Our weblog is an adjunct to our Imagenextcs residency sessions; these bi-annual residency sessions are designed to create dialogue among practitioners who are working on continuous improvement and new ideas for customer interface, interaction and delivery of goods and services. Our weblog is intended to broaden these conversations and solicit input from anyone developing ideas that are centered on how next generation customers and systems will look, feel and work.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Evolution of the Energy Space - A Regional Opportunity

The convergence of technology, renewable and bio-energy, coupled with the desire to contain our carbon footprint and improve sustainability, is creating a profound impact on the national and global energy agenda. The literature available is pervasive, rich in content, and full of opportunity.

Beyond the literature, one can easily identify over 100 prominent national organizations that are working diligently on these efforts; the list ranges from applied research at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, funded by our Department of Energy and managed by Battelle, to policy debate and dialogue at the Energy Center Research Council, chaired by Federal Express Chairman Fred Smith. We can also find prominent social sites on the subjects such as Google’s blog, and even local resident and talent Sara Snow, host of CNN.com’s “Living Green with Sara Snow”, who is receiving national attention.

What is desirable for our region and particularly the state of Indiana is to become a recognized resource in contributing to the national agenda. Hoosiers, who want to see firsthand the work being done, can visit several northern Indiana sites, the furthest of which is just over an hour from Indianapolis. These include the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in Benton County, BioTown USA in Reynolds, Central Indiana Ethanol in Marion and more recently, the K-fuel project in Kokomo. In Southwestern Indiana, we have the construction of a 630 megawatt Clean Coal Gasification Plant in Edwardsport by Duke Energy with a goal of making one of the nation’s first demonstrations of carbon capture and sequestration at a power plant. These sites are impressive; the people responsible for their operations are full of passion and commitment.

At Purdue University, the Energy Center at Discovery Park is working diligently to establish an energy research presence that will entail applied science for an array of these national emerging issues. Recently, Indiana University has established the Center for Research in Energy and the Environment, as well as the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy at IUPUI. A collaborative effort has been established between Indiana-Bloomington, Purdue-West Lafayette, and IUPUI known as the Indiana Consortium for Research in Energy Systems and Policy. These academic endeavors share a vision to become national contributors to our growing need for solutions and innovative methods of addressing the increasing demand for energy, while managing our finite natural resources and reducing greenhouse gases.

I encourage all Hoosiers to begin taking notice of the wonderful work being done right here in our backyards and to become acquainted with these sites and initiatives. More importantly, I encourage you to become involved in shaping and contributing to our challenging national agenda. Working with children in our education system to help them better grasp sustainable environments, participating in a grass roots effort or making a modest financial contribution to any of the wonderful organizations engaged in our future energy efforts are just a few of the ways individuals and families can become personally involved.

Our energy future is a global imperative, but presents significant regional opportunity. Indiana must continue demonstrating our ability to contribute toward solving the converging and complex energy needs of tomorrow – and we must do that today.

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