NREL Launches Strategic Energy Analysis Institute

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The Institute aims to use the best tools and most credible data to guide decisions on energy investment and policy.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced today that it has established a new global institute dedicated to analyzing, speeding and smoothing the transition to sustainable energy worldwide.

NREL Senior Scientist Doug Arent has been named executive director of the new 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.

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. The Joint Institute partners will use their global networks of experts to build project teams, asking corporations and others to become sponsors in the Institute.

“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,” said Arent, who directed NREL’s Strategic Energy Analysis Center from 2006 to 2010.

The Institute will examine areas where aspirations bump up 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,” Arent said. “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,” Arent said.

Arent specializes in strategic planning, including financial analysis, in clean energy and water issues. His scope is worldwide. In 2008, he was appointed to serve on the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change.

He is a member of the U.S. Government Review Panel for the International Panel on Climate Change. Among several other leadership roles on committees, Arent is on the executive council of the U.S. Association of Energy Economists and formerly headed the Quantitative Work Group in support of the Clean and Diversified Energy Advisory Council of the Western Governors Association.

Before working with NREL, Arent had leadership roles in private industry, including director of Strategic Marketing and Business development at Network Photonics, Director of Media Gateway Products and strategic planning manager at Lucent Technologies (now Avaya) and vice president of business development for Amonix Inc.

Arent has a Ph.D. from Princeton University, a master’s in business administration from Regis University and a bachelor’s of science from Harvey Mudd College in California.

NREL’s partners in JISEA have distinguished histories in the sciences and, more recently, in sustainable energy research.

MIT is ranked number one in the nation among universities that offer doctorates in engineering, according to U.S. News & World Report. Its Global System for Sustainable Development examines emerging political and strategic challenges in sustainable development.

Stanford University is considered the second best university in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Its Program on Energy and Sustainable Development draws on the fields of economics, political science, law, and management to investigate how the production and consumption of energy affect human welfare and environmental quality.

The University of Colorado at Boulder boasts four Nobel laureates and seven MacArthur genius grant winners over the past three decades. Its Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute advances solutions aimed at producing energy economically from renewable sources and developing leading-edge energy technologies.

Colorado State University’s new School of Global Environmental Sustainability aims to advance scientific understanding and conduct innovative research to ensure long-term environmental sustainability across the globe.

The Colorado School of Mines is one of the nation’s leading universities in energy resource evaluation and development, with 136 years of experience in both fossil and renewable energy research. It is ranked 34th among the top public universities overall (US News and World Report) and is the top public university in the U.S. for graduates’ starting salaries (

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

Source: NREL

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