The summit, which starts today with a golf tournament and ends Friday, is expected to have more than 450 businesses present. Workshops, mixers and panels of industry experts are also scheduled.
“The expo is very important,” said Tim Kelley, Imperial Valley Economic Development Corp. chief executive officer.
Business owners coming to the event want to meet the community and the expo “is a great opportunity for them,” he said.
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Besides the potential benefit of renewable energy and the numerous businesses interested in investing in the Valley, Kelley also introduced a number of renewable energy projects and their representatives.
One of those representatives was Glen Hodges, senior developer for Pattern Energy, who is in charge of the Ocotillo Express Wind Energy Project.
This 300-megawatt project is moving forward and expected to come before the county planning commission in a few weeks, said Hodges.
About 350 jobs will be created during construction and 20 permanent jobs thereafter.
“This will be the first large-scale wind energy project in the Imperial Valley,” Hodges said.
The fiscal benefit is another important benefit of this project, he said, and added that more than $5 million in property taxes will come in the first year.
Geothermal energy is also part of the renewable energy portfolio of the county, said Kelley.
The Hudson Ranch I plant came online Friday at noon, said Larry Grogan, EnergySource senior vice president during a brief presentation.
Local contractors were used to build the plant and about 35 to 40 highly qualified workers are employed in the facility, he said.
The summit “it’s really exciting,” said Nielsen Construction senior vice president Rebecca Tuggle, who also spoke during the press conference.
Tuggle echoed that renewable energy creates abundant opportunities for the Valley and said that the summit brings contractors and vendors “to the front and center (of) the renewable energy industry.”
The summit is also a “good platform for state officials to talk about regulatory affairs,” said John Motta, of AES Solar Development Management.
Renewable energy is at a turning point in the Valley, Motta said.
“If you ever to attend this conference, now is the time,” he said.
Staff Writer Alejandro Davila can be reached at 760-337-3445 or firstname.lastname@example.org