Energy Innovation – All the Angles

Author: Lewis Milford, Clean Energy Group | Projects: Clean Energy Innovation, Clean Energy Finance

blogphoto-EI-2011On November 17th, several groups hosted an important conference on energy innovation in Washington, DC. Sponsored by Clean Energy Group, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Breakthrough Institute, Clean Air Task Force, the Bipartisan Policy Commission, World Resources Institute, New England Clean Energy Council, Arizona State University and Third Way, “Energy Innovation 2011” covered the issues around energy and innovation from a number of critical perspectives.

The speakers list is a who’s who of leading thinkers on energy and innovation. They discussed what is needed to bring about energy cost reductions, create new business models, develop key policies, and address climate change. The speakers and topics included:

  • Arun Majumdar, Acting Under Secretary of DOE who talked about ARPA-E and the agency’s innovation programs.
  • Vice Admiral Denny McGinn, president of ACORE, who talked about defense capabilities and clean energy.
  • Letha Tawney of WRI, who has written extensively about how innovation works in practice and how it should be applied to clean energy.
  • Rob Atkinson, the president of ITIF, who has put a strong intellectual foundation in economics behind new efforts to promote energy innovation.
  • Jesse Jenkins of Breakthrough who is a lead author of many reports outlining key strategies for energy innovation in a competitive world market for clean energy.
  • Black Simmons, the VP of Sandia labs, talked about energy breakthroughs as will Sam Thernstrom of Clean Air Task Force.
  • Peter Rothstein of the New England Energy Council discussed emerging efforts to create industry clusters around the country.
  • Armond Cohen of Clean Air Task Force talked about the role of China in commercializing new innovative clean energy technologies around the world.

The panels were moderated by leading journalists, including Marc Gunther of Fortune, Bryan Walsh of TIME, Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic, Carol Davenport of National Journal, and Monica Trauzzi of E&ETV.

I served on a panel talking about the role of states in the clean energy innovation ecosystem. A recording of this panel, “Smart Energy Policies: Driving Innovation in a Time of Budget Austerity,” is posted below. Additional conference materials are available here.