energy policy

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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A New Energy Agenda for Latin America: Challenges and Opportunities (Latin America mini-series 4 of 4)

Mauricio Garron, Senior Energy Specialist, CAF Development Bank of Latin America

Monday, May 12, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

The objective is to offer a broad perspective on the current situation and the challenges that Latin America and the Caribbean will face in the short, medium and long run. The aim, then, is to provide an overview that helps to identify both these challenges and opportunities for developing energy projects and improve regional energy planning that can make a contribution to sustainable economic development.

The talk would give an overview of the factors affecting the energy situation and the impacts on Latin America. It also analyses the progress towards and obstacles to energy integration and security of supply. Another important issue is the balance between resources and reserves as this affects the supply and consumption of energy. The environmental implications and problems associated with climate change in the context of global energy development trends. Particular emphasis will be is laid on the potential role of progress with technological development and innovation, energy efficiency and renewable energies.
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Special panel talk with students

Gro Brundtland, Board of Directors, United Nations Foundation; Former Prime Minister of Norway

Monday, April 14, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:14 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

This Energy Seminar will feature a student-led discussion with Dr. Gro Brundtland on the challenges in climate and energy --an area she has been a global leader.

**Come join us for the Precourt Institute for Energy social following this talk. NVIDIA Foyer, 5:15-6:15 (open to Stanford faculty, staff, and students. Editors of the Stanford Energy Journal will be present to discuss their latest sustainability transportation issue.

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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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Commercializing Wind, Photovoltaics, Lighting, and Batteries: The Impact of Government Policies During the Past 25 Years

Cathy Zoi, Consulting Professor at Stanford University

Monday, March 10, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

On March 10th, Cathy Zoi will present the findings from Energy 158, a research seminar held during the Fall of 2013, that investigated the progress of wind, photovoltaics, lighting and batteries over the past 30 years, and the impact that government intervention had on this progress. She will then apply these lessons from history to propose a framework policy makers can use in the future.

Rationale for the research: Public policy imperatives have created a drive for energy technologies that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve national security, and boost domestic economic activity. To accelerate the development and commercialization of these new technologies beyond what the market would deliver on its own, governments frequently use policies like direct R&D funding, financial incentives or penalties (e.g. through the tax code, state funds, or utility rates), mandatory targets or caps, information disclosure, and performance codes and standards to create market conditions that favor emerging technologies. There is significant public debate about the most effective mix of these policy interventions.

 

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Energy Policy (and Politics) in Theory and Practice: A Case Study in Renewable Energy Finance

Dan Reicher, Executive Director of the Steyer Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance

Felix Mormann, Faculty Fellow, Stanford University's Steyer–Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance,

Monday, January 13, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Dan Reicher Felix Mormann

Since 2012, we have been exploring the potential of master limited partnerships (MLPs) and real estate investment trusts (REITs) to spur the deployment of renewable energy. Technological innovation continues to bring down the cost of solar panels, wind turbines, and other equipment but financial innovation is lagging. As a result, financing charges may drive up a renewable power project's levelized cost of electricity by up to 50%. Our analysis suggests that MLPs and REITs have the potential to significantly reduce the cost of capital for renewable energy. But even the smartest policy proposal does not earn legislative approval easily, as illustrated by the MLP Parity Act which enjoys strong support on both sides of the aisle but still faces a tricky road in Washington. It takes time, ingenuity, and political savvy to build necessary support in the industry, on Wall Street, and on Capitol Hill for even a well supported idea like this. We will present the results of our analytical work as well as insights from our advisory participation in the ongoing political process.

 

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The Case for a Carbon Tax as US Climate Policy

Michael Wara, Associate Professor of Law

John P. Weyant, Professor of Management Science and Engineering

Monday, January 6, 2014 (All day) | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Success in US climate policy equates to shepherding the energy system through a dramatic and uncertain transformation. Climate policies, in order to be successful, must be cost-effective and durable. Cost-effective because political reality supports a limited appetite for spending on climate change relative to other priorities. Durable because policies are politically costly to enact and must create credible incentives that produce change on the ground, even given substantial uncertainty about the future. Regulation under existing law, the Clean Air Act, promises to be credible but not cost-effective. Regulation via carbon pricing promises to be cost effective because it relies on diffuse information in markets to set priorities for reducing emissions. But different emission pricing policies, given that their goals are politically constrained, are not created equal. Recent cap-and-trade programs, if adopted, would not have proven durable given recent economic, technological, and social changes in the U.S. Today, members of Congress and some conservative groups support emission pricing via a carbon tax. A carbon tax, if enacted, would be cost effective, robust to forecast error, and credible in the face of economic, technological, and social change. Modeling evidence also suggests that it would be environmentally effective at modest cost to U.S. economic growth.

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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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Pushing the Efficiency Limits of Energy Conversion & Storage through Rational Materials Design

William Chueh, Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University

Monday, February 4, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Taking sunlight and converting it to chemical bonds and then to electricity is one of the most promising carbon-neutral energy cycles. At the Chueh group, we are developing new materials to electrochemically convert energy between sunlight, fuel, and electricity. We take a rational approach towards materials discovery and optimization. Using powerful electron, X-ray and optical microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, we are “seeing” electrochemistry as they take place on length scales ranging from tens of microns down to below one nanometer. These never-before-seen dynamics lead to new insights into the design of functional materials with novel compositions and structures, such as those for water-splitting membranes, fuel cells, and batteries.

IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE ENERGY SEMINAR at 5:15 - 6:15 pm, GCEP invites Stanford faculty, students and staff to an informal poster session and energy social organized by GCEP students Boxiao Li and Haotian Wang in the Forbes Cafe area on the 1st floor of Huang.

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Grid Flexibility and Research Challenges to Enhance the Integration of Variable Renewable Energy Sources

Mark O'Malley, Electrical Engineering Dept., University College Dublin

Monday, January 14, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Grid flexibility is a characteristic that is proposed to help the integration of variable renewable energy resources. However it has proven very difficult to quantify and this has spurred intense research efforts over the past few years. There are many sources, sinks and enablers for flexibility in the grid and these are all subject to numerous research challenges. Flexibility will be introduced, defined and a number of methods to quantify it will be described. This will be followed by an overview of research into unlocking flexibility in the power system e.g. demand side participation and power system operational strategies. There are potential hidden costs of flexibility and some of these will be highlighted, for example thermal plant cycling, and mitigation measures to reduce these will be formulated. Concluding remarks will try to give insights into how a future grid with very high penetrations of variable renewable energy may look like.

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