Association Webinars: Our Energy Infrastructure: Navigating Choices and Challenges


The Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin has developed an online interactive decision support tool, the Energy Futures Dashboard, as part of its Energy Infrastructure of the Future study. The goal is to enhance the public dialog and policy formulation about energy infrastructure with quantitative, rigorous, and dispassionate analysis that identifies and quantifies the costs, benefits, and opportunities of different options.

The dashboard enables users to change three subsets of goals for one of thirteen U.S. regions for the year 2050: the mix of major electricity generation sources, the percentage of light duty vehicles that are electric, and the percentage of households heated by natural gas or electricity (heat pumps). After submitting inputs, the dashboard performs calculations, and results are presented to the user in the form of numbers of power plants, electricity generation, land use, costs and spending on energy, and energy-related CO2 emissions. This webinar will introduce the dashboard and discuss key issues related to the future of energy infrastructure development in the US.


Dr. Varun Rai, Energy Institute, UT Austin
Dr. Varun Rai is Director of the Energy Institute and a Professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs and in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. His interdisciplinary research - delving with issues at the interface of energy systems, complex systems, decision science, and public policy - focuses on studying how the interactions between the underlying social, behavioral, economic, technological, and institutional components of the energy system impact the diffusion of energy technologies. During 2013-2015 he was a Commissioner for the vertically-integrated electric utility Austin Energy. In 2016 the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM) awarded him the David N. Kershaw Award and Prize, which "was established to honor persons who, at under the age of 40, have made a distinguished contribution to the field of public policy analysis and management."


Dr. Carey King, Energy Institute, UT Austin
Dr. Carey King is Research Scientist at The University of Texas at Austin and Assistant Director at the Energy Institute. He also has appointments within the Jackson School of Geosciences and the McCombs School of Business. Carey performs interdisciplinary research related to how energy systems interact within the economy and environment as well as how our policy and social systems can make decisions and tradeoffs among these often competing factors. The past performance of our energy systems is no guarantee of future returns, yet we must understand the development of past energy systems. Carey's research goals center on rigorous interpretations of the past to determine the most probable future energy pathways. Dr. King is author of the forthcoming book (Fall 2020): "The Economic Superorganism: Beyond the Competing Narratives on Energy, Policy, and Growth".

Armond Cohen, Clean Air Task Force (CATF)
Armond Cohen is co-founder and Executive Director of the Clean Air Task Force, which he has led since its formation in 1996. In addition to leading CATF, Armond is directly involved in CATF research and advocacy on the topic of requirements to deeply decarbonize global energy systems. Prior to his work with CATF, Armond founded and led the Conservation Law Foundation's Energy Project starting in 1983, focussing on energy efficiency, utility resource planning, and electric industry structure. Armond has published numerous articles on climate change, energy system transformation, and air pollution; he speaks and testifies frequently on these topics. He is a member of the Keystone Center Energy Board, and a member of the US Department of Energy Electricity Advisory Committee. Armond is an honors graduate of Harvard Law School and Brown University.


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