Earth Day Conference explores Wisconsin’s energy future – April 22

How can Wisconsin best meet its energy needs in the decades ahead? And what have we learned from past efforts at energy planning and policy development? People from across the state will grapple with these questions at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies’ third annual Earth Day Conference on Wednesday, April 22, at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. The agenda includes a full day of plenary speakers, breakout sessions, a panel discussion and exhibits on the theme “Wisconsin’s Energy Future.”

Participants will explore topics like emerging federal and state energy policies; opportunities to develop more homegrown energy resources such as biomass, wind and solar; and strategies to create jobs in a sustainable economy. They also will consider how the state responded to previous energy challenges.

Featured speakers include Eric Callisto, chair of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC); former PSC chair and state energy director Charles Cicchetti, co-founder of Pacific Economics Group; Donald Albinger, vice president for renewable energy solutions at Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc.; and Faramarz Vakili-Zadeh, director of the We Conserve program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Alastair Totty, head of the National Climate Change Team at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., also is expected to speak.

Award-winners of a UW-Madison student competition for ideas to reduce the impacts of climate change will be announced between afternoon sessions. The top prize is $20,000.

The conference is open to anyone, but pre-registration by Monday, April 13, is required. The $45 fee ($25 for students) covers all materials, a continental breakfast, lunch and refreshments. To register or for more information, visit

Co-sponsors include the British Consulate-General of Chicago, American Family Insurance, Madison Gas & Electric, Alliant Energy, the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp. and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The Nelson Institute, an interdisciplinary unit of UW-Madison, was established the same year as Earth Day – 1970 – and renamed in 2002 for Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson. It conducts a broad range of academic, research and community service programs.