OU Energy Symposium aims to move energy backers toward creating sustainable plans
Debates are happening throughout the country and around the globe about the world’s environmental future and how energy choices will influence that story.
A symposium in Oklahoma City on Thursday will highlight that trend, referred to as the “Great Energy Disruption,” and aims to let participants know it's time for Oklahomans to move off all-or-nothing energy choices involving coal, wind, natural gas and solar to help the state develop affordable, sustainable solutions that work for industry, consumers and the environment.
The OU Energy Symposium will be held Thursday at the BHGE Energy Innovation Center, 300 NE 9.
Mike Ming, a former Oklahoma energy secretary for former Gov. Mary Fallin and a retired marketing and technology executive liaison for Baker Hughes, a GE company, said Monday discussions about energy types, their consequences and how they should be used are healthy, provided they lead to resolutions that make sense.
“We’ve got a national type of lineup that will provide a good conversation,” Ming said.
The event includes several panel discussions covering topics on energy’s competitions for capital, customers and public sentiment.
The capital discussion will include Michael O’ Sullivan, a senior vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources; Maynard Holt, CEO of Tudor, Pickering, Holt; and Matthew Harris, founding partner of Global Infrastructure Partners.
“It will look at where that capital is coming from and who is making those investment decisions,” Ming said.
A discussion involving customers will feature Brian Moddelmog, vice president of strategic origination at Calpine; Wes Mitchell, supply and trading manager at Cheniere Energy; and Melanie Kenderdine, who worked for former U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz as the agency’s director of energy policy and systems analysis and is a former executive director of the MIT Energy Initiative.
“We will be looking here at how energy sources should be competing for customers and working together,” Ming said.
A discussion about customer sentiment will feature Mark Brownstein, senior vice president with the Environmental Defense Fund; Laura Capper, founder and CEO of EnergyMakers Advisory Group; and David Victor, an international relations professor at the University of California, San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy who co-chairs the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate at the Brookings Institution. Chris Kirt, Devon Energy’s secretary and vice president of corporate governance, also will be a member of the panel.
The symposium’s opening speaker will be Mark Zoback, a Stanford University geophysics professor who has worked with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, the Oklahoma Geological Survey and other interested partners including oil and gas companies on the state’s seismic issues.
Symposium attendees also will watch a video interview with former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz, who worked in four presidential administrations and co-founded the Climate Leadership Council and advocates for a revenue-neutral carbon tax.
Ming said the ongoing debate about energy has created a need to better understand resources, technologies and behaviors.
“There is an urgent need to move the research focus and public dialogue away from polarized arguments and models that in many cases simply are no longer relevant or optimal to a new and better conversation about how fuels and technologies can work best together to produce a better outcome,” Ming said.
“There are red and blue camps, clearly, and there also are green and brown camps where you have those who are absolutely adamant that fossil fuels are the way to go and others who are absolutely adamant that renewables are the way forward. We need to move people from these corners to find a better answer.”