Lecture Series Marks 40th Anniversary Of DEP

Apr 15, 2011

Forty years ago this month the state of Connecticut created the Department of Environmental Protection. The D.E.P. is marking the occasion by launching a lecture series. As WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports the goal is to stimulate thinking about the agency’s expanding role.

As the D.E.P. gets ready to become the proposed Department of Energy and Environmental Protection staffers took time out to listen to a lecture by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus. They run a think-tank in California, known for its research on energy and climate. Ted Nordhaus says public funds could help spur innovation in the energy sector.

“We really no longer support research and development in the way that we once did in this country and that’s particularly true in energy where we never really supported it .”

Nordhaus suggests academic institutions, government laboratories, venture capitalists and state programs focused on clean energy come together in one location, kind of like a Silicon Valley.

“I think its really important here in Connecticut as you sort of think about what you can do to spur an innovation revolution here and play a big part in that is this critical role of really dense networks of innovators, researchers and others in one physical place.”

Nordhaus also called for state and federal investment in engineering and science education, calling them critical fields that are the source of innovation in energy. For WNPR I’m Nancy Cohen.