Past Seminar

Energy 2050: The Future of Renewable Energy

Jun 21, 2005

About the Event


                                                                                                                                                                     The Future of Renewable Energy
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Library of Congress
Jefferson Building

Diversifying the United States' energy portfolio is a critical step in ensuring America's continued economic growth, national security, and environmental quality. An important component of this effort is the advancement of clean, renewable energy - a sector whose future remains very uncertain. Renewable energy sources for electric power generation is the subject of a June 21 briefing on Capitol Hill, launching a six-part series titled "Energy 2050."

Video of the event and commentary follow below.

Video of the Briefing
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Paul Portney - Introduction
President and Senior Fellow,
Resources for the Future

Paul Portney has been president of RFF since 1995. An economist by training, he jointed RFF's research staff in 1972. He became a senior fellow in 1980 and directed two of RFF's research divisions (Quality of the Environment Division and Center for Risk Management) before becoming vice president in 1989.



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In 1979 and 1980, Portney took leave from RFF to be chief economist at the Council on Environmental Quality in the Executive Office of the President. He also has held visiting teaching positions at the University of California- Berkeley and Princeton University.

Portney has long been interested in the role of economic analysis in energy and environmental regulation, especially the regulation of automobiles, power plants, and other industrial facilities. In 2001, he chaired a National Academy of Sciences panel on the future of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards.






Representative Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) 

U.S. Representative Vernon J. Ehlers of Grand Rapids was sworn in on January 4, 2005, to serve his sixth full term in the House of Representatives. Ehlers joined Congress following a distinguished tenure of service in teaching, scientific research and public service, and is the first research physicist to serve in Congress.


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Representative Ehlers serves on four committees, including the Science Committee, where he serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment, Technology and Standards. During his tenure on the Science Committee, he also has rewritten the nation's science policy and introduced the National Science Education Acts aimed at reforming K-12 science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education. He also serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where, in the 107th Congress, he led the development of the Great Lakes Legacy Act, which authorizes spending $270 million over the next five years to clean up sediments in the Great Lakes.

Ehlers holds an undergraduate degree in physics from Calvin College, and received his Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the University of California, Berkeley. After six years teaching and research at Berkeley, he moved to Calvin College in 1966 where he taught physics for 16 years and later served as chairman of the Physics Department.







Dan Arvizu
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Dr. Dan Arvizu became the eighth Director of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on January 15, 2005. NREL is the Department of Energy's primary laboratory for energy efficiency and renewable energy research and development. Dr. Arvizu also is a Senior Vice President with MRI, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. Prior to joining NREL, Dr. Arvizu was an executive with CH2M HILL Companies, Ltd. Most recently, he was Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of the Federal and Industrial Client Groups, overseeing technology development and acquisitions for seven business groups including environmental services and energy and power.


Paul Portney Introduces
Dan Arvizu

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Presentation Slides 
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In 2004, Dr. Arvizu was appointed by President Bush, and confirmed by the full U.S. Senate, to the 24-member National Science Board (NSB). Dr. Arvizu has served on a number of other boards and advisory committees, including the Secretary of Energy's National Coal Council. From 2000 to 2002, he served on the Technical Advisory Board of the G8 International Renewable Energy Task Force.

Dr. Arvizu's awards and distinctions include being recognized in 2003 and 2004 as "One of the 50 Most Important Hispanics in Business and Technology" by Hispanic Engineer Magazine. He has a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from New Mexico State University and a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.






Karen Palmer
Darius Gaskins Senior Fellow,
Resources for the Future

With RFF for more than 15 years, Karen Palmer is an expert on the environmental and economic consequences of deregulation and restructuring of the electricity industry. Her work focuses on providing information to help improve the design of incentive-based environmental regulations and other regulations that face the electric utility sector. To this end, she looks to identify the most cost-effective approach to allocating emissions allowances, efficient ways to foster renewable generation, and optimal emissions reduction targets for different air pollutants.


Paul Portney Introduces
Karen Palmer
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Palmer's work has direct links to debates on the Clean Air Interstate Rule, which focuses on the eastern United States as a whole, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, concentrated in the Northeast.

Before joining RFF in 1989, Palmer was a teaching fellow at Boston College and a staff economist at Data Resources, Inc. In 1996-1997, she spent six months as a visiting economist at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In 2005, she was appointed RFF's first Darius Gaskins Chair. Her other work rela