Friday, November 20, 2009

U.S., EU Vie for Inside "Energy" Track in China

The United States and the European Union are actively competing for energy-related attention from China.

The two economic superpowers obviously see a significant future in working with China to address that country's enormous energy challenges.

The U.S. attention was on full display earlier this week when President Obama and President Hu introduced a "far-reaching package of measures" (White House characterization) aimed at increasing energy cooperation between the two countries.

Among other things, China and the U.S. agreed to the following:
  • Establishment of a U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, which will facilitate joint research and development involving clean energy technologies.
  • Establishment of the U.S.-China Renewable Energy Partnership to facilitate development of "roadmaps for wide-spread renewable energy development." A working group from both countries will be formed to consider how to modernize the grid in both countries.
  • A 21st Century Coal Initative, which will include large-scale carbon capture and storage demonstration projects.
  • A Shale Gas Initiative, to use experience gained in the U.S. to assess China's shale gas potential.
Meanwhile, across the pond (the Atlantic one), there was yet another indication of Europe's interest in China. In a report published earlier this week, the Centre for European Reform (CER), a London-based think-tank, said:
"Effective EU-China cooperation is critical to delivering a good deal at [the UN Climate Change Conference in] Copenhagen and to ensuring ongoing progress towards global decarbonization. Europe and China are economically and politically interdependent, and have strikingly similar energy and climate change policies. As its largest investor, trade partner and provider of technology, Europe has a strong stake in China's success."
Currently EU firms invest more than $2 billion annually in Chinese projects to lower emissions of greenhouse gases through the Clean Development Mechanism, according to the CER report.

For a deeper look at the EU-China relationship, check out this blog posting by Stanley Crossick, a long-time expert on EU affairs and a senior fellow at the Brussels Institute of Contemporary Chinese Studies.

As noted above, it is difficult to predict with any level of certainty where the two big Atlantic powers are headed in terms of respective relationships with China. But this much is clear -- when the Europeans and the U.S. point their compasses in the same direction (i.e., China) there seems a real likelihood of something big happening.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

LLM Student Maria Carolina Crespo Gives Guest Lecture During "Latin American Week" at DU

Recently Maria Carolina Crespo, an LLM student from Argentina, co-presented a lecture during “Latin American Week,” which was organized by the DU Spanish-Speaking Law Student Association (SSLSA). Ms. Crespo practices at Estudio Beccar Varela in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she is part of the natural resources department.

Ms. Crespo, together with Alejandra Garcia, from Estudio Ferrere, Uruguay, made a great presentation -- in Spanish -- about “General Aspects of Corporations in Argentina and Uruguay.” The presentation attracted a large number of JD students and law school professors.

Carolina is also actively involved with the SSLA where she provides presentations, lectures and discussions in Spanish for JD students and with DU's Lawyering in Spanish Overseas Externship Program (part of the Lawyering in Spanish Program at Sturm College of Law).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NREL's Clean Energy Forum Attracts 600 to Conference in Denver

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) held its 22nd Clean Energy Industry Growth Forum in Denver last week. Nearly 600 investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, and policymakers attended the event.

The three-day forum highlighted clean energy industry technology and business developments. Dan Arvizu, NREL Director, said, "We need to approach energy differently and the key will be innovation. This forum brings together the clean energy innovators, investors, and policymakers needed to bring about transformational change."

More than $2.5 billion has been raised by companies presenting at the Forum since 2003.

Gisele Everett, Director of one of the key sponsors Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors, said, "The range of technologies represented by the participating companies highlights the breadth of creative solutions being deployed to address our greatest energy and environmental challenges. We are pleased to support this forum to help these young companies develop their ideas into commercial solutions."

NREL, the United States' primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development, is located about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the DU campus. In the spring 2010 semester, the law school will offer a first-of-its-kind course taught by policy, market, and technology experts from NREL.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Strong Energy Efficiency and Conservation Measures Should be Part of New Energy Economy, LLM Alum Leslie Weise Writes on Huffington Post

Leslie Weise, a 2005 DU LLM graduate and principal at Cleantech Business Solutions LLC, has written an interesting commentary about the "new energy economy" for Huffington Post, which is perhaps the premier U.S. news blog. She makes the point that the state of Colorado as well as the U.S. need "to support and implement strong policy measures based on the approaches of energy efficiency and conservation."

Ms. Weise goes on to state:
  • There is significant untapped energy savings from efficiency related measures when one considers that typically over 90 percent of energy from electricity generation has been wasted by the time it is used in a home or building. Colorado is already making strides in improving its energy efficiency, as it recently upped its ranking from 24th to 16th in performance among the states. However, the full potential for these approaches to contribute in a lasting manner to the serious reform needed to confront the very real energy issues facing us has barely been tapped.
  • Two key opportunities can be found in decoupling profits from energy sales to allow utilities to benefit from saving energy and establishing what are known as "time of use" rates for electricity based on when energy is consumed.
This is a thought-provoking piece that reminds all of us that improving energy efficiency can also play a key role in reducing America's carbon footprint. I would urge you to read it. Leslie is one of our graduates who is making a difference in the new energy economy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

LLM Student Jeff Cullers' Photo Website

Despite what many of you think, it's not entirely all business all the time in the graduate program!

In reality, many of our students are involved in a multitude of interesting non-graduate program related activities. When I hear about these I will try to let the larger community know.

Today I am calling your attention to a very nice photo website that has been developed by Jeff Cullers, an LLM student. Click here to go to the URL.

Jeff's pictures of Colorado and El Paso, Texas and White Sands in New Mexico are particularly impressive. The photos are from 35mm slides. The colors are vivid and there are also several sets of black and white photos as well.