Exxon Valdez Oil Disaster 15 Years Later

The Breaking Energy Team is en route to Anchorage for what promises to be a great series of speakers and events at the USAEE/IAEE North American Conference. Maybe we’ll see a bear! Or a Palin!

The United States Association for Energy Economics, and its parent organization, the International Association for Energy Economics, are kicking off three jam-packed days of presentations, seminars, networking and what promises to be great discussion on Monday morning in Anchorage, Alaska. The conference is bringing together some of the most influential names in the energy space, and with panelists and attendees covering a broad swath of the energy spectrum, from major oil companies to wind-diesel applications research to the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, we have high expectations for lively and productive discourse.

Alaska is at the center of some of the most important debates happening in energy right now. Is there an energy sector “sweet spot” that strikes the right the balance between economic growth and environmental protection? Can the resources under Arctic waters be developed safely? Should the US export its surplus natural gas as LNG? And how do US electricity providers overcome challenges unique to their service areas, such as providing reasonably-priced electricity to consumers in more isolated parts of the country, while more populated areas – we’re looking at you, East Coast – grapple with managing rising demand?

Breaking Energy spoke to USAEE President Lori Schell about the organization, its role in bringing together energy stakeholders to facilitate dialogue between stakeholders in academia, industry and policy, and how the conference helps to achieve that goal. We also spoke to Doug Reynolds, professor of petroleum and energy economics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Larry Persily, Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects, about obstacles to marketing Alaska’s massive gas resources. As with many of the most pressing issues in the energy industry, it is a topic that is far more complex than a cursory glance would suggest.

We’re looking forward to keeping you updated on all the goings-on of the conference, which will include remarks from Marianne Kah, ConocoPhillips’ Chief Economist; Mark Finley, BP’s General Manager of Global Energy Markets and US Economics; Shirley Neff, Senior Advisor at the Energy Information Administration, and many more of the most important voices in energy today.