Wednesday 2020

Wednesday, February 19th

Setting a 2020 Energy Vision

8:00 – 9:30

Women in Energy Breakfast (by invitation)

9:45 – 10:30

Keynote Conversation with Mark Vanderhelm, Vice President of Energy and Facilities Management at Walmart US
Reena Fram, Co-VP of Corporate Relations, Longhorn Energy Club
Vineet Raman, VP of Finance, Longhorn Energy Club

10:45 – 11:45

Panel 1: Energy Leadership: New Visions for a New Era
The 2020 Energy Week program is inspired by the concept of “2020 vision.” This year, governments and corporations will face intense pressure to declare and invest in ambitious energy visions that will shape global dynamics and daily life for decades to come. Yet, uncertainties about international relations, technological developments, and social and financial consequences are blurring the chance that perfect 20/20 vision can inform today’s energy decisions. This panel spotlights some of the most experienced and successful corporations that are driving creative energy solutions on a global scale. Panelists will comment on what it takes to drive a new vision in a large organization as well as opportunities and challenges posed by pressures to operate environmentally and socially sustainable businesses.

Varun Rai, Director, University of Texas Energy Institute (Moderator)
Michael Wheeler, Principal Strategist, Equinor
David Lear, Vice President, Corporate Sustainability, Dell Technologies

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12:00 – 1:00


1:15 – 2:15

Panel 2: Policy and Business Implications of a Green New Deal
In February 2019, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced House Resolution 109 to lay out the goals and vision of a Green New Deal. While the resolution died in the halls of Congress, it marked a turning point for the Green New Deal movement by sparking immediate attention across the public sphere. The movement calls for swift and all-encompassing action to address anthropogenic climate change and transform the economy, with goals ranging from 100% renewable energy in the power sector, the elimination of carbon emissions from agriculture and manufacturing, upgrades to all buildings, jobs and wage guarantees, and more. As debate intensifies during the 2020 elections, uncertainty lingers about how the Green New Deal movement might manifest in policy. This panel of engineers, activists, and economists will explore the economic and social implications of the Green New Deal, commenting on the effects of various potential policy decisions.
David Spence, Baker Botts Chair in Law and Professor of Business, Government and Society, The University of Texas at Austin (Moderator)
Andrew Waxman, Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Policy, LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin
Benjamin Leibowicz, Assistant Professor in the Graduate Program in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin • Click to view PDF slides
Luke Metzger, Executive Director, Environment Texas
Karr Ingham, Economist, Petroleum Economist, and Executive Vice-President, Texas Alliance of Energy Producers

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2:30 – 3:30

Panel 3: Will Technology Save the Day? Optimist and Realist Perspectives
This panel will discuss how technology and media play a role in influencing the energy system’s move toward low carbon emissions. The panel will discuss the merits of “techno-optimism” versus “techno-realism” with regard to the finitude and substitutability of resources that will be required to meet the world’s energy needs. Additionally, the panel will explore the role of media in influencing social movement toward low-carbon business models and technology.

Carey King, Assistant Director, Research Scientist, The University of Texas Energy Institute (Moderator) • Click to view PDF slides
Bob Jensen, Professor Emeritus, School of Journalism, The University of Texas at Austin
Clay Butler, Chief Executive Officer, 7X Energy
Jeffrey Ball, Scholar-in-Residence and Lecturer, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University and Stanford Law School
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3:45 – 4:45

Panel 4: The USA’s Role and Importance in Global Energy Leadership
The panel will discuss how to balance conflicts between environmental issues and economic growth in a potential global climate agreement. Strong focus will be placed on whether and how the US should provide the impetus for stronger international cooperation. Objectives and conclusions include:

  • To understand the conflict and tradeoffs in international energy policies.
  • To discuss areas of compromise between competing opinions and objectives
  • To understand the role the United States should take in leading international policy.
  • To understand the future of transportation and electricity in terms of energy requirements and renewable energy potential.
  • To connect the future of transportation and electricity to international energy outcomes.

  • Aldo Flores-Quiroga, Former Deputy Secretary of Energy of Mexico and Visiting Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas (Moderator)
    Josh Busby, Associate Professor of Public Affairs and a Distinguished Scholar at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, The University of Texas
    Etienne Cadestin, Founder and Global Chief Executive Officer, Longevity Partners
    Robert Bryce, Author, Journalist, and Film Producer

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    4:45 – 5:00

    Closing Remarks