The 2nd annual Energy and Innovation Conference brings together officials from the energy industry, manufacturing, and environmental groups, to examine how all the sectors can work together. The conference also examines the country’s place in terms of oil, natural gas, and coal development.
“In the case of coal, we’ve always been a major exporter. Natural gas, we’re shifting from a small importer to an exporter in the coming years. Oil, over the last several years we’ve shifted from importing 60 percent of what we consume to a little less than half, and that trend is going to continue,” said Keith Crane, director of the environment, energy and economic development program at RAND Corporation.
Crane spoke on the first day of the conference, and said the US is well-positioned for a strong energy future, and added the focus of research and development going forward will likely be on efficiency.
“Efficiency in converting fuels into electricity or making our vehicles more efficient. Also an improvement in efficiency in how we extract natural gas or oil from the ground and the efficiency with which renewable energies work as well,” he said.
In order to improve efficiency, strong innovation and new technologies will likely be employed. Crane said many of those things will come from this region.
“Energy is really a high-tech industry – development of Marcellus Shale, new renewables – the oil industry and demand have developed due to a host of technological innovations, many of them coming out of Pittsburgh.”
The Wednesday and Thursday event in Canonsburg is sponsored by Catalyst Connection and the National Energy Technology Laboratory.