Colorado schools, federal lab to cooperate on renewable energy
DENVER – The heads of four state and federal research centers signed an agreement Wednesday to pool their resources in hopes of making Colorado a national leader in renewable energy by getting new technologies to the market faster.The agreement sets up a framework known as the “Collaboratory” to share information and funding for solar, wind, hydrogen, biofuels and other renewable energy projects.Members of the Collaboratory are the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University and the University of Colorado.”I think Colorado is well on its way to becoming the renewable energy capital of this nation,” Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., said at a signing ceremony in the state Capitol.The idea for the Collaboratory came from a renewable energy summit led by Salazar last year, said Evan Dreyer, a spokesman for Gov. Bill Ritter. Ritter’s predecessor, Bill Owens, signed legislation last year allocating $6 million over three years to match federal money for the Collaboratory, Dreyer said.Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., said the goal is not only to develop new technology but get it to the marketplace.Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said renewable energy technology can mean jobs for Colorado.”You can be green and you can make a lot of green,” Udall said.Ritter, who campaigned on a promise to build a new economic engine around renewable energy, said linking state schools with the federal laboratory will improve the transfer of technology and speed the transfer to market.”It is about the future of this state,” Ritter said.Wade Troxell, assistant dean for research at Colorado State, said the Collaboratory was in part an attempt by Colorado’s congressional delegation to stave off attempts by research facilities in California to take over part of NREL’s research.He said other states also are trying to jump on the bandwagon, including Wyoming, which recently approved $12.1 million for a new School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming.Troxell said New Mexico, Arizona, New York and Texas are also trying to capitalize on renewable energy.
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