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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

President Shirley Ann Jackson to Deliver Keynote Address at The Washington Post Company Energy Conference

November 7, 2007

President Shirley Ann Jackson to Deliver Keynote Address at The Washington Post Company Energy Conference

Former Chairman of the NRC to continue call for a comprehensive energy roadmap

Troy, N.Y. — Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson will deliver the keynote address at the Washington Post Company Energy Conference on November 8, 2007, continuing her call for a comprehensive energy roadmap to meet the demand for global energy security

“Global energy security is the greatest challenge of our time, inextricably interlinked with our economic and national security,” Jackson says. “The issue presents extraordinary geopolitical challenges and offers extraordinary economic opportunities. Yet, the United States does not have a comprehensive energy roadmap.” 

Jackson, former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (1995-99), is co-chairing the Council on Competitiveness “Energy Security, Innovation & Sustainability Initiative,” convening leaders in business, academe, and labor to craft an agenda to enhance U.S. competitiveness and global energy security. She also is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Independent Task Force on Climate Change and the Brookings Institution’s Energy Initiative.

Many have urged a focus on “energy independence,” but Jackson notes that “in a globally interconnected and interdependent world, ‘energy independence’ is a troubling misnomer," and she warns that, "if we want to be successful it is essential that we are both clear and correct about our goal." 

“True global energy security will require innovation in the discovery, extraction, and transportation of fossil fuels; innovation in conservation; and innovation to develop alternative energy sources which are reliable, cost-effective, safe, and as environmentally benign as possible,” Jackson says.

To spark this innovation, Jackson has urged a national focus on energy research as a focal point to excite and encourage greater interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). She has long warned of what she has dubbed a “Quiet Crisis” in America — the threat to the capacity of the United States to innovate due to reduced support for research and the looming shortage in the nation’s STEM workforce. The impending workforce shortfall results from a record number of retirements on the horizon in the STEM fields, and not enough students in the pipeline to replace them.

“The recent celebration of the 50th anniversary of Sputnik reminds us of the capacity of our nation to rise to great challenges. Now, as then, we must unleash the human talent needed to achieve critical innovation,” says Jackson, President of the nation’s oldest technological research university. “Global energy security is the space race of this millennium.”

Jackson’s 10 a.m. keynote address will be preceded by a Congressional panel and followed by a panel of energy experts. U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman will deliver the luncheon address at the invitation only conference, presented by AREVA and organized and hosted by the Washington Post, 1150 15th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.

NOTE:  Media please confirm attendance with Carlos Silva at or (202) 334-6936.

Washington Post Company Energy Conference: Agenda

8:30 am: Coffee 

9:00 am:  Welcome by Patrick Butler, Vice President, The Washington Post Company

9:05 am:  Energy Legislation in the 108th Congress:  Policies, Prospects and Impact.

A panel discussion featuring:

Senator Bob Corker, Ranking Republican, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Ranking Republican, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy

Representative Edward J. Markey, Chairman, House Select Committee on Energy and Global Warming

Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Member, House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research 

Moderator: Peter Behr, former National Energy Correspondent, Washington Post

10:05 am: Keynote address by Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission 

10:45 am: Energy Security and Environmental Sustainability:  Expert Views. 

A panel discussion featuring:

Denise Bode, CEO, American Clean Skies Foundation

Contact: Theresa Bourgeois
Phone: (518) 276-2840