First Annual Energy Summit

September 10 - 12, 2009, Denver, CO

Women In Government's First Annual Energy Summit was held September 10 - 12, 2009 in Denver, Colorado.  This Summit convened over forty women legislators to hear presentations and discuss a variety of issues surrounding energy policy.  The meeting kicked off with tours of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and a natural gas field and followed with presentations from experts and state legislators on pertinent policy topics. For a full agenda, click here.  To view photos from the Summit, click here.

Below is an overview of the conference presentations:

Keynote Address

Secretary Gale Norton
48th Secretary of the Interior

Overview: Secretary Norton spoke to legislators on the need for all forms of energy to meet the growing demands both nationally and internationally. She also spoke on how state legislators can ensure a balanced energy approach.

View Handout

Welcome to Colorado

Governor Bill Ritter, Jr.
State of Colorado

Overview: Governor Ritter welcomed our legislators to Colorado, and spoke on how Colorado has created a new energy approach using three factors: changing a state’s energy portfolio, addressing environmental issues, and creating jobs. He also spoke on the smart grid becoming the future of energy.

Peak Oil: How the Supply and Demand for Oil Could Change the Way We Live

Chris Hagelin
Senior Transportation Planner
GO Boulder
City of Boulder, CO

Christopher Steiner
Senior Writer, Forbes Magazine
Author, $20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better

Overview: Chris Hagelin spoke to legislators on peak oil. This presentation addressed the impact of when oil production reaches its maximum rate. If oil hits its peak, the world could face a liquid fuel crisis, supply disruptions could occur, and oil could become increasingly expensive. He also spoke on ways to alleviate the impact of peak oil with investments in renewable energy sources and expanded use of non-conventional energy sources.

Christopher Steiner spoke to legislators on the effects of rising gas prices. In his research for his book, he discovered that when the price of gas increased, fewer automobile accidents and fatalities occurred. He also spoke about a gas tax, and asked legislators to think of more long term progress for short term problems.

View Chris Hagelin's presentation

Question and Answer:
1. Rep. Sue Wallis, WY - The gas tax will kill rural economies where people must travel long distances to get food, etc.
2. Sen. Sandy Jerstad, SD - Agreed with Rep. Wallis’s point, but said that we have been “held hostage” by oil companies who have bought out small companies that make renewable fuels.
3. Rep. Donna Hutchinson (AR) - As far as walkable communities are concerned, the Baby Boomer population will be too old to walk far distances if these communities are implemented, not to mention the handicapped.
4. Sen. Janis Lee (KS) - The presentation overlooked rural districts. People in rural districts produce food and high gas prices for these people will affect food prices.

A Balanced Approach to the Energy Needs of America

John Felmy, PhD
Chief Economist
American Petroleum Institute

Overview: John Felmy spoke to legislators on the role of each energy source and how energy efficiency improvements play a role in our future. He presented on what policies we need to achieve an energy future that is secure, reliable, and affordable.

Question and Answer:
1. Rep. Phyllis Kahn (MN) - Doesn’t Brazil have 100% ethanol-run cars? The United States should also try to make them.
2. Rep. Pricey Harrison (NC) - Being concerned about fossil fuels, etc., what is your opinion on the Waxman- Markey bill?

Advances in Oil and Gas Production Technology

Carl Michael Smith, JD
Executive Director
Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission

Overview: Carl Michael Smith spoke to legislators about the advancements in oil and gas production technology, increased supply and enhanced environmental protection. He discussed what states are involved in current enhanced oil recovery and geologic sequestration.

View Carl Michale Smith's presentation

Question and Answer:
1. Carye Chapman (American Royalties Council) - What are the implications if royalties stop being paid?

Existing U.S. Untapped Energy Resources

Representative Anna Fairclough
Chair, Alaska Renewable Energy Task Force
Alaska State Legislature

Representative Sue Wallis
Vice Chair, Agriculture, State and Public Lands, and Water Resources Joint Interim Committee
Wyoming State Legislature

Overview: This presentation focused on U.S. energy use and how we can achieve a balanced approach to sustainable, affordable, clean and reliable renewable and non-renewable energy. Representative Anna Fairclough spoke about Alaska’s use of renewable energy resources and Representative Sue Wallis presented on what existing “untapped non-renewable reserves” that we have in the United States today.

View Presentation

View Handout

Question and Answer:
1. Rep. Donna Hutchinson (AR) - How does United States’ coal production compare to that of China’s?
2. Rep. Nancy Young Wright (AZ) - Can you talk about the insurance cost of having nuclear power plants and storing the nuclear waste?

Energy Transmission – Barriers and Solutions

Susan Perkins, JD, MBA
Managing Member
Perkins Ruschena, LLC

Overview: Susan Perkins spoke to legislators on the implications of shifting energy transmission and distribution from traditional sources to renewable sources. Transmission costs only account for 7 percent of the total costs of energy. Generation accounts for 68 percent and distribution accounts for 25 percent. She also spoke specifically on Colorado’s electric generation, renewable portfolio standards, and the use of wind and solar energy within the state.

View Susan Perkins' presentation

Question and Answer:
1. Sen. Arthenia Joyner (FL) - Who is going to pay for this?
2. Sen. Janis Lee (KS) - What happens when renewables don’t work if there is no fossil fuel backup in place? (based this on the 70% figure in the presentation)

Revolutionizing the Electric Grid: Smarter is Better

Katherine Hamilton
GridWise Alliance

Overview: Katherine Hamilton spoke to legislators about the benefits of a smart grid and areas of concern as the electric industry undergoes dramatic changes. As other industries like telecommunications have evolved into the digital age, the electric grid has been slow to catch up. Hamilton also discussed the need to train people to work in new smart grid jobs.

View Katherine Hamilton's presentation

Question and Answer:
1. Rep. Betsy Hands (MT) - How can we increase broadband access in remote or rural areas?

Algae-Based Biofuels

Raveender Vannela, PhD
Assistant Professor of Research
Center for Environmental Biotechnology
The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University

Overview: Raveender Vannela spoke to legislators on how research is advancing the development of the next-generation biofuels produced from sunlight, water, and waste carbon dioxide by photosynthetic pond scum. Vannela also discussed opportunities to use renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels to eliminate serious environmental and social disruption.

View Raveender Vannela's presentation  

Question and Answer:
1. Sen. Janis Lee (KS) - Has any research been done on a larger, more practical scale?
2. Sen. Sandy Jerstad (SD) - Who funds your research- private or public institutions?
3. Rep. Nancy Young Wright (AZ) - Can this be implemented anywhere in the world or does it require certain conditions?
4. Rep. Donna Hutchinson (AR) - What are the problems associated with introducing artificial algae into the ecosystem?
5. Nora Scheller (ExxonMobil)- ExxonMobil is also investing in this type of biofuels
6. Rep. Sydney Carlin (KS) - Do cool temperatures have an adverse effect on the project research?
7. Rep. Sheryl Allen (UT) - What are you finding out about water consumption through this research?

The Future of Coal and the Role of Carbon Capture and Storage

Frank Clemente, PhD
Senior Professor of Energy Policy
The Pennsylvania State University

Overview: Frank Clemente spoke to legislators about the need to meet increasing energy demands with coal. Coal still plays an important role in electricity supply. He also spoke about carbon capture and storage and how the economic value of coal will help meet climate change goals and maintain economic growth.

View Frank Clemente's presentation

Question and Answer:
1. Rep. Phyllis Kahn (MN) - Electricity going up into the sky at night hurts birds, the environment, etc.
2. Rep. Betsy Hands (MT) - The United States still leads China in coal usage. We need to take leadership on addressing solutions instead of pointing the finger at developing nations.

Solar and Wind: A Pathway to the Future of Energy

Carol Tombari
Manager, Stakeholder Relations
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Overview: Carol Tombari spoke to legislators on the role of solar and wind energy to help meet the energy challenges we have now and how to address them for the future. Investing in wind energy can benefit the economies of wind producing states. Some of the issues with renewable energy are transmission, energy storage, and storage strategies.

Questions and Answer:
1. Rep. Peggy Sayers (CT) - Can you reuse the land that wind turbines are on? (aka. Farm, raise animals, etc.)
2. Rep. Kim Rosen (ME) - What is the life expectancy of a wind turbine? What happens to them when they are past their lifespan?
3. Rep. Nancy Todd Wright (AZ) - Have health benefits and risks been studied for different types of energy sources?
4. Rep. Sheryl Allen (UT) - What is it about three blades (as opposed to four or five) that is most efficient?

The Recovery Act and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Rita Wells, PhD
Executive Director for Field Operations
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Business Administration (Acting)
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
United States Department of Energy

Overview: Rita Wells spoke to legislators on the role of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) works to with state legislators to strengthen the United States' energy security and environmental quality. The Department of Energy is critical to state legislators and provides contracts, comparative agreements, loan guarantees, and energy grant programs to help states transform the way energy is used in today’s economy. She also spoke about state energy programs and the weatherization assistance programs that were recently provided with funds from the Recovery Act.

View Rita Wells' presentation

State Regulatory Efforts: Innovative Solutions for the Future

Joanna Prukop, MS
Cabinet Secretary
Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources
State of New Mexico

Susan Parker, PhD
Alabama Public Service Commission

Overview: This presentation addressed how state regulatory agencies are developing innovative energy programs and policies. Joanna Prukop spoke to legislators on New Mexico’s “new energy economy” and how they are using incentives and other strategies remain competitive within the renewable energy economy. Susan Parker spoke to legislators on how Alabama was working collaboratively with stakeholders to deal with energy issues and start to help create jobs and improve the economy.

View Joanna Prukop's presentation

Question and Answer:
1. Rep. Betsy Hands (MT) - Can you tell us more about decoupling?
2. Sen. Sandy Jerstad (SD) - Why aren’t we using methane gas for energy?
3. Rep. Sue Wallis (WY) - Is it possible to retrofit wells?

State Panel – Developing Energy Legislation in Your State

Representative Naida Kaen
Chair, Science, Technology and Energy Committee
New Hampshire State Legislature

Senator Beverly Gard
Chair, Energy and Environmental Affairs Committee
Indiana State Legislature

Representative Pricey Harrison
Vice-Chair, Energy and Energy Use Committee
North Carolina Legislature

Senator Lesil McGuire
Chair, Senate Special Committee on Energy
Alaska State Legislature

Overview: This presentation included what each legislator’s state is currently working on with energy policy. Each legislator presented what current legislation had passed this year or was still pending in next year’s sessions. Representative Harrison presented on North Carolina’s Renewable Portfolio Standards and energy legislation that passed in the 2009 session, and some current pending pieces of legislation for next year’s session. Representative Kaen presented on collaboration with states surrounding New Hampshire to work towards a renewable portfolio standard. Senator Gard spoke on Indiana’s home grown clean energy and the state’s use of wind energy. Senator McGuire spoke about Alaska’s many natural resources and how they are moving towards greater use of renewable energy.

View Representative Naida Kaen's overview 

View Senator Beverly Gard's overview

View Representative Pricey Harrison's overview

View Senator Lesil McGuire's overview

Question and Answer:
1. Rep. Peggy Sayers (CT) - Can you tell us about the feed-in tariff in Germany?
2. Rep. Sue Wallis (WY) - What problems did you encounter in passing legislation in your states?

Legislation & Regulation: Working Together Within a State to Promote a Balanced Approach

Senator Gail Schwartz
Member, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee
Colorado General Assembly

Overview: Senator Gail Schwartz spoke to fellow legislators on how states can implement innovative energy policies for a balanced approach to America’s energy demands.

Question and Answer:
1. Rep. Sheryl Allen (UT) - Could you repeat web formation as it relates to water consumption?
2. Rep. Sue Wallis (WY) - How do you deal with liability issues?

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