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Day one of the 7X24Exchange Spring 2011 event began with a keynote address delivered by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., son of the late senator, and environmental activist, litigator, and investor. In an hour-long address, Kennedy attacked the incumbent oil and coal industries, saying that incentives to these industries "subverted the democratic process" and mortgaged our futures.
Speaking before a full hall at the session's opening event, the senator recounted statistic after statistic and anecdotes supporting his position that the nation's use of coal and oil damaged the nation, especially in comparison to nations that had embraced renewable sources of energy. He complained that the incentives blinded the nation to the true cost of coal, oil, and solar, arguing the environmental solutions were less costly in the long term. Included in his calculations of cost were environmental loss, national infrastructure costs, security costs for maintaining shipping lanes, and military costs for wars required in hostile, oil-producing areas of the world. One participant took issue with Kennedy's characterization of his nation's leadership.
Local, state, and federal officials, along with Massey Energy, were broadly criticized and subject to corruption and parochialism. He contrasted his depiction of the current state of the country with what a truly free market would produce, touting his investment fund's position in solar and electric cars.
The second session of the day was an excellent presentation of the team effort involved fin bringing a LEED gold data center on line. Presented by RTKL's Stephen Spinazzola and eBay's Michael Lewis, the session covered technical details and site selection. A healthy q&a followed. Immediately following this presentation, NASA's C. Alex Young, discussed the growing concern of the effect of the peak solar storm period coming in the near term. Mission Critical published an article by Eric Gallant earlier this year covering some of these same concerns.
Sunday's pre-conference events included a banquet for the almost 700 attendees and their guests plus organizational meetings at which the national organization welcomed four new or prospective chapters, including S. Florida, Empire State, and Canada. The highlight of the pre-conference day, however, was free DOE data center energy practitioner training (DCEP) offered to attendees. Dave Schirmacher, one of the course instructors, noted that other organizations charge up to $800 for the same training.
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Kevin Heslin is editor of Mission Critical. Previously he was editor of Energy and Power Management. Heslin offers commentary on a wide-ranging number of topics, from news about Mission Critical to developments worldwide that affect the industry.