The Center for the Market Diffusion of Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (formerly Renewable Energy for Rural Economic Development) is a research and educational outreach center in the Jon. M. Huntsman School of Business that is funded by congressionally-directed and competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, Department of Energy's Wind Powering America program. Marketing professors Dr. Cathy L. Hartman and Dr. Edwin R. Stafford, experts in the market diffusion of clean technology and green marketing, direct the center. They have been research collaborators since 1995 investigating the use of multi-sector environmental collaboration and community engagement to forward sustainability initiatives. Their academic research has been published in a variety of business management and environmental policy journals including Environment, Solutions Journal, Journal of Business Communication, Business Strategy and the Environment, Business Horizons, Long Range Planning and The Stanford Social Innovation Review. They are also active participants in industry organizations including the American Wind Industry Association (AWEA) and Windustry.
Fostering a ‘Rural Renaissance’ in Utah. Hartman and Stafford say they are betting on the American farm. Increasingly, America’s energy future will be harvested or grown on the farm with wind power and other energy sources (such as biofuels and solar) becoming lucrative cash crops of the 21st century. Renewable energy is becoming the foundation for other cleantech innovations emerging in the marketplace, from plug-in hybrid electric cars to high-performance buildings to the smart grid. Specifically, Stafford and Hartman are studying how Utah can hurdle market, social and policy barriers to benefit economically from these growing entrepreneurial opportunities and investigating how wind power development will impact Utah’s economy. With the help of a grant from the Marriner S. Eccles Foundation, the center is also studying how wind power and other renewable energy sources will affect Utah’s retail electricity rates.
Findings from the center’s research indicate that wind power development could bring several benefits to rural communities, including construction and high-tech employment opportunities, lease payments to land owners and tax revenues to support public schools, hospitals, libraries and other local community services. Utah’s Milford Wind Corridor Wind Project in Beaver County, 306 megawatt today with plans for expansion, is a model example of how wind energy development can benefit Utah’s rural communities. See http://www.milfordwind.com/milford/.The Center’s research outcomes are the basis for marketing and educational outreach initiatives that provide information to Utah entrepreneurs, legislators, regulators, county commissioners, educators, utility executives, citizens and other decision makers who are setting the course for Utah’s energy future.
Wind Uprising, Peer-Reviewed Documentary. Stafford and Hartman collaborated with Michelle Nunez of GreenTech Films to co-produce and co-write, Wind Uprising, a peer-reviewed documentary film about the four-year struggle to establish Utah’s first commercial wind power project at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon located 12 miles southeast of Provo, Utah. The film premiered in April 2010 at the Huntsman School’s 1st Renewable Energy, Cleantech, and Sustainable Business “Partners in Business” Seminar, and it has been screened over 80 times across the country, from Hawaii to Vermont, at a variety of film festivals, universities, rural communities, and academic, policy, and energy conferences. The purpose of the documentary is to educate clean energy entrepreneurs, policymakers and citizens about the market, policy, and social barriers that face America’s transition onto a cleaner, domestic, and more price-stable energy economy through an academic case study of successful renewable energy project in Utah. The film has earned three awards and was recently released on DVD. The film is now being used as an outreach and educational tool in schools, universities, and communities across the country. See www.winduprisingmovie.com.
‘Harvesting Utah’s Urban Winds.’ Hartman and Stafford’s most recent academic publication in the Solutions Journal parallels their documentary, Wind Uprising, by presenting a more in-depth case analysis of the Spanish Fork wind project. Although wind energy provides significant economic opportunities for rural communities, Utah’s first commercial wind power project at Spanish Fork resulted in one of the most urban projects in the country. Stafford and Hartman present a comprehensive set of “lessons learned” regarding entrepreneurial development, policy, and community engagement for facilitating renewable energy near cities and towns. A key finding is that although federal and state policies and initiatives may be encouraging renewable energy development, the make-or-break decisions for actual renewable energy projects are made in local host communities. Thus, renewable energy requires fostering perseverance, an entrepreneurial spirit, appropriate energy policies, and local social movements to facilitate development and local job creation. Their article is available at http://www.thesolutionsjournal.com/node/930. This article was co-authored with their former graduate student, Sandra Reategui, who now works at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO.
Opportunities for Huntsman Students. The Center provides research and hands-on marketing opportunities as career accelerators for USU students. Hartman and Stafford have supervised graduate students on economic impact analyses for wind power development in Utah and research projects for the Field Study projects for renewable energy-related businesses and organizations, and academic research. Their students have presented their research and analyses at renewable energy conferences (e.g., Harvesting Energy Network, USU’s Sustainable Energy and Climate Initiatives Conference) and organizations (e.g., Utah Wind Working Group). Students have also co-authored journal articles (e.g., Business Horizons, Solutions Journal) and U.S. Department of Energy reports. Hartman and Stafford seek to position their students for careers in the renewable energy and sustainability sectors, and their students have been recruited by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Wasatch Wind, First Wind, WSP Group, and Intermountain Wind and Solar.