Irving Institute to Hold Major Symposium on Energy Future

More than 40 leaders in technology, policy, and finance will share—virtually—their ideas.

In its inaugural symposium on May 3, 4, and 5, the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society will tackle one of the most urgent issues of our time: Investing in Our Energy Futures. This signature event reflects the institute's distinctive model of leveraging societally driven needs to advance its dual mission to increase energy access while working toward a sustainable energy future.

The institute has virtually convened experts from across the United States and the world for the symposium to focus on a crucial energy question: How can we shape our energy investments to simultaneously provide adequate energy access to all people and address climate change to ensure a sustainable environment for future generations?

"Bringing together the best and brightest of minds actively at work on this problem sets in motion the core principle of our institute," says Elizabeth Wilson, director of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society. "We view advances in energy technology within societal factors driving—or impeding—transformation of the industry."

Co-sponsored by the Revers Center for Energy at the Tuck School of Business, the conference will bring together more than 40 world-renowned leaders in science, engineering, finance, and public policy. They'll address, from multiple perspectives, investments—human, financial, and technologies—to seek solutions through four broad strategies:

  • Investing to meet both increasing energy demand and climate targets
  • Fostering emerging technologies amid the changing fossil-renewables mix
  • Advancing social justice and global energy access
  • Developing energy leaders

"Our speakers' roster reads like a 'Who's Who' in energy creation and policy today," says Wilson.

The work of the institute addresses the intersection of energy and society, focusing on the challenges and opportunities in transforming today's energy systems to meet the needs of the future. Through educational programming, research funding, and the engagement of campus and community partners, the institute connects faculty and students from many different disciplines—from the natural and social sciences to business and economics to the arts and humanities—to frame and examine the complexities of energy systems and transitions within the context of emerging societal needs.

Wilson and President Philip J. Hanlon '77 will make introductory remarks. Other prominent Dartmouth administrators will make remarks and lead discussions throughout the conference, including Matthew Slaughter, the Paul Danos Dean of the Tuck School of Business; Alexis Abramson, dean of Thayer School of Engineering; and Laurel Richie '81, chair of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees.

The panels will convene leaders working at the highest levels of the energy sector, including many Dartmouth alumni, to engage in critical conversations.

David Turk, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, and Mary Nichols, former chair of the California Air Resources Board, will be featured in the opening conversation, moderated by April Salas, executive director of the Revers Center for Energy.

Subsequently, on May 3, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman '78 (R-Ohio) and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), will lay out the political landscape in "Advancing Bipartisan Energy and Policy," discussing bipartisan actions related to energy legislation. The conversation will be moderated by Dan Reicher '78, partner at the Climate Adaptive Infrastructure Fund and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy.

The following panel, "The Energy Transformation: Getting From Here to There," will feature four Dartmouth alumni: Abby Ross Hopper '93, president and CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association; Tom Kiernan '81, CEO, American Rivers; Darren Peers '96, analyst, Capital Group; and Brad Plumer '03; climate reporter for The New York Times. That evening, Jamie Coughlin, director of Dartmouth's Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship, will lead a conversation with Julie Blunden '88, board member of New Energy Nexus and the U.S. Energy Storage Association, and Russ Stidolph '97, chairman of Eos Energy Storage, about opportunities for new ventures in this critical sector.

Financial strategies come into focus on May 4 with "Meeting the Challenge: Tripling Clean-Energy Investment Globally" moderated by Jigar Shah, director of the U.S. Department of Energy Loans Program Office. This panel will convene with Dan Revers, Tuck '89, managing partner at ArcLight; M. Elyse Allan '79, Tuck '84, chair of the Tuck Board of Advisors, former CEO of GE Canada, and a member of Brookfield Asset Management board of directors; Ray Wood '84, managing director and head of the Global Power, Utilities and Renewable Group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch; and Mindy Lubber, CEO and president, Ceres; and Sebastian Deschler, general counsel at CrossBoundary.

Also on May 4, Steven Doig, managing director of research at the Irving Institute, will moderate "Sustainable Energy for All," a panel featuring perspectives from NGO leaders working across the world. "Innovation and the New Energy Economy" will examine the most promising venture capital and corporate strategies used to satisfy the changing needs of our society and discuss how best to prepare future leaders in the energy-and-society sphere. The evening will be capped by "Investing in the Next Generation of Energy Leaders," where students will present their work in advancing new and innovating ways of thinking and developing solutions at the intersection of energy and society.

May 5 will bring discussions about social and environmental justice, moderated by Wilson, and featuring Dan Kalafatas '96, co-founder and chairman, 3Degrees; Gilbert Campbell, co-founder and CEO, Volt Energy; and Rose McKinney-James, board chair of the Energy Foundation.

U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster '78 (D-N.H.) will join a panel on "Driving Progress on Energy and Climate Policy," which also will include Phil Giudice, Tuck '85, the Biden administration's special assistant to the president for climate policy; Marsden Hanna, head of sustainability and climate policy for Google; and Tobias Schmidt, head, Energy Polictics Group, ETH Zurich. The panel will be moderated by Norman Bay '82, former chair of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The conference will include a program about the Arthur L. Irving Institute's new home, now under construction, with remarks by President Hanlon and the institute's principal founders, Arthur L. Irving, chairman, Irving Oil, Sandra Irving, and Sarah Irving '10, Tuck '14, vice-president and chief brand officer, Irving Oil. Other speakers include Roger Goldstein, principal, Goody Clancy; Rosi Kerr '97, director of Dartmouth's Sustainability Office; and Geoff Parker, professor of engineering and director of the Master of Engineering Management Program, who conducts leading work in energy and platform economies.

Located at the end of Tuck Drive, directly between the Tuck School of Business and Thayer School of Engineering, the institute's home reflects its dynamic mission to leverage the interdisciplinary learning that is emblematic of the Dartmouth education to inspire innovative thinking on this critical topic. The light-filled building will be the most energy-efficient structure on campus, and Dartmouth will seek LEED Platinum certification. Classrooms, research labs, and public spaces will draw faculty and students from across campus, as well as experts and practitioners from around the world. The building is slated to open this fall.

Notably, the conference's concluding session will feature a discussion by James Coulter '82, co-CEO and founding partner, TPG, and Bill Helman '80, chairman and co-founder, Equal Opportunity Ventures and a former trustee, discussing the shifting landscape of the investment sector and some of the greatest opportunities and challenges ahead in the energy and climate area.

"Investing in Our Energy Futures" is open to the public, and registration is required.