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NREL Plays Substantive Role in Renewables Conference

March 1, 2008

Photo of a man in a business suit speaking at a podium with a sign that reads, WIREC 2008, Washington International Renewable Energy Conference.

NREL Director Dan Arvizu delivers the keynote address at WIREC 2008.

NREL's significant profile at one of the leading world conferences on renewable energy included Director Dan Arvizu providing keynote remarks on March 4 at the business conference for the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC 2008).

Arvizu Calls for Global Partnerships

In his speech, Arvizu called on participants to form a "global alliance" of renewable energy research institutions to share information, coordinate global initiatives and serve as centers of excellence for research.

"The challenge is enormous. If we settle for anything less than a profound change in the way the world produces and uses energy, we will fail the test," Arvizu said. "We can only succeed in addressing these challenges — with the urgency required — if we work together as a global community, tapping expertise across public and private institutions around the world."

He identified two other opportunities to enhance global research and development collaboration. First, he called for a global assessment of the life-cycle costs and emissions of renewable energy technologies compared with conventional energy. His second request asked participants to pursue more partnerships among institutes around the world.

About the Conference

WIREC 2008 drew about 8,600 participants that included more than 100 government officials at the ministerial level. President Bush gave a speech at the conference, and four of his cabinet members attended. More than 100 official country delegations sent more than 600 official party delegates to the March 4-6 conference in Washington, D.C.

WIREC 2008 is the third global ministerial-level conference on renewable energy and follows events in Beijing in 2005 and Bonn in 2004. Hosted by the U.S. government in cooperation with the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), the conference garnered sponsors led by BP and included Chevron, General Electric, General Motors, Volvo, Unica and Good Energies.

An ACORE press release about WIREC's business conference and trade show on March 4 highlighted Arvizu's three proposed initiatives for capitalizing on opportunities for global research and development.

Panel Discussions Draw Crowds

WIREC comprised three components: the ministerial conference, the trade show and business conference and official side events. NREL had a role in each component. Besides his keynote address for the business conference, Arvizu participated in a panel discussion about solar and wind research and development during the ministerial conference on March 5.

An NREL panel that included Arvizu and associate directors Bobi Garrett, Dale Gardner and Sue Hock speaking about accelerating renewable energy innovation and deployment was one of the official side events. NREL's name drew a packed room for the March 4 panel discussion, which was sponsored by Midwest Research Institute.