Gov. Phil Bredesen has been selected to chair the Southern Technology Council, an advisory council focusing on technology and innovation policy issues for the Southern Growth Policies Board. The council is comprised of a diverse group of professionals in the science, technology and economic development fields with the principal mission of strengthening the Southern economy through innovation and technology.
"Through the Southern Technology Council, I hope to continue pushing Tennessee forward in scientific and technological innovation by expanding our initiatives to the regional level," Bredesen said. "This council will help provide Southern businesses with the tools to be technologically proficient, knowledge-driven and globally competitive."
The Southern Technology Council, which will be co-chaired by Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber, will continue to promote the state's initiatives in science and technology, particularly in the area of bioenergy. The STC has a strong, ongoing relationship with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, with the council helping to position ORNL as the "Lab of the South." Last year, the two organizations partnered to present ORNL's winning U.S. Department of Energy proposal and helped convene the Bioenergy Research Alliance at Oak Ridge.
The Southern Technology Council is also the financial and management entity for the Southeast Ag/Forestry Energy Resource Alliance--a group of academic and business professionals working to build bioenergy capacity in the South. Recently, the STC has undertaken the task of providing an analysis of assets and a strategic plan for bioenergy for the South, from feedstocks to commercialization of bioenergy research.
"This is an area that particularly plays to our strengths and interests because Tennessee really is a biomass state," said Bredesen. "Our farmland is well-suited for the production of this kind of material, with the people, know-how and farm resources to make Tennessee and other southern states a leader in this area."Bredesen's commitment of more than $70 million to alternative fuels development last year helped make Tennessee a leader in the movement away from a petroleum-based economy, lessening the state's dependence on foreign oil and its environmental impact.