economics

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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Unlocking the Benefits of Active Customer Participation in Wholesale Electricity Markets

Frank Wolak, the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, Stanford University

Monday, May 21, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Because electricity is a necessary input to so many economic activities, there are significant political obstacles to charging business and residential customers retail prices that reflect the hourly wholesale price of electricity. A long history of retail electricity prices that do not vary with real-time system conditions makes this task even more difficult. Finally, the lack of interval meters on the customer’s premises makes it impossible to determine precisely how much energy each customer withdraws in a given hour.

Recently a number of jurisdictions in the U.S. have installed the interval meters necessary for customers to participate actively in the wholesale market. This talk will summarize the results of a number of research projects at the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development for allowing electricity consumers to benefit from active participation in wholesale electricity markets. The results of dynamic pricing and information provision experiments will be summarized, and current and future directions for research at the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development will be described.  Necessary changes in state-level regulatory policies that can also unlock the economic benefits of modern technologies for active participation of final consumers will also be discussed.

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It Pays to Do the Right Thing: Incentive Mechanisms for Societal Networks

Balaji Prabhakar, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Stanford University

 

Monday, May 14, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

In many of the challenges faced by the modern world, from overcrowded road networks to overstretched healthcare systems, large benefits for society come about from small changes by very many individuals. Researchers in the societal networks group at Stanford University are running a series of pilot projects aiming to develop principles for inducing small changes in behavior in networks such as transportation, wellness, energy and recycling. Pilots have been conducted with Infosys Technologies in Bangalore on commuting and with Accenture-USA on wellness. Two others are ongoing: public transit congestion in Singapore, and traffic congestion and parking at Stanford.

In this talk, Balaji Prabhakar will describe this work and present results from the pilots. Some salient themes are the use of low-cost sensing and networking technology for sensing individual behavior, and the use of incentives and social norming to influence behavior.

 

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Connecting the Dots: The Water, Food, Energy and Climate Nexus

Monday, April 16, 2012 | 01:00 PM - 04:00 PM | McCaw Hall, Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center |

We have a special Stanford program today and encourage our Energy Seminar community to attend. Registration is required. If you are not a student enrolled in the Energy Seminar and wish to attend the Connecting the Dots program on April 16, please register at connectingthedots.stanford.edu. Additional information is available at the Connecting The Dots website.
 
Please note this event is being held in a different venue then most Energy Seminars.
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Car Sharing and Pooling: Reducing Car Over-Population and Collaborative Consumption

John Atcheson, Vice President, Getaround

Logan Green, CEO & Co-founder, Zimride

Monday, April 9, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All


John Atcheson

 


Logan Green

In the United States alone, there are more than 250 million cars and light trucks, and these vehicles sit idle an average of 92% of the time.  With the average car costing more than $6,500 per year just to own, (i.e., not including gas and other operating expenses), this represents over $1.5 trillion dollars each year in wasted capital.  Peer-to-peer car sharing puts this capital to use, as John Atcheson will discuss, giving car owners the opportunity to earn thousands of dollars per year off their idle asset, and providing drivers with a viable alternative to car ownership.  In the process, peer-to-peer car sharing dramatically helps our environment. Studies have shown that the average shared car replaces 9-13 other cars, and that drivers who switch from driving their own car to driving a shared car reduce both vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions by more than 40%. This presentation will focus on the opportunities and challenges facing peer-to-peer car sharing, and offer a vision for a world in which every car is shared.
 
People are in the beginning of a dramatic transformation that is changing the way we think about personal transportation. In this new age, access trumps ownership. Access to a network that gets us from point A to point B is becoming more desirable than incurring all of the expenses and burdens associated with car ownership. Logan Green will explore how this new transportation network is taking shape, why it’s happening now, and the factors that are making it possible.
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The Energy Balance of the Photovoltaic Industry: Is the PV Industry a Net Energy Provider?

Michael Dale, Global Climate & Energy Project, Stanford University

Monday, April 2, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

A combination of policy measures and reduced costs have driven a rapid growth in global installed capacity of solar photovoltaics. This rapid growth has prompted concerns over the net energy yield of PV energy production. Mik will analyze the energy balance of the PV industry given historic and projected growth in capacity. Results suggest that, despite the large amount of energy required to manufacture and install PV systems, there is a high likelihood (greater than 80%) that the industry became a net provider of electricity between 2009 and today. If current trends continue, the industry will almost certainly be a net electricity producer by 2015 and will have ‘paid back’ the energy subsidy required for its early growth by the end of this decade. This analysis raises a number of implications for PV research, development and deployment including: further reducing the energy embodied within PV systems, including balance of system components; designing more efficient and durable systems; and deployment in regions that will achieve high capacity factors.

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Saving the World and Having a Job: The Changing Energy Landscape and Implications for Investment

 Marc Lipschultz, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

Monday, March 5, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

The energy landscape is changing rapidly. What the internet is to information technology, the development of unconventional resources is to energy, except the impact has been even swifter. The advent of unconventional resources on the supply side intersected with the rapid growth and urbanization of developing markets is creating upheaval in the short term and vast new capital requirements and career opportunities for years to come. These changes impact all facets of the energy complex from renewable generation to the transportation fleet of the future. This seminar will cover these major changes and their implications for investment and careers in the broad energy and infrastructure complex.

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National Oil Companies and the World Oil Market: Should We Be Worried?

Mark Thurber, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, Stanford University

Monday, February 6, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

State-owned oil and natural gas companies, such as Saudi Aramco, Petróleos de Venezuela and China National Petroleum Corp., own 73 percent of the world's oil reserves and 68 percent of its natural gas. They bankroll governments across the globe. Although national oil companies superficially resemble private-sector companies, they often behave in very different ways.

Oil and Governance: State-Owned Enterprises and the World Energy Supply (Cambridge University Press, 2012), a new book commissioned by Stanford University's Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, explains the variation in performance and strategy for such state-owned enterprises. The book, which Mark Thurber co-edited and contributed to, also provides fresh insights into the future of the oil industry and the politics of the oil-rich countries where national oil companies dominate.

Though national oil companies have often been the subject of case studies, for the first time multiple case studies followed a common research design, which aided the relative ranking of performance and the evaluation of hypotheses about such companies' performance. Interestingly, some of the worst performing of these operations belong to countries quite unfriendly to the United States. Mark will also discuss the industrial structure of the oil industry, and the politics and administration of national oil companies. One result of the dominance of this structure for oil markets is that high prices often lead to lower supplies and low prices lead to increased production -- the opposite response of private companies.

 

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Whither Nuclear?

George Frampton, Jr., Covington & Burling LLP

Monday, November 7, 2011 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

As unlikely as it may seem, the future of the commercial nuclear industry, except perhaps in a few European countries and in Japan, appears to have been little affected by the Fukushima disaster. In the United States, Fukushima may have an impact on the relicensing of old plants and result in new safety requirements. But the principal barrier to a “nuclear renaissance” in this country remains the fact that nuclear is not cost competitive with other alternatives; indeed, its lack of competitiveness has been accentuated by the new prospect of cheap and abundant domestic natural gas, and by escalating nuclear capital costs. But nuclear will likely boom in China, India, Russia and perhaps other developing countries. It is China that will likely take the lead in new designs and in growing an export business of nuclear construction and operation. But without a safety law or a nuclear safety agency, with no history of independent regulatory entities, and with a record of problematic infrastructure construction, China will be challenged to move ahead at the pace currently envisioned without raising serious concern among its population and the nuclear community.

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Clean Energy: The Intersection of Technology, Policy and Finance

Dan Reicher, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University

Monday, October 24, 2011 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

The talk will focus on the "clean energy triangle" -- technology, policy and finance -- with a particular emphasis on the role that policy and finance have in driving the development and deployment of a broad array of clean energy technologies, from efficiency and renewables to advanced fossil and nuclear. This will include a discussion of the "Valley of Death" -- the looming chasm that often sits between the early government and venture-funded development of an energy technology and its full-scale commercial deployment. The talk will also cover the important intersection between energy technology and information technology and the current stalemate in energy policy in Washington, D.C.

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