More than 850 people attended the second annual UT Energy Week, a gathering of experts from academia, industry, regulatory agencies, and non-profit organizations to explore and illuminate vital energy topics.
The conference was co-hosted by the Energy Institute, the student-run Longhorn Energy Club, and the KBH Center for Energy, Law & Business, in collaboration with on- and off-campus partners and the support of schools and colleges on campus engaged in energy-related research.
In addition to expert panels and keynote speakers, UT Energy Week also featured two competitions organized by the Longhorn Energy Club — a poster contest showcasing students’ energy research, and a startup competition that awarded cash and prizes for winning entrants in four categories: Oil and Gas, CleanTech, Energy and Water Efficiency, and Software.
UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves kicked off this conference by noting the critical importance of interdisciplinary academic research on a variety of energy topics. Christopher Smith, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy in the U.S. Department of Energy, then delivered a keynote address focused on the historic Paris climate change talks.
Smith noted the need for collaborative efforts among governmental agencies, industry, and academia to reduce harmful emissions from power plants and other sources. He also pointed to academic research into carbon capture and sequestration, including research initiatives underway at UT Austin, as examples of such collaboration.
Opening day of UT Energy Week 2016 explored Mexico’s recent entry into the world of competitive electric markets. Policy officials, regulators, service providers and finance professionals from both sides of the border discussed challenges and opportunities awaiting on the horizon.
Other highlights from the UT Energy Week 2016 include:
- On Wednesday, Feb. 17, academic researchers, state and federal regulators and industry executives explored the science and regulatory response to hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas production. Another session, “Power Cities of the Future,” examined an assortment of new technologies, including distributed generation, and alternative transportation models.
- On Thursday, Feb. 18, experts from electric utilities, solar companies, and environmental organizations joined academic experts to discuss the growth of renewable sources of energy, large-scale energy storage systems, and other efforts to de-carbonize the power grid. University officials also released the latest findings from the semiannual UT Energy Poll, a national online survey that measures Americans’ views on a variety of energy issues, such as climate change, fracking, and energy security / energy independence.
- On Friday, Feb. 19, UT Austin faculty members led a series of panel discussions among energy producers, financiers, and strategic consultants on emerging trends in oil and gas production, the financial impact of low oil prices, and the geopolitics of energy.
- Several high-profile keynote speakers also gave keynote address during the week, including Jonathan Lewis, Senior Vice President for Halliburton’s Completion and Production division, and Helge Hove Haldorsen, Director General of Statoil Mexico.
For a complete list of panels, speeches, and other events, view the conference program.
Check the website for updates from UT Energy Week 2016, including speakers’ presentations, photos, and news coverage of the event.