Joining Forces to Reach Maximum Rewards for the Houston Region Established under the auspices of the Greater Houston Partnership, the Energy Collaborative enters its sixth year of bringing together private industry, the academic community and economic development organizations with the interests and needs of the energy industry for the benefit of the region’s economy and participating parties. The Energy Collaborative is established to perpetuate Houston as the Energy Capital of the World and is focusing on four key areas in 2010: Workforce Development, Energy Policy, Strategic Marketing and Cluster Development.Workforce Development In 2010 the Energy Collaborative Workforce Development sub-committee is focused on continuing to support student energy education events in the Houston region. These events demonstrate the power of industry, education and government, working together to strengthen the connection between school and work. Together these key events are building a strengthened K-16 talent pipeline for Houston’s energy industry future. Some of the student events being supported by the Workforce committee include: Science and Engineering Fair of Houston, Houston: Energy City of the Future Competition and Energy Venture camps for 14- and 15-year-olds. The Workforce committee is also focused on teacher development, especially in the areas of Math and Science. Teachers are “key influencers” for students choosing a career direction and selecting which courses to pursue in school. With a focus on teachers, the The Houston A+ Teacher Externship Program. Teachers spent one week at local companies to provide stronger connections between the classroom and the 21st-century workplace. Businesses introduced teachers to the knowledge and skills that students need to succeed in each industry. The other two areas of emphasis for the Workforce committee this year are career transitioning for those exiting Energy industry and developing better communication and networking opportunities. The committee is working on programs to encourage those transitioning out of the energy industry to pursue other opportunities including teaching. They are also building an online calendar of community activities and utilizing social media outlets to improve networking within Houston’s energy community. Energy Policy The Energy Collaborative Energy Policy sub-committee is focused on local, state and federal public policy initiatives that support the ongoing growth of Houston’s energy industry. The Energy Policy committee is targeting four primary policy areas for 2010 including: energy efficiency, fossil fuels development, alternative energy and energy distribution. The committee will also maintain a close working relationship with the GHP Environmental Quality committee to ensure that the two committees are aligned and interacting throughout 2010. Within the area of Energy Efficiency, the committee will be targeting policies around power generation, commercial and residential efficiency programs and energy transportation. In the area of Fossil Fuels Development, the committee will be evaluating policies surrounding access to resources and the production and refining process. Smart Grid technology is the emphasis on the Energy Distribution policy along with other important infrastructure such as pipelines, rail and water. The Energy Collaborative is also focused on establishing Houston as the go-to region for alternative and renewable energy. Much of that effort starts with the public policy issues impacting the competitive advantages that the Houston region has to offer. The Policy committee is targeting wind, solar and biofuels as the primary areas of emphasis. The committee will be looking at incentives for solar and wind projects, as well as, federal subsidies for ethanol. This year the Policy committee will also be working diligently to establish key strategies for the 2011 State legislative session. Marketing The Energy Collaborative Marketing sub-committee is focused on developing uniform messaging and strategies to perpetuate Houston as the premier energy hub and center for energy innovation & technology that includes all energy resources. The Marketing committee is focused on promoting Houston as the world leader in developing energy sources, as well as energy conservation and environmental sustainability. The Marketing committee will host the 3rd Annual America’s Energy Future summit on October 12, 2010. This year’s summit will be a half-day seminar focused on emerging technologies and job creation. This year’s summit will target the role of technology in job creation and economic development in renewable; promoting new technologies and creating jobs in traditional energy; and the government’s role in creating a sustainable energy future. The Summit has been moved to October, which is National Energy Conservation month and will also take place the same week as Consumer Energy Alliance’s Houston Energy Day event. The CEA Energy Day brings together energy consumers and producers for a better understanding of role of energy in our daily lives. The Marketing committee is focused on co-branding these two events to reinforce the message of Houston region as the energy leader. Cluster Development The Energy Collaborative Cluster Development subcommittee is focused on three primary emerging technologies for 2010 including: Solar, Biofuels and Smart Grid. The Cluster Development committee is also focused on Department of Energy funding opportunities for Energy Innovation Hubs and Energy Regional Innovation Centers. The committee continues to evaluate new technologies and possible new directions for the energy industry including: natural gas vehicles, fuel cell vehicles and energy cyber security. The Cluster Development’s Solar task force is primarily targeting public policy initiatives for this year and will be working closely with the Energy Policy sub-committee. The Solar Task Force is specifically looking at local and state economic development incentives for solar projects, which will make Houston and Texas more competitive For solar related companies. The Solar task force will also emphasize awareness and promotion of current Solar projects in the Houston area. The Smart Grid task force has developed an executive roundtable series to bring together decision makers on the topic of new smart grid technology. Houston is a leader in this area as CenterPoint Energy was awarded a $200 million federal grant to implement smart grid technology in the Houston region. The Smart Grid task force will host three half-day workshops starting in May as part of the roundtable series. The Biofuels task force is focused on developing a fungible biofuel industry acceleration program in the Houston region. In 2010 the Biofuels task force targeting corporate sponsors to support the creation of this program.
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