The past few years have brought a series of disruptions that have thrown economic models for the energy business out the window and prompted widespread reevaluations of what matters most for one of the world’s largest business sectors.

Each year the US Association for Energy Economics gathers top analysts from across the sector for a conference that highlights the latest research that drives decision making and future planning for billions upon billions of dollars in investment. This year’s USAEE/IAEE North American Conference is the 31st such event, and is happening during the climax of a high-stakes election season that has brought both the job-making potential of energy investment to the fore and highlighted the problems that can result when forecasts go awry.

Over Election Day, from November 4-7, the country’s leading energy economists will be gathered in Austin, Texas to discuss and debate the impacts of shifts in the natural gas business, electricity regulation, oil production, cleantech and more. The event has grown in prominence as the energy sector itself has grown in prominence against the background of increased drilling and cheap natural gas production that has underpinned a manufacturing renaissance in some of the country’s swing states.

Breaking Energy is covering the USAEE conference under a partnership with the organization. For last year’s coverage of USAEE in Washington, DC and to watch videos shot at the event, go here.

Events in the energy business are often highly balkanized by sector or function, but the benefit of the USAEE event is that it combines theoretical frameworks and the latest academic thinking with the real-world experience of operators at major energy firms.

Top speakers at the event will include eminent names like Daniel Yergin, former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Pat Wood III and the founding director of Rice University’s James Baker III Institute for Public Policy Ambassador Edward Djerejian. Professor Peter Hartley at the Baker Institute who is also the sitting President of USAEE, commented on the US energy scene for Breaking Energy earlier this year: Watch that video here.

In the past year, energy market participants have experienced changes including the reality of sustained low natural gas prices that were widely predicted at last year’s event; they have seen attacks on government funding for renewable energy at the same time that the rest of the world continues to pursue a sustainable energy agenda. But they continue to operate in the same kind of long-term planning environment for large projects like pipelines, transmission systems, power plants and refineries.

Will the US become a leading source of energy exports? Will those energy exports be largely natural gas? Can recently promulgated market redesigns finally resolve problems with planning for an expanded power grid? Energy economists face a host of questions as the long-anticipated disruption of their sector gets into gear, and companies and analysts hoping for the latest insight are gathering in Austin to discover first how these number-crunchers intend to answer them.