Clean Energy Summit
Clean Energy—including its generation, conservation, and how to use it to generate jobs—was the focus among the high-profile business and research leaders at the Governor's Summit on Clean Energy held in Knoxville, Tennessee. Moderators of the summit's sessions included ORNL Director Thom Mason; Associate Laboratory Director for Energy, Dana Christensen; and Tom Rodgers, Director of Industrial and Economic Development Partnerships.
The summit's keynote speaker was Stephan Jacoby, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. Often noted for its "green" manufacturing practices, VW's recent decision to site a $1 billion plant in Chattanooga was linked in part to the availability of ORNL's nearby research capabilities.
Mason summed up the importance of the summit for the laboratory. "The interesting thing for ORNL is that while we're rich in energy science and technology resources, in order for the laboratory to put its R&D into practice, we need partners to get things deployed—initially on a demonstration scale and eventually as a self-sustaining exercise."
Mason also noted that ORNL maintains close working relationships with a number of regional partners, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, the city of Knoxville, and Nissan USA. "These three partners are right in our neighborhood," he said. "Although we're a national lab with a national scope, it's always easier to get things going if you have proximity and familiarity."
Christensen, who also sits on the Governor's Clean Energy Task Force, indicated that the Southeast is already becoming an incubator for next-generation energy technology with demonstrations involving essentially every energy production technology and with an emerging emphasis on energy efficiency, especially in personal residences. "The Governor is looking to capitalize on this strength to position Tennessee as a national leader in many of these technology areas, such as solar photovoltaics."
Web site provided by Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Communications and External Relations