Association Webinars: Water and Energy: What Connection Can We Draw?


There are many different ways to describe water and energy nexus, due to the complexity that the two basic resources that sustain our order of life. The idea of this webinar is to take this abstract and powerful concept and distill it into concrete research stories that we could learn and embrace to get inspired.

In this webinar we have invited three guest speakers, who have all dedicated their work on drawing distinctive connections and focus of energy and water from different parts of the world, facing different set of challenges. For example, what does water resource management mean in face of climate change, from North America to Europe? Furthermore, how can we transform modeling and analysis into strategies and decisions on improving and optimizing the connection between water and energy, through scientific research, industry practice, and policy making?


Ning Lin, Ph.D. - Chief Economist, Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin

With 15 years of experience in market analytics and strategies, Dr. Lin is an energy economist with strong entrepreneurial spirit. She recently joined the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin, where she is working with research teams, and leveraging expertise in geoscience and environmental resources, to address energy and environmental challenges. Her current research thrusts include: upstream oil and gas resources and economic evaluation for development and production; oil, natural gas and LNG market and infrastructure analysis and scenario planning, integrating with related sectors and value chains; the electricity and renewables sector; environmental resource management (flaring, water and land); and system modeling on a sustainable energy transition addressing energy policy and technology choices. In her former roles, Dr. Lin managed market analysis capabilities and served as commercial leaders for Shell, Koch Industries, and Tenaska across natural gas and power, petrochemical derivatives and chemicals industries.


Vincent Tidwell, Ph.D. - Principal Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories

Dr. Vincent Tidwell is a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories. He has 30 years of experience conducting and managing research on basic and applied projects in water resource management, collaborative modeling and the energy-water nexus. He played a lead role in realizing a new Crosscut Program on the Energy-Water Nexus within DOE. Recently he led a multi-institutional team to integrate water into long-term transmission planning in the US and identified potential pinch points where water stress could impact energy production internationally. He and colleagues are combining critical infrastructure protection models with climate integrated assessment models to evaluate the resilience of our nation's infrastructure. He is an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico, New Mexico Tech, and the University of Arizona. He served on Governor Richardson's Blue Ribbon Task Force on water and is a Lead Author for the Water, Energy and Land Use chapter in the 2014 National Climate Assessment (NCA) and the Energy Chapter in the 2018 NCA.

Jorgen Björndalen - Principal Consultant at DNV GL

With 30 years of experience as consultant and research economist within the electricity industry, Jörgen is recognized as an expert in electricity market design, -regulation and -analysis. He has broad and deep experience with challenges that are of vital importance for energy companies, large energy customers and relevant authorities. With both a Master of Science degree in Business and a Cand. Oecon. degree in Economics from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (NHH), he also offers highly relevant and tested skills to help companies and authorities develop their strategies and operations further. Jörgen's experience includes working with power producers, transmission system operators, distribution network owners and industrial electricity end users, as well as different national and international regulatory authorities all over Europe. In May 2020, he completed an assignment for the Norwegian Regulatory Authority for Energy, heading a group of experts to advice the NRA on how to organize coordination of power system operation among different system operators (TSO-DSO coordination). Also, he completed an analysis for ACER on developing a methodology for assessing the impact of a bidding zone reconfiguration on market liquidity and transaction costs.

Chris Hansen, Ph.D. - Colorado State Senator and Co-Founder and Director of Programming at the Colorado Energy & Water Institute

Senator Chris Hansen represents District 31 in the Colorado State Senate. He specializes in energy sector economics and data analytics, with 20 years of experience in the global energy industry. He was formerly the Representative for House District 6, representing the east-central neighborhoods of Denver. Prior to his work as an elected official, he served as Senior Director at IHS Markit where he led a global portfolio of energy products, events and partnerships. He is a co-creator of the OptGen analysis, IHS CERA's unique tool for applying financial portfolio techniques to power generation. Before joining IHS Markit, Dr. Hansen was a Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, where he analyzed electricity and gas sector reform in India and published several papers in professional journals on energy sector economics and policy analysis. In addition to his current role in the state senate, Hansen serves as the Co-Founder and Director of Programming at the Colorado Energy & Water Institute, and as Co-Founder of the Colorado Science and Engineering Policy Fellowship.


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