Klobuchar MN Energy Summit (part-I)

Blogging live from the UMN Regional Competativeness & Energy Efficiency Summit – updated through out the day. (for a top b-school, you’d expect the auditorium to have outlets – might run out of battery power – nice irony with the topic).

10:00am

Senator Klobuchar has some great anecdotes about renewable energy enterprises around MN, including jumping on solar panels, and a bed and breakfast in sw mn that features a wind farm tour package. So where are there jobs?

Expanding assistance for rural areas – costs rural folks $300-$400 more a year for their energy and their income is less the us urban folks.

Renewable energy is the new space race with the same potential for spin-off technologies and economic benefits as the race to the moon.

10:30 panel 1:

Leo Raudys of Best Buy: smart phones are representative of the rapid penetration of new tech – 2 years to reach 30% market saturation. energy management is an emerging app that will provide new control for folks. cool, best buy will recycle your old tv if you buy a new one along with in-store consumer electronic recycling – easy rocks.

Lee Gabler of Xcel Energy: energy conservation equivalent to building 8 @ 250mW power plants over the past 10 years. efforts to change consumer behavior with gadgets like inhome displays and increased info.

Mark Blaiser of the MN Chamber of Commerce: helping businesses do the right thing. Industrial ecology might be going mainsteam. lots of low hanging fruit for saving $$$ through energy conservation and waste reduction – education/marketing of the opportunities is crucial.

Neely Crane-Smith of MN Center for Energy and the Environment: Folks feel guilty about not acting, but they are paralyzed by confusion/overwhelmed by all the choices of how to become more energy efficient. again, education is the key.

Klobuchar has a ‘carbon buster’ team in the MN energy challenge -community based outreach is the answer to ending the paralysis.

Klubuchar: on energy bill – lindsey graham and kerry will create different bill then waxman-markey, greater energy focus then house bill. seems to be aware of global race to be leader and competition with china.

How to make energy cool?

Leo -all about addressing the audience – gadgets and apps are the future – social gaming for energy usage. niche marketing that targets individual motivation

Lee- about keeping up with the Jones. cool factor is being better then neighbors if everybody is taking action. Xcel puts smiley faces on energy bills if you are doing better then neighbors.

Mark – bottom line/ROI is cool to CEOs/CFOs

Leo on the best buy ewaste program. 60 million pounds of consumer electronics recycled by best buy – trying to maximize profit of waste stream. best buy working with utilities to reduce energy use.

11:15

Cathy Zoi – Asst Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – US Dept of Energy

She’s funny – jokes about ‘launching a suburb’. Talked about Obama’s visit to Energy Department – the first of any president. New appliance energy efficiency standards -savings $$$ for Americans. Average American house has 5 tvs that are on 8 hours – this is fruit on the floor. Obama thinks insulation is ‘sexy’ at his recent visit to a home depot.

the potential of energy efficiency is well known and has been around for a long time. there have been incremental improvements, now 1.7% growth of energy demand down from over 3% annually. Imperative for energy efficiency as policy . 130 million homes in US – only 40k homes were retrofitted before recent energy/recovery act. Need to make it a no brainer for policy makers to enact new regulations. Build it fast: demonstrate rapid large scale capacity of renewables and energy efficient appliances. retrofit ramp up: $400m for neighborhood retrofits of entire blocks- evaluating proposal right now. DOE is largest R&D organization in the world. working on house rating system for hand held devices for home inspectors – making energy efficiency easy. St. Paul is integrating solar thermal into district heating.

1- ARPA-E funding far out ideas and research.

2- Need to attract best and brightest to the green sector. DOE is hiring folks!!!!

3- capturing hearts and minds (is energy waste an insurgency?). MN is weatherizing 853 low income homes a month – publicizing the human interest stories behind the money being spent.

We are on the cusp of the next industrial revolution! Evidence based revival meeting – we all believe (a very friendly audience). this is non-partisan, we need to converse with other folks to spread the word. lets see if we can change the minds of folks who are resistant. now q & A.

telecommuting at the DOE? how to overcome need for ‘facetime’ and watching folks work. DOE also improving mechanical systems at HQ. trying to stop stove piping through renovation DOE HQ building in DC.

About Jim Hansen’s call for new nukes. Not part of Cathy’s portfolio. Blue ribbon commission studying what to do with nuke waste and will advise president.

TV energy efficiency time line? TVs not statutory for being regulated – DOE wants to regulate, but needs to adddress what the DOE must regulate. DOE is still cleaning up mess caused by Bush’s failure to act.

energysavers.gov is the best right link now – links to state based programs under recovery act.

what is gov’t doing to help folks find jobs in the green economy? efficiency first in all 50 states is helping staff weatherization efforts. DOE and Dept of Labor are collaborating. Work force improvement and recovery act is funding education. This seem to be a business opportunity to create websites for networking.

What will smart meters do? Ecometer forces recognition of all the waste. google power meter now is free. walmart will be marking a $25 meter. just having the meter gives a 5% savings before any proactive steps are taken.

Continues in part ii

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