Dartmouth Delegation to Attend Major Energy Conference

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At CERAWeek, policy and industry leaders address global energy and climate issues.

The Irving Institute building during the winter
The Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society is leading a Dartmouth delegation to CERAWeek 2023, a major conference in Houston on energy and climate issues. (Photo by Kata Sasvari)

Three faculty members and some alumni industry leaders will be among the speakers next week at a major annual energy conference in Houston.

Representatives from the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and SocietyThayer School of Engineering, the Tuck School of Business, the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer will be attending  CERAWeek 2023, where hundreds of policymakers and industry leaders explore emerging strategies and solutions to pressing global energy challenges.

This year’s theme is “Navigating a Turbulent World: Energy, Climate and Security.”

“CERAWeek organizers are aptly naming it a ‘trilemma,’ as three interlocking crises—the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the resulting global economic upheaval—make it more important than ever to rebuild an energy system that is equitable, affordable, and secure,” says April Salas, executive director of the Irving Institute. “I am thrilled that Dartmouth will be so well-represented at a gathering of the best minds in the world, working together to address unprecedented threats to the planet.”

Entering its 41st year, CERAWeek is sponsored by S&P Global, a corporation specializing in financial information and analytics. The list of marquee speakers includes former Secretary of State John Kerry, the special presidential envoy for climate; Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm; and S&P Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin, a Pulitzer-Prize winning authority on the intersection of energy, international politics, and economics who received an honorary degree from Dartmouth in 2016.

Among Dartmouth faculty slated to speak at the event are Alexis Abramson, dean of engineering and professor at Thayer; Erin Mayfield, the Hodgson Family Assistant Professor of Engineering, who will discuss the current state of climate change; and Mukul Sharma, a professor of Earth Sciences who will discuss ocean- and land-based climate solutions.

Alumni speakers include Thad Hill, Tuck ’95, the CEO of Calpine, America’s largest generator of electricity from natural gas and geothermal resources, who will discuss electrification; Abigail Ross Hopper ’93, the CEO of the Solar Energy Industry Association, who will talk about renewable energy supply chains; and Lee Taylor, Tuck ’12, CEO of REsurety Inc., speaking on maximizing and measuring carbon impact. 

 “I’m honored to participate, and very proud to be joined by colleagues who will each bring a different kind of expertise to CERAWeek,” says Abramson, whose area of discussion will be energy efficiency and making the built environment more energy efficient.

“Across campus, Dartmouth faculty and students are on the forefront of energy research and entrepreneurship, and this conference is sure to inspire and empower all of us,” she says.

The delegation will include some graduate students, including Prutha Atre, Thayer ’23, an intern in the tech transfer office. Atre, along with two fellow grad students, is building a startup artificial intelligence-backed platform to help businesses decarbonize and hopes to learn more about such initiatives during CERAWeek, along with making connections with attendees as part of the tech transfer team.

Atre says Filip Nowicki, Thayer ’24, and Vanessa Pinney ’21, Thayer ’22, will also be attending the conference.

Nowicki is interested in the energy sector and is working on a proposal to offer short-term solar purchasing power agreements to low- and moderate-income households.

Pinney is the founder and president of the Thayer Energy Club, a student-run organization that plans a variety of energy-related events in collaboration with Thayer and the Irving Institute.

Charlotte Albright