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Turning Innovation Into Enterprise


Secretary of Energy Moniz Visits NETL Morgantown

U.S. Secretary of Energy, Earnest Moniz

U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz toured the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown on July 29, addressing employees at the site, as well as at other NETL staff in locations around the country, including Pittsburgh, Oregon, Alaska, and Texas.

Moniz said NETL has and will continue to play an important role in fossil fuels research and development. “Innovation around fossil fuel use is absolutely critical,” he said.  “We have faced challenges like this before, and have always found a way to innovate ourselves to a cleaner and more prosperous future.”

In his remarks at the nation’s only federal laboratory dedicated to fossil fuel research, Moniz said that the Administration has spent $6 billion in clean-coal research, largely in the area of carbon capture, utilization and storage.

During his visit, Moniz was updated on NETL’s projects involving large-scale computation, chemical looping in power plants, and methane hydrates.  He noted that work on large-scale computation has come a long way since his earlier visit to the facility, in 1999, calling it “very impressive.”

Moniz, who was unanimously confirmed as Energy Secretary earlier this year, cited NETL’s role in developing unconventional shale gas drilling technology as an example of the kind of public-private partnership that leads to innovation.  He credited that partnership, coupled with a time-limited tax incentive, for developments that have increased opportunities in natural gas production and downstream manufacturing.

Praising the research at NETL, Moniz said, “This is exactly what we need to do—provide options for the marketplace.”

Referring to NETL’s Regional University Alliance, of which West Virginia University is a partner, Moniz cited university-industry collaborations, demonstration projects, and limited-time tax incentives as critical to successful R&D.  “We need to do more of this,” he said.

He also predicted that more emphasis will be placed on working with states and regions on energy needs, resources and regulatory structures, because “it’s not one size fits all” across the nation.

TechConnectWV was represented at the event by Anne Barth, Executive Director, Russ Lorince, Chair, and Scott Rotruck, Board Member.