On this segment of NPR’s West Texas Talk, Lorne Matalon speaks with Dr Todd Davidson and Dr Joshua Rhodes, energy scientists based at the University of Texas at Austin’s Energy Institute. The interdisciplinary institute is comprised of scholars and researchers who focus on the intersection of energy economics and technology. [Read more…]
The UTES provides an opportunity for students to interact with faculty and other energy experts representing a broad cross-section of perspectives in an informal setting. [Read more…]
Maria Gallucci, a science reporter with Mashable, will begin a yearlong sabbatical from daily news reporting as the 2017-18 UT Energy Journalism Fellow. Gallucci, formerly an energy and environment reporter with International Business Times and features editor with Makeshift magazine, will spend her year on campus researching and writing a book on the global shipping industry’s transformation to a low-carbon future. She succeeds National Public Radio reporter Lorne Matalon, who spent his year on campus reporting on Mexico’s energy industry reform. The Fellowship, sponsored by the university’s Energy Institute, School of Journalism, McCombs School of Business and School of Law, provides journalists an opportunity to pursue a long-form writing project. Gallucci’s Fellowship runs from September 1, 2017 – August 31, 2018.
Forty years after its inception, the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) is at crossroads, writes Dr. Michael Webber, in a new op-ed published in several news outlets, including TexasMonthly, The Dallas Morning News and The McAllen Monitor. During the agency’s first four decades, the DoE invested in a variety of energy sources to increase supply, but its priority for the next 40 years should be to maintain those gains while reducing the environmental impacts from energy production through decreased energy demand, Webber argues. That revised mission can be achieved through investment in smarter energy management by accelerating the adoption of efficient appliances and devices. For more, read the entire op-ed.
Economic models used to inform decision-makers about such policies as the Paris Agreement on climate change are fundamentally flawed, writes Dr. Carey King, an assistant director in UT Austin’s Energy Institute in a new article in Earth magazine. The problem is not the specific economic assumptions relating to a “low-carbon” transition, King asserts, but rather structural flaws in the economic models themselves. In his article, King points to a viable way out of the predicament: focusing on creating macroeconomic models that can plausibly replicate historical trends of the most important energy and economic variables in times of high-energy investment, recession and growth, so that we have confidence in asking relevant questions about how low-carbon investments impact economic growth. King condensed his argument in a less technical version, as published in this op-ed in Psychology Today.
Engineering researchers at UT Austin, led by Prof. Joshua Apte in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, have developed the most detailed and extensive local map of air pollution ever produced for an urban area. Using specially equipped Google Street View cars to measure air quality on a block-by-block basis, the research team found that air pollution can vary dramatically even within a single city block. The research, conducted in partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund, Google, and Aclima, could address major air quality monitoring gaps worldwide. Read more.
The continuation of low domestic gas and LNG prices could result in short-term demand increases in both China and India, but current price levels are not likely to endure over the longer-term, report economists at UT Austin’s Center for Energy Economics (CEE), a unit within UT Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology, in the Jackson School of Geosciences. Researchers, including Dr. Michelle Foss, Dr. Gürcan Gülen, Miranda Wainberg, and Daniel Quijano, investigate the potential for natural gas demand growth in China and India in the context of existing and emerging natural gas industry trends, along with commercial frameworks that can facilitate or hamper the development of a vibrant natural gas sector. Among the team’s findings was an observation that though natural gas will remain a key characteristic in both countries’ power sectors, projections of overall natural gas demand growth were lower than expected. For more, read the full CEE report.
UT Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology has concluded a comprehensive study of the Bakken unconventional resource in North Dakota and Montana and found it will remain a substantial contributor to U.S. oil production for several decades. Researchers performed a geological assessment of the Bakken and associated Three Forks formations, and developed detailed geologic maps, assessments of the hydrocarbons in place, and estimates of recoverable resources. The study does not predict oil prices but looks at scenarios reflecting the economics of resource development. For more, read the press release or watch a webinar conducted by Bureau research scientist and energy economist Dr. Svetlana Ikonnikova.
Energy Institute Deputy Director Dr. Michael Webber and Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Joshua Rhodes were both cited in a new study on electric grid reliability prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy. The report, an update on the status of U.S. electricity utility markets, examines the causes for retirement of coal-fired and nuclear power plants, and overall grid reliability. It references Webber’s recent op-ed on national security issues related to the nation’s nuclear power fleet, as well as a landmark paper Rhodes authored that examines the lowest-cost generating facilities when factors such as environmental impacts and public health effects are included in calculations.