The U.S. secretaries of energy and agriculture -- Samuel Bodman and Mike Johanns -- have issued an open invitation to attend the "Advancing Renewable Energy: An American Rural Renaissance" conference.

Jointly hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy and the USDA, the Oct. 10-12, 2006, conference in St. Louis will bring together key stakeholders in biofuels, wind and solar energy to:

  • Identify major issues including partnership opportunities facing decision makers both within government and in the private sector.

  • Identify critical pathways to rapid deployment of renewable energy technologies; identify bottlenecks; and make policy recommendations for resolving these issues.

  • Examine policy incentives such as tax credits, loan guarantees, expedited approval processes, and other measures to increase certainty, reduce risk, and accelerate the deployment of new energy sources.

  • Advance understanding of the opportunities and issues involved in the integration of distributed energy production into legacy systems.

  • The accelerated development and rapid commercialization of renewable energy technologies is a high national priority, the secretaries said.

    "Accelerating the development and use of alternative energy sources is not only a critical national security issue, but is key to maintaining America's economic competitiveness, as well as a tremendous opportunity for farmers, businesses, and rural communities across our nation," they said.

    DOE and USDA lead the federal effort on research, development, and commercialization of new energy sources. Senior policy and administrative personnel of both agencies will participate in the conference, as will leaders from the private sector, research, and business communities.

    Advancing Renewable Energy presents a unique opportunity to meet with the leaders of the renewable energy sector at a critical moment of its development. Participants will include federal, state, and local officials; utility and energy company executives; investors; farmers; as well as members from non-governmental organizations.

    For more information and to register for the conference, visit

    SOURCE: USDA news release.