|wenty years ago the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 had interrupted the flow of foreign crude, and in America we saw serious shortages of crude and refined products such as gasoline and home heating oil. Domestic energy production was being encouraged to reduce the nation's dependence on imported oil, and coal looked increasingly attractive. Coal was expected to aim for a wider share of its traditional market as a fuel for generating electricity for heat and power, and to supplant petroleum in new markets as a feedstock for synthetic transportation fuels, chemicals and materials.|
At the same time, the 1970's have been aptly called the "Decade of the Environment" as evidenced by the passage of unprecedented environmental legislation. Coal, the focus of much of the nation's hopes for energy independence, also became the focus of increasing attention on issues of environmental quality. The issues were wide-ranging and affected how we manage our air, land and water resources. Legislation was soon passed to force reductions in air emissions from coal-fired electric power plants, and to protect land, water and ecological resources. The challenge then was to develop economically viable and environmentally acceptable technologies which could lead to the wider use of coal. Kentucky's response was to embark on an aggressive energy research and demonstration program which still thrives.
Under the administration of Governor Wendell Ford, the state created a $55 million Demonstration Trust Fund and would soon construct and equip one of the most complete and sophisticated energy research laboratories in the United States. Governor Julian Carroll authorized the construction of the laboratory and it was officially dedicated in July, 1977. From these origins sprang the present-day Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) at the University of Kentucky (UK).
In just a few short years, Kentucky had established the nation's premier energy research and demonstration program. The key to our longevity over all these years has been our ability to adapt and remain responsive to the problems faced by the energy industry in Kentucky, the nation and in the world. This has been accomplished by advancing steady efforts to forge lasting partnerships with the producers, transporters and users of coal - our stakeholders.
20th Anniversary Rededication
|n October 2nd, the CAER held a 20th anniversary rededication on the grounds of the laboratory. Many of the original supporters were in attendance, as were the laboratory employees. The speakers included: CAER Director, Frank Derbyshire; UK President Charles Wethington; UK Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, Fitzgerald Bramwell; Former Kentucky Secretaries of Energy, David Drake (Currently Director of New Business Development, East Kentucky Power Cooperative) and William Sturgill (Currently, Chair of the Kentucky Marketing and Export Council); and U.S. Senator, Wendell Ford.|
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