Seminar Archive Summaries

111(d) Modeling Series: Modeling Pathways to Long-Term GHG Reductions in California


Elaine Hart, Managing Consultant, E3

Jeffery Greenblatt, Staff Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Monday, June 1, 2015 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Governor Brown recently issued an executive order calling for a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the California economy relative to 1990 levels by 2030. E3 and LBNL will present recent modeling work done by each of their organizations analyzing scenarios, policies, and technologies for emission reductions and provide an overview of key findings and implications.

The California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Independent System Operator engaged E3 to evaluate the feasibility and cost of a range of potential 2030 targets along the way to the state's goal of reducing GHG emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. E3 developed scenarios that explore the potential pace at which emission reductions can be achieved as well as the mix of technologies and practices deployed. E3 conducted the analysis using its California PATHWAYS model.  Enhanced specifically for this study, the model encompasses the entire California economy with detailed representations of the buildings, industry, transportation, and electricity sectors.  

LBNL will discuss its separate but related effort, modeling 2020 and 2030 policy and technology scenarios in California. Using CALGAPS, a new, validated model simulating GHG and criteria pollutant emissions in California from 2010 to 2050, four scenarios were developed: Committed Policies (S1), Uncommitted Policies (S2), Potential Policy and Technology Futures (S3), and Counterfactual (S0), which omits all GHG policies. Forty-nine individual policies were represented. Sensitivity analysis provided quantification of individual policy GHG emissions reduction benefits.

Emily Wimberger, Chief Economist, California Air Resources Board, Carbon Pricing mini-series three of three

Monday, May 18, 2015 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Emily Wimberger is the Chief Economist at the California Air Resources Board.  In her role, Emily advises the Executive Office and Chairman on economic issues and leads a team of economists working to support ARB’s economic analyses. At ARB, Emily also has experience analyzing the market for Cap-and-Trade allowances and related energy, fuel, and carbon markets, implements the Cap-and-Trade Regulation.

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What Could a Global Shale Gas Revolution Bring?, Natural Gas mini-series three of three

Frank Wolak, Director, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, Professor, Economics

Monday, May 11, 2015 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Thus far the United States has been the major beneficiary of shale gas. The rest of the world also has substantial shale gas resources, but there is significant uncertainty whether and how rapidly these resources will be developed. Lower natural gas prices in the United States (US) have significantly reduced US coal use. However, higher natural gas prices in Europe and Asia have led to increased coal use in these regions. Coal is already the major source of energy (as measured by heat content) to the developing world. Current trends suggest that it will soon surpass oil as the major source of heat energy globally. The spread of shale gas technology to other parts of the world will allow these regions to access cheap natural gas and reduce their coal use. However, there are significant legal and regulatory barriers as well as technological barriers to this shale gas development spreading to the rest of the world. This talk will discuss possible futures for the global natural gas and coal markets and the greenhouse gas implications of these futures.


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Carbon Pricing mini-series two of three

Bill Mitchel, Senior Director, World Wide Public Sector, Microsoft

Monday, May 4, 2015 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

As Senior Director for Microsoft’s World Wide Public Sector team, Bill Mitchel leads the company’s government business development to drive energy, transportation and sustainability solutions.

The Energy Industry's Earthquake Problem and How to Manage It, Natural Gas mini-series two of three

Randi Walters, PhD Candidate, Stress and Crustal Mechanics Group, Department of Geophysics, Stanford University

Rall Walsh, PhD Candidate, Stress and Crustal Mechanics Group, Department of Geophysics, Stanford University

Monday, April 27, 2015 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Since 2009, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of small-to-moderate size earthquakes in the central and eastern United States with a significant amount occurring in Oklahoma. In a number of cases, the increase in seismicity appears to be associated with injection of saltwater that is a byproduct of oil and gas production. We present some recent instances of seismicity and offer a framework for assessing the risk of triggered seismicity going forward.  This adds several factors to standard earthquake hazard and risk assessment procedures. The workflow includes a site characterization component to determine the hazard in the area, followed by the utilization of risk tolerance matrices for regulators, operators, stakeholders, and the public to consider in areas of various exposure. The hazard and risk assessment workflow also includes the use of a traffic light system that incorporates geologic and geophysical observations as well as earthquake magnitudes or ground motions, as criteria for whether a particular set of events warrant a response. 

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Nanophotonic Control of Thermal Radiation and Energy Applications

Shanhui Fan, Professor, Electrical Engineering, Director of the Edward L. Ginzton Laboratory, Stanford University

Monday, April 20, 2015 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Nanophotonic structures provide new opportunities to control both the near and far field of thermal electromagnetic fields. Exploiting these opportunities can lead to significant novel energy device and system applications. In this talk, we review some of our recent theoretical and experimental efforts towards developing some of these nanophotonic structures. Specifically, we show that combining near and far field effect results in a thermal extractions scheme, where the total thermal emission of a macroscopic thermal emitter can exceed the apparent blackbody limit of the emitter. We also show that nanophotonic structures can be applied to demonstrate radiative cooling under direct sunlight. Finally, we explore the new thermal physics as enabled by the use of non-reciprocal thermal emitters, where maximum violation of detailed balance between absorption and emission becomes possible.

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Wind Uncertainty in Electricity Markets: Practical Challenges

Mar Reguant, Assistant Professor, Economics, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Monday, April 13, 2015 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Integrating large quantities of wind and solar energy is often considered a challenge due to the intermittent nature of renewable generation. I present evidence on the costs and benefits of renewable power based on data from the Iberian Electricity market, which as of 2012 produces over 20% of its electricity from wind power, and about 5% of its electricity with solar power. I examine the challenges of wind and solar integration from an empirical perspective, and quantify the relative impacts of uncertainty and volatility on realized electricity costs. I also show how market incentives can distort optimal planning, by examining wind farm behavior in centralized electricity auctions. Allowing wind farms to participate in centralized markets can increase competition and decrease procurement costs, but it might increase inefficiencies in the market.



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Natural Gas Resources, Natural Gas Utilization and Potential Climate/Pollution Benefits, Natural Gas mini-series one of three

Anthony Kovscek, Professor, Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford University

Arun Majumdar, Jay Precourt Provostial Chair Professor, Stanford University

Monday, April 6, 2015 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Advances in natural gas production are changing the energy landscape of the United States and, potentially, the world. Stanford launched the Natural Gas Initiative (NGI) to “engage faculty across the university to carry out the many types of research needed to ensure that natural gas is developed and used in ways that are economically, environmentally, and societally optimal.”  Recently, the NGI paneled industry, NGO, academic leaders, and students to consider resource development, uses of natural gas, and environmental impacts.  A major point of discussion was the need to develop a balance between environmental compliance, minimization of impacts, and the pressure to develop natural gas resources. In this seminar, we provide a summary and perspectives from these areas of discussion.

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Getting to Point A

Robyn Beavers, Senior Vice President, Founder of Station A Group at NRG Energy

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

Graduating from Stanford opened the door to a world of possibilities for me. Crossing the threshold involved five jobs, an abandoned power plant and building a team to help me do what I couldn’t do alone. Now Station A is getting started on upending a 100-year old industry. In addition to developing new technologies and creating far-reaching partnerships, we are infusing an archaic industry with innovative thinking and a passion for design. The site includes a stunning show house, offering a window into a world of sustainable living and a kick-ass mural by rock star artist Zio Ziegler. I’m thrilled to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way and a few of the things that we are doing at Station A to change our relationship with energy and resources.


Fireside chat with Tom Steyer and Sally Benson

Tom Steyer, Investor, Philanthropist and Advanced Energy Advocate

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


Tom Steyer is a California business leader, philanthropist and advanced energy advocate. Before retiring from the private sector, Tom founded and was the Senior Managing Member of Farallon Capital Management. 

Tom is actively engaged in climate politics through his NextGen Climate political organization, and works to promote economic development and environmental protection in California and across the country. In 2010, Tom teamed up with former Secretary of State George Shultz to defeat Proposition 23, an effort by out-of-state oil companies to dismantle California’s groundbreaking clean energy law, AB 32. In 2012, Tom served as co-chair with Shultz for Yes on Proposition 39, which closed a tax loophole for out-of-state corporations and created jobs in California.

Tom and his wife, Kat Taylor, joined Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates and other high-wealth Americans in the “Giving Pledge,” a promise to donate the majority of their wealth to charitable and nonprofit activities during their lifetimes. Tom and Kat created and funded the Oakland-based Beneficial State Bank and Foundation, which provides loans and banking services to underserved small businesses, communities and individuals in California and along the west coast. Tom and Kat have four children.

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