wind power

It actually takes quite a lot of fossil fuel power to reach the tiny Spanish island of El Hierro. You have to catch a commercial jet flight, a propeller plane and then a ferry to reach what was once the end of the known world, before Columbus set sail.

But once you're there, there's no need for fossil fuels at all. The ancient island off the west coast of Africa is now a model for the future, within months of running on 100 percent renewable energy, which consists of a mix of wind and hydro-power.

Kirk Kittell / flikr

Renewable energy was the topic of a conference on the MU campus today. About 180 people from around the Midwest gathered to hear from experts on the future of wind, biomass and solar energy in the region.