|GOING GREENER: Mayor Tommy Battle announces new energy initiative
Energy Huntsville Initiative seeks to make Tennessee Valley more energy efficient, create new jobs
HUNTSVILLE, AL (June 3, 2011)- Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle announced a new energy initiative for the Tennessee Valley at a press conference Friday. The initiative, called Energy Huntsville, seeks to capitalize on North Alabama's technical depth and expertise in systems engineering, testing, technology integration and innovation. The goal is to diversify the local economy, create new job opportunities and enhance the region's national reputation in emerging energy markets.
"The energy field will continue to grow 5, 10, 20 years into the future," said Mayor Battle. "It will give us yet another lasting workforce here in the Tennessee Valley."
Mayor Battle spoke alongside several leaders from the Energy Huntsville team as well as government liaisons.
Dale Jobes, Director of the Energy Huntsville initiative, expressed the benefits of making the region a center of excellence for green energy efforts.
"[The initiative] will capitalize on Huntsville's expertise to diversify the economy, create new jobs and enhance the region's recognition for clean and green," said Jobes. He added that a focus on energy programs can also "expand the technology base as well as enable the military to have more fight with less energy."
The Energy Huntsville initiative will help the region in times of inclement weather. Mayor Battle spoke about the need for local energy independence and sustainability after the April 27 storms.
"We have to rethink some of the [energy] processes that we do," said Mayor Battle. "The tornadoes were a wake- up call."
Another goal of the Energy Huntsville initiative is to expand the reputation of North Alabama as a key technology cluster, innovator and national asset to the green energy sector.
In order to accomplish this, the Mayor and the Energy Huntsville Team extended an invitation to interested companies, government liaisons, volunteers and non-profits to join this effort.
In anticipation of this new energy workforce, Drake State Technical College, Nexus, Still Serving Veterans and other organizations won a $500,000 grant from the Department of Labor for development of a green workforce. The program will train 200 Green workers in 24 months, providing them with hands-on training in renewable technologies.
"For us, as the Huntsville community, it's about job opportunity and workforce development," Mayor Battle said. "We, as a community, are known for looking forward."
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