U.S. Departments of Commerce and Energy to promote smart grid as job creation opportunity during event at the University of Minnesota

The Business of Smart Grid conference is scheduled for June 9 on the St. Paul campus

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Todd Reubold, Institute on the Environment, reub0002@umn.edu, (612) 624-6140
Jeff Falk, University News Service, jfalk@umn.edu, (612) 626-1720

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (6/2/2010) – Mary Saunders, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services with the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Steve Hauser, Vice President of Grid Integration with the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), will be featured speakers at the upcoming Business of Smart Grid conference at the University of Minnesota on Wednesday, June 9.

The event is being sponsored by the Minnesota Trade Office, a division of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, and the Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE), a signature program of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.

The term “smart grid” refers to the use of intelligent monitoring systems as a means of more efficiently delivering electricity from power producers to end-users.

The Business of Smart Grid conference will look at how recent, significant government and industry investment in smart grid technology will impact emerging business and job creation opportunities in the state and region.

The daylong event will feature national speakers on topics including:

  • The smart grid concept
  • U.S. government policy priorities for smart grid and clean energy
  • U.S. Department of Energy vision for the smart grid
  • International and export business opportunities in smart grid
  • Venture capital and investment in a smart grid future
  • The communications backbone – technology standards critical to smart grid
  • Smart grid domestic and international opportunities
  • The promise of smart grid – an engine for job growth

"The University of Minnesota is pleased to join the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development in sponsoring this important conference,” said Rod Larkins, IREE associate director. “Successful research and development of smart grid technology, and moving this technology into full market penetration, will position Minnesota and the U.S. for significant job growth and economic development in coming years.”

Deputy Assistant Secretary Saunders' presentation will focus on U.S. clean energy and export policy priorities. Vice President Hauser will highlight NREL’s new programs and partnerships and national efforts to create a smarter grid.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Saunders will be arriving in the Twin Cities on June 8 and is available for interviews before the conference (For more information, contact Cory Churches, Communications and Outreach Specialist, U.S. Department of Commerce, (202) 482-3251, cory.churches@trade.gov).

Leading the list of Minnesota experts at this event is Dr. Massoud Amin, professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Amin is a respected international expert in the smart grid and will also present and moderate panel discussions.

The Business of Smart Grid conference will take place at the Northstar Ballroom, St. Paul Student Center, University of Minnesota, 2017 Buford Avenue, St. Paul. For more information and to register, visit: www.environment.umn.edu/news_events/events.html