UT’s 2019 Energy Week set to kick off this week with hot button issues in energy

Tien Nguyen

This week, energy experts from across industry, academia and government sectors will gather on campus to speak at the 2019 UT Energy Week.

“UT Energy Week is a joint effort between the Longhorn Energy Club and UT’s Energy Institute, to host a diverse group of panelists, moderators, keynote speakers and energy experts,” said Jenny Sauer, vice chair of Longhorn Energy Club.

Sauer, an energy and earth resources and business administration graduate student, said the conference can be summed up with two key phrases: “diversity of energy topics” and “student-run.”

“It’s a conference about energy topics that are of great student interest,” Sauer said. “The idea is to host dialogue on campus across a broad range of energy topics to encourage education among students, faculty and industry.”

Now in its fifth year, UT Energy Week 2019 will focus on three main themes: energy politics and security, emerging technologies and solutions, and navigating dynamic markets.

In previous years, roughly 300–500 people have shown up to the conference, and organizers are expecting the same this year, said Varun Rai, director of the UT Energy Institute.

“We really believe we are the premier energy institution of the world, and part of that belief is sharing that joy and richness externally,” Rai said. “An event like this goes a really long way in sharing what we are learning and doing.”

The conference will include panels on topics ranging from the politics of carbon pricing to funding renewable energy infrastructure in Africa, a research poster competition and networking opportunities for students.

There will be around 50 speakers this year, said Matthew Haley, president of Longhorn Energy Club.

“We have a mix of speakers and perspectives from the academia, industry and government spheres,” said Haley, a public affairs and earth and energy resources graduate student. “We really value a diversity of opinions at this conference.”

One thing that will be new and exciting at this year’s conference is the addition of an energy and economics stand-up comedian as one of the panelists, Haley said.

Haley said the content of the conference was developed by students in the Longhorn Energy Club.

“The conference is completely curated by a group of students,” Haley said. “We work with some faculty and advisory to try to help us make connections, but the actual themes of the conference are developed by student volunteers.”

Haley said in doing this, he hopes to reach one of this year’s main goals — to attract more students.

“The main idea of doing that is to hopefully survey some ideas that are interesting to students,” Haley said. “My hope is that the panels we have at this conference are appealing to students.”

Sauer said she hopes this conference will be a learning experience for industry professionals, students and others interested in energy.

“What the Longhorn Energy Club is all about is getting people in different areas of the energy industry to learn from each other,” Sauer said. “We hope that people will walk away from this conference with a broad view of the biggest issues and opportunities happening in energy right now.”


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