Energy Seminars

Winter 2021 Seminar Series

Critical Infrastructure in a Climate-Changing World  

Climate change is impacting our planet in ways that are becoming ever more apparent. The infrastructure that undergirds modern life — from roads and ports to energy generation installations and transmission lines — is one area increasingly at risk from climate-fueled flooding, fires, extreme heat, and sea level rise. Infrastructure is also key to helping us avert the worst effects of a warming planet as we transition to more affordable, sustainable, just, and reliable energy systems. The Dartmouth Energy Collaborative invites you to join us for our winter lunchtime seminar series as we explore the challenges and possibilities of building a more just and resilient infrastructure system that powers the energy transition.

 

Upcoming Talks

Critical Infrastructure in a Climate-Changing World Session Four

March 2 | 12:15 - 1:15 PM | Finance Perspectives on Infrastructure and Climate

How do we finance the energy transition, ensuring that there is an adequate — and equitable — investment in the infrastructure needed to move toward a more sustainable energy future for all? In our fourth session, "Finance Perspectives on Infrastructure and Climate," Dartmouth Professor Matthew Delmont and Founder & CEO of re:focus partners Shalini Vajjhala will share their perspectives. 

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ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

Matthew Delmont is the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of History at Dartmouth and a Special Advisor to President Hanlon for faculty diversity. An expert on African-American History and the history of Civil Rights, he is the author four books: Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African American Newspapers (Stanford University Press, 2019); Making Roots: A Nation Captivated (University of California Press, 2016); Why Busing Failed: Race, Media, and the National Resistance to School Desegregation (UC Press, 2016); and The Nicest Kids in Town: American Bandstand, Rock 'n' Roll, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in 1950s Philadelphia (UC Press, 2012).  His next book, Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad, will be published by Viking Books in 2022.  He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Public Scholar Award to support this research.  In addition to these books, he regularly shares his research with media outlets, including the New York Times, NPR, TheAtlantic.com, Washington Post, and The Conversation.  Dr. Delmont has spoken and consulted with Fortune 500 companies, universities, colleges, and community organizations regarding civil rights, diversity and inclusivity, and how to reckon with the history of racism in America. 

Shalini Vajjhala is Founder & CEO of re:focus partners, a design firm dedicated to developing integrated resilient infrastructure solutions and innovative public-private partnerships for vulnerable communities around the world. Prior to founding re:focus, Shalini served as Special Representative in the Office of Administrator Lisa Jackson at the US EPA, where she led the US-Brazil Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability. Previously, she was Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Office of International & Tribal Affairs at EPA and Deputy Associate Director for Energy & Climate at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She joined the Obama Administration from Resources for the Future. Shalini received her PhD in Engineering & Public Policy and B.Arch in Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University and she is currently a nonresident senior fellow with The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program.
 

ABOUT THE MODERATOR

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Elizabeth Wilson
Elizabeth Wilson

Elizabeth Wilson is a Professor of Environmental Studies and the inaugural Director of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society.  She studies how energy systems are changing in the face of new technologies and new societal pressures. Her work focuses on the implementation of energy and environmental policies and laws in practice. She studies how institutions support and thwart energy system transitions and focuses on the interplays between technology innovation, policy creation, and institutional decision making. Recent research has examined how energy policy stakeholders view the opportunities and challenges of creating smart grids and decision making within Regional Transmission Organizations, which manage the transmission planning, electricity markets and grid operations of over 70 percent of North America. Her research has also examined how stakeholders in different U.S. states view emerging energy technologies like wind power and carbon-capture and sequestration and the electric power transmission system. Her recent books include Energy Law and Policy (West Academic Publishing) (with Davies, Klass, Tomain and Osofsky) and Smart Grid (R)evolution: Electric Power Struggles (Cambridge Press) (with Stephens and Peterson). Wilson's research group is working on two NSF supported grants on media and stakeholder perceptions of Smart Grid technologies and on decision making in Regional Transmission Organizations.

Past Talks

Critical Infrastructure in a Climate Changing World, Session One

January 12 | Vulnerable Systems: Climate Urgency and Energy Equity

View a recording of this talk.

In the first session of our Critical Infrastructure in a Climate Changing World series, Professor Shalanda Baker of Northeastern University and Associate Professor Erich Osterberg of Dartmouth look at the societal impacts of climate change and explore the opportunities for a more equitable energy future.  
 
About the Panelists


 

Shalanda H. Baker is a Professor of Law, Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. She has spent over a decade conducting research on the equity dimensions of the global transition away from fossil fuel energy to cleaner energy resources. She is the author of over a dozen articles, book chapters, and essays on renewable energy law, energy justice, energy policy, and renewable energy development. She is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Initiative for Energy Justice, an organization committed to providing technical law and policy support to communities on the frontlines of climate change. Her forthcoming book, Revolutionary Power: An Activist's Guide to the Energy Transition, argues that energy policy should be the next domain to advance civil rights.

 


 
 

Erich Osterberg is Associate Professor of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth College. His overarching research objective is to understand how and why climate has changed, and identify trends and sources of air pollution. His specialty is creating long (50-50,000 years) records of climate change and air pollution by analyzing chemical markers preserved in glacier ice cores.He also studies data from weather stations and climate models to determine recent climate trends to differentiate natural cycles from human-caused changes. Professor Osterberg is particularly interested in aspects of climate change that impact communities, including sea-level rise from melting glaciers, and the changing number and intensity of storms.

About the Moderator


 

Stephen Doig is the director of research at the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society at Dartmouth, where he is focused on fostering interdisciplinary efforts to tackle pressing multidimensional challenges at the interfaces of energy and society.  Prior to his arrival, Dr. Doig was on the senior leadership team at Rocky Mountain Institute for over 10 years, where he led research and applied efforts in areas ranging from low carbon strategies for states and utilities to designing and building a data center to reduce its energy use by 80%.  He also led teams in building retrofits (e.g. the Empire State Building), carbon fiber car components, efficient oil refining, and low cost solar PV systems. Most recently he founded and led RMI's efforts to bring sustainable energy for economic development (SEED) to African nations, established the Institute's program in the Caribbean Islands (including Puerto Rico) and whole system design effort to make community scale solar affordable.

Critical Infrastructure in a Climate-Changing World, Session Two

January 26 | Policy Perspectives on Climate and Infrastructure with Julio Friedmann and Abby Hopper

In our second session, "Policy Perspectives on Climate and Infrastructure," Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) Julio Friedmann and President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association Abby Hopper '93  will discuss climate change and infrastructure from a policy perspective. What are the policies governing infrastructure  that have contributed to the urgency of our climate moment? What policies are needed to help us transition to a more sustainable energy future and address the impacts of climate change that we are already seeing?

The talk will be moderated by Elizabeth Wilson, Director of the Irving Institute for Energy and Society and Professor of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth. 

VIEW A RECORDING OF THIS TALK.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

Julio Friedmann is a Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA. He recently served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy at the Department of Energy where he was responsible for DOE's R&D program in advanced fossil energy systems, carbon capture, and storage (CCS), CO2 utilization, and clean coal deployment. His expertise includes Large-Scale Carbon Management, CO2 removal, CO2 recycling, Oil and Gas systems, international engagements in clean fossil energy, and inter-agency engagements within the US government. He has also held positions at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, including Senior Advisor for Energy Innovation and Chief Energy Technologist. He is also the CEO of Carbon Wrangler, LLC, is a Distinguished Associate at the Energy Futures Initiative, and serves as a special advisor to the Global CCS Institute. He was recently named as a Senior Fellow to the Breakthrough Institute and the Climate Leadership Council.

Dr. Friedmann is one of the most widely known and authoritative experts in the U.S. on carbon removal (CO2 drawdown from the air and oceans), CO2 conversion and use (carbon-to-value), and carbon capture and sequestration. His expertise includes technology, policy, and operations. In addition to close partnerships with many private companies and NGOs, Julio has worked with the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Treasury.

Dr. Friedmann received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), followed by a Ph.D. in Geology at the University of Southern California. He worked for five years as a senior research scientist at ExxonMobil, then as a research scientist at the University of Maryland. He serves as a formal and informal advisor to several clean energy and CarbonTech companies.
 

Abigail Ross Hopper '93 is President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, the national trade organization for America's solar energy industries. She oversees all of SEIA's activities, including government affairs, research, communications, and industry leadership, and is focused on creating a marketplace where solar will constitute a significant percentage of America's energy generation.  Before joining SEIA, Hopper served as Director of the Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Director of the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA), Energy Advisor to Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and Deputy General Counsel with the Maryland Public Service Commission. Before embarking on a career in public service, she spent nine years in private practice. Abby Hopper graduated Cum Laude from the University of Maryland School of Law and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Dartmouth College. She is the very proud mom of three children and loves to read and ride on her Peloton.

ABOUT THE MODERATOR

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Elizabeth Wilson
Elizabeth Wilson

Elizabeth Wilson is a Professor of Environmental Studies and the inaugural Director of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society.  She studies how energy systems are changing in the face of new technologies and new societal pressures. Her work focuses on the implementation of energy and environmental policies and laws in practice. She studies how institutions support and thwart energy system transitions and focuses on the interplays between technology innovation, policy creation, and institutional decision making. Recent research has examined how energy policy stakeholders view the opportunities and challenges of creating smart grids and decision making within Regional Transmission Organizations, which manage the transmission planning, electricity markets and grid operations of over 70 percent of North America. Her research has also examined how stakeholders in different U.S. states view emerging energy technologies like wind power and carbon-capture and sequestration and the electric power transmission system. Her recent books include Energy Law and Policy (West Academic Publishing) (with Davies, Klass, Tomain and Osofsky) and Smart Grid (R)evolution: Electric Power Struggles (Cambridge Press) (with Stephens and Peterson). Wilson's research group is working on two NSF supported grants on media and stakeholder perceptions of Smart Grid technologies and on decision making in Regional Transmission Organizations.

 

Critical Infrastructure in a Climate-Changing World Session Three

Feb. 9 | 12:15 - 1:15 PM | Technological Perspectives on Climate and Infrastructure

Dana Guernsey '06, TH'07, '08, VP of Product and Energy Markets at Voltus

In our third session, "Technological Perspectives on Climate and Infrastructure," VP of Product and Energy Markets at Voltus, Dana Gurnsey '06, TH'07, '08, will share her perspective on how the energy industry, and in particular her company, Voltus, which provides cash-generating energy products to commercial, institutional, and industrial customers, are thinking about climate change and energy infrastructure. She will explore the changes in capacity, information technology, and policy over the past few decades and discuss what those mean for a climate-changing world.     

VIEW A RECORDING OF THIS TALK.

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Dana Guernsey
Dana Guernsey

About the Speaker: Dana Guernsey '06, TH'07, '08 is Vice President of Product and Energy Markets at Voltus. Dana joined Voltus to continue her passion for helping customers find double bottom line opportunities by using less energy to save money. She is a leading expert in global energy markets and brings more than a decade of experience developing innovative, demand-side energy management products and programs that have delivered billions of dollars in proven value to customers and ratepayers. Before Voltus, Dana was Director of Product Marketing at FirstFuel, which offers cloud-based engagement software to help utilities deepen relationships with their business customers and increase energy efficiency. Prior to FirstFuel she led corporate development and go-to-market strategies at Ambri, an MIT spinout company commercializing batteries for large-scale energy storage on the electric grid. Prior to that she was the Director of Energy Markets at EnerNOC, where she led a world-class team responsible for the profitable management of the company's complex portfolio of nearly 10,000 MWs of demand response assets, covering dozens of wholesale electricity markets and regulated utilities across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Dana grew up in New York City and holds an M.S. in Engineering Management, B.S. in Engineering, and B.A. from Dartmouth College. In her now home state of Massachusetts, recognized as the U.S. leader in energy efficiency by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Dana was named a Mass High Tech "Woman to Watch" in 2014 for her groundbreaking work in the energy and technology industries. Outside of work Dana is likely to be found on the ski slopes, biking, or hiking with her husband and two children.

About the Moderator: Geoffrey Parker is a professor of engineering at Dartmouth College where he also serves as Director of the Master of Engineering Management Program. In addition, he is a research fellow at MIT's Initiative for the Digital Economy where he leads platform industry research studies and co-chairs the annual MIT Platform Strategy Summit. Prior to joining Dartmouth, Parker was a professor of business at Tulane University. He received a B.S.E. from Princeton and M.S. and Ph.D. from MIT. Parker has made significant contributions to the field of network economics and strategy as co-developer of the theory of "two-sided" markets. He is co-author of the book "Platform Revolution." His current research includes studies of platform business strategy, data governance, smart cities and energy systems, financial services, and electronic healthcare record systems. Parker's research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the states of Louisiana and New York, and numerous corporations.  He serves or has served as department editor and associate editor at multiple journals and as a National Science Foundation panelist. Parker won the Thinkers50 2019 Digital Thinking Award, along with Marshall Van Alstyne, for the concepts of the inverted firm, two-sided markets, and how firms can adapt and thrive in a platform economy. Parker is a frequent keynote speaker and advises senior leaders on their organizations' platform strategies. Before attending MIT, he held positions in engineering and finance at GE Semiconductor and GE Healthcare.