A Thought on the ‘World Energy Engineering Congress’ in Washington D.C.

By Michael Ensor,

This past week, I attended the World Energy Engineering Congress in Washington D.C. The conference opened on Wednesday, September 21 with Tom Stricker, Vice President of Product Regulatory Affairs at Toyota Motor North America, Inc. Tom’s impressive opening highlighted Toyota’s commitment to energy efficiency and environmental sustainability by briefly discussing Toyota’s objective to reduce vehicle emissions 90% by 2050, as compared to 2010 vehicle emissions. This impressive commitment will require Toyota to fully embrace electric and hydrogen powered vehicles and develop the infrastructure required to support an alternative fueled vehicle.

David Gregory, former moderator of “Meet the Press” then spoke about the state of the United States politics and the race to the white house. His talk led to the introduction of J.B.Straubel, Chief Technology Officer of Tesla. J.B began his presentation highlighting the global average temperature trends since the late 1800’s. (http://nerdist.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/global-temperature-change-spiral-graph.gif) Ed Hawkin’spresentation of the warming trend for global temperatures is one of the reasons J.B. embraced the concept of the Electric Vehicle. He also realized the battery storage potential nearly doubled in 10 years, and this was just enough for longer range vehicle transportation.

To close out the opening presentations, John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Energy, discussed the state of the oil industry and the potential impact to prices in the future. As foreign oil prices remain low, this is forcing oil producing countries such as Venezuela and even the U.S. to shut down higher cost operations. This will then free up the middle eastern countries to increase prices of oil and we could see prices back at $4.00 per gallon of gasoline in the very near future.

The conference sessions took place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Topics of discussion included low-cost energy efficiency projects, renewable and alternative energy technologies, and the nexus of energy and water conservation. The conference ended on Friday, with Tom Stricker elaborating on Toyota’s 2050 challenge, and their commitment to new technologies. Dr. Ernest Moniz, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, also spoke at the closing event and felt that the path to energy independence is a combination of the continuing use of our existing electrical infrastructure, the use of additional natural gas power plants, enhanced nuclear energy development, and the development of alternative and renewable energy. During this week, I found that many of the topics we have discussed within this class and other classes in the Energy Policy and Climate Program are at the forefront of the minds of business leaders and policy makers alike.

Leave A Comment