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Blog Entries from April 2009

NIST Announces Three-Phase Plan for Smart Grid Standards, Paving Way for More Efficient, Reliable Electricity

Image of electricity-producing wind farm. Click for larger image.

Photo: Shutterstock

As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to moving the nation toward energy independence, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a three-phase plan to expedite development of key standards for a Smart Grid, a nationwide network that uses information technology to deliver electricity efficiently, reliably and securely. The recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) contains investments critical to spurring the Smart Grid development process. The Smart Grid will allow wind farms to send their energy farther from their source. (More) (NIST Recovery Act Information)

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Statement on Trade Numbers

DOC seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the February 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports increased by 1.6 percent to $126.8 billion since January 2009. Imports decreased 5.1 percent to $152.7 billion. Overall, the trade deficit shrank 28.3 percent during the same time period. (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke Meets with Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong for First Courtesy Visit

The Secretary and Ambassador greet one another with a handshake. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with China’s Ambassador to the United States Zhou Wenzhong in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the Commerce Department, the first visit by a foreign ambassador to the Secretary. Zhou has been the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. since 2005. Secretary Locke is the first Chinese American to serve as Commerce Secretary and was the first Chinese American governor in U.S. history. Secretary Locke is committed to continue building a positive and cooperative relationship between the U.S. and China to create jobs and strengthen the economy.

National Trademark Expo Set for USPTO Campus May 8-9

Kiosk with sign publicizing expo.

Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will present a National Trademark Expo May 8 and 9. A ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. will kick off the two day event. The Expo will be held on the agency’s campus in Alexandria, Virginia. In addition to Trademark Exhibitors, local businesses will also participate in the Expo. The Expo will highlight anti-counterfeiting efforts and how counterfeit goods cause great harm to the economy. The Expo is free, fun and informative for the whole family. (More)

NOAA Submits Proposed Recovery Plan to Congress to Help Create Jobs, Improve Coastal Communities and Protect Habitat

ARRA logo. Click to go to Commerce.gov/Recovery.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) submitted to Congress its proposed Recovery plan to create jobs, strengthen the economy, and restore our environment. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, NOAA was provided $830 million. NOAA estimates its planned expenditures will create a significant number of new jobs and strengthen the economy, spurring the creation of additional jobs.NOAA’s investments in weather forecasting and research, fisheries, ocean and coastal management are aimed at safeguarding lives and putting Americans to work. (More)

Locke Statement on President Obama's Intent to Nominate Groves as Census Director

Bureau of the Census seal.

President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Robert Groves as the new Director of the U.S. Census Bureau. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke released the following statement: “The decennial Census faces significant challenges, but I am confident that Robert’s leadership will help us meet those challenges. He is a respected social scientist who will run the Census Bureau with integrity and independence.” As Census Director, Groves will report to Secretary Locke. (Statement) (White House Release)

Secretary Locke Addresses Importance of Broadband to Nation's Economic Recovery and Growth

Locke holding microphone. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke highlighted the importance of broadband to the nation’s economic recovery and growth at the opening of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association’s 2009 National Cable Show. Locke highlighted the Broadband Initiatives funded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which are critical for building a 21st century information infrastructure and creating jobs in unserved, underserved and rural communities across the country. ”Access to high-speed Internet networks opens doors to the world. . . and is fundamental to this country’s economic growth,” Locke said.

Secretary Locke Encourages U.S. Latinos To Be Counted in Census 2010

Secretary Locke speaking from podium.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke participated in the kick off of an historic national campaign at the National Press Club to urge the nearly 50 million U.S. Latinos to fully participate in the 2010 Census. Locke joined the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) and other partners at the launch of the ya es hora !HAGASE CONTAR! (It’s Time, Make Yourself Count!) campaign. “Bringing the right numbers to your communities means bringing economic empowerment. And you have not left the work to the Census Bureau alone,” Locke said. “You are leading the way and taking charge of your destiny. Yes. It is time.” (Remarks)

NOAA: Early Warning System Forecasts Deadly Mudslides

Image of van trapped in debris. Click for larger image.

Scientists from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Geological Survey have developed a prototype debris flow warning system using weather forecasts and precipitation measurements along with regional USGS rainfall rate thresholds to determine the probability of debris flows. In the United States, approximately 25 to 50 deaths a year can be attributed to the phenomenon of debris flow—or mudslides as they are more commonly known—with monetary losses exceeding $2 billion annually. (More)