College’s “Energy Forum” to make multiple contributions to understanding alternate fuel options.

The need to reduce fossil fuel consumption has been well established. But the “how” remains an open question.

Ed Glab, director, Knight Ridder Center for Excellence in Management in the college, and former Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Roberto Rodrigues, at the signing ceremony

Through the “Energy Forum,” founded by Ed Glab, director, Knight Ridder Center for Excellence in Management in the College of Business Administration, experts from Florida International University will examine key issues related to developing greater energy security and independence for The Américas. The college is sponsoring the multi-part project with support from the Center for Energy and Technology of the Américas (CETA) of the Applied Research Center (ARC), whose experts will work on the scientific aspects of the new fuel possibilities—especially renewable sources.

The group’s objectives are to serve as a forum for Western Hemisphere energy stakeholders to discuss:

  • the current status of alternative fuel technology development;
  • ways to overcome the challenges to commercialization and the potential for regional technology transfer; and
  • ways hemispheric collaboration can help The Américas collectively secure its energy future.

Experts from the college will use their research strengths to clarify opportunities and barriers.

“The college will research business, regulatory, and policy issues related to this potential new market,” Glab said. “While we want to encourage alternate fuels in the marketplace, from a business perspective we have to understand if the alternatives—such as ethanol—will stand on their own and deliver an acceptable return on investment. In terms of regulation, we have to be sure that there’s a level playing field to encourage investment. And, we need to research whether or not governments are prepared to implement policies that will encourage the development of these options.”

College and “Energy Forum” support former Governor Jeb Bush’s energy initiative.

From left to right: Former Brazilian Minister of Agriculture; Roberto Rodrigues; former Florida Governor Jeb Bush; and Inter-Américan Development Bank (IDB) President Alberto Moreno, sign the Memorandum of Understanding to form the Interamerican Ethanol Commission. The signing ceremony was held at the Biltmore Hotel on December 18, 2006.

Consistent with its founding mission, the “Energy Forum” fully supports former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s recent announcement of the creation of an Interamerican Ethanol Commission to promote the development of renewable fuels for The Américas. The commission was unveiled on December 18, 2006, at a press conference at the Biltmore Hotel, in Coral Gables, Florida. In addition to Bush, the Commission’s members are Luis Alberto Moreno, president, Inter-Américan Development Bank (IDB) and Roberto Rodrigues, former Brazilian Minister of Agriculture.

“We are confident the collective minds involved in this new project will bring many answers to the questions surrounding alternative fuels,” Glab said.

In anticipation of the Governor’s announcement, the “Energy Forum” organized and chaired a panel on biofuels for The Américas as part of the 30th Conference on the Caribbean Basin sponsored by Caribbean and Central American Action (CCAA) and held in Miami in early December, 2006. The dialogue from that panel will be published this month.

Upcoming conferences will provide opportunities for information sharing.

The group already is organizing conferences to delve into the issues more deeply.

“We are planning two conferences in 2007 focused on alternative transportation fuels for The Américas,” said Carmen Algeciras (MIB ’03, BA ’01), director, USAID Farmer-to-Farmer (FTF) Program, who has been working with ARC and whose FTF program has a number of synergies with the new “Energy Forum.” “We are looking at ways to foster biofuel production in countries that we have relationships with through FTF.”

A small conference in February, 2007, in Managua, Nicaragua, will focus on the DR-CAFTA region, whose countries will be able to export ethanol to the United States duty free. The Foundation for Social and Economic Development (FUNIDES) will co-sponsor the event.

In June, 2007, a conference in Miami will focus on The Américas in general with a number of co-sponsors, including Free Trade Area of The Américas (FTAA), CCAA, and various private-sector companies.

“This conference will be broader in scope, focusing on the core issues of transparency in practices, and ways to ensure stability for overseas investment, and on just what the rules of the game will be,” Glab said.

For more information about the “Energy Forum,” visit

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