Renewable Energy conference

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COLUMBIA -  By the year 2022, Columbia aims to have 25 percent of its energy come from renewable resources.

The 13th annual Advancing Renewables in the Midwest Conference is at MU Wednesday and Thursday to hear speakers from across the country to discuss new trends in renewable energy.

According to Columbia Water and Light, the conference covered advances in solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, electric vehicles and energy efficiency.

"Solar is a lot more affordable than it used to be," said Communications Specialist for Columbia Water and Light Lucia Bourgeois. "Learning about how we are going to expand that is a big part of what we are going to be doing today."

The 2018 Renewable Energy Report shows Columbia exceeded its target for 2017. The total amount of renewable energy supplied in 2017 was 15.7 percent, which exceeds the 15 percent goal passed by voters in 2004.

"This conference in general is really bringing industry professionals together to talk about best practices and go over some case studies of what other people are doing," said Bourgeois. "For Columbia, it is a really great asset for us to start talking about what we might be able to implement."

It's all part of a plan to have 30 percent of Columbia's energy to come from renewable resources by 2028.

Columbia Water & Light Energy Management Specialist Jane Hinds says electric vehicles and charging stations will be a big topic to discuss. 

"The Sustainability Department and Water & Light are just starting to work together to figure out how we are going to do it," said Hinds. "It reduces emissions, it's huge, with way less maintenance costs."

The conference will also show off two Chevrolet Bolts, a Tesla and a Mercedes-Benz electric car.

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