Posts Tagged ‘DOE’

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The Green Build Road Show Hits the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

November 6, 2009

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Frank Carrico is the Regional Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. He has also served the U.S. Commercial Service in Iraq, Brazil, Ukraine, Japan, and Germany.

We’ve had a great stop in Denver.  Our Commercial Service office here, under expert guidance from Paul Bergman, coordinated an in-depth visit to Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) today.  While on the road, the Commercial Officers are not only highlighting market opportunities in Europe to the sustainable building clients we meet, but we’re learning an incredible amount about the green technologies that make the United States a global leader in this area.  That’s why we’re at NREL.

We’ve had briefings on NREL’s programs that were focused on development and commercialization of new technologies in building energy efficiency, biofuels, and alternative power production, with particular emphasis on integrating innovative photovoltaics to yield lower and more competitive cost of production of solar cells for kilowatt hours (Kwh) of energy.  NREL is DOE’s only laboratory of its twelve research facilities that is focused on developing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies (EERE).  A critical part of the lab’s mission is the acceleration and transfer of NREL technology into existing energy markets.  NREL’s Partnership Development programs for its industry partners foster the integration and application of NREL’s R&D.  These programs are allowing nascent renewable energy companies to accelerate entry into the private marketplace; become cost-competitive; work with worldwide partners in renewable energy; and, expand markets in the U.S. and overseas.

NREL’s $460M budget for 2009 includes $110 million of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which is being used to increase collaboration through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA) and to expand international cooperation with foreign governments.    Most recently, NREL has become a founding partner of SolarTac Technology Acceleration Center for establishing a major commercialization center in Aurora on the outskirts of Denver for integrated photovoltaics and energy efficiency technology commercialization. Other founding partners include SunEdison, Xcel, and Abengoa Solar of Spain.  NREL expects that at least 30 companies will become part of SolarTac within the next year.

Commercial Officers and Specialists offered suggestions on how our domestic and international offices could assist NREL and DOE with its work in overseas markets and to open international markets for U.S. companies working with NREL on innovative technologies.  DOE is already working with CS Stockholm and Copenhagen on special presentations at its Bright Green trade event in December in Copenhagen during the UN COP-15 Climate Change negotiations.

Commercial Service Senior Commercial Officerss speaking with Colorado Governor Bill Ritter

Commercial Service Senior Commercial Officerss speaking with Colorado Governor Bill Ritter (right). (Photo Department of Commerce)

Following our whirlwind site visit at NREL, Paul Bergman and the CS office took us downtown for a special visit with Governor Bill Ritter.  Each of us had the chance to introduce our work in our markets to the Governor and to explain how we could help with increasing export sales for Colorado companies.  In particular, we had the opportunity to explain how the Fedex-sponsored April trade mission to Europe would be especially valuable for Colorado companies.  The Governor promised that his office would follow up with us on the trade mission and will explore closer cooperation on our export programs.

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Energy Efficiency: A Key Component of U.S. Competitiveness

November 2, 2009

(This post contains external links.  Please review our external linking policy.)

Ryan Mulholland is an international trade specialist in the Manufacturing and Services unit of the International Trade Administration specializing in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Scott Dietz, VP of Investor Relations at Owens Corning World Headquarters in Toledo, Ohio led David Kincaid and me around an impressive facility built as a model of sustainable architecture on a tiny reed and grass covered spit of land jutting into the Maumee River.  Glass artworks from a NYC artist who incorporated the legendary glass fibers Owens Corning is so famous for graced doorways, halls, and the soaring entryway to the building.  The tour reminded me that U.S. industry is a place of world class innovation—and in Toledo, Ohio, a city once devastated by economic downturns, that spirit of American innovation is alive and well, as energy efficiency has become a cornerstone for the city’s new growth and prosperity.

International Trade Specialist Ryan Mulholland speaks at the Forum on Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing at Owens Corning in Toledo, Ohio

International Trade Specialist Ryan Mulholland speaks at the Forum on Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing at Owens Corning in Toledo, Ohio. (Photo U.S. Department of Commerce)

On September 21, 2009, the International Trade Administration (ITA) organized a Forum on Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing at Owens Corning to help manufacturers learn about state and federal resources available to promote efficiency.  Part of an ITA Energy Efficiency Initiative aimed at promoting the development and deployment of energy efficient technologies, this one-day event attracted 86 participants. Toledo was chosen because of its efforts to reinvigorate its manufacturing industry by taking a leadership role in developing the clean and efficient industries of tomorrow.

Presenters from ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program, and the Environmental Protection Administration’s Industrial Energy Star Program spoke about their programs.  Others from the State of Ohio Energy Office, Ford Motor Company, Eaton Technologies, Rockwell Automation, North Star BlueScope Steel, and Energy Industries of Ohio shared about their experiences with and the positive benefits derived from energy efficiency improvements. Each participant gave a brief presentation on the theme of energy efficiency.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce Mary Saunders introduced the event and moderated both panel discussions.  Energy efficiency “represents a key component of the Obama administration’s national strategy to support job growth,” Saunders noted, adding that “with efficiency, you don’t have to depend on scientific breakthroughs or engineering miracles… (but rather)… is a way of maximizing the amount of energy you get from existing sources.”

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur addressed the group noting that energy efficiency improvements are key to Toledo’s ongoing success, and added a word of congratulations to Owens Corning for winning EPA’s Energy Star Partner Award.

Following a keynote address from Owens Corning’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Frank O’Brien-Bernini, forum participants visited the Clean and Alternative Energy Incubator at the University of Toledo.

Reactions by participants ranged from surprise at the number of available resources to gratitude, upon hearing there are individuals in government standing on behalf of American industry.  It was an effort well worth the hard work and cost.

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