economics

Controlling Climate Change after Copenhagen

Bert Metz, former co-chair IPCC Working Group on Mitigation of Climate Change, author of "Controlling Climate Change", and advisor to the European Climate Foundation.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

Bert Metz discusses his new book, Controlling Climate Change, which provides an unbiased and comprehensive overview, based on the latest findings of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Using no jargon, it looks at tackling and adapting to man-made climate change, and works through the often confusing potential solutions. He provides a cutting edge assessment of issues at the top of the political agenda, covering scenarios to limit the consequences of warming to manageable proportions, transitions to a low carbon and climate resilient economy, the most important measures in the various economic sectors and their potential costs. The implications of the poor results of the 2009 Copenhagen Summit will also be discussed.
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Integrating More Than 50% Wind on the Grid: A Case Study

Marija Ilić, Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

In this lecture we pose the problem of sustainable electricity services as a novel systems engineering design problem. We briefly summarize today's operating and planning practices and explain why these need fundamental changing in order to enable qualitatively different electricity services. In particular, we suggest that many new resources have characteristics, which are not generally known to the system operators, and are, therefore, currently not relied on for managing supply and demand in an often-congested electric network. The new resources are also highly variable and, as such, do not lend themselves to static feed-forward scheduling without near-real time automated feedback. Instead, a transformation of this operating and planning mode into an interactive multi-temporal, multi-spatial and multi-contextual system management is needed to accommodate ever-changing system conditions, often driven by many distributed actions. In order to enable a complex system with often-conflicting functionalities, such as reliability, security, short- and long-term efficiency, and sustainability, one must rely on prediction, adaptation and adjustments by all.
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Extending the Grid: Transmission Siting Issues and How to Resolve Them

Suedeen Kelly, Former Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

Abstract:
In energy planning circles, in all sectors of the electric industry, in state utility regulatory commissions, and on Capitol Hill, we’ve heard a lot of discussion over the past year about changing the traditional paradigm surrounding the building of electric transmission in order to extend the country’s electric grid. Recently, the talk has moved into the arena of action. In the U.S. House and Senate, there are numerous bills that propose legislative changes to how we plan and site transmission in America—and how we allocate the cost of it. The Waxman-Markey Climate Change bill, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last year, includes such changes. All of the various bills differ one from the other. One similarity among them all is that the federal government’s role (in the person of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) would be expanded and the states’ role would be reduced.

Why is there a growing consensus for change? What’s wrong with how we’ve always done things? (How have we always done things?) Is there a problem here? What are the proposed changes? What are we trying to accomplish with change? What is the best proposal being put forward? Who likes the changes? Who stands to benefit from the changes? Will there be any losers? Ms. Kelly intends to answer these questions during her presentation. She will also discuss what is likely to happen to the U.S. electric grid if we do not see any legislative change from Congress.
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U.S. Shale Gas: From Resources and Reserves to Carbon Isotope Anomalies

John Curtis, Potential Gas Agency, Colorado School of Mines

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

Professor Curtis will discuss shale gas resource assessments, possible roadblocks to future shale gas production and the use of gas geochemistry for discovery and development of this potential resource.

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Global Climate Architectural Policy

John Weyant, Professor (Research) of Management Science and Engineering

Wednesday, January 6, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

Abstract

Targets for climate policies at the national and international levels were very poorly assessed, evaluated and communicated prior to the Copenhagen climate summit, and now urgently need to be re-analyzed. Using the results of the recent Energy Modeling Forum Global, US and EU climate policy model comparison exercises as points of departure, this talk looks at what kinds of formal and informal global climate policy agreements might be desirable and/or feasible. The relationship between global objectives and national and international policy architectures is crucial, but often ignored or done inconsistently. We take a hard look here at the large gap in public discourse that currently exists between what might be desirable and what might actually be feasible. We end with a set of pragmatic suggestions for how to proceed. The old policy initiatives did not work, but promising new ideas are emerging, so the need to at least keep the accounting straight has never been more important. Despite their immense popularity, “aspirational” goals and objectives have not, are not and will not ever work.

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Solar Energy at Scale: Materials, Environmental and Energy Impact

John Benner, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

The installed capacity for photovoltaic generation of electricity in the United States is still a tiny slice of the generating mix of the country -- less than 0.1%. The industry must maintain a growth rate greater that 40% annually to achieve national goals to exceed 10% of the total electricity capacity by 2020. Surprisingly, this high rate of growth has been exceeded during the past several years even as the industry passed through its first major bottleneck. The shortage of silicon feedstock certainly impeded the expansion plans of many companies, left much production capacity unused, and likely contributed to a flattening of the trajectory of cost reduction. Perhaps sales would have been even higher had this shortage not constrained growth.

Looking forward, we can anticipate a number of other bottlenecks. We are already seeing longer lead times in equipment delivery. Feedstock for several leading technologies, including silicon, may continue to constrain growth. Distributed generation will soon grow to a point where utilities’ ability to integrate these sources may impede expansion. The current financial turmoil will limit expansion capital. Additionally, high penetration on distribution circuits will add problems that are only now becoming anticipated. Ultimately, we should all expect and welcome a shortage of government incentives, such that the technologies will be competing as low-cost energy producers.

This talk will provide a status report on photovoltaics and explore means to overcome anticipated barriers to sustaining the necessary growth.

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Solar Cell Technology in 2009 and Beyond

Professor Michael McGehee, Director, Center for Advanced Molecular Photovoltaics, Stanford University

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

Professor McGehee will provide an overview of the technologies and economic considerations covered in his Solar Cells course. He will compare crystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, CdTe, CIGS, tandem and organic solar cells as well as emerging concepts that utilize multiple exciton generation and nanowires. He will explain how the solar cells are made, how they operate, what limits their performance and how their performance to cost ratio is likely to evolve over time.
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The Solar Opportunity: How New Business Models Can Make the Sun a Mainstream Source of Global Electricity

Lyndon Rive, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, SolarCity

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

Most of the scientific community and a growing portion of the energy industry recognize that solar energy is one of the cleanest and most widely accessible means of producing electricity on Earth, yet solar power still counts for far less than 1 percent of global energy production. If solar is to take its proper place among coal, oil & gas, nuclear and other primary energy sources, new business models must necessarily emerge to facilitate mass adoption. Solar technology has become a risky, highly competitive gambit for new businesses. Opportunities abound for entrepreneurs in services, where new approaches to financing, distribution, implementation and administration can remove key barriers to adoption. This talk will explore today’s best solar opportunities from the entrepreneur’s perspective, and some emerging business models that might address them.

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Economic Analysis of the Solar Industry: Achieving Grid Parity

Annie Hazlehurst, Graduate Student, Stanford GSB

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

The economics of solar systems will drive long term adoption and market viability. Today, the U.S. and many other countries continue to subsidize the cost of solar systems and incentivize adoption through standards such as RPS. If solar is going to contribute meaningfully to our energy future, the economics must favorably compare to alternative sources of energy on a levelized cost basis. When and how will we achieve grid parity? The talk will cover where we are today and where we need to get for solar to be a primary source of global energy generation.

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Sustainable Energy Future: Scale, Tradeoffs, and Co-Benefits

Panel with Stanford Faculty: Sally Benson, Director, Global Climate and Energy Project; Pamela Matson, Chester Naramore Dean of the School of Earth Sciences; Lynn Orr, Director, Precourt Institute for Energy; Stephen Schneider, Melvin & Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies; Jim Sweeney, Director Precourt Energy Efficiency Center; Buzz Thompson, Co-Director Woods Institute for the Environment

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 | 04:15 PM - 05:30 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

The Stanford panelists will discuss a number of important themes and issues about energy use, impacts, and opportunities as we begin the transition to a low emission energy future. Panelists will consider economic viability, political will, resource constraints, and environmental impacts of various energy technologies at scale. They will discuss tradeoffs and how decision makers may seek co-benefits and avoid unintended consequences when making choices.

* Energy Social following the talk (Note: we do not provide venue details for social on the web)

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