A shift is taking place across the United States, as more and more focus is being placed on renewable energy.

The question many are asking is what that will look like in smaller, rural communities nationwide.

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) has been asking that same question, and later this year it is going to be in Redwood County to talk about rural energy.

According to Tara Ritter, a senior program director for IATP, this coming September an energy dialogue is going to be taking place at the Redwood Area Comm-unity Center in Redwood Falls, and it is seeking local panelists for that dialogue who can commit to two-and-a-half days. 

The event is scheduled for Sept. 12 from 1-5 p.m. and Sept. 13-14 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Those who agree to participate must be in attendance for all three days.

According to Ritter, to get a larger pool of potential panelists, the IATP is offering to pay those who take part, adding one can earn $400 by serving as a community panelist during the Redwood County energy dialogue event. Those who take part will also receive reimbursement for mileage, as well as childcare and will be provided with lunch and snacks.

The group that will be taking part is being randomly selected with the hope of developing a diverse microcosm of the county in an effort to learn from local individuals from varied walks of life as they talk about the future of energy in the area. In addition to discussion, the group will come up with local priorities.

One does not have to be an energy “expert” to take part in the dialogue.

The event will also include presentations by a variety of speakers who will talk about energy development and its impact on a community.

According to Ritter, the IATP in conjunction with the Jefferson Center has been hosting rural climate dialogues and rural energy dialogues to “help Minnesota navigate the future of local energy.”

Applications are currently being accepted. To learn more about getting involved with the local dialogue contact Ritter at tritter@iatp.org or call (507) 313-8450. The deadline to apply is Aug. 9.

While there will be a formal group involved in the dialogue, the public is invited to attend the program to listen to the presentations and observe.

Learn more and apply at www.ruraldialogues.org/apply.