This is the last day of the FMI Energy Conference. I am closing out the show by presenting SN's Sustainability Excellence Awards to representatives of Publix and Buehler Food Markets, winners in the chain and independent categories, respectively. Associated Food Stores is the winner in the wholesaler category. I wrote about their sustainability initiatives in the Sept. 7 issue.
Two longtime retail energy executives who are retiring this year were recognized at the Energy Conference and I would like to mention them here--Ed Estberg of Raley's and Cliff Timko of Giant Eagle. These gentlemen have made huge contributions in the field of energy management to their companies and to the industry. Congratulations to them.
There were so many great educational sessions here and I will conclude my conference blog by referring to one that was particularly timely: yesterday's session on the 2009 Federal Stimulus Act. The act provides $16.8 billion for renewable and clean energy programs. As speaker Robert Loughney put it, quoting Cuba Gooding Jr. in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire, retailers should approach this opportunity with an attitude that says: "Show me the money!"
Of course, it's much easier said than done. "The money is there, but it's a daunting task to get through the regulations and forms," said Loughney, a partner in the law firm Couch White, Albany, N.Y. In some cases, companies would apply to the Department of Energy, in others through state or local energy authorities, in others through a utility. He suggested staying informed and aggressive, and assigning personnel to the task or hiring a consultant to identify opportunities. Good luck.