One of many legacies left by the late US Senator Lugar (IN), besides the Act of nuclear weapon reduction and elimination programs in the old Soviet Union, is the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy located in Indianapolis.
This year’s topic was Electric America: Will the Grid Evolve or Be Replaced? Imagine electricity generated from cascading water in deep abandoned coal mines or the conversion of switchgrass or biomass to electricity. Indiana frankly doesn’t have the national reputation of cutting edge energy research, but nonetheless, it does have a solid name because of its small economies of scale: the ability to test smaller energy renewal projects due to the state’s lower cost living, not anything like New York and California. Add to this equation Purdue, Indiana and Notre Dame universities and these three internationally reputed schools known for their research prowess provide a critical mass of research and teaching talent to conduct renewable energy research.
Now if they can only figure out how to stem Indiana’s student brain drain from these schools after graduation! If climate warming is severe enough perhaps Indiana will someday have a coastline, besides the one its has along Lake Michigan to entice beachgoers? Or if the Rocky Mountains were upended and moved east by a thousand and some miles for the snow skiers.