Seminar Archive Summaries

Clearing the Air: Ensuring Long Term Value to Shell by Addressing Climate Change and Pricing Carbon, Carbon Pricing mini-series one of three

Angus Gillespie, Vice President for CO2, Shell 

Monday, January 12, 2015 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Shell recognizes the importance of broadening the frame of the energy and climate change discussion. There needs to be substantial additional amounts of energy to meet growing population levels and increasing standards of living worldwide. At the same time, we recognize the need to reduce CO2. Energy is fundamental to our civilization. Much of the world’s population enjoys abundant and affordable energy. But three billion do not. Providing them with the energy they need to improve their quality of life whilst reducing the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is an important challenge to address.  

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Celebrating Twenty-Five Years of Solar and Automotive Student Innovation

Monday, January 5, 2015 | 04:15 PM - 05:30 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Come join past and current team members for the first showing of the documentary, "Stanford Solar Project: Riding on Sunshine,” commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Stanford Solar Car Project (SSCP). The film features the team's top-five finish in the 2013 World Solar Challenge across the Australian outback, as well as interviews with project supporters, including JB Straubel, CTO of Tesla Motors, and representatives from Google, Panasonic and other tech companies.

This film is produced by Mark Shwartz of the Precourt Institute for Energy.

After the showing and brief remarks by guests, please join us for the Precourt Energy Social from 5:30-7:15pm, right outside the auditorium. 

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A New Energy Economy in America, mini-series one of three: 111(d)

Bill Ritter, former Colorado Governor; Founder and Director of the Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE), Colorado State University.

Monday, December 1, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Today, 220 million Americans live in a state with a Renewable Portfolio Standard and 240 million live in states with a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  When taken in aggregate, the population of those states with commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be the fifth largest country in the world. Despite the fact that climate is a global issue, states are really leading the U.S. forward.  Governor Ritter will discuss the Colorado New Energy Economy story and examples of other states that have led the energy revolution. 



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U.S. Fuel Economy Standards: Economics and Efficiency

Mark Jacobsen, professor, University of California, San Diego, research associate, National Bureau of Economic Research

Monday, November 17, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

The U.S. corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards place requirements on the efficiency of new vehicles sold and are a cornerstone of U.S. efforts to reduce gasoline use. They are currently slated for a sharp increase in stringency, nearly doubling the average fuel economy of new vehicles by 2025. I will present results from a set of three projects examining the economics behind these rules: First, I measure the overall costs of CAFE policy using detailed data on demand for new vehicles and a model of producer behavior. Second, I address the intertwined questions of vehicle size and accident safety in the context of CAFE. Finally, I will present results from a current working paper that measures the effects of CAFE on used vehicle scrappage.

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Renewable Realities: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly in Renewable Energy's Rise

Dan Arvizu, director, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Moderated by Jeffrey Ball, scholar-in-residence, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance

Monday, November 10, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Brief Bio:

Dan E. Arvizu became the eighth Director of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on January 15, 2005. NREL is the Department of Energy's primary laboratory for energy efficiency and renewable energy research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC (Alliance). Dr. Arvizu is President of Alliance and also is an Executive Vice President with the MRIGlobal, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. Prior to joining NREL, Dr. Arvizu was the chief technology officer with CH2M HILL Companies, Ltd. Before joining CH2M he was an executive with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He started his career and spent four years at the AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories. In 2011, Dr. Arvizu was appointed by President Obama to a second six-year term on the National Science Board, the governing board of the National Science Foundation and the national science policy advisory body to the President and the Congress. He is presently serving as Chairman. Dr. Arvizu serves on a number of boards, panels and advisory committees including the American Council on Renewable Energy Advisory Board, the Singapore International Advisory Panel on Energy, the Colorado Renewable Energy Authority Board of Directors, and the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy Advisory Council. He is Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering. He has a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from New Mexico State University and a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.

Jeffrey Ball, a writer on energy and the environment, is scholar-in-residence at Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance. At Stanford’s Steyer-Taylor Center, a joint initiative of the university’s law and business schools, Ball heads a project exploring how China and the U.S. might deploy clean-energy capital more efficiently if each one played more strategically to its economic strengths. The project focuses on the solar-energy industry, the subject of a law-school public-policy practicum that Ball has co-taught. In 2013, he conceived of and moderated a five-part series of public discussions at Stanford, called Rising Power, on China’s energy business and its global implications.

Modeling Post 2020 Global Climate Change Policies (Confessions of an Integrated Assessment Modeler)

Max Tavoni, fellow, Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences (Stanford), associate professor, Politecnico di Milano

Monday, November 3, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Implementing measures which allows us to start reducing global emissions is an important objective of international climate policy. Against the limited progress being observed so far, there are rising expectations about a post 2020 climate agreement - to be agreed upon in the Paris UNFCCC meeting in 2015. This talk will summarize the state of knowledge of the modeling work on global climate and energy policies. Reporting from the literature of energy-economy-land use integrated models -which provided major input to the IPCC 5th assessment report WGIII- I will assess the relation between short term mitigation actions and long term temperature objectives, the impacts of climate measures in the major economies, the difficult relation between efficiency and equity, and the role of abundant natural gas for climate change.



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Resource Revolution: A Tenfold Increase in Productivity

Stefan Heck, consulting professor, Precourt Institute for Energy

Monday, October 27, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

The prophets of doom are wrong. They believe the rapid rise over the next two decades of a new 2.5-billion-person urban middle class—and the unprecedented demand this growth will generate for oil, gas, steel, land, food, water, cement, clean air, and other commodities—must inevitably spur a global economic and environmental crisis. This talk takes that challenge seriously—but comes to exactly the opposite conclusion.

Instead, I will make the case that we are on the cusp of a new industrial revolution, the Resource Revolution, and that that same order of magnitude change we saw in labor productivity is possible for resources. We can meet soaring demand in a sustainable way by transforming how companies and societies prosper represents nothing less than the biggest business opportunity in one hundred years. The combination of information technology, nanoscale materials, and biotech with traditional industrial technology can unleash a step-change in resource productivity and generate enormous new profit pools. However, capturing these business opportunities—and avoiding the disruption they bring—will require an entirely new approach to management.

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Has Motorization in the U.S. Peaked?

Michael Sivak, director, Sustainable Worldwide Transportation, University of Michigan

Monday, October 20, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

I will discuss two series of studies related to the possible peaking of motorization in the U.S. In the first series of studies, I examined recent changes in the number of registered light-duty vehicles, and the corresponding changes in distance driven and fuel consumed. The units of the analyses were both the absolute numbers and the rates per person, per driver, and per household.

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Pricing Carbon Emissions

Bob Litterman, Chairman of the Risk Committee and a founding partner, Kepos Capital LP

Monday, October 13, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

The appropriate time path for emissions prices, which economists call the "Social Cost of Carbon," should be thought of as the solution to an optimal control problem. The price of carbon is the brake that society uses to accelerate or decelerate the rate of usage of the atmosphere's unknown capacity to safely absorb emissions. Right now the incentive to reduce emissions is strongly negative, i.e. governments around the world heavily subsidize the creation of emissions. Potential climate-risk tail events, together with societal risk aversion (which is best observed in the equity risk premium) and expectations of technological change determine the appropriate time path for emissions prices. Societal understanding of this issue is at a tipping point. As expectations of incentives being created sooner and higher increase, the valuations of stranded assets, such as coal and coal fired power plants will decline. But understanding how forward expectations of carbon emission prices drive current valuations is complex. It is also important to understand that it is not the act of pricing emissions that destroys the value of these assets – it is the economic externality that has already destroyed their value. What the recognition of that externality will do is to reduce their current false valuations. Exxon and Shell have, in their public discussion of stranded assets, shown that they do not understand this issue. Paraphrasing Upton Sinclair, “It is difficult to get a company to understand something, when the valuation of its assets depends on it not understanding it.”

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Answering Calls of Our Time: Energy Technology Transitions and Equity

Holmes Hummel, founder, Clean Energy Works


Monday, October 6, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

How can we deploy clean energy technologies on a scale that matters and in a time frame that makes a difference? Market conditions that motivate private equity investments are framed in part by public policy decisions taken in contexts where social equity is a factor. Claims for justice are persistent in sticking points such as the distribution of benefits and burdens along energy supply chains, investing revenue from climate policies, and international development efforts to expand access to electricity worldwide. However, advocates with urgent calls for technology transition often overlook calls for fairness and inclusion as a path for expediting progress.

From this vantage point, advancing equity and opportunity is tightly aligned with opening opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors, and consumers everywhere – and with sustaining Earth’s life support systems. Interdisciplinary thinking that connects engineering, economics, policy, sociology, and philosophy can integrate concepts of fairness and inclusion into strategies for accelerating clean energy technology deployment. This seminar will draw on real-world examples at multiple scales to highlight landscapes of opportunity for more innovations in interdisciplinary problem-solving that can accelerate clean energy revolutions.