Gov. Sam Brownback’s speech is scheduled for 9 a.m., and John Hofmeister will speak at lunch. For the public, the cost to attend is $45. For students it is free. To register, visit the KU Energy Club’s website at kuenergyclub.com.
From the former president of one of the world’s largest oil companies to an executive of a company that makes electric vehicle charging stations, an energy conference at Kansas University will pull from a wide range of industry experts.
But the most anticipated speaker will likely have more to say on state energy issues.
Kicking off the conference will be Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, who, shortly after taking office in January, promoted energy conservation and finding creative sources of renewable energy as ways to meet that state’s energy challenges.
Brownback also has been a strong supporter of Sunflower Electric Power Corp.’s controversial plan to build a coal-fired power plant in southwest Kansas.
The conference, which will be next Thursday at the Oread Hotel, 1200 Oread Ave., is intended to pull “as broad a range of speakers as we can,” said Diane Silver with the KU Energy Council.
“The governor’s ideas on energy are absolutely vital for the state,” Silver said.
The conference is a collaborative effort between the KU Energy Club, a student group, and the KU Energy Council, an interdisciplinary academic organization made up of distinguished professors active in energy research, development and education.
“The students are very interested in promoting conversation, discussion and debate on all aspects of energy,” Silver said.
Along with Brownback, the conference’s keynote speaker will be John Hofmeister, a retired president from Shell Oil Co. and now CEO of the nonprofit Citizens for Affordable Energy. In his book “Why We Hate the Oil Companies,” Hofmeister advocates for affordable and nonpartisan energy solutions.
Other speakers include Larry Kinder, founder and president of Lily Pad EV, a company that sells public charging stations for electric vehicles, and representatives from the electric, wind and oil refinery industries.
Panels will focus on carbon regulations, transportation and power generation.
“We all need to start thinking about this — consumers, educators, policy makers, everyone,” Silver said. “If we don’t have efficient, sustainable forms of energy to use, our whole society is in trouble.”