Climate change and energy are international issues. Following the maxim, "Think globally, act locally," a now international group first launched in Germany is hosting a panel discussion on the topic, "A Transatlantic Perspective on Climate Change and Energy Policy" on Thursday, Sept. 24, from 10 a.m. to noon at Squires Student Center in Brush Mountain Room A.

The Transatlantic Climate Bridge is an initiative to foster transatlantic cooperation and partnerships between Germany, the United States, and Canada on climate and energy policies at the local, the state, and the federal level.

The Thursday panel discussion at Virginia Tech will focus on state and local efforts to increase energy independence, boost energy efficiency, and invest in renewable energy. U.S. and German practitioners will talk about how communities can engage in their own local energy planning, and report on best practice examples with a transatlantic perspective.

Panelists are a German energy business leader, a Northern Virginia energy policy leader, a researcher who has been instrumental in implementing energy-saving practices, a local educator with a program that provides workforce training and works with local communities to enhance economic and educational partnerships, and an entrepreneur and small business owner who can provide examples of local energy conservation initiatives.

Martin Hoppe-Kilpper is CEO and managing director of the German integrated energy systems solutions network, deENet e.V. He led the wind energy project group at the Institut für Solare Energieversorgungstechnik (ISET) and the German wind power demonstration program, and directed the research and development division “Information and Energy Economy” until 2005. Before joining deENet in 2006, he led the Division “Power Plants and Electricity Grids" and was responsible for many wind power integration projects such as the dena grid study. Hoppe-Kilpper is actively engaged in renewable energy associations and technical committees (CIGRE) and is an expert for the research program of the European Commission.

Andrea McGimsey, a member of the Loudon County Board of Supervisors, chairs the board's energy and environment committee. She represents the county on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the council's Climate, Energy and Environment Steering Committee, Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee, Executive Committee on Climate Communities, Virginia Association of Counties Environment and Agriculture Steering Committee, and the National Association of Counties Environment, Energy, and Land Use Steering Committee. In 2004, while working for the Piedmont Environmental Council, she founded and directed the Campaign for Loudoun’s Future, a coalition of 17 local groups.

John Randolph , professor of urban affairs and planning in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech, is author of the textbook, Energy for Sustainability: Technology, Planning, Policy (with Gilbert Masters, 2008). He is former director of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research. His awards include the statewide Virginia Energy Award in 1992 for his energy research. His 1991 evaluation of the Virginia Weatherization Program led to major changes in residential energy efficiency retrofit protocol that are still in practice today. He also led an evaluation of solar photovoltaic and thermal systems on state facilities.

Dan A. Lookadoo, professor and dean of business and technologies at New River Community College, has spent his career advancing adult education and has also worked in electronics manufacturing. The Division of Business and Technologies at the community college provides comprehensive higher-education and workforce-training programs and services to meet individual, business, and community needs of the New River Valley. Program principles include helping to shape the future direction of our community, and enhancing the economic, cultural, and educational partnerships within the community.

Woody Crenshaw, who owns the Floyd Country Store, is president of Sustain Floyd, a grassroots organization devoted to the idea of creating sustainable development by practicing responsible land management, energy consumption, and food production.

The Transatlantic Climate Bridge hosted its first international event in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 16 at a panel discussion that resulted in a joint statement signed by German Ambassador Klaus Scharioth, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources L. Preston Bryant Jr., and Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Patrick O. Gottschalk. The statement identified five promising areas of joint cooperation between stakeholders from Germany and Virginia, including emissions trading, community energy planning, and a “green jobs and clean products” initiative.

With a visitor’s pass, parking is available in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Street, or the Shultz Hall Lot, located off Alumni Drive near the North Main Street campus entrance. Parking meters within the Squires Lot will need to be paid. A visitor’s pass may be obtained Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Visitor Information Center, located on Southgate Drive. Find more parking information online (http://www.parking.vt.edu) or call (540) 231-3200.

The program is co-sponsored by the Virginia Tech Office of the Vice President for Research, the Deans' Task Force for Energy Security and Sustainability, and the New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Investment Board. For more information, contact Randolph at (540) 231-7714.

Learn more about the Transatlantic Climate Bridge online.

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