West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum presented a luncheon program examining the feasibility of community solar and similar solar energy initiatives in West Michigan on Monday, December 9, at Kentwood Office Furniture from 12 to 2 pm. Featured speakers included David Konkle, Energy Programs Director for the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, and Haris Alibasic, Director of the City of Grand Rapids Office of Energy and Sustainability.
One of the Midwest’s most accomplished renewable energy advocates, Konkle was the lead author of the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association’s Community Solar Guidebook for Michigan, a partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. He shared various models available for community solar in Michigan and outlined some potential plans for how the business community could lead such an initiative. Alibasic shared a concept for redeveloping the Butterworth landfill in Grand Rapids as a solar energy field. The meeting concluded with a town hall on community solar featuring Konkle and representatives of the WMSBF Energy Committee and the Michigan Alternative & Renewable Energy Center at Grand Valley State University.
Konkle retired from the City of Ann Arbor in 2008 and is currently the Energy Programs Director for the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. He has made a lifelong commitment to educating people on energy issues and the importance of combating climate change and preparing for the end of the fossil fuel age. A nationally known speaker, Konkle has presented at national meetings of the US Department of Energy, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Dept of Agriculture, the American Planning Association, the US Green Building Council and numerous others. Among many other honors, he was awarded the EPA’s “Climate Protection Award” for individual achievement in Washington DC on Earth Day 2003.