2018 Rural Energy Conference

2018 Rural Energy Conference

Georgia Tech Global Learning Center
Atlanta, GA
October 22, 2018

Advisory CommitteeKeynote Speaker | Program Information | Registration | Accommodations   

What is Rural?

Small towns and rural countryside make up three-fourths of the land area in the United States and are home to 14% of the total US population. Rural America, defined as areas with a population of less than 50,000,  is also a way of life with a proud and independent culture all its own. Just as rural and small-town America’s lifestyle is unique to its geography, so too are its energy, economic, and societal challenges.

The 2018 Rural Energy Conference, is a one-day, multitrack conference that will precede the two-day meeting of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA). It will convene leaders from industry, utilities, cooperatives, nonprofits, academia, and government to discuss how energy efficiency technologies and programs can help rural America leverage its unique characteristics for economic growth and social equity.

Our inaugural Rural Energy Conference will feature plenaries and panels on the three tracks below: Energy Efficiency Programs, Energy Burden & Equity, and Economic  Development. Although we will not be calling for abstracts, there will be opportunities to shape the conference agenda through webinars that we will host on each track.

Advisory Committee


Keynote Speaker

Christopher A. McLean is the Acting Administrator of the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) where he oversees the operations of the planning, policy and finance agency focused on rural electric, telecommunications, broadband, water and sewer infrastructure. The agency investment portfolio exceeds $60 billion. Chris also serves as the Assistant Administrator for Electric Programs (AAE) at the RUS.  He was named to that position on January 11, 2015. This is Chris’ third time at the agency. As AAE, Chris presides over a $46 billion loan portfolio. In recent years the RUS annual lending budget has been in excess of $5 billion. The agency makes low interest loans for rural electric infrastructure, renewable energy, smart grid and energy efficiency.

Prior to his return to RUS, Chris was the Acting Director of the Program Planning and Accountability Division of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR) at the United States Department of Agriculture.  He came to OASCR in 2013 as civil rights fellow in the Policy Office. From 2010-2012, Chris served as a senior advisor to the Administrator of the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Chris was in private practice from 2001-2010.  He was the co-owner of e-Copernicus, a consulting firm that specialized in telecommunications, transportation and technology policy. Chris is also the former Executive Director of the Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition (CERC). 

Mr. McLean is a former RUS Administrator and former Governor of the Rural Telephone Bank. He was appointed Deputy Administrator in January 1998. In 2000, he was the first person nominated and confirmed for the position of RUS Administrator. Prior to joining RUS, Mr. McLean worked on Capitol Hill for more than 15 years. 

Mr. McLean hails from Omaha, Nebraska.  He received an LL.M. in International and Comparative Law from Georgetown University in 1985, a J.D. from Creighton University School of Law in 1982, and a degree in Business Administration from Creighton University in 1980.


Program Information


To enhance your experience, we are offering you the opportunity to stay on in Atlanta for the 2018 SEEA Conference, October 23-24. The Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) hosts an annual conference on energy efficiency; this year its theme is "Fusion" to reflect the coming together of multiple opportunities that share a common foundation in energy efficiency. This year, the SEEA Conference will explore storm resilience, health, alternative fuel transportation, DER, the role of technology, the built environment, and much more as we imagine the future of energy efficiency in the Southeast.


Registration is now open for the Rural Conference. The rates are as follows:

$325 - Early Bird (until 8/30)               $250 - Speaker/Moderator

$350 - Regular (8/31-9/27)                   $375 - Late  (9/28-onsite)

The SEEA Conference will also be held at the Georgia Tech Conference Center, and when you register for the Rural Conference below, you will be given the opportunity to register for the SEEA Conference at a $100 discount. Register for both conferences at the discounted price of $849.

Using the link in the registration section below, you will have the option to register for the Rural Conference and to add on the SEEA Conference as well.

Those in academia/government/nonprofits will receive a lower rate for SEEA's event by registering on the SEEA's Annual Conference website.


To reserve your accommodations for the ACEEE Rural Energy Conference, October 22, use this link.   


A block of rooms have been reserved for the Rural Conference at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. Individual attendees can make their reservations by using the button above linking to the online reservation site or call 800-706-2899.  Be sure to mention ACEEE to receive the $189 single/double occupancy rate.

For special requests or inquiries, please enter the information in the appropriate boxes during the online booking process or call the hotel directly at 800-706-2899 or 404-838-2100. Reservations by phone are accepted Monday through Friday from 9:00 am - 6:30 pm. (The Georgia Tech Hotel is a non-smoking property.)

To request rooms pre- or post- the ACEEE group dates, please contact the hotel directly at 800-706-2899 to check on availability. The reservation deadline is extended to October 2, 2018.

Parking: Overnight parking is available at a rate of $15.00 per night.  For unlimited in and out access to the garage, the rate is $18.00 per night.