Energy Transition Begins with “And” in More Ways than One

I’m a remote-always worker, but recently I had the opportunity to attend the annual meeting of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment and was able to experience three things I rarely get on screen: energy in the room, an opportunity to see thought leaders I read about in real life, and the chance to hear from talented, innovative students about research projects that may one day form the basis of policy.

Attendees were treated to a keynote from Amory Lovins, founder and chair of the Rocky Mountain Institute among other roles, which included his views on the next decade technologies we need to support energy transition, the mindset we should adopt, and the importance of stakeholder collaboration to achieve it.

Following the keynote, attendees heard from experts in direct ocean and air carbon capture, utilization and storage. Later in the afternoon, we heard about hydrogen, from the unique and accessible aspects of geologic hydrogen to the challenges of building infrastructure to create green hydrogen and how to make it more accessible to all parts of the US.

One common thread through all the sessions was captured perfectly by GE Vernova’s Jeff Goldmeer when he expressed that energy transition is not an ‘or’ problem, it’s an ‘and’ solution. How fitting we heard this at the Andlinger Center’s annual meeting. It was well said that every region is on its own journey in the energy transition. It will take time and many forms of energy, modes of working, and technologies to achieve it.

I also got to partake in something new to me: a poster session. It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that as an adjunct myself, I eagerly soak up anything related to higher learning. This was a great bonus to hear from emerging energy and climate thought leaders as they showcased their energy and climate research.

Returning to the idea of remote work, it’s so easy to fall into the habit of reading the same e-mail newsfeeds and keeping up with the same organizations, but that can become stale. Being in a new space, hearing new speakers and meeting new people last week reminded me that innovation is always around us if we just look for it; and problem-solving is better when viewed as an “and” solution rather than an “or” problem.

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