Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Counter Points: The New Energy Economy

The University of Denver's Institute for Public Policy Studies held a panel discussion recently: the topic was the energy economy. The event was moderated by Richard D. Lamm, the Co-Director for the Institute for Public Policy Studies and the former three-term Governor of Colorado. 

The panel consisted of four individuals each had a unique perspective on the issue: Lee Boughey is a Senior Manager for the Tri-State Generation and Transmission and is also the Co-chair of the Colorado Energy Coalition; Professor K.K. DuVivier specializes in energy law and teaches right here at Denver Law; Alice Madden is the Wirth Chair in Sustainable Development for CU Denver, she also served four terms as a Colorado State Representative as well as four years as House Majority Leader; Christopher Votoupal serves as the Deputy Director of the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association.

The impressive backgrounds of each of the candidates created a well-rounded discussion about the energy economy. Each panelist opened by sharing the nature of their interest in energy and renewable energies. The panelists then discussed the future of energy and striking a balance between renewable energy and fossil fuels. Mr. Boughey emphasized that services must remain affordable, reliable and available.

Professor Duvivier and Mrs. Madden discussed public opinion as a means to effect change. Mrs. Madden shared her view that we must continue to educate people and advocated for the use of better messengers to do so, such as the military. The military is estimated as the biggest user of energy, if they made a statement about using renewable energy, people would listen.

Mr. Boughey then shared interesting information about energy co-ops existing in remote locations where energy transport is difficult. He praised these co-ops, specifically Recharge Colorado for building capacity and for creating innovative uses.

Mr. Votoupal discussed his company, Colorado Cleantech Industry Association. He hopes Colorado Cleantech will be a template for the nation. They also want to help CO achieve its 30% renewable energy standard by 2020, which is the 2nd most aggressive standard in the nation.

The panelists were hopeful about the future of energy. Mr. Boughey stated, “It's an exciting time to grow in this sector.”

Jared Derrick, a 2012 MRLS Student attended and shared his thoughts: "Although the event was labeled, "Counterpoints: The New Energy Economy," the panel generally emphasized a balanced portfolio approach for Colorado that promoted energy solutions that included traditional, clean, and renewable energy sources. While this language of balance no doubt placates to constituencies of traditional energy sources, some of the panelists emphasized that not all energy sources are equal-- some renewable energy sources need to lower costs before deployment while traditional energy sources need to cut emissions in order to maintain a footing in Colorado's energy mix in the future. I especially appreciated Professor DuVivier's thoughts as a panelist, as she was able to represent Denver Law and not just a particular constituency."

Angelica Oman
Graduate Program Assistant

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