The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey will tackle the tough topic of energy policy Wednesday during a day-long Energy Symposium highlighted by a speech from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
Daniel J. Douglas, Hughes Center director, said the event is an opportunity to discuss a number of critical — but often controversial — energy issues, such as hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, wind and solar energy, and nuclear power. He said it wasn’t hard to find speakers with opinions on the matters.
“It was pretty easy,” he said. “People are anxious to talk about energy, and particularly the innovations.”
The event has a theme of “40/40,” a nod to the university’s 40th year of existence, and a charge to look forward for what the next 40 years might hold in the energy sector.
Douglas said Stockton, which sits in the middle of the Pinelands National Reserve, has always had a commitment to the environment and sustainability.
The school bills itself as New Jersey’s “green college,” and its campus includes LEED-certified buildings, solar panels, and geothermal heating and cooling, among other technologies.
Aside from the issue-focused sessions, audience members will also be able to offer their input during a late-morning session led by associate professor Patrick Hossay.
“It’s going to have an interactive feature where people can vote on what they think the energy future can be,” Douglas said. “People get to express their opinions in real time.”
Participants can vote using keypads, a system sometimes used in classrooms at the college.
Douglas said he expects between 200 and 250 people to be on-hand for the event. Registration is still open on the Hughes Center’s website, www.stockton.edu/hughescenter.
Douglas said high gas prices and aging nuclear power plants have made energy policy an important topic of conversation, but he said the consensus is that there won’t be one solution to the energy future, but rather many.
“That’s really why we’re trying to bring all these people together,” he said. “It’s not going to be all nuclear, not going to be all natural gas, not all wind or solar. It’s going to be some mix.”