Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Brazilian Government Officials Visiting Pittsburgh to Explore Region's Energy Expertise

High-ranking government energy officials from Brazil will visit Pittsburgh this week to take a closer look at the region and its ability to supply solutions for 21st-Century energy needs.

Itaipú Dam on Brazil's Paraná RiverDeputy Minister of Mines and Energy Márcio Zimmerman arrives Wednesday, July 8 following energy-related meetings in Washington, D.C. His visit closely follows several agreements between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy for bilateral business development around energy diversity and efficiency.

The Pittsburgh region is home to organizations and companies recognized for their development and distribution of traditional energy resources—coal, natural gas and nuclear—as well as manufacturing and supply chain expertise for alternative sources such as wind and solar power.

Minister Zimmerman and his delegation will visit Westinghouse Electric Co.'s Energy Center in Monroeville, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and CONSOL Energy Research and Development facility—both located in South Park.

These regional energy innovators will be discussing their respective strengths in nuclear energy, clean coal, carbon capture and sequestration, smart grid technology and engineered coal fuels with biomass.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Secretary for Mineral Resources Management J. Scott Roberts will participate in the meeting at CONSOL, as will a representative of Alter NRG Corporation, discussing the plasma gasification technology it acquired from Westinghouse Plasma Corporation.

"The Pittsburgh region is uniquely positioned to create solutions that address global energy needs," said Allegheny Conference on Community Development CEO Dennis Yablonsky.

"Providing sources of cleaner coal and carbon capture technology; tapping abundant, domestic, clean-burning natural gas; manufacturing renewable energy components; and creating systems to efficiently deliver power and conserve resources set our region apart as a leader and a provider of choice," he said. "When coupled with our ample natural resources base, these achievements distinguish the region as America‘s energy capital and a strategic partner for other countries looking to maximize their energy efficiency and sustainability."

Brazil is looking to further strengthen its energy matrix, which is primarily reliant on hydropower, with other clean, reliable, affordable energy sources, said PRA President Dewitt Peart.

"Pittsburgh is uniquely positioned to lend its expertise to Brazil and to explore bilateral business and investment opportunities around energy," he said. "The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA) will be participating in Deputy Minister Zimmerman‘s visit because this is a perfect prospect for the region. With the pending G-20 summit and the global attention it will place on Pittsburgh and its 'new economy' strengths, the timing is right to market the region‘s energy expertise to Brazil and to the world."

The PRA is the marketing affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

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