UTSA presents renewable energy panel Feb. 29

By James Benavides
Public Affairs Specialist

(Feb. 27, 2008)--The UTSA Mexico Center, the Friends of the Canary Islands Foundation and the Government of the Canary Islands will sponsor a panel discussion on renewable energy from an international perspective from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Friday, Feb. 29 in the Buena Vista Street Building Aula Canaria (1.328) at the Downtown Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Experts from the United States and Europe will discuss current measures, developing technologies, and policy and implementation of strategies regarding renewable energy in the panel discussion, "Renewable Energy: What the Future Holds."

Representing the Canary Islands government on the panel will be Javier Morales, commissioner of the Cabildo of the Island El Hierro; Manuel Cendagorta, executive director of the Technological Institute of Renewable Energy; and Salvador Suarez, head of the Renewable Energy Department of the Technological Institute of the Canary Islands.

A small volcanic island chain off the coast of Morocco and a Spanish protectorate, the Canary Islands are a confined space and unique ecosystem presented with their own challenges in generating energy.

UTSA Professor Efstathios Michaelides, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, will lead discussion on past trends in energy use by developing and industrialized nations. His research indicates there was a 50-percent increase in levels of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century.

According to Michaelides, the repercussions include global warming, melting of polar ice caps and a rising sea level. He will share ideas on various energy sources including wind, solar and hydrogen.

"I am hoping we will have a closer collaboration with our peers in the Canary Islands," said Michaelides. "We are living in a global environment and our students need to know how they live in the Canaries, Europe and Africa -- and their students should have an opportunity to see how we live here. We look forward to an exchange of ideas. It is my hope that our discussions will lead to collaboration in education, research and technology development."

Paul Barham, senior director of generation research and planning for CPS Energy, will offer a local and regional perspective on energy programs. According to CPS Energy, they have one of the most aggressive renewable energy programs in the state, committed to meeting 15 percent of the electrical peak demand with renewable energy by 2020. With its Windtricity project, CPS Energy is the largest publicly owned purchaser of wind power. The utility is a partner in numerous solar energy projects around San Antonio and purchases enough landfill gas to power 7,000 homes annually.

The panel discussion helps bring a global perspective to the Mexico Center goal of opening dialogues that address, discuss and promote bilateral policies to resolve mutual concerns between the United States and Mexico. This is the second year the center has collaborated with the Friends of the Canary Islands.

For more information, visit the UTSA Mexico Center Web site or call (210) 458-2923.

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