Call for Papers

Call for Papers
Background Information
Abstract Submission Guidelines
Online Abstract Submission Form - CLOSED. The deadline was Thursday, July 19, 2012.
Questions
Conference Details

We are no longer accepting abstracts for the conference. The deadline was July 19, 2012. We hope you will join us for the conference. Conference details are available here

Call for Papers
The Western Rural Development Center, in conjunction with the Western Extension Research Activity 1005, invite you to attend and participate in a conference on “Our Energy Future: Socioeconomic Implications of Renewable Energy.” 

To better understand the socioeconomic concerns associated with renewable energy development for rural areas of the United States, a one-day conference is being held in Salt Lake City, Utah, on September 25, 2012.

We invite top experts from around the country submit papers for presentation at the conference. Topics may include:

  1. Current knowledge on the socioeconomic implications of a greater dependence on renewable energy. This includes research on the number of new jobs that will be created in renewable energy, the training required for these jobs, and likely pay levels.
  2. Likely implications of potential policy options to encourage renewable energy use such as a carbon tax.
  3. Long-term impacts of technological developments such as fracking.
  4. Gaps in current understanding and research needed to close these gaps.
  5. Policy recommendations

Abstract Submission Guidelines - Deadline: July 19, 2012
For an opportunity to present your paper at the conference, please submit an abstract following these guidelines:

  1. Complete the Online Abstract Submission Form and attach the required documents by close of business Thursday, July 19, 2012. The required documents include a 500 word abstract and a 1-2 page Curriculum Vita.
  2. We will not accept abstracts submitted via email. You must submit your abstract using the online form.
  3. You will be notified on or before August 2nd whether or not your abstract has been selected for presentation at the September 2012 conference. 
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Background Information
Since the industrial revolution, the utilization of energy from fossil fuels has resulted in rapid economic growth and an increasingly comfortable lifestyle for millions of people. This is especially true in the United States. On a per capita basis, Americans use more energy than anyone else in the world, and have translated extensive energy use to an extremely high standard of living. 

Throughout our nation’s history, fossil fuels were relatively inexpensive and seemed to be in infinite supply. Much has changed, and it is now apparent that fossil fuels are neither cheap nor infinite. Higher costs mean that energy expenditures now take a larger share of the family budget. This is especially true for rural residents who typically must travel longer distances to school, the grocery store, church, or the doctor’s office. Further, importing foreign oil results in the transfer of massive wealth from the United States to the major oil producing countries, many which use oil wealth to maintain non-democratic governments and suppress human rights. In addition, it is becoming increasingly apparent that fossil fuel use results in the emission of dangerous climate changing greenhouse gasses.

Because of these concerns, there are widespread endeavors in the United States to achieve the goal of energy independence and, at the same time, reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Accomplishing these goals will require that we do things much differently than we have done in the past. In 2011, about 83.6 percent of the energy consumed in the United States was derived from fossil fuels (petroleum – 37.2 percent; natural gas – 25.5 percent; coal – 20.9 percent), much of which was imported. Nuclear power proved 8.4 percent of our energy, and only 8.0 percent was from renewable energy sources. Historically, the five major sources of renewable energy have been biomass, water, wind, geothermal, and solar. In 201, 79.2 percent of the renewable energy produced in the United States came from biomass (38.4 percent) and water (mostly hydroelectric; 40.8 percent).

Decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels, in general, and foreign oil, in particular, will require a broad spectrum of changes; there is no “silver bullet.” One essential change is vastly improved conservation. In addition, it is imperative that renewable energy sources play a much greater role in the future than they play at the current time.

Any major changes in the energy industry will have significant implications for rural communities. Currently, fossil fuel production provides numerous well-paying jobs in rural communities. New technologies, such as ‘fracking’ are making possible the development of more resources and creating even more energy related jobs. At the same time, rural communities have the potential to reap major benefits by becoming producers of renewable energy. The sun and wind that are so pervasive in rural areas have the potential to be major economic assets. An advantage of the sun and wind, compared to fossil fuels, is these energy sources are truly infinite. 

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Questions
Abstract submission questions should be directed to:
Don Albrecht, Director
Western Rural Development Center
Utah State University
Tel: 435-797-2798
Email: don.albrecht@usu.edu

Conference registration and lodging questions should be directed to:
Trish Kingsford, Senior Program Coordinator
Western Rural Development Center
Utah State University
Tel: 435-797-9731
Email: trish.kingsford@usu.edu 

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