Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pittsburgh Becomes Home to the U.S. Center for Energy Leadership: CEOs of Six Leading Energy Companies Join Together to Address Global Energy

The Chief executive officers of six Pittsburgh-headquartered energy companies have announced the creation of the United States Center for Energy Leadership (USCEL). The founding members of the Center are:

* Andy Hannah, CEO of Plextronics
* Aris Candris, CEO of Westinghouse
* Paul Evanson, CEO of Allegheny Energy
* Murry Gerber, CEO of EQT
* J. Brett Harvey, CEO of CONSOL Energy
* Keith Schaefer, CEO of BPL Global

The mission of the group is to establish a stable energy environment for the United States that includes energy independence, stable energy pricing and a portfolio approach to meeting increasing energy needs, according to Plextronics' Andy Hannah, who was a catalyst for the formation of USCEL.

USCEL also will advocate for new and innovative technological developments that will impact all of these areas. The group will also work to address specific governmental policy, investment and technology issues that have direct bearing on the energy industry.

"The concept behind USCEL was really about the fact that the energy issues facing our country have never been more important, and here we are, in Pittsburgh, with all of the leadership, technological innovation and experience you could ask for to collectively tackle these problems," Hannah said.

"While the organizations in this group may represent different and competing segments of the energy industry, it's clear to each of us that there's no one technology that can fulfill all energy demands. Instead, we need to utilize all of our resources to address the energy issues that face this country and develop innovative ways to re-establish the United States as a leader in energy technology development."

Aris Candris, CEO of Westinghouse, added: "USCEL is ideally suited to create and utilize technology and innovation in a manner that will help our nation, and the world, address the energy and environmental challenges we are now facing," he said. "Additionally, the goals of USCEL are completely consistent with those of the United States Department of Energy, which has announced its intention to further strengthen our country's commitment to scientific leadership in these areas."

Pittsburgh is ideally suited to be the home of USCEL, the group said. The region offers an abundance of natural resources, global business leaders, technology innovation, transportation and infrastructure support, and a university system that generates new technology and a qualified workforce.

"Pittsburgh is the nation's energy capital," said Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Allegheny Conference. "Working across energy sectors, Pittsburgh is making the extraction and use of traditional energy sources cleaner and more efficient. We're innovating smart grid technologies, pioneering intelligent building systems, and finding reliable and cost-effective alternative energy solutions. By working together we will provide sustainable energy solutions."

Facts about Energy and Pittsburgh:

* Pittsburgh was one of just 13 cities to receive the inaugural Solar America City award from the Department of Energy in 2007.

* The region has an abundance of natural resources, including vast reserves of coal and natural gas and abundant geological CO2 storage, rivers and waterways, and renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

* It is also home to global business and industry leaders:

o Allegheny Energy is currently investing more than a billion dollars in environmental controls at its power generation facilities and is leading efforts to upgrade the nation's electric grid to meet growing power demands and usher in new, renewable sources of energy.

o BPL Global is dedicated to leading the transformation of energy efficiency and reliability of electrical networks around the globe as a leading provider of integrated smart grid software solutions and services that more efficiently manage demand, integrate distributed energy resources, automate substations, improve service reliability, and optimize cost and capital productivity.

o CONSOL Energy operates the two largest bituminous coal mines in the country, both of which are located in Southwestern Pennsylvania, as well as operating one of the largest natural gas production businesses in Appalachia through its subsidiary, CNXGas. In addition, CONSOL is the largest provider of coal shipping services on the Upper Ohio River and is the only US coal company with a Research & Development group seeking to develop long term technological solutions to environmental and energy challenges. CONSOL employs more than 8,000.

o EQT is the Appalachian Basin's leading natural gas producer and its development of horizontal air drilling has revolutionized the natural gas industry by increasing natural gas recovery while reducing the environmental footprint to extract the gas. In fact, new technologies, some pioneered by EQT, have recently made it economically feasible to recover natural gas from the Marcellus formation, which has the potential to stimulate the biggest economic boom since coal and oil sparked the Pennsylvania industrial revolution.

o Plextronics is considered a world-leader in the printed electronics industry, and its products enable companies globally to print organic solar cells and energy efficient lighting. Hannah sits on the Solar Technical Review Panel for the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), a world-leading lab in solar technology.

o Westinghouse technology is the basis for approximately half of the world's 435 operating nuclear power plants. The first of four Westinghouse AP1000™ nuclear power plants is on schedule to be completed by 2013 in China, and the technology has been identified for no less than 14 plants in the United States.

* The city offers a strong university system, led by Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, which generates break-through technology and spin-off companies. Plextronics, for example, is a spin-out of CMU, and its technology is based on discoveries made at the university by Dr. Richard McCullough.

* In addition, the universities in Pittsburgh serve a key role in educating what ultimately becomes the local workforce, turning out a talented pool of engineers, scientists and other professionals to work at those companies.

* CMU is actively involved in solar energy initiatives. The university competed for three years in the Solar Decathlon competition in Washington, D.C. to construct a solar-powered house, and for four years in Solar Splash, an intercollegiate solar boating competition sponsored by ASME.

For more information, contact USCEL at

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