A collaborative effort in the region has been successful at increasing the funding for U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and its important research and development programs.
According to Ken Zapinski, senior vice president, Energy & Infrastructure, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, NETL has seen an increase in its funding for 2014, the first in several budget cycles, thanks in no small part to the efforts of the Friends of NETL and other Power of 32 partners. The appropriations bill signed by President Obama in January sets NETL's fiscal year 2014 budget at $562 million, nearly $64 million higher than the $499 million enacted in 2013. The Friends of NETL, a multi-state education and advocacy campaign that came out of the Power of 32 process, have worked in concert with other coalitions to let our lawmakers know how important NETL's research is to our region and nation. This funding will last until September 30, 2014 and appropriators will have to negotiate 2015 appropriations prior to October 1, 2014.
Friends of NETL is a community-based coalition, spearheaded by the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, which endorses the mission and goals of NETL. It is engaged in communication, education and advocacy efforts to demonstrate the broad support that NETL's mission has across the region and country. Businesses, chambers of commerce, trade associations, universities, environmental groups and energy groups are encouraged to join.
With sites in Morgantown, West Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Sugar Land, Texas; Albany, Oregon; and Anchorage, Alaska, NETL implements a broad spectrum of energy and environmental R&D programs.
In the gas and oil sector, NETL research focuses on technologies that reduce the cost, increase the efficiency, and minimize the environmental risk of finding and producing natural gas in unconventional reservoirs, most importantly in fractured shale.