Clean energy initiative launches in Indianapolis-WEB ONLY

An economic development initiative around so-called clean technology was formally launched yesterday to further energize renewable energy projects and hybrid vehicle development under way in the state.

Energy Systems Network will be another economic development plank under Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, the parent of BioCrossroads, which promotes life sciences; Conexus, which promotes manufacturing and distribution; and TechPoint, which touts technology.

Energy Systems Network has garnered $1.5 million in private and institutional funding from partners including Duke Energy Corp., the Charlotte, N.C., utility that serves parts of Indiana among other areas.

The chairman of the energy initiative is Joe Loughrey, retiring vice chairman of Columbus-based Cummins Inc. The president and CEO of ESN is Paul Mitchell, former policy adviser on energy and economic and work-force development for Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Mitchell said the network is already pursuing two projects. Project Plug-IN is a demonstration to put plug-in electric vehicles on the road in central Indiana and to develop so-called smart grid infrastructure to charge them.

The other initiative, Hoosier Heavy Hybrid Partnership, is an alliance among several companies in Indiana to produce hybrid-powered trucks.

Indiana is already a leader in the development of wind farms and clean-coal technology “and we have companies working on nearly every component of hybrid and plug-in vehicles,” Daniels said.

ESN “will play a pivotal role in matching Indiana’s strengths to opportunities for more jobs and investment,” he said.

Among members of ESN’s board are John Waters, president and CEO of Anderson-based Bright Automotive, which is working on a hybrid truck that could be ready for market in 2011 or 2012.

Others include Duke Energy Chairman Jim Rogers; Charles Gassenheimer, CEO of New York City-based battery maker Ener1 Corp., which owns the Indianapolis-headquartered battery maker EnerDel; France Cordova, president of Purdue University; and Thomas Snyder, president of Ivy Tech Community College and former CEO of Anderson-based Remy International Inc., an electrical-components maker headquartered in Pendleton.

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