Please note your affiliation and years of experience in the energy and/or environmental field
I like to think that I’ve been interested in the energy/environmental field for nearly a decade. I dove straight into the environmental science realm while completing my undergraduate work at UC Santa Barbara, and have been hooked ever since. But it wasn’t until recently (over the last 5 years) that I shifted my professional focus over to the energy sector – and I can thank Johns Hopkins SAIS for that.
Currently, I serve as the Director of Energy and Environment at International Technology and Trade Associates, where I consult for electric utilities, R&D organizations, and international trading houses on clean energy topics and environmental policies.
Any particular achievement/interest in energy/environment you would like to mention?
I felt incredibly honored to present at the Hellenic Association for Energy Economics (HAEE) annual energy conference in Athens, Greece in May 2017. In addition to the main plenary sessions, the conference held a number of concurrent academic- and industry-oriented sessions to facilitate the exchange of best practices, lessons learned, and innovative research.
Along with a fellow colleague, I presented the research findings of our recently published paper entitled “Experience Curve for Natural Gas Production by Hydraulic Fracturing.” We gave an overview of our findings, published in Energy Policy, which prescribed an experience curve for U.S. shale gas production and relevant considerations for policymaking and investment decisions.
In your opinion, what are important issues facing the energy industry nowadays?
I see a number of different challenges facing the energy industry today: decarbonization, distributed resource management, cybersecurity, etc. However, the biggest challenge I see is not how the energy system is trending, rather it is the ability of the system itself to adapt to these trends.
Our current energy system was designed to address scarcity problems, maximize infrastructure build-out, plan according to peak demand, and drive prices down through competition. Our policies and regulations have likewise been crafted to follow this structure. However, we are now well-beyond the post-oil embargo era – yet our energy system still largely reflects the needs from that time. The result is a complex web of capacity market rules, early plant retirement concerns, out-of-market subsidies, and a backlog of infrastructure O&M investments.
The challenge, in my opinion, is to craft flexible policies and regulation that allow our antiquated energy system to accommodate the trends of today (and hopefully) tomorrow.
How long have you been a member of NCAC? Any particular NCAC memory you would like to share with us?
I have been a member of the NCAC since 2016. I continually enjoy the topical conversations over lunch and look forward to the annual conferences. These are always great opportunities to meet fellow energy wonks and gain new perspectives.