Oregon Energy Systems and Technology Research Administration (OESTRA)
Oregon needs to exploit its unique position as a lead state in developing clean energy. We have already invested billions of tax dollars to attract companies to develop our renewable resources. However, we invest almost nothing to develop a world class talent pool that will provide the innovation and technical skill necessary to make our state the ‘go to’ place for renewable energy education, research, and innovation for the foreseeable future.
A team of citizen volunteers have been working on a proposal (OESTRA) that follows the recommendations of the Pew Charitable Trust and uses some of the best from successful programs in other states like Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina. Tobias Read, Chairman of the House Sustainability and Economic Development Committee, is preparing legislation based on this proposal. The proposal would bring eminent scholars to Oregon to teach top decile students, establish applied research labs that will employ and train graduate students, capture Federal grants, and stimulate investment in renewable energy innovation and technologies. At a cost of $4 million/year it will establish Oregon as the center for renewable energy innovation, provide a basis for reducing utility costs, lowering dependence on fossil fuels, and building an economic development model based on clean energy and family wage jobs. A significant part of this proposal is the inclusion of an ROI model that can measure the benefit from these investments.
The American Innovation Council, let by Bill Gates and Jeff Immelt, has embraced this approach. The Obama Administration is in the process of implementing the Council proposals. The recommendations include putting an additional $16 billion into renewable energy research and development projects that will enable us to become energy independent and reduce our carbon footprint. The next six years will be a critical time for Oregon to capture these research investments and build an important public/private partnership. This alliance will elevate our higher education system, provide job growth in applied research around clean energy, and grow the number of technology based companies so necessary for Oregon’s future.
Meyer should leverage its prominence in Oregon's non-profit community with a $1 million "challenge grant" that will serve as a catalyst to attract other dollars; especially one-time start up funds from other foundations, private industry sources, and key federal granting agencies. A Meyer grant will also send a strong message to the Governor and Legislature that future jobs in Oregon will depend on public/private investments in clean energy and technology.
Josh Bratt, CIMA®
Vice President | Wealth Advisor
Senior Consultant, ICS
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney | Global Wealth Management Group
1001 SW Fifth Avenue, Suite 2200
Portland, OR 97204
Phone: +1 503-552-3368
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josh bratt commented
Ideas like Drive Oregon could be key initiatives within OESTRA. It would be up to a consortia of private industry, the Oregon University System (think ETIC), and Business Oregon (think Oregon InC) to determine, through an RFP process, priorities (smart grid, battery technology, offshore wind/wave, etc.) that would provide the greatest return on investment in terms of permanent family-wage job creation.
Drive Oregon commented
Oregon can take the lead while building value for our community - great idea to develop a center for renewable energy innovation, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and building an economic development model based on clean energy and family wage jobs. See here for another similar concept from Drive Oregon: http://www.ideas4oregon.org/forums/59917-million-dollar-ideas/suggestions/907311-drive-oregon-clean-transportation-green-jobs-an?ref=title