energy and climate policy

China Miniseries (5 of 5): Beijing's Bets—Planning China's Energy Future

Zhongying Wang, Deputy Director General, Energy Research Institute, China National Development & Reform Commission

Monday, May 20, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

More than any other country, China sets an energy strategy and then pursues it. The central government writes those plans. To try to feed the energy appetite of China’s 1.35 billion people, Beijing’s energy planners have laid out an all-of-the-above agenda: more coal, more natural gas, more nuclear, more energy efficiency and more renewable power. How their agenda fares will shape political stability in China — and energy markets and the environment around the world. What’s their plan? Does what they write in Beijing really dictate what happens on the ground? What developments do they find most promising? And what roadblocks — technologically, politically, economically — do they see as the biggest threats? In this final session of the China energy series, a top official at the Chinese government’s energy-research arm will offer a frank look ahead at his country’s energy challenges and options.

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China Miniseries (4 of 5): Market Maker—What China's Clean-Energy Push Means for America

Jeffrey Ball, Stanford University's Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy & Finance 

Monday, May 13, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Clean-energy technologies are growing up. Now, if they’re going to become a significant part of the global energy mix, the world’s approach to them will have to grow up too. That will require a less emotional, more rational understanding of the changing relationship between China and the U.S. in the global clean-energy race. The two countries have sharply different agendas in this competition, yet each needs the other if it’s to achieve its own goals. The surest sign of that dependence comes in following the money: Clean-energy investment is ramping up in both directions across the Pacific. Yet this relationship is prompting increasing unease and debate. In this session, a longtime writer about energy and the environment explores how China’s clean-energy push is affecting American industry and consumers — and how America, moving forward, might play most effectively to its own clean-energy strengths.

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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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Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) from Hydrocarbon-Based Power Projects

Eric Redman, President & CEO, Summit Power Group, LLC

Monday, April 1, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) on a large scale is regarded by many climate scientists as one indispensable element of any global carbon-reduction strategy. It is axiomatic that there can be no large-scale CCS project without a ‘sink’ for the carbon. The excellent work already performed on various geological sinks demonstrates that several different types of sink appear well-suited to large-scale sequestration. However, it is equally true that large-scale carbon sequestration also requires large-scale carbon capture projects. Very few exist, and almost none in the electric power sector, which is a leading source of global carbon emissions.

Seattle-based Summit Power Group is attempting to change this by developing several very large scale CCS projects in the electric power sector, both in the US (e.g., the Texas Clean Energy Project, which will capture and sequester 2.5 million tons of CO2 per year) and the UK (e.g., the Captain Clean Energy Project, which will capture and sequester more than 4 million tons of CO2 per year). Eric Redman is the president and chief executive officer of Summit, and will discuss the technical, commercial, financial, permitting, and public policy challenges of trying to be a ‘first mover’ on commercial-scale CCS projects in the power sector.

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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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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.

 

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Financing the Next Stage of the Global Green Energy Transformation

Jochen Harnisch, KFW, Head of Division, Competence Center Environment & Climate, Frankfurt, Germany

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

The last decade experienced a remarkable expansion of the deployment of renewable energy such as wind, solar and bioenergy in several countries, including China, the United States, Germany and Spain. This was largely driven by feed-in support schemes and tax breaks, accompanied by a wider enabling framework. Open global markets and emerging new competitors have led to intense competition in local equipment markets and substantial price compression.

 

At the same time a number of equipment manufacturers went out of business. This has led to public disillusionment with the sustainability of the local employment effects of promoting renewable energy. Suspect state subsidies for some equipment manufacturers in some countries have further burdened the political climate. Additionally, renewable energy's greater share of overall supplies has led to rising electricity prices, growing budget liabilities or reduced tax revenues.

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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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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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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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