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Learn energy options at the fair

One of the highlights of this year's fair is the opportunity for fairgoers to learn about traditional and renewable energy resources affecting this region.

Fairgoers will have a chance to ask questions of both industry professionals and area legislators.

Topics addressed will include the CapX2020 plan, wind energy, solar energy, geothermal energy, ethanol and soy diesel, renewable energy education, and legislative programs and proposals designed to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Three question-and-answer sessions are planned. Thursday's roundtable is from 1:30 to 3 p.m.; Friday's roundtable takes place from 3 to 4:30 pm.; and Saturday's roundtable will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

All presentations will take place near the southeast fairgrounds entrance, across from the Lutheran Mission Chapel, in the big tent.

In addition to the panel presentations, there will be numerous businesses representing products available in the energy industry.

Although not all panel members will be present at each presentation, the list of scheduled participants follows.

Dan Folsom P.E., vice president of Design Tree Engineering Inc. of Alexandria, will facilitate the roundtable. Scheduled panel members are:

•Chad Coauette, dean of customized training at Alexandria Technical College (ATC). As part of this role, he serves as co-chair of the Minnesota Energy Consortium. He will provide information about a new energy technical specialist degree that will be offered through the ATC.

•Craig Damstrom, an agri-business marketing and business development specialist who has had extensive experience in North America and Latin America. His focus is on developing markets for small and medium sized companies in the United States, and Latin America. He and his wife, Kathy, own a diversified 1,200-acre irrigated farm near Alexandria where they are planning a small community wind farm.

•Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria. He's currently serving on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, among others.

•Nathan Johnson, a grain farmer by Lowry. He farms with his son, Zach, and they grow corn and soybeans. He is a past board member of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and he currently serves on the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion board.

•Erin Klegstad, communications and public affairs representative for CapX2020, a joint initiative of 11 transmission-owning utilities in Minnesota and the surrounding region to expand the electric transmission grid. She was previously a staff reporter at the Echo Press and news editor at the Kandiyohi County Times.

•Tim Lipetzky, an electrician for 37 years and electrical contractor for 25 years. He has served the Springfield Public Utilities Commission for 12 years and the Springfield Medical Center Building and Finance Board for 14 years. He designs, sells and installs small wind and photovoltaic solar systems.

•Kelly Marczak, director of clean fuel and vehicle technologies for the American Lung Association in Minnesota (ALAMN). She also serves as the point of contact for the state's biodiesel and E85 grant program and provides technical support to fuel stations and vehicle owners. She will present on Thursday and be replaced by Robert Moffitt on Friday and Lisa Thurstin on Saturday.

•Stacy Miller, state programs administrator for the Minnesota Office of Energy Security. She offers solar policy support, administers the Solar Electric Rebate Program, and manages biofuels grant programs for the state.

•Dennis Williams, who has had an interest in the renewable energy field for more than 30 years. He has spent most of his life in the manufacturing industry, and has worked for the last nine years in the wind industry. He is currently the plant manager at Next Generation Power Systems in Pipestone, where they build 33 KW wind turbines. He was born and raised in the Alexandria area.

•Michael Sparby, senior project development director with the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI).

•Representative Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake. He currently serves on the Energy and Finance Policy Committee, among others.