Whether you’re looking for ways to lower your household gas bill, or you’re making wide-reaching decisions on behalf of the federal government—energy policy is crucial to creating a secure future.
The need for forward-thinking energy solutions is a cross-generational issue, with each step forward carrying its own set of unique challenges. As the U.S. seeks to ease its reliance on non-renewable fuel sources from overseas, and as citizens of the world experience the effects of climate change firsthand, leaders look to experts in academia for help in driving energy solutions—a top priority of The Power of Penn Campaign.
This commitment was on full display during the first-ever Energy Week at Penn, a five-day exposition of knowledge and research focused on energy innovation from October 21–25. Sponsored by the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy and the Vagelos Institute for Energy and Science Technology, the event brought students and faculty together with experts from beyond campus for a wide range of multi-disciplinary, energy-centered programs.
The week kicked off with an Energy Week Launch event showcasing research from across campus, held in the Kleinman Center Energy Forum. Attendees were met by Penn’s electric-powered race car as they approached the Forum; inside, they explored demonstrations, posters, and prototypes of work from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Weitzman School of Design, and other schools at Penn.
Among the leading policy figures on hand was Cheryl LaFleur, former Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who was honored as the recipient of the fifth annual Carnot Prize. The award represents the Kleinman Center’s annual recognition of distinguished contributions to energy policy through scholarship or practice. Prior to accepting the prize, LaFleur participated in a student colloquium, hearing presentations from Penn students about their research projects and engaging them in meaningful dialogue about their work. She also appeared on an episode of Energy Policy Now, the Kleinman Center’s podcast series, and spoke about the role of politics in energy regulation; you can listen to the episode here.
Energy systems are complex and multifaceted, making cross-disciplinary work a fundamental element of Energy Week. The Wharton Energy Conference, held at the Union League of Philadelphia, helped to embody this theme of interdisciplinarity by examining connections between policy and the global economy. This annual event is produced by the Wharton Energy Club, a student-run organization bringing graduate and undergraduate students together with Wharton alumni who are passionate about powering our future.
While much of the programming on display during this inaugural Energy Week at Penn originated in the schools, it all illustrates the collaboration across those schools that is a hallmark of both research and learning at Penn.”Mark Alan Hughes, Faculty Director, Kleinman Center for Energy Policy
Organizers have already begun planning the next Energy Week at Penn in 2020, but much work awaits in the months between. Research on this front continues at Penn thanks to funding from organizations like the Kleinman Center, which has supported research across nine of Penn’s schools through faculty and student grant programs. For the Vagelos Institute, a recent $50 million gift from Roy and Diana Vagelos will create a new energy science and technology building on campus—a new home for the Institute and a hub for interdisciplinary work between Penn Arts & Sciences and Penn Engineering.
Few places are as well-suited as Penn for the kinds of collaborations necessary to shape our brightest possible future. The Power of Penn Campaign strives to enable these valuable partnerships by providing the necessary resources to define and enact the energy policies of tomorrow.