Chris Rink
757-864-6786, 757-344-7711
RELEASE : 08-070
08-070: NASA Scientist Honored by State Department

HAMPTON, Va. -- A NASA researcher and other organizers were honored by the U.S. State Department recently for gathering an international group of government representatives, business leaders and citizens to address the benefits of renewable energy technology.

Richard Eckman, a researcher at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., helped organize the March 2008 Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC). Eckman accepted the State Department's Group Superior Honor Award with other WIREC conference organizers at an Oct. 31 award ceremony hosted at the State Department in Washington.

The honor comes as enthusiasm continues to grow for renewable energy technologies. More than 2,800 delegates from 119 countries, along with nearly 3,000 other attendees, participated in the three-day WIREC conference. Government officials and energy experts discussed ways their countries could develop renewable energy, promote sustainable development and reduce greenhouse emissions.

The award highlights the multi-agency effort to organize a conference that was both a ministerial meeting and a trade show. As a participant in the NASA Applied Science Program, Eckman immediately recognized the importance of having NASA represented at WIREC after he heard about the upcoming conference in 2007.

"We demonstrate that Earth observations and model predictions enhance the ability of policy and management decisions to improve renewable energy and energy efficiency," said Eckman. "It was crucial that we share this information with the groups that could benefit most."

The meeting's goals were to create a better understanding of the impact of renewable energy technologies on energy security, economic growth and climate change; explore policy options and best practices; and to develop networks and partnerships.

The award commendation states, for "Extraordinary leadership, tireless dedication, and sustained superior performance in the conceptualization, organization, coordination, and implementation of all aspects of the Washington international renewable energy Conference -- a Presidential initiative that demonstrated U.S. political, commercial and technological leadership in accelerating the global deployment of renewable energy technology."

Through projects like RETScreen with Canada and the HOMER computer model with the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Eckman has helped NASA create more integrated, accessible data that can inform more sustainable energy policies in the U.S. and around the world.

Eckman said his biggest contribution to the planning of the conference was inviting Secretariat Director Jose Achache of the international organization Group on Earth Observations to speak. "It was important to me that we emphasize the importance of Earth observations and NASA's contributions to renewable energy technologies," Eckman added.

The NASA Applied Sciences Program manages the work and research done in the area of renewable energy technologies. The program works with other government agencies, universities, non-profit, international and private sector organizations to extend the benefits of Earth Science research beyond the research community in order to serve society. For more information:

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