Chancellor Dirks hosts clean-energy talks with DOE, industry

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks today hosted Department of Energy Assistant Secretary David Danielson and a roomful of representatives from the clean-energy industry, university and DOE research labs to focus on the future of U.S. innovation and competitiveness.

Danielson and Dirks

David Danielson, DOE assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, with Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks. (Hulda Nelson photos)

The meeting was the fifth in a series of progressive dialogues convened by the Council on Competitiveness and the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) as part of the American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness (AEMC) Partnership.

The Partnership is a three-year effort to bolster American competitiveness through advanced clean-energy manufacturing and increased energy productivity, and to address the dynamic changes affecting the national and global energy landscape.

“Although Berkeley is a global leader in clean-energy research, turning our discoveries into technologies that will benefit the public and the American economy requires effective partnerships with the private sector and the federal government,” Dirks said. “Enhanced support for innovation in basic and applied research is one of my top priorities as Berkeley’s chancellor, and I applaud the Department of Energy’s efforts to close the innovation gap in this country and ensure we remain the most competitive nation in the world.”

Advanced manufacturing

Dirks is a key member of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) steering committee, part of a continuing effort established by President Obama to maintain U.S. leadership in the emerging technologies that will create high-quality manufacturing jobs and enhance America’s global competitiveness. Today’s dialogue leads into the  2014 AEMC Summit, set to take place in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 17.

Jennifer Granholm

Jennifer Granholm, former Michigan governor and a UC Berkeley law professor, took part in the dialogue.

“The Energy Department’s national laboratories are at the forefront of innovation, providing key resources to local companies today as well as leading the visionary scientific and technical research of tomorrow,” said Danielson, who heads EERE and is a 2000 summa cum laude graduate of UC Berkeley. “With a concentration of DOE national labs in the Bay Area, local industries are fortunate to have these federally funded innovative facilities and their experts as partners in game-changing, clean-energy technologies needed for a strong global competitive advantage.”

Scientists from DOE’s Argonne, Sandia and Livermore labs, as well as UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, traded remarks with representatives from industry and venture-capital firms, including Flextronics, INFINIUM, FuelCell Energy, Applied Materials, Inc., Alcoa, Inc. and Lockheed Martin. One topic of discussion was a proposal to create public-private partnerships to speed time-to-market for new technologies emerging from university and DOE labs.

The dialogue is part of a weeklong visit by Danielson to the Bay Area, during which he will tour the Berkeley Lab and participate in an April 17 summit in San Francisco. The latter will celebrate clean-energy manufacturing in the region and provide a platform for the DOE to receive stakeholder feedback on its overall clean-energy manufacturing strategy.

The Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative Summit in San Francisco is being led by Danielson and includes key remarks by Deborah Wince-Smith, president and CEO of the Council on Competitiveness, as well as U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) and former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, who is the Distinguished Practitioner of Law and Public Policy at UC Berkeley.

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