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Building America’s Energy Future: A Portfolio of Promising Policies

June 27, 2013

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Are there low cost, politically viable energy policies using current technology that adequately reduce imported oil and carbon dioxide emissions?

On June 27, 2013, a panel of policy makers and experts convened at NYU Washington, DC to discuss exactly this. Guests included Jim Messina, National Chair, Organizing for Action; Hill Huntington, Executive Director of the Energy Modeling Forum at Stanford University; Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change; And, Tony Knowles, President of NEPI and Former Governor of Alaska. The event featured a presentation and discussion focusing on Building America’s Energy Future: A Portfolio of Promising Policies.

Kalee Kreider, Former Communications Director and Environmental Advisor at the Office of Al Gore served as moderator.

Part One

Part Two

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The heart of each EMF study is an ad hoc working group, organized to examine a single topic to which many existing models can be applied. The working group chairman and the issues to be studied are determined before the working group is formed, with the chairman helping to recruit the working group members. Individual invited to participate in a study are considered to have expertise in the topic under investigation. A working group consists of 50-100 members, comprised of equal numbers of model builders and users. These individuals represent a mix of corporate, academic and government perspectives. The goal is to form a diverse working group, composed of members familiar with models and modeling, policy issues, and with a desire to improve the application of models to policy and planning processes.

The National Energy Policy Institute is a joint project of the University of Tulsa and the George Kaiser Family Foundation and is headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. NEPI is a non-partisan and not-for-profit organization dedicated to researching all aspects of energy policy and disseminating those research findings to both policymakers and the public.

Organizing for Action is a nonprofit organization established to support President Obama in achieving enactment of the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012. OFA will advocate for these policies throughout the country and will mobilize citizens of all parties and diverse points to speak out for speedy passage and effective implementation of this program, including gun violence prevention, sensible environmental policies to address climate change and immigration reform. In addition, OFA will encourage the formation of chapters that will be dedicated at the grassroots level to this program, but also committed to identifying and working progressive change on a range of issues at the state and local level. In carrying its work, OFA will operate as a "social welfare" organization within the meaning of section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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Special Guests

Jim Messina

As the campaign manager for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, Jim Messina revolutionized the way that political campaigns reach voters, transforming how politics, technology and innovation influence each other. Messina spearheaded what Politico described as the "most technology-heavy campaign in history," charting an unprecedented strategy to earn President Obama a second term in the White House. A pioneer in his field, Messina's insight is invaluable to anyone seeking success through groundbreaking approaches and innovative strategies, whether in business or politics.

In January 2013, the Obama administration announced the launch of Organizing for Action, a new advocacy organization that will promote President Obama’s policies, with Jim Messina as national chair.

Hillard Huntington

Huntington is Executive Director of Stanford University's Energy Modeling Forum, where he conducts studies to improve the usefulness of models for understanding energy and environmental problems. In 2005 the Forum received the prestigious Adelman-Frankel Award from the International Association for Energy Economics for its "unique and innovative contribution to the field of energy economics."

His current research interests are modeling energy security, energy price shocks, energy market impacts of environmental policies, and international natural gas and LNG markets. In 2002 he won the Best Paper Award from the Energy Journal for a paper co-authored with Professor Dermot Gately of New York University.

He is a Senior Fellow and a past-President of the United States Association for Energy Economics and a member of the National Petroleum Council. He was also Vice-President for Publications for the International Association for Energy Economics and a member of the American Statistical Association's Committee on Energy Data. Previously, he served on a joint USA-Russian National Academy of Sciences Panel on energy conservation research and development.

Huntington has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the California Energy Commission.

Prior to coming to Stanford in 1980, he held positions in the corporate and government sectors with Data Resources Inc., the U.S. Federal Energy Administration, and the Public Utilities Authority in Monrovia, Liberia (as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer).

Tony Knowles

Tony Knowles, President of the National Energy Policy Institute, is a former two-term Governor of Alaska and Mayor of Anchorage. While serving as governor, he chaired the Western Governors Association and the Interstate Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Governor Knowles was born and raised in Tulsa. He graduated from Yale University with a BA in economics.

Heather Zichal

Heather Zichal is the Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.

As the President’s top White House advisor on energy and climate change, Zichal coordinates policy development and implementation on these issues across the Administration. She has helped to shape and execute many of the President’s top energy and climate priorities, including establishing historic new fuel economy standards, reducing mercury pollution, and supporting clean energy deployment in the United States. Prior to joining the Administration, Ms. Zichal served as a Policy Director to the Obama Campaign, where she helped craft the 2008 energy platform.

She previously served as the Legislative Director to Senator John Kerry after managing energy and environmental issues in the 2004 Presidential campaign. She has also served as Legislative Director for U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and U.S. Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ).

During her time in the federal government, Ms. Zichal has been a strong and steady voice for policies that reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, protect public health and our environment, and address global climate change.

She grew up in Iowa and is a graduate of Rutgers University.


Kalee Kreider

Kalee works as a consultant on a new international project on climate change with the United Nations Foundation and a range of partners. Kalee has worked at the intersection of technology, politics, policy and communications throughout her career with a special devotion to work in the areas of climate change and energy in the U.S. and around the world. She has traveled to every continent in her work as a consultant, an NGO and with former VP Gore.

Jim Messina

Jiim Messina

Hillard Huntington

Hill Huntington

Image: Tony Knowles

Tony Knowles

Image: Heather Zichal

Heather Zichal

Image: Kalee Kreider

Kalee Kreider

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