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CSU Forum to Highlight National Security, Renewable Energy

Solar panels soak up rays on the Colorado State University campus.
Grace Hood
Solar panels soak up rays on the Colorado State University campus.

Former Gov. Bill Ritter and the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University in Fort Collins will host a forum tonight examining the connection between national security and energy.

Experts, including Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti, the U.K.’s Climate and Energy Security envoy, and Retired Admiral Dennis McGinn, who now heads the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), are expected to discuss the problems facing Western governments that over-rely on fossil fuels.

“If we just start realizing that these challenges are real [and] they’re not going away, we can turn these challenges into great opportunities,” said McGinn during a telephone interview with KUNC. “In many ways Colorado is doing that.”

McGinn says the U.S. needs a more diverse portfolio for both electricity and transportation fuels. Adding that governments—both state and national—ought to provide tax breaks and other incentives to help create a favorable environment for renewable energy business.

Right now Congress is debating one such proposal, the federal wind energy tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of 2012. Businesses say that tens of thousands of jobs are at stake. However, Republicans like Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) say that the money could be better spent in other areas of the budget.

"It’s a miniscule investment by the U.S. Government and taxpayers compared to what we spend on fossil fuel and the returns are huge,” said McGinn. “They manifest themselves in terms of good jobs, and the same could be said for solar and all the renewable energies.”

The event kicks off at 5:30.

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