Machias plans alternative energy, technology forum

Posted July 28, 2009, at 9:20 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — Town officials are hoping that an alternative energy and technology forum planned for September will demonstrate that Washington County can be a leader in cutting-edge technologies.

“It was literally an opportunity to present some options to people here in Machias but also in the entire county,” Machias Town Manager Betsy Fitzgerald said this week. “One of the responsibilities that municipal government has is to present options. I want people to hear and see the options and the benefits.”

The event, called Destination Washington County: 2009 and Beyond, is slated for the Lee Pellon Center in Machias on U.S. Route 1 on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 25 and 26.

Friday night’s reception will feature Paul Gaynor, president of First Wind, as the keynote speaker.

Saturday’s trade fair will include vendors from Washington County and across the state, with demonstrations taking place throughout the day.

“Alternative energy and telecommunications infrastructure are both proving vital to Washington County’s economic future. Alternative energy providers — wind, tidal, LNG — have invested millions of dollars into the region, and are the future employers of our region,” Sunrise County Economic Council Executive Director Harold Clossey said. “Without a firm telecommunications infrastructure, which includes improved broadband, high-speed Internet access as well as dependable cell phone coverage, businesses cannot adequately compete in today’s global economy.”

The forum is a collaboration of Axiom Technologies, the Machias Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Northwest Mutual Financial Network, Sunrise County Economic Council, the town of Machias, and the Washington County Council of Governments.

Fitzgerald said there has been so much progress in alternative technologies in just the last five years that people really need to take a new look.

“There are tax credits people can get for putting in new windows or alternative energy heat sources,” she said. “If nothing else, this is an opportunity for people to come see these things, touch them, and talk to people who know how to install them.”

Vendors include Axiom, Bangor Savings Bank, CES Inc., Efficiency Maine, Machias Savings Bank, R.H. Foster, USDA Rural Development and the Washington County Development Authority.

To register as a participant or vendor, or to find out more about the expo, visit www.destinationwc.org.

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