan’s Future is designed in two tracks which address peak oil concerns for two different groups. One track focuses on the interests of business, industry and government. The second track explores practical individual and community strategies. Both groups will interact frequently to help develop a vision for the future of Michigan beyond peak oil.

The conference begins on Friday with a full evening of plenary talks on the challenges facing Michigan from energy, to environment, to economy. Ellen Hodgeson Brown, author of "Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free” explores in common language the complex roots of the economic crisis.

The live keynote speaker is Richard Heinberg, author of four books on peak oil, and the world’s leading peak oil educator. Heinberg will deliver one keynote Friday evening, and a second on Saturday, as well as participating on panels during the three day conference.

Saturday, two major tracks explore energy security and food security in Michigan. Energy security talks include advanced coal technology, carbon sequestration and storage, natural gas powered transportation, nuclear power, renewable portfolio standard, community renewable power, feed in tariff, wind, solar, hydro, biomass, and plug-in hybrid technology. Food talks include reducing food miles, local food systems, and permaculture. State legislators and industry executives will provide a number of the presentations.

Saturday evening features talks by Richard Gilbert of Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight without Oil (via live teleconference), and Albert Bates, author of the Post Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook. This is followed by a panel of industry and community leaders to provide visions for Michigan’s energy future.

Sunday looks at risk analysis, community responses, and energy conservation. Analysis will be provided by Brown, Kurt Cobb, and John Richter. Community responses will be addressed by Bates, Michael Brownlee (prerecorded) and Stephanie Mills.

A series of seven Michigan experts will explore ways to reduce energy use in new and existing buildings. Presentations will include home renewable energy options, passive solar heating, and the German passive house design.

The conference concludes late Sunday afternoon with structured panels and participant discussions on strategies for moving forward towards a post-peak future for Michigan.

The conference is organized by Aaron Wissner, founder of Local Future, a nonprofit educational organization. Major support comes from Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, Crystal Mountain Resort, Herman Miller Inc., and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Jim MacInnes, President of Crystal Mountain, and former renewable energy plant designer, has provided key assistance.

Registration is open but is limited to 200 participants.

For more information, visit: http://futuremichigan.org

Editorial Notes: Aaron adds: The agenda listed above is not yet published to the conference web site due to final details but will be available in full by this weekend.

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