The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has established a new global institute dedicated to analyzing, speeding and smoothing the transition to sustainable energy worldwide. The Institute aims to use the best tools and most credible data to guide decisions on energy investment and policy – decisions made by policy makers, energy companies, investors and lawmakers around the world. Institute partners will use their global networks of experts to build project teams, asking corporations and others to become sponsors in the Institute. NREL Senior Scientist Doug Arent has been named executive director of the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA) by its institutional partners, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, the University of Colorado, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University and NREL.
“We want to bring breadth and depth of analytical capabilities to conduct seminal studies to help inform the transition of the global energy economy toward one of sustainability,” says Arent, who directed NREL’s Strategic Energy Analysis Center from 2006 to 2010.
The Institute will examine areas where aspirations bump against pragmatic realities. For example, many nations aspire to a future in which energy is affordable, non-polluting, uses local renewable resources and has minimal security risk. Those policy considerations might include moving toward low-net-carbon buildings, accelerating the transition to sustainable natural resources and fuels, minimizing local and global impacts, boosting employment and working smoothly across economies and geographies.
“The Institute will try to answer questions to enable a transition at significant speed and scale to achieve sustainability and avoid unintended impacts,” says Arent. “That question goes very much beyond technology. It involves the market structure, law, natural resource use, the impact on local and regional environments, and impacts on local economies and jobs.”
JISEA will sponsor research combining the talents of scientists, financiers and other experts that will be placed in top peer-reviewed journals in various fields. The conclusions will help policy makers decide where to invest money, manpower and resources. “We will reach out to key stakeholders and decision-makers domestically and globally,” he adds.
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