“Implications of the Global Energy Revolution: The Future Is Not What It Used To Be”


“Implications of the Global Energy Revolution: The Future Is Not What It Used To Be”

By Daryna Tabatska

On March 11, 2014, AJC Global Jewish Advocacy hosted the Global Energy Policy Forum “The Implications of the Global Energy Revolution: The Future Is Not What It Used To Be” at the Kimmel Center of NYU. The panel included representatives from Canada, the United States and Mexico. Special guests gave a detailed insight into how the energy sector is developing in the European Union, especially, in Germany.

With the US natural gas boom, Canada is posed to become one of the largest energy suppliers. Consequently, Canada is currently looking for ways to access new markets in Asia and Europe. The country is developing key technologies to extract its natural resources, working on its fiscal environment to make its energy market investment friendly, and also working intensively on environmental regulations. Mexico is facing the time of reforms that include such provisions as transforming energy monopolies into state enterprises, creating a new governmental body for environmental protection and developing access to the international energy market. Interestingly, the new environmental body will monitor the actions not only of energy state enterprises, but also of industrial companies.

Dr. Cheryl Martin, Acting Director of ARPA-E of The US Department of Energy, gave an insight on what new technologies had been developed, and how they could be used in housing, building, renewable sources and transportation sector; however, to give a positive impact on environment, people have to actually use these new technologies. So the question remains, how can consumer behavior be changed to make our daily actions eco-friendly?

Canada, the United States and Mexico are focusing more attention on conventional energy resources in comparison to the representatives of Germany and the Netherlands that showed how their countries are working on renewables. German energy policy includes provisions for what percentage of power has to be produced by using alternative energy sources, but Germany still needs to manage a way to deliver renewable energy from places where it is produced (the North of Germany) to the industrial-loaded South. Additionally, special attention is focused on the so-called new market design that should bring together conventional and unconventional energy sources and enable the energy market to react on price signals. Consequently, this model could ensure stability, if renewables don’t produce enough energy, for example, if the sun is still shining. However, Germany is not the only country in the EU that pays a big attention to renewables and environmental protection. The Netherlands also focuses mostly on solar energy and electric cars and Denmark is going to produce all its energy by renewables in 2020.

We can see that the European Union is intensively working on the alternative energy sources, while the United States, Canada and Mexico are focusing on conventional energy. Yet, all of these countries seem united (at least in word) in creating policies to protect the environment.

February 2014 Newsletter


EPIC Members, Alumni and Friends,

We hope our February Newsletter is received without too much stress from upcoming midterms of the Spring 2014 semester. The following newsletter is an update of the Energy Policy International Club’s most recent exploits and activities, in which we hope to publish on a monthly basis.

EPIC has undergone some major changes in leadership this semester as we have lost many of our previous members to graduation; yet, equally important, our alumni network grows stronger. EPIC’s Executive Board was reorganized this month and Audrey and myself our excited to work with its new members

Co-Presidents: Jason Cowles and Audrey Saul

Social Media Specialist: Jason Hochman

Treasurer: Lillith Vargas

Activities Coordinator: Daryna Tabatska

Communications Director: Cassy Rodriguez

Faculty Liaison: Matthew Calo

We are excited for new and invigorated students to carryon the proud tradition that former EPIC members have left behind.

The highlight of February was EPIC’s involvement in The Energy Wise City Conference at the NYU Kimmel Center. Expert panels took on a wide range of issues such as urban resiliency, urban sustainability and big data, the future of transportation, urban cleantech and renewables, and the future role of utilities. The panels were composed of a variety of professionals that gave great insight into the future of clean technologies and energy.

The keynote speaker Jigar Shah (Founder of SunEdison) presented a fascinating speech on the common sense of pursuing solar energy, especially over hydrofracturing. I caught up to Mr. Shah after his speech and shook his hand and spoke to him about my thesis on the geopolitics of oil in the Middle East, especially Turkey’s emergence as an energy hub. He was all too eager to talk to me and offered to sign a copy of his book Creating Climate Wealth: Unlocking the Impact Economy. He hilariously wrote, “Jason, oil markets are volatile, hedge with cleantech—JS”. It was an amazing opportunity and experience that I won’t easily forget.

Just recently, EPIC has sent out a survey for an energy topic for a workshop that we hope to organize in April. If you could take a moment to fill out the survey on the following link, it would be very helpful: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NXHXQ7R

In the coming weeks we invite you to attend our upcoming events: “Understanding the Arctic Resource Challenge: Canada and US Perspective” (March 6) and “Fueling Our Future – Clean Energy for All: Technology, Policy, and Finance” (April 1). Audrey and I will send out more information as these events draw closer and we will also inform you of any changes.

We are all very excited about this semester and beyond and are eager to add and contribute to the culture of EPIC and the Energy and Environment Concentration. Of course, this would not be possible without the guidance of Professor Kissane, as well as all of the Friends and Alumni of EPIC for their continued support. You have made this newsletter possible, and through events and workshops alike, your contribution greatly enriches our educational experience here at the Center for Global Affairs.

Best Regards,

Jason Cowles and Audrey Saul

Co-Presidents of EPIC, 2013-2014

The Other Green Revolution in the Middle East: WFES 2013 Recap


By: Tanya Malik, CGA Global Affairs Student

In 2009, the world witnessed Iran’s Green Revolution. Disgruntled and disenfranchised students and citizens took to the streets against oppressive regimes and the revolutions resulted in violence and mass arrests. Fast forward to 2013 and again a green revolution is taking place in the Middle East, but this time, dictators optional.

This new green revolution taking place in the MENA/GCC region is the new and impressive push towards renewable energy in the heavily fossil fuel dependent region. Countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, each holding 22% and 9% of the worlds oil respectively, are two of the world’s most impressive investors in clean energy research and development. Most notably, the Emirati low carbon city, Masdar, and its investment and university affiliates, have propelled the UAE to the global fore of all things green. And it’s just getting started.

ImageThis past week, Abu Dhabi hosted the 6th annual World Future Energy Summit in conjunction with Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and along side the International Water Summit 2013, where high profile delegates included French president Francois Hollande and HH Princess Rania of Jordan. The buzz on the beat was international cooperation, energy efficiency, and sustainability.

Panel discussions and plenary meetings ranged from “Renewable Energy Policy Frameworks and Investment Opportunities in GCC/MENA” to “Renewable Energy Financing – Growth Amidst Economic Turmoil” to “What is Driving Innovation in Future Energy Technologies”.

The headline theme of the summit, however, was “Sustainable Energy For All” which found its way into many discussions. The initiative was carried over from the UN Global Compact’s Private Sector Forum from 2011, spearheaded by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. There were calls for the “energy wealthy” to change priorities to help the “energy poor, emphasizing the need for more robust efforts towards private public partnerships and collaborative initiatives.

Though the general mood of the conference was of hope and excitement for the future of renewable energy, Jeffery Sachs of the Earth Institute had a more somber outlook, expressing his concern that not enough is being done by way of climate change reduction. “Climate change is a problem of the present, and yet we still have no plans, trajectories, or public policies”. Experts like Fatih Birol of the IEA warned that the share of renewables in the global energy mix, though increasing, is not increasing fast enough. Subsides were emphasized as the biggest policy impediment to shifting the energy in a major way, as fossil fuel subsidies were described as the “public enemy number one in the fight against climate change”. Yet initiatives like Masdar and organizations like the International Renewable Energy Agency were described as the right steps to necessary spur change.

During a financing panel put on by Bloomberg in the Project Finance Village section of the exhibition, the one main consensus was policy, when asked what was the one thing needed to increase project investment. These sentiments were echoed throughout the summit, at every panel I attended and interview I conducted. The song was the same: policy, policy, policy. Sound policy frameworks were the rally cry for multilateral organizations and private companies alike. Ikea’s Chief Sustainability Officer put it best when he said, “we don’t need luxury incentives, we just need certainty”. Whatever policy frameworks materialize, the key is setting the stage for grid parity. In a panel discussion on solar technology, Chief Technology Officer of First Solar, Raffi Garebendian, pressed that technology like Photovoltaic is undoubtedly competitive with fossil fuels on a level playing field. And since in the long run all these systems are the same equalize anyways, it becomes a matter of what policies we choose moving forward.

So who had the biggest and baddest exhibition booths? Big oil, of course! Exxon Mobil, a platinum sponsor of the conference, and Statoil held presentations in their mini auditoriums on the exhibition floor and offered interactive displays on how big oil is rapidly increasing their presence in the renewable development space. ExxonMobil hosted their Energy Outlook Forum where they featured their efforts in clean fossil fuel production and how they are making their business more energy efficient. Statoil showcased a model of its promising new carbon capture technology whose claim to fame is its significantly lower heat requirement. A partnership between Statoil and Masdar is currently in the works for testing the technology at Masdar’s Abu Dhabi facilities. Yet even more delightful than these efforts in clean energy was Exxon’s round the clock 60’s style coffee bar to help keep us going throughout the summit.

The World Future Energy Summit highlighted that the foundations of the global energy system are changing and although the energy mix of the future is visible on the horizon, more must be done by way of policy and inter-industry and governmental collaboration. Masdar, Abu Dhabi, the UAE, and the Middle East will certainly be the players to watch moving forward in the renewable energy space.

Tanya Malik

CGA Global Affairs Student


Fall Newsletter Intro and Upcoming Events


EPIC Members, Alumni and Friends,

We hope our first newsletter finds you all well as the holiday season is approaching and our first semester of the 2012-2013 school year is flying by and not far from being over. Although only a couple months into the semester, EPIC has been very active, hosting a number of networking and social events in addition to co-hosting the Fueling our Future series with the CGA (see below).

This past weekend alone, we hosted an EPIC Drinks session at the Trinity Place Bar as well as an Energy Finance workshop, taught by CGA Alumnus Sam Lissner. Sam did a great job as we engaged in a policy discussion stemming from the recent election, reviewed various financial models and participated in intriguing dialogue
throughout the day. We were happy to host a group of 25 students including 10 from the Stern Energy Club.

In the coming weeks we invite you to attend our upcoming events in the Fueling our Future Series and add to the EPIC discussions on Twitter, LinkedIn and WordPress. In addition, to these social media streams, EPIC is happy to announce that a website will be coming soon as well.

We will keep everybody posted on all of the events for next semester. We are all very excited about this year and are eager to add and contribute to the culture of EPIC and the Energy and Environment Concentration. We would like to thank Professor Kissane, as well as all of the Friends and Alumni of EPIC for their continued
support. You have made this newsletter possible, and through events and workshops alike, your contribution greatly enriches our educational experience here at the Center for Global Affairs.

Warm Regards,
Simon Sylvester-Chaudhuri
EPIC President, 2012-2013

Upcoming Events
Fueling our Future Series – Fracking:
Thinking Locally and Globally
Woolworth Building, Room 430
Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Fueling our Future Series – The Global
Electric Grid
Woolworth Building, Room 430
Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

New Student Essentials

Please join us on Friday at the Center for Global Affairs (Woolworth Building) for our New Student Essentials night.

We will be discussing  the great events planned for EPIC and kicking off the new year at the CGA. Come have a glass wine and talk Energy!

Friday, September 7th from 6:30-8:00, Woolworth Building NYC