A panel of energy experts gathered at CSU yesterday to discuss the $268 billion renewable energy industry’s impact on national security, economy and other global issues in a post-9/11 world.
More than 100 students and community members descended upon the Grey Rock Room in the Lory Student Center for part six of the two-day International Colloquium.
The panel’s discussion focused on new energy initiatives as a basis for society, and the urgency with which energy has and will transform.
Those in attendance said the panel members worked well as a group, while at the same time bringing their own individual views on energy.
“I think the different perspectives of each panelist fit well together, they were able to overlap but also contribute independently from a global to local scale,” said CSU graduate student Brooke Osborne after attending the session.
“This is probably the most important issue of our time,” panel member Dan Arvizu said during the session.
Arvizu was not the only passionate panel member. Retired Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn went on to say energy is not only a domestic issue, but a matter of national security.
“Energy and national security are inescapably one. It’s a threat to our economy. It’s a threat our way of life and it is directly tied to national security.” McGinn said.
Others on the panel agreedwith the importance energy has in different aspects of global life.
“I would maintain that renewable energy offers the opportunities to reduce conflict,” said Bryan Willson, a CSU mechanical engineering professor.
According to Arvizu, the renewable energy industry is a $268 billion industry. However, while that industry thrives across the globe in developed nations, it doesn’t have quite the same impact on U.S soil.
Amid the expert panel members was CSU’s Director of the Center for the New Energy Economy Bill Ritter, who acted as moderator for the session. Ritter was pleased to have the chance to interact with students.
“For me to be able to appear in classrooms, and talk about this issue is helpful,” Ritter said after the session ended.
Ritter worked with Vice Provost James Cooney, who served on the committee that put together the colloquium, to plan the energy session, including inviting panel members and putting together the agenda.
“The session that Governor Ritter led did a really nice job of balancing the international perspective with the domestic perspective,” Cooney said.
All three of the panel members agreed that energy reform and progress is happening in Colorado and other states around the nation.
Intertwined in each panel member’s message was a call for the CSU community to continue the efforts within the clean energy initiative.
“We need to be thinking more aggressively about how we use energy going forward,” Arvizu said.
“My hope would be that a colloquium like this one and the conversation that we’ve had will have people start asking tough questions both of themselves and of elected officials.”
The energy session was piece of a seven-part series in the International Colloquium, which is held annually at CSU. This year, the colloquium was centered on global conflict management.
It included topics such as the environment and energy, the Middle East, food and water
management and U.S foreign policy. An estimated 700 people attended the sessions collectively.
Collegian writer Sarah Fenton can be reached at email@example.com.