Center for Energy Policy Sets Dynamic Conference Agenda

By Thomas Guengerich

HOBBS, N.M., April 6, 2009 – The New Mexico Center for Energy Policy conference will feature a wide variety of interesting speakers and topics Tuesday, April 14, at the Lea County Event Center in Hobbs.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman will be the keynote speaker at the conference. New Mexico Tech President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez said the event is an important national event that will highlight renewable energy in the current economic climate. Lopez and Lt. Gov. Diane Denish will serve as emcees. New Mexico Tech launched the Center for Energy Policy in 2006. The conference also will draw attention to the initiatives of Sen. Bingaman to sustain investment in clean energy technologies.

The first panel discussion, “Renewable Energy and the Resources: Solar, Wind and Geothermal,” features Lawrence Flowers, National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The second panel, “Renewable Energy and Crisis, Cost and Carbon,” features former Dallas mayor Laura Miller, and Dr. Daniel Fine of Center for Energy Policy. Fine will discuss “Carbon Cap and Trade and The Crisis of Credit and Investment.”

After Bingaman’s keynote address during the luncheon, the third panel will cover “Renewable Energy and the Next Generation Technologies,” featuring five short talks from industry experts. During this session, Robert Brown, the director of Ford Motor Co.’s Vehicle Environmental Engineering, will talk about “A Blueprint for a Sustainable Future.”

The fourth and final panel discussion will focus on “Renewable Energy and Transmission (The Grid).” This panel will feature three electric industry experts.

For the complete agenda, visit http://nmcep.nmt.edu/index.php/Upcoming-Conferences/2009-energy-conference-agenda.html.

Sen. Bingaman is the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. First elected to the Senate in 1982, he is serving his fifth term. He is responsible for the first national tax credit for clean energy manufacturing as part of the proposed federal stimulus legislation enacted by President Obama last week.

“We are excited that Senator Bingaman has agreed to deliver the keynote address and discuss the latest energy initiatives,” President Lopez said. “He has been a leader in crafting energy policy for many years and, with his leadership in Washington, D.C., this country has a thoughtful and balanced policymaker.”

The conference will include discussions on renewable and clean energy, along with technology innovations in a new, low-carbon era, coupled with the current low energy prices. The conference is free, but registration is required. To register, call the Center at 575-492-4715 or visit nmcep.nmt.edu.

“New Mexico has always been key to ensuring our nation’s energy needs. As we develop a national energy plan that continues to shift us away from imported oil to homegrown fuels and renewable energy, I am confident that New Mexico will remain an energy leader,” Bingaman said. “I look forward to participating in this important conference.”

The daylong conference will feature experts from the energy research centers and industries presenting their cornerstone papers and opinions about renewable energy in America and the response to current stress that influences the marketplace. Each presentation will be followed by commentary from experts in the field.

State law requires New Mexico’s major utilities to produce 15 percent of their power from renewable resources by 2015 and 20 percent by 2020, Romero said. However, national and state decision-makers haven’t established the regulatory and administrative policies needed to integrate renewable energy into existing infrastructure systems.

“Any electricity we generate in eastern New Mexico from renewable energy like wind can’t be taken to market,” Romero said. “The Texas compact won’t allow us to put that electricity on the grid. So, we need to look at changing our policies to get that energy to market.”

This conference will be the second event hosted by the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy, since being established by New Mexico Tech in 2006. The inaugural conference in May 2008 featured now-retired Sen. Pete Domenici as the keynote speaker. Nearly 400 people attended the event.

The Center for Energy Policy, in partnership with New Mexico Junior College and the Economic Development Corporation of Lea County provides energy-related research, technical and educational assistance for government, community, and business leaders in New Mexico and West Texas.

New Mexico Tech is a state-funded four-year research university in Socorro that is the leading educator of scientists and engineers.

– NMT –