WVU-State partnership to receive $500,000 stimulus funding to save energy and jobs

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6 November 2009 – Morgantown, W.Va.—An action team spearheaded by the West Virginia Division of Energy and featuring West Virginia University expertise has been selected to receive a $500,000 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to work on ways to help businesses in a multi-state region save energy, improve the environment, and create and preserve jobs.

“West Virginia has always been an energy state and our role in the securing our nation’s energy future is more important now than ever,” said Gov. Joe Manchin. “The best way to start ensuring our energy security is to find ways to reduce our demand and I’m pleased that the Division of Energy and WVU are partners in this vital project.”

“The goal of the project is to give energy-intensive manufacturers the tools they need to save energy, increase their efficiency, reduce their CO2 emissions, and maintain and create jobs,” said Bhaskaran Gopolakrishnan, the project director, the IOF-WV Energy Efficiency Fellow and professor of industrial engineering in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

The funds are in addition to a previously announced three-year Save Energy Now (SEN) program grant of $733,000 from the U.S. DOE Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) for a total $1.233 million in federal funds directed toward helping regional manufacturers with energy efficiency issues.

The initiatives will use the services of Industries of the Future-West Virginia (IOF-WV) of the West Virginia University National Research Center for Coal and Energy (NRCCE).

The ARRA awards will allow the team to expand the service region to include eastern Tennessee, central and eastern Kentucky, and southwestern Virginia in addition to West Virginia, western Pennsylvania, and eastern Ohio. The team will also be able to go beyond making energy-saving recommendations to assisting with the implementation of those recommendations through “investment grade assessments.”

Additionally, a pilot facility will be chosen in the region to demonstrate an energy management system complying with ANSI/MSE 2000:2008 energy management standards, an upcoming, cutting-edge standard for energy management.

“The project will also allow us to identify research priorities for energy efficiency and promote the development of emerging technologies,” said Carl Irwin, IOF-WV Director. “Industries need to anticipate rising energy costs and taking advantage of this service would be a best management practice,” said WV Division of Energy Director Jeff Herholdt.

The development and delivery of SEN services will serve to educate and train students for entry into the growing energy economy. “This project in fact lays the groundwork for a model for business entrepreneurs,” said Gopalakrishnan.

WVU IOF-WV will be working with Energy and Environmental Efficiency Management Inc. of North Potomac, MD, the North Hampton Community College Energy Management Institute of Bethlehem, PA, and the Industrial Assessment Center at Tennessee Tech University, Cookeville, TN.

For more information on the program, businesses can contact, Kathleen Cullen, IOF-WV program coordinator, at 304-293-2867 x5426 or go to the website at www.iofwv.nrcce.wvu.edu.