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Pentagon Energy Chief Attends “Energy for Defense” in Minneapolis

Posted 5/03/13 (Fri)

St. Paul, Minnesota, 01 May, 2013:  The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans & Programs – the Honorable Sharon Burke – visited the Twin Cities on Wednesday to survey the technology innovation available in this region for Department of Defense energy needs.  The main event of the day-long series of meetings was “Energy for Defense II” at the TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus – a Defense Alliance information and networking event that attracted 165 individuals representing industry, academia and government.  The Secretary also visited 3M Corporation’s “Innovation Center,” where she was briefed on 3M’s defense-energy initiatives; and Cummins Power Generation’s headquarters. 

Secretary Burke presented the event’s keynote remarks to the attendees.  She was introduced by Minnesota Senator Al Franken, a Member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.  The Secretary also attended a working lunch for 18 at the University of Minnesota’s Technological Leadership Institute.  The discussion among the lunch participants ranged from contract vehicles for small business to advance their energy innovations; to specific technologies available from members of the Alliance’s Advanced Power & Energy Cluster (APC).  Energy for Defense II was co-hosted by:  Cleantech Open, the world’s largest accelerator for clean technology startups; the University of Minnesota’s College of Science & Engineering, and the Institute on the Environment.  The event focused on the business and R&D opportunities available from the world's largest consumer and developer of power and energy solutions, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) – and showcased to the DoD the innovative energy solutions available in this region.

Cleantech Open also highlighted its annual accelerator for clean energy technology companies.  26 Cleantech and Defense Alliance exhibits were part of the program, such as e-ride Industries’ innovative Medium Weight Electric Vehicle, already being purchased by DoD.  e-ride, a sponsor for the event, is headquartered in Princeton, Minnesota.  The program featured presentations and interactive sessions about Cleantech Open, and DoD operational and facilities energy needs, now and for the future.  The day concluded with remarks by Minnesota’s senior senator, Amy Klobuchar.  A hosted reception sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts followed, giving participants time to view the 12 energy technology R&D project posters summarizing the work of University of Minnesota graduate students.

A key sponsor for Energy for Defense II was the APC, headquartered in the Twin Cities and operated by Defense Alliance, one of the nation’s three U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)-funded Advanced Defense Technologies Clusters.  Work performed by the APC during the past two years has netted over $40.5 Million in contracts and over 500 jobs for its 121 members in 26 states.  Members are working to provide innovative solutions to Department of Defense (DoD) energy needs and are simultaneously pursuing commercialization paths.  Several Defense Alliance members have won national awards during this period, such as the CleanTech Open and the Department of Defense Energy Technology Challenge.  The APC’s website is www.powerfordefense.com.