If Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is “one of America’s greatest comeback stories,” as the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber proudly emphasizes, one reason for this success is surely the role the chamber plays in supporting an innovation-driven economy.
Home to Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory, the region is rich in cutting-edge energy research, innovation, funding, and building designs.
Founded in 1876 by Andrew Carnegie and other outsized industrialists, the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber continues to show leadership today by putting its weight behind energy efficiency, wind energy, solar energy, and other forms of energy innovation through a novel Energy Alliance.
The Energy Alliance is an economic development initiative that encourages collaboration between all the great innovative amenities the city has. It is a program of the chamber’s affiliate, the Allegheny Conference, and Innovation Works.
“Someone had to start connecting the dots between funding, pilot programs, start-ups, research, and commercialization so the opportunities could be realized,” said Carly Dobbins-Bucklad, a Senior Policy Analyst with the Allegheny Conference. The Energy Alliance does this by providing education, access to funding, cross-collaboration and commercial opportunities.
“We come from a heavy industrial and coal past history, including Westinghouse’s nuclear energy. What we want to do with the Energy Alliance with the chamber is to promote other aspects of Pittsburgh’s strength.”
And those, she says, include a dizzying array of innovation companies, including WindStaxTM, a manufacturer of large wind turbines, and EverPower, a developer and operator of utility wind projects.
“A lot of innovation is in energy efficiency and the wind and solar sectors,” Dobbins-Bucklad said. “That’s where the research is, and that’s where we are trying to get efforts connected and commercialized.”
Pittsburgh may have made its name as a leader in steel and other 20th century industries. But today, its ambitions are even greater.
“People are interested in Pittsburgh maintaining its reputation as a leader in everything—that’s everything,” Dobbins-Bucklad underscores, “wind and solar, as well.”