Hello, and welcome to Midwest Energy News’ blogging coverage of the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s (MEEA) 2011 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference at the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Chicago. I’m Brian J. Rogal, and I will be here through the conference end on Friday.

For those who don’t already know, MEEA is one of several regional organizations that group together a wide array of energy stakeholders like utilities, a bunch of state agencies, consultants and environmental organizations. The idea behind these regional groupings is to get all these actors, who, of course, can have widely different agendas and ideologies, all yoked together to push forward on a common agenda. The conference begins this afternoon, goes all day Thursday, and concludes with a few sessions on Friday morning.

I’m not an energy efficiency policy wonk myself, but what I hope to do here is give readers a general sense of how all these major players see the next year shaping up. For example, how has the defeat of cap-and-trade, and the almost certain impossibility of its resurrection, at least in the near future, affected the stakeholders’ outlook? And even beyond that issue, will the changed political environment force some to refocus priorities? Hopefully, I will be able to tease out some theme that emerges over the next three days. As I said, however, I’m not a policy wonk, and any feedback from readers will be greatly appreciated.

A copy of the conference agenda can be found at http://www.meeaconference.org/.