Making large scale solar work: What is needed and what role can Stanford play?

Margot Gerritsen, Stanford University

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

Most stakeholders agree that solar energy can provide a significant percentage of U.S. electrical needs over the coming decades. National public support of solar energy projects, and large scale solar projects, is strong. Despite the support and excitement, the first of the newly proposed, and fast-tracked, large scale solar projects are facing significant hurdles. Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment recently hosted a two-day forum in which industry, NGOs, policy makers and scientists discussed these challenges and brainstormed ideas to meet them. Margot Gerritsen, who led the forum, will discuss the outcomes of this fascinating forum. Questions addressed in her talk include: Why is there broad excitement about large scale solar? What are fast track projects, and why are they facing high hurdles? What do tortoises have to do with large scale solar projects? How can we make large scale solar work, and what role can Stanford play?

I was born and raised in the Netherlands, but left the country in 1990 in search for hillier and sunnier places. After spending some time in various places in Northern Europe, Colorado and Georgia, I ended up at Stanford for my Ph.D. After completion in 1997, I moved to New Zealand and back to Stanford in 2001.
I’m now a professor in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering at Stanford, interested in computer simulation and mathematical analysis of engineering processes. I specialize in renewable and fossil energy production. I am also active in coastal ocean dynamics and yacht design, as well as several areas in computational mathematics including search algorithm design and matrix computations.
Apart from research, I enjoy teaching and thinking about energy issues. Check out for thoughts and discussions on energy issues and policies.
And then, there is a whole life outside academia. I love the outdoors, music, writing, reading, horse back riding, motorcycling, scuba, yoga, arts and travel with my son.

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