economics

Bill Ritter, 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

Brief Bio:

Bill Ritter Jr. is currently the Director of the Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) at Colorado State University. The Center started February 1, 2011 with Ritter as the founding Director.

Ritter was elected as Colorado's 41st governor in 2006 -- the first Colorado-born governor in more than 35 years. Ritter lead Colorado forward by bringing people together to tackle some of our state's biggest challenges. During his 4 year term, Ritter established Colorado as a national and international leader in renewable energy by building a New Energy Economy that is creating thousands of new jobs and establishing hundreds of new companies; enacted an aggressive business-development and job-creation agenda that is focused on knowledge-based industries of the future, such as energy, aerospace, biosciences, information technology and tourism; initiated sweeping K-12 education reforms to give Colorado children the skills and knowledge they need to compete and succeed in a 21st century global economy; and, improved access to quality and affordable health care for many of the 800,000 Coloradans who lack health coverage.

Ritter served as Denver's District Attorney from 1993 to January 2005. He earned a national reputation as one of the country's most effective and innovative prosecutors, and several of his programs continue to serve as state and national models.

He earned his bachelor's degree in political science from Colorado State University (1978) and his law degree from the University of Colorado (1981).

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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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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 | | 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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Saving Time and Energy through Bus-Rapid-Transit Projects Around the World

Sharareh Tavafrashti, Principal Engineer, San Francisco County Transportation Authority

Elkin Bello, Program Manager, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy 

Monday, April 7, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Shari Tavafrashti Elkin Bello

As the cost of providing space and energy for personal transportation options have increased both on the capital side as well as its energy footprint and consequences, mass transportation is gaining priority for developing and developed countries. In this presentation, we will provide a few examples of the successful and not so successful implementations for the bus rapid transit system around the world. The lecture will compare key features of various BRT projects around the world and attempt to address their impact on sustainable development and transportation solutions in each environment.

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The Rapidly Changing Economics of Solar PV Power, Solar Mini-Series (1 of 2)

Anshuman Sahoo, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Management Science & Engineering at Stanford

Monday, February 24, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

This talk examines the economics of solar photovoltaic power both from the perspective of investors in solar installations and from the perspective of solar panel manufacturers. For investors, the key consideration is the cost competitiveness of solar PV relative to other electricity sources. The model calculations I present focus on commercial – and utility scale installations, highlighting the importance of geographic location and the role of federal tax subsidies.

To project the economics of solar PV in coming years, I will summarize some recent work that examines changes in the manufacturing costs of solar panel manufacturers. These findings suggest that the dramatic reductions in module prices over the past few years are partly attributable to cost reductions, but also to massive additions of manufacturing capacity that arguably left the industry with excess capacity. The talk will present a methodology for quantifying the magnitude of these two effects in order to make predictions about the future price trajectory of solar panels and, by implication, the competitiveness of solar power.

 

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Renewable Profits at the Base of the Pyramid

 Ted Hesser, Independent Consultant

Monday, September 30, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Poverty and profit tend not to mix. Yet, the alleviation of the former is creating a tremendous opportunity for the latter. Close to one billion people have risen above the poverty line over the past twenty years, entering the global consumer marketplace. The trend is anticipated to continue – potentially liberating the remaining one billion people from poverty over the next two decades. For investors, the implication is the emergence of the largest new market for global goods and services. An estimated three billion people now earn between $2 and $10 a day. Selling basic services to this market through micropayment schemes may enable technology access, development gains, environmental benefits, and profit opportunities that were unimaginable prior to mobile banking. Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar may become the largest opportunity in energy services, and business models positioned at the confluence of declining component costs, rising mobile money usage, and low cost financing are poised for explosive growth over the coming years. Efficient product distribution and working capital financing are the primary impediments to scale. Neither raw demand nor market size is a concern. Rural villagers can save money today and dramatically improve their quality of life as customers of PAYG solar. There are multiple companies successfully selling low cost solar power systems and services to homes and small shops across the developing world through multiple business models. These business models and their execution will determine the spoils of this enormous market opportunity.

 

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Coping with the Scientific, Technological and Economic Uncertainties of Climate Change

Charles Kolstad, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford University

Monday, April 8, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

The threat of climate change has profound implications for the evolution of the world’s energy system over the coming decades. More than many environmental problems, uncertainty is a central characteristic of the problem – uncertainty regarding the physical science of climate but also uncertainty regarding the impacts, technologies (for mitigation, adaptation and geoengineering), costs, and human preferences.

The problem is larger than simple uncertainty. Some uncertainty is objective and fits into a probabilistic paradigm; other uncertainty is much more vague, with unknown probabilities (such as the likelihood of inventing a cheap way of storing electricity by 2020). Furthermore, uncertainty changes over time, either simply by acquiring more experience or through proactive measures to increase knowledge (eg, R&D). And further, some uncertainty is managed automatically by individuals and organizations seeking to reduce risk exposure (eg, with flood insurance). The bottom line is how to manage the risks of climate change in this complex and evolving environment? Insurance, financial markets, individual action and public policy can and should work in tandem to deal with this uncertainty. This talk provides a perspective on managing risk associated with climate change.

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Hydrogen Energy in California

Mark Lerdal, Hydrogen California and MP2 Capital

Monday, November 12, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Hydrogen Energy California is a project for converting fossil fuels to hydrogen in order to generate clean power and manufacture low-carbon fertilizer products. HECA will be one of the first industrial complexes combining a large, commercial scale power plant and a low-carbon footprint fertilizer manufacturing facility, while capturing the carbon dioxide (CO2) from the fossil fuel to hydrogen conversion process. Utilizing the CO2 for fertilizer production and enhanced oil recovery increases domestic energy security, while simultaneously storing the captured CO2 permanently in the geologic formations where the oil was extracted. It is a project that offers California, the nation, and the world progress toward controlling global climate change, while providing enormous economic stimulus through construction and related jobs over the intermediate term and permanent manufacturing and related jobs over the long term.

 

Related Themes:

A New Industrial Revolution for a Sustainable Energy Future

Arun Majumdar, former Deputy Director of LBNL and Professor at U.C.-Berkeley

Monday, October 1, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Access to affordable and reliable energy has been a cornerstone of the world’s increasing prosperity and economic growth since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Our use of energy in the twenty-first century must also be sustainable. This talk will provide a techno-economic snapshot of the current energy landscape and discuss several research and development opportunities and challenges to create the foundation for this new industrial revolution. The talk will also discuss policies to stimulate innovation and align market forces to accelerate the development and deployment of affordable, accessible and sustainable energy that can simultaneously power economic growth, increase energy security and mitigate the risks of climate change.

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Saving the World and Having a Job: Distributed Solar - Exciting Challenges and Rapid Growth

Shawn Kerrigan, Locus Energy 

Monday, June 4, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Distributed solar generation is growing rapidly across the United States and around the globe. Use of renewables has always been desirable environmentally, but now for the first time in many places it makes solid economic sense as well. A tidal wave of investment and innovation makes distributed solar a dynamic and exciting industry.

Solar energy has many advantages when used for distributed generation, such as saving costs by bypassing congested transmission and distribution systems, and directly generating power at the point of consumption. Distributed solar power brings a number of new challenges, however, due to volatile production output and a need to manage large numbers of systems across a broad area. Solving these problems requires innovations in forecasting, monitoring/analysis, managing, and servicing the large number of small-scale generation assets. This seminar will cover some of those challenges and what Locus Energy is doing to help address them.

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