Tag Archives: presentation

Future speaking engagements on post-carbon EU energy transition

August has emerged as an important month to charge my batteries and get my thoughts straight on  a number of energy related topics. This is essential as I’ve been asked to speak at two big events in September.

Outta of this world energy


The organizers from the Eastern Partnership have been kind enough to invite me to their high level gathering, the 21st Economic Forum in Krynica Zdroj, Poland, from September 7 -9, 2011. Previously, the organizers at the Eastern Partnership invited me to speak and moderate at their Energy Forum that occurred last November. In September, I’ll be on the panel discussion about the post-Fukushima era in the Central European region. At this point, I think I will concentrate on assessing the investment/political risk environment in the CEE region and how this will influence the roll-out of the next generation of large scale energy systems. The root of my talk lies in two studies. One, the assessment of the post-privatization of electricity distribution companies in three countries and, two, an article on the identification of contractual

risks and risk regimes that influence short and long term energy investments in the EU during the push for a post-carbon world. This is based on an EU FP7 research project that is now being completed.

The other engagement, that I’m equally humbled to accept, is the ”EU-US Summit on Science, Technology and Sustainable Economic Growth.’ I’ll be one of two keynote speakers. This will be September 29th, in Brussels and hosted by the European Commission. The background to the summit, and the events surrounding it, can be found here. As the page for the 2010 launch of the program explains,

With support from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the European Commission, the Howard Baker Center for Public Policy, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are coordinating a year-long dialogue between the U.S. and the EU on science, technology, innovation, and sustainable economic growth (STISEG). The purpose is to enhance our understanding of the ways in which science, technology, and innovation affect sustainable economic growth, to identify impediments to the flow of science from the “bench” to applications; and to explore policy options that might enhance the impact of science on economic activity and societal needs.

This is really a surprise and honor, as it comes out of the EU FP7 PACT project that I’ve been working on for a few years now. I’ll be presenting the results from the portion of the project that asked stakeholders how to make the transition happen. Some of this is incorporated into my article for Energy Policy (still in progress). My presentation will draw on how the transition process is perceived to be taking place in the EU and the risk governance structure.

So, if you are in town for either of these events, stop in, not to just to see  me, but to see some really fine speakers and a high level of engaging dialogue about the future of the EU’s (and US) transition to a more sustainable and integrated energy system.

Reaching Zero Carbon by 2050

I was invited to give a presentation at the CEE Energy 2010 conference organized by EastEuro Link in Budapest September 30th and October 1, 2010. I decided to diverge from the typical conference presentation about energy developments and the need for cross border cooperation and how companies operate in the CEE and SEE region. Instead I went straight to the urgent need to speed up our institutional and professional efforts at reducing carbon output.

[slideshare id=5410892&doc=reachingzerocarbonlabelle-101011031245-phpapp01]

I drew on a current project that I’m doing for the Regional Centre for Energy Policy Research (REKK) at Corvinus University. It is the Pathways for Carbon Transitions – or PACT, an EU financed FP7 project. For this study I interviewed over 30 people and analyzed the risks associated for companies and institutions in transitioning to a carbon neutral society by 2050. This is a chief goal of the EU’s second strategic energy review (past posting here, on old blog).

To simplify the findings I’ve developed a very simple equation that attempts to capture the key elements that can lead us to reducing carbon output (in the energy sector) to near zero. Or more realistically, to really be on a path where this is entrenched into the institutional and business practices (along with society). The equation is this:

pace of change = institutional change + technological development + (political/social capital)

The pace of change is essential for getting us there on time. To express this I use the quote by Steven Chu, the US Energy Secretary.

Look how long it took to make the transition from wood to coal, coal to oil and gas: 50- 60 years. We cannot make this transition in another 50 or 60 years. It will be too late for the climate.

Therefore, we must speed up how we do things. I purpose that identification of risks can speed institutional and market change. This includes closer scrutiny and identification of the elements associated with risk governance that can enable faster change to come about. Governance risks involves: regulatory, geopolitical, institutional lock-in and technological lock-in and investment risk. For a full analysis please read a recent article I’ve submitted for review to a journal(Risk Governance and Technologies LaBelle).

The presentation offers a more simple explanation of the approach and ties it to periods of market and regulatory change in the CEE/SEE region. A key proposition I made during the speech is that we can learn a lot by looking at past periods of change in the energy sector. Most recently the deregulation of electricity markets in the US and the privatization of energy companies. All profound changes that have (and have not) brought about how energy markets operate. The limitations of change should be noted, but also how change did occur.