Emerging Trends, New Technologies, Latest Research Are Focus of UT Energy Week

AUSTIN, Texas – Experts from academia, industry, regulatory agencies and nonprofit organizations will gather on The University of Texas at Austin campus today for the second annual UT Energy Week, a conference designed “to showcase the depth of expertise and world-class energy research” on the UT Austin campus, said Dr. Thomas F. Edgar, director of the University’s Energy Institute.

“We’re known for our research into fossil fuels, but this conference illustrates that we do a lot more,” Edgar added.

Following introductory remarks from UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves, the conference will begin with an examination of Mexico’s recent entry into the world of competitive electric markets. Policy officials, regulators, service providers and finance professionals from both sides of the border will discuss challenges and opportunities relating to Mexico’s recently enacted energy reforms.

“The opening of Mexico’s electric power sector to competition presents significant opportunities for the U.S. to share our experiences with energy markets, good and bad, in meaningful ways,” said Melinda Taylor, senior lecturer in the university’s School of Law and executive director of the KBH Center for Energy, Law & Business, one of the organizers of the event.

UT Energy Week continues through Friday, Feb. 19, with most events at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center. For a complete listing of events, view the conference program.

UT Energy Week is hosted by the Energy Institute, the student-run Longhorn Energy Club, and the KBH Center, in collaboration with several on- and off-campus partners and the support of schools and colleges engaged in energy research across the UT Austin campus.

Darcia Datshkovsky Sáenz, a graduate student in public affairs and energy and earth resources who serves as president of the Longhorn Energy Club, said UT Austin students gain invaluable experience in planning Energy Week.

“This has been a great opportunity for students to work closely with faculty, as well as to network with industry representatives and other energy experts,” she said. “It also provides students a great platform to present their energy-related research to a broader audience.”

Other highlights from the UT Energy Week 2016 include:

Wednesday, Feb. 17: Academic researchers, state and federal regulators and industry executives will explore the science and regulatory response to hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas production. Other panels will address Texas’ water initiatives and the energy/food nexus.

Thursday, Feb. 18: Representatives from electric utilities, solar companies and environmental organizations will join academic experts to examine the growth of renewables, energy storage and other efforts to de-carbonize the power grid. Also Thursday, officials will release new findings from the latest edition of the semiannual UT Energy Poll.

Friday, Feb. 19: University faculty members will lead a series of panel discussions among energy producers, financiers and strategic consultants on emerging trends in oil and gas production, the financial impact of low oil prices, and the geopolitics of energy.

The conference also includes several high-profile keynote speakers and will feature two competitions organized by the Longhorn Energy Club — a poster contest showcasing students’ energy research, and a startup competition that awards cash and prizes for winning entrants in four categories: Oil and Gas, CleanTech, Energy and Water Efficiency, and Software.