I’m in attendance at the APRA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C. By all accounts, based on my many and various hallway discussions, random meeting of old friends and new, this is a huge success for America. The focus and attention being paid to this important area, energy, is paying off; no doubt about it.
No matter how depressing the news might be – whether it is something awful we did in Afghanistan, or the continued unwinding of America’s mortgage debt that is dragging the economy or whatever – if you were here, and you paid even half attention you would be over the top encouraged, excited, and delighted that innovation in America is still job one. The thousands of people here represent academics, investors, inventors, policy makers and just interested folks, and obviously represent an even larger group “back home” of Americans wanting to solve America’s energy problem.
Dr. Arun Majumdar this morning delivered a pre-luncheon address that was second to none. I hope it gets put on YouTube quickly. He was his usual charming self with his analysis of the issues and technology problems. But then he presented a representative company in his portfolio that was working on a specific problem. He is an inspiring leader and we are all very luck to have him on this mission. Thanks, Arun – you are truly a great American.
Also on the podium have been Bill Gates, Fred Smith, Lee Scott, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Steve Womack, and of course, Secretary Chu. This all-star cast is only half done. Tomorrow will be just as exciting. Getting this set of folks here to talk about energy, the big issues and the big opportunities is not trivial and signals just how important this is.
There are many takeaways, of course, from a conference one like this. For me, today, natural gas came up in every speech or discussion. NG is big in America, and clearly the panels think it is underutilized as a portable fuel. Also, the electrification of the automotive fleet was a big topic, too.