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Re-Energize America conference to focus on short-term plan for long-term energy independence

For the second consecutive year, New Mexico State University, along with honorary chair Congressman Harry Teague, is hosting a conference focusing on domestic solutions to energy problems.



NMSU's second annual Re-Energize America Conference, "Short-Term Plan for Long-Term Energy Independence" takes place June 3-4, 2010 at the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces, N.M. (Image courtesy IEE Media)

"I am extremely proud to be the honorary chair of Re-energize America for a second year," Teague said. "Developing a comprehensive energy plan that incorporates both traditional and renewable energy resources is critical in cementing southern New Mexico as a leader in the energy industry. This has been one of my top priorities while in Congress, working with great organizations like NMSU to develop research and production programs that take advantage of our state's unique resources."

The two-day conference, "Re-Energize America: Short-Term Plan for Long-Term Energy Independence," will take place June 3 and 4, at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, located at 4100 Dripping Springs Road in Las Cruces.

The conference gives attendees the opportunity to actively engage leaders in government, industry and academia about issues key to America's energy future, particularly with regard to jobs. The conversation will go beyond policy discussions, with a distinct focus on how participants can develop a short-term plan for long-term sustainability. Re-Energize America will give participants opportunities to discuss a national plan for creating new energy jobs; creating new jobs through investments in energy efficiency; the technology behind energy independence; new energy jobs for New Mexico; creating new energy entrepreneurs; new jobs in nuclear energy; and more jobs in oil and gas.

"Energy is one of the most important issues we're faced with in this country. Energy availability, sustainability, delivery and impact on natural resources like water and reliable and dependable sources of energy are so significant to the sustenance of the way of life that we have," said Abbas Ghassemi, director of NMSU's Institute for Energy and the Environment, a consortium that leverages environmental expertise from throughout New Mexico.

"Renewable energy?solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, biofuels?is part of the package, but it cannot be all of the package, so fossil sources such as oil, gas and coal, combined with other sources such as nuclear, will complete the package," Ghassemi continued. "All of these have some pros and some cons, so to come up with a comprehensive package that's acceptable by users, providers, communities and stakeholders like regulators, we need to have an energy policy that's comprehensively discussed in terms of technology, market and policy. That's what this conference is all about."

Congressman Teague is serving as honorary chairman of Re-Energize America for the second consecutive year. He will serve as keynote speaker for the June 4 luncheon as well.

"We are very fortunate to have Congressman Teague leading the effort in being the honorary chair of this conference," Ghassemi said. "Congressman Teague has been passionate about the issues associated with energy and I think this really is a testament to him and his staff, as well as the leadership here at NMSU that is working so closely with federal, state and local policymakers to make this come to fruition."

Other speakers include Jim Ford, vice president for federal government affairs at ConocoPhillips; U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman; and Jason Pyle, CEO of Sapphire Energy. The full conference agenda may be viewed at http://energize.nmsu.edu/agenda--speakers.html.

"We have not come close to reaching the limits of renewable energy technologies and now is the time to collaborate our efforts and resources," Teague said. "Building off the success of last year's conference, this year's Re-Energize America will once again bring together policy, industry and academic experts and help move New Mexico's energy future forward."

Re-Energize America is a free conference and open to the public, but registration is required and limited to 400 participants.

"We hope participants and audience members alike will participate in coming up with solutions," said Ghassemi. "Solutions to these problems are very complex in nature. It is not as simple as coming up with a technology set?say, photovoltaic?to solve all the problems, or wind energy to solve all the problems. It requires a combination of technology sets and various tradeoffs. The participants will be able to participate in developing a plan on how to go about achieving energy independence. We cannot come up with a solution that is forced down; it really needs to be grassroots, working up as well as at the highest level of our local, state and federal government?policies that meet each other halfway."

New Mexico State University's College of Engineering's Institute for Energy & the Environment is sponsoring the conference with support from the Arrowhead Center PROSPER Project, International Relations Institute, Water Resources Research Institute and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Sponsors of the conference include ConocoPhillips, Lockheed Martin, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Sapphire Energy and the Carlsbad, N.M. Department of Development.

For more information on the conference and to register, go to http://energize.nmsu.edu/, or contact Karen Mikel, (575) 646-2162 or kmikel@nmsu.edu; or Aggie Saltman at (575) 646-9323 or aggie@nmsu.edu.

Broadcast Advisory: Video and sound bites for broadcast are available under the title Re-Energize America - Abbas Ghassemi at the following ftp site: ftp://aggievision:goaggies@aggievision.nmsu.edu. Use the following information if you are using a download client: Host: aggievision.nmsu.edu Username: aggievision Password: goaggies. To download these files you must have Quicktime Pro software. For questions on problems with down loading, contact Minerva Baumann (575) 646-7566.