CREATED Oct. 4, 2013
PALM SPRINGS - The fifth consecutive Southern California Energy Summit took place Friday at the Palm Springs Convention Center. About 500 energy professionals and students attended the conference to discuss ways to increase renewable energy resources.
"Energy is the major factor of the entire Coachella Valley," said the CEO of Landmark Golf, Andy Vossler, "I can remember when a laptop computer was $4,000. Today they're $800. Well, that same technology in time is going to give the power industry the ability to take things that don't economically work today that will work over time."
He was one of many local entrepreneurs who are optimistic about the growth in renewable energy in the Valley. The summit served as a hub for exchanging solutions about cost-effective and environmentally-friendly energy sources like the sun.
"We are permitting more solar panels than anywhere else in the world right now," expressed Wesley Ahlgren from the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership.
He added the Valley benefits from these renewable energy resources, and it has the potential to do more.
"There's technology that's happening here, there's new technology, research and development. It's not just solar and wind, but there's the things that happen associated with them," explained Ahlgren.
The Salton Sea was also mentioned several times throughout the summit including by members of the Salton Sea Action Committee such as Vossler. He said this body of water has unlimited opportunities for renewable energy to be generated including geothermal, wind and solar.
"It is an alternative source of power so that we cannot be as dependent on oil and coal, which is what we have historically burned to generate power," said Vossler.
The conference also served as a space for students to display their wind turbines to professionals, emphasizing wind power. There were three schools participating including Desert Mirage High School.
No matter the energy source discussed, the objective for these professionals remained the same - finding ways to keep generating energy effectively for the masses.
"As we get more people and we need more power, and we burn more fuel and put more pollutants in the air, wind, solar and geothermal are ways around that," said Vossler.
Representatives from traditional energy companies like the Southern California Gas Company also mentioned that natural gas isn't going anywhere for now. The Senior Vice President for Customer Service, Innovation and Business Strategy said natural gas generates almost 50 percent
of the electricity consumption in California.