Proposals sought for energy innovation projects

How can Mesa County become an epicenter for energy innovation?

A new center at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction is looking for ideas on how to acheve that goal and expects to award up to $160,000 in 2013 to help fund applied research and workforce development projects.

“We’ve spent a great deal of time listening to business and industry, and we are looking forward to investing these funds on projects that move the ball for them as well as for our students,” said CMU President Tim Foster.

The Unconventional Energy Center at CMU has requested proposals from academia, business, industry and the community on ways to develop an epicenter of energy innovation.

CMU received a $1.6 million grant from the Mesa County Federal Mineral Lease Board, money distributed from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to areas affected by energy development. CMU matched the grant to create a $3.2 million endowment to fund applied research and workforce development projects in the region.

The center and grant are seen as ways to help achieve one of three major goals of a newly drafted economic development plan for Mesa County — establish an epicenter for energy research and development.

“By establishing the center, our community has put its money where its mouth is with respect to environmentally sound economic development and becoming an epicenter of energy innovation,” said John Redifer of the Redifer Research Institute at CMU, of which the Unconventional Energy Center is a part.

A committee focused on applied research expects to award up to $100,000 in 2013. A committee focused on workforce development and curriculum improvement expects to award $60,000.

“Our committees will focus on propoals that bring matching funds to the table in order to get the most bang out of every buck in this endowment,” Redifer said.

For more information about the Unconventional Energy Center or to download a copy of the requests for proposal, log on to www.coloradomesau.edu/energy/proposals.html.