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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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April 30, 2007 11:30 AM

Beyond the Prius: Plugging in to green transportation

Posted by Brier Dudley

That's the general theme of a high-level conference on alternative energy that Cascadia Center and Microsoft are hosting next Monday at the company's conference center in Redmond.

It's one of two events focusing on electric cars in May, so don't be surprised if you see more than the usual assortment of hybrids humming around the area.

Cascadia's shindig is open to the public but costs $75. Session topics include the future of plug-in hybrids, government incentives and flex-fuel infrastructure needs.

Among the speakers at "Jump Start to a Secure, Clean Energy Future," are Bill Reinert, Toyota's U.S. engineer in charge of advanced vehicle planning; Nick Zielinski, GM's chief engineer for the Chevy Volt, and Michael Rawding, Microsoft's vice president in charge of special projects and corporate affairs.

Also speaking are elected officials, federal officials involved in energy policy and research, academics and investors in green transportation ventures. The keynote speaker is Tyler Duvall, assistant secretary for transportation policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Here's the full agenda.

If you don't get your fill (ha!) at the conference, there's another green transportation conference the following week in Wenatchee.

The Power UP! electrifying transportation summit takes place May 14 and 15 at the Wenatchee Convention Center.

Its keynote speaker is the "father of the plug-in hybrid," Andy Frank, director of the National Center for Hybrid Excellence at University of California-Davis.

Power UP! costs $175, or $75 for students, but it will have a zanier assortment of vehicles. Among the rigs on display are a plug-in Prius, an original EV-1 and an electric tractor.

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.