Seminar Archive Summaries

Large-Scale Solar: TomKat Center Seed Grant Research

Thomas Jaramillo, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering
Michael McGehee, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
David Lobell, Associate Professor of Environmental Earth System Science
Ram Rajagopal, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Moderated by Stacey F. Bent, Director of the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy

Monday, March 2, 2015 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

TomKat Center Seed Grant Research
With the occurrence of extreme weather events increasing and the effects of climate change impacting our food and water resources, the imperative to transform our energy system is self-evident. The TomKat Center Seed Grants fund research from across Stanford University that has the potential to contribute to a sustainable energy system. Results of four of their large-scale solar projects will be presented.

Related Themes:

Climate Change Ethics: Life and Death

John Broome, Visiting Scholar, Professor of Moral Philosophy at University of Oxford

Monday, February 23, 2015 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Climate change raises important and difficult issues of ethics. Broadly they fall into two classes. There are issues of justice concerned with how the work of dealing with climate change should be shared among countries and people. There are issues of value concerned with judging the harm that climate change will do, and the benefits of measures to control it. I shall concentrate on value, and particularly on the special problems for value theory that arise from the life-and-death effects of climate change. Climate change will shorten many people's lives, and it will affect the number of people who will be born. How should we value these effects?


John Broome is Emeritus White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford and a Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Stanford. He was previously Professor of Economics at Bristol. His books include *Counting the Cost of Global warming* (1992), *Climate Matters: Ethics in a Warming World* (2012) and *Rationality Through Reasoning* (2013).

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Changes, Challenges and Uncertainties for Utilities: Addressing 111(d) and Beyond, 111(d) Mini-Series (2 of 3)

Jonathan Weisgall, Vice President for Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for Berkshire Hathaway Energy

Monday, February 9, 2015 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All


Jonathan Weisgall is Vice President for Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for Berkshire Hathaway Energy, formerly MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company. He also serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies and president of the Geothermal Energy Association.

He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where he has taught a seminar on energy issues since 1990, and he has also guest lectured on energy issues at Stanford Law School and the Johns Hopkins Environmental Science and Policy Program. Mr. Weisgall graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia College and from Stanford Law School, where he served on the Board of Editors of Stanford Law Review. He previously practiced law in Washington, D.C. at Covington & Burling, has written law review articles for Wisconsin Law Review and University of San Francisco Law Review, and has published articles in Legal Times, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Policy, SAIS Review, and The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

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Self-Regulatory Lessons From the U.S. Commercial Nuclear Power Industry: Why Does It Work and Why Can’t It Be Replicated?

Admiral Jim Ellis, Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution

Monday, February 2, 2015 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

In the early morning hours of March 28, 1979 began a series of events that led to a partial meltdown of the reactor core at Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant and the worst accident in the history of the commercial nuclear power industry in the United States. Catalyzed by this event, the industry leadership formed an independent oversight entity, the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, resourced its technical staffing, and ceded significant authorities to it in the areas of operational oversight, training and accreditation, the sharing of operational experience and provision of assistance to plants in need. As the former President and CEO of INPO, Admiral Ellis will discuss the requirements for effective self-regulation, specifically, and consider the broader employment of the concept.

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The Politics of Energy Efficiency in Japan

Phillip Lipscy, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Stanford University

Monday, January 26, 2015 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

We will consider the political context of energy policy in Japan since the 1970s oil shocks.  I will argue that political arrangements in Japan after World War II made it attractive for politicians to pursue energy conservation by making energy, particularly for automobile transportation and electricity usage, expensive for the average Japanese citizen.  The revenues and economic rents created by various fees, taxes, and regulations to promote energy conservation were redistributed to core supporters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.  These political arrangements have come under challenge in recent years, calling into question Japan’s traditional approach towards energy conservation.

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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.