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Tech pros delve into the issues of energy efficiency

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The Buenaventura chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers is hosting its first Energy Efficiency Symposium to highlight product development and industry trends.

The institute is a professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation that has 800 active members in Ventura County, according to the group’s vice chairman, Bridgeman Carney.

Carney started a Power and Energy Society within the institute chapter and had the idea of bringing members and potential new members together for a symposium.

“Engineers like to see where the hot spots are, and energy efficiency is a pretty strong emerging area in product expertise,” said Carney, a consultant for technology companies based in Thousand Oaks.

“Energy efficiency is all about what can we do to be smarter in using the energy we have,” he added. “The thing about power and energy is that it touches so many things and so many engineering disciplines are involved. Engineers are interested to see what the future is and just want to keep up with the times.”

The Oct. 27 symposium at the Westlake Village Inn will have about six exhibitors and several guest speakers. The keynote speaker is David Auston, executive director of the Institute for Energy Efficiency at UC Santa Barbara.

Auston says he plans to speak about the energy crisis nationally and globally and the role science and engineering play in responding to it.

“I’ll outline some of the issues and challenges where our energy comes from, global warming, sustainability and security issues and the fact we tend to waste a lot of it,” he said. “Then I’ll talk about the options currently being pursued, especially from the perspective of electrical engineering.

“There’s a lot of misinformation about the energy crisis and global warming and all its impacts,” he said. “It’s something akin to hysteria, and there’s a need to look at it at a more dispassionate level.”

One topic he plans to address is developments in photovoltaics, including concentrator photovoltaics, thermoelectrics and batteries.

Jeff Lebow from Southern California Edison’s Economic Development Services will speak about how the utility helps companies plan efficient energy use. There will also be a presentation about SCE’s “smart meters.”

Tyson Salewski of Schweitzer Engineering Labs is scheduled to speak about technologies under development can make the power grid more reliable.

Dan Roberts from Maverick Angels Investments will discuss funding for engineer entrepreneurs.

Exhibitors will include SolarWorld of Camarillo, the California Coast Venture Forum and QualityLogic of Moorpark. For the past three years, QualityLogic has focused on the smart grid, doing testing and software development that helps manufacturers reach standard protocols.

“We write test software to help device manufacturers ensure that devices that will ultimately connect to the grid will work,” said Dave Jollota, president and CEO.

“We’re the front-running candidate for the protocol to be used between the grid and consumer devices to get information from the utility to the consumer,” he said.

The symposium runs from 3 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Westlake Village Inn. Admission is $45 for institute members, $20 for students and $75 for others.

Admission also is available at the door for a higher price. Tickets include a buffet, and there will be a cash bar.

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