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Posted: Jan 28, 2011
Schumer pushes energy secretary Chu to approve creation of a federal high tech consortium at UAlbany CNSE
(Nanowerk News) Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer released a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, urging him to approve SEMATECH's application to form a new photovoltaic manufacturing consortium with support from the Department of Energy's Photovoltaic Manufacturing Initiative. The potential U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium would partner the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) at UAlbany with the University of Central Florida and could massively increase the United States' share of the photovoltaic technology and products market, potentially creating millions of jobs over the next decade. Senator Schumer and Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) also placed a joint phone call to Secretary Chu in support of the consortium earlier this week.
"The photovoltaic manufacturing consortium has unlimited potential when it comes to advancing our technological capabilities, increasing our competitiveness abroad, and most importantly – creating jobs for middle-class families in the Capital Region," said Senator Schumer. "I am a staunch supporter of its creation, and shared with the Energy Secretary the many reasons why the CNSE is the perfect partner in this potential consortium. I have invited the Energy Secretary to visit The Nano Campus and will continue the push to secure the Department of Energy's support for this job-creating consortium."
"We know that alternative energy technologies are the key to our future energy independence and to green jobs as well. I told Secretary Chu, that Dr. Alain Kaloyeros is absolutely the man for this job. Just as he has made the Capital Region the epicenter for cutting edge semiconductor research, I know he can do the same thing with photovoltaic, " Schumer added.
Dr. Alain E. Kaloyeros, Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of CNSE, said, "On behalf of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, we acknowledge and thank our Senior Senator, Chuck Schumer, for his exceptional leadership and staunch advocacy on behalf of New York State and its emerging nanotechnology initiative, which is playing a vital role in accelerating clean energy technologies and creating high-paying green jobs for the 21st century. We are delighted that the Department of Energy has selected the SEMATECH-CNSE partnership as a finalist, underscoring world-class technological capabilities that are both second-to-none and necessary to ensure U.S. competitiveness in the global high-tech economy. This initiative builds on and complements the investments that have made New York the worldwide capital for nanotechnology, in the process creating jobs, attracting global companies, and luring billions of dollars in private investment that is driving new economic development and growth."
The SEMATECH consortium is a joint venture with both CNSE as well as the University of Central Florida. Over 80 companies, universities, and high tech laboratories have committed to join the alliance that will provide a major boost to the United States' photovoltaic manufacturing industry. The consortium will help develop new photovoltaic manufacturing technologies, streamline their introduction into the global market, and help the United States gain a greater market share. The consortium currently has financial commitments totaling $400 million from state and corporate entities, including $125 million from New York State. With an additional $100 million from the Department of Energy the consortium could hit the ground running with approximately half a billion dollars, providing an immediate boost to this critical manufacturing sector.
The College of Nanoscale Science at the University of Albany focuses on nanotechnology education, research and development, and technology deployment. It works with a variety of governmental and private enterprises to develop new technologies, and help these technologies enter the marketplace. The College was the first ever institution to issue a Ph.D. in nanoscience, and has a faculty of 48 instructing 184 students. The center hosts 2,500 employees on site and partners with 250 partner organizations across the globe.
Solar photovoltaic technologies convert solar energy into useful energy forms by directly absorbing solar photons and either converting part of the energy to electricity or storing part of the energy in a chemical reaction. Solar photovoltaic technologies produce clean power from domestic renewable energy, provide a source of reliable solar power, are more easily built than conventional power plants, and boost the national economy by creating new solar companies and jobs of the future.
The full text of the Senator's letter to Secretary Chu is below:
Dear Secretary Chu:
I write in support of SEMATECH's application to form the U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium (PVMC) with support from the Department of Energy's Photovoltaic Manufacturing Initiative. This consortium has the potential to boost the U.S. photovoltaic manufacturing industry, speed up commercialization of next generation photovoltaic technologies and products, and considerably increase the U.S. share of this critical market.
As you know, the SEMATECH consortium, in a joint venture with the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) at the University of Albany-SUNY and the University of Central Florida (UCF), has secured commitments from over 80 companies, universities and government laboratories nationwide to join this alliance. New York State has committed $125 million to this initiative and as one of the few finalists under consideration by your office, the consortium has received over $400 million in corporate and state commitments as a match to the requested $100 million in DOE funding creating a half-a-billion dollar initiative right out-of-the-gate.
Through the consortium, SEMATECH will establish world-class facilities in partnership with CNSE and the State of New York. It is estimated that this alliance could create between three and five million jobs nationwide within the next decade. Additionally, I would like to personally invite you to visit the world-class facilities at CNSE so that you can see first-hand how the proposed PVMC will build on and expand our unique industry, university, and government partnership model into the U.S. photovoltaic industry.
I request that this consortium be given the Department's strongest consideration in its decision to award PVMI funds, and thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.