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      Stanford Energy Q&A: Why do we burn so much coal?

      News / December 19, 2019

      PESD associate director Mark Thurber recently spoke with Stanford Energy about the findings of his recent book on why the world continues to burn so much coal despite its major contribution to air pollution and climate change.
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      Thurber talks at UBC about coal

      News / September 26, 2019

      On September 17, PESD Associate Director Mark Thurber spoke at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, BC about findings from his new book Coal (available on Amazon). 

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      Thurber featured on CSIS podcast

      News / June 18, 2019


      On June 17, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD) Associate Director Mark Thurber talked with Nikos Tsafos from CSIS (Center for Strategic & International Studies) on the CSIS Energy 360° podcast.  During the podcast, Thurber discussed his new book, Coal, and the geopolitics and economics of continued coal use in energy versus the needs and concerns at the local, national, and global levels.

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      Thurber speaks in DC on coal-gas competition

      News / June 11, 2019
      Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD) Associate Director Mark Thurber was a panelist at the 2019 Energy Security Workshop in Washington, D.C., where he spoke about why LNG (liquefied natural gas) struggles to compete with coal.
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      Thurber launches book, talks coal in Germany

      News / April 23, 2019

      In no other developed country is the role of coal in the energy mix more hotly debated than in Germany. The country has been a leader in renewable energy development, but it also continues to mine and burn substantial quantities of coal, which has thus far blunted its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Germany hopes to phase out all coal use by 2038, though this target is made more challenging by its concurrent effort to phase out nuclear energy.

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      Thurber: Why it's difficult to reduce gas flaring

      Blog / February 13, 2019

      Flaring of natural gas that can't be utilized represents both an economic loss and a major environmental problem. Writing for Energy for Growth Hub, PESD associate director Mark Thurber describes why gas flaring is stubbornly persistent around the world, and what can be done to productively use more of the gas that is currently going up in flames.

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      PESD runs workshop for Brazil's electricity regulator

      News / January 29, 2019

      Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD) Director Frank Wolak and Associate Director Mark Thurber conducted a workshop on December 3-4 in 

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      Wolak recommends "cost based" market for Hawaiian Electric Company

      News / November 14, 2018

      On November 2 at the University of Hawaii, PESD Director Frank Wolak gave a special seminar "How Should the Public Utilities Commission Regulate Hawaiian Electric Company for Better Integration of Renewable Energy?" in which he recommended a "cost based" market for Hawaiian Electric Company.

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      PESD workshop tackles electricity market challenges in a highly-renewables world

      News / October 17, 2018

      Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD) Director Frank Wolak, Associate DIrector Mark Thurber, and doctoral candidate Trevor Davis led an Electricity Market Simulation Workshop as part of the 2018 Western Electricity Market Forum September 20-21 in Boise, Idaho.  The audience was comprised of regulators and regulatory staff as well as policy makers representing states from across the western U.S.

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      Building 'Risky' Energy

      News / October 29, 2015

      6th Annual PESD Conference

      Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

      Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research/Gunn Building

      366 Galvez Street, Stanford University

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      Stanford course provides opportunity for students to see textbook methods in action

      Q&A / October 28, 2015

      The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and Office of International Affairs (OIA) launched a pilot collaboration last year to provide a rigorous, immersive teaching and training program for students interested in international fieldwork.  The result was a program that included a quarter-long course in the spring of 2015 followed by three weeks in Mexico during the summer to design and conduct a field research study.

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      PESD Releases New Book on Global Coal Market

      News / August 21, 2015

      Coal is the leading energy-related cause of climate change and creates serious local air pollution; it also remains, for now, an essential energy source for many growing economies. PESD's new volume studies key coal producing and exporting countries--China, India, Indonesia, Australia, South Africa, and the United States--for insights into how coal production, transport, and consumption will evolve in the future, and what this may mean for the environment.

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      Wolak Participates in Radio Segment on Community Control Aggregation in California

      News / August 13, 2015

      On August 13th, 2015, Professor Wolak was interviewed along with Monica Padilla and Ted Ko by KALW, a public radio station in San Francisco. The particular topic of interest for the hour-long segment was CCAs (Community Choice Aggregation), which provide an alternative way for communities to recieve electricity other than the commonplace utilities. Although the CCA bill came out in 2002, there are only three remaining CCAs today. 

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      Wolak: In Short Term, Lower Water Levels At Hoover Dam Will Not Impact Electricity Bills

      News / July 28, 2015

      In a recent article by Sarah Tory, Professor Frank Wolak states that in the near term consumers should not expect a rise in electricity bills. This fear of soaring electricity costs comes from the decreased generation of Hoover Dam due to the low water levels of Lake Mead. However, Professor Wolak says that utilities frequently buy "future" contracts, which limits their ability to raise prices. Professor Wolak also states that, because of the mix of renewable resources in the West, other energy sources may help to alleviate the strain on the system from the loss of hydropower.

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      Nuclear Energy Can Play A Role In Zero-Carbon Grid

      News / July 28, 2015

      Professor Frank Wolak was recently interviewed by Julian Spector of CityLab regarding the use of nuclear energy in a zero-carbon grid. According to Professor Wolak, "It makes very little economic sense to phase [nuclear energy] out, particularly given how successful the U.S. nuclear industry has been over the past 30 years". Professor Wolak also points out that American nuclear generators are safer than ever while still boasting an impressive capacity factor.

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      In Puebla, PESD Researchers Team Up With Stanford Students To Conduct Energy Use Survey

      News / July 7, 2015

      Stanford students, under the guidance of the Stanford Program on Energy and Sustainable Development and in partnership with the Freeman Spogli Institute and the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP), are currently administering surveys throughout Puebla, Mexico. The surveys primarily consist of three stages: determining a household's energy consumption, educating the household on how their electricity bill is calculated, and suggesting at least one cost-saving strategy the household could adopt.

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      Students trade carbon allowances and renewable energy certificates

      News / July 6, 2015

      Stanford students traded carbon allowances and renewable energy certificates as part of a new web-based simulation developed at PESD. The game taught students how complex energy and environmental markets work while also yielding insights that could help policymakers design better markets.

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      Stanford professor developing water usage model that could help California meet conservation goals

      News / May 22, 2015

      As California heads into a fourth year of drought, water agencies are scrambling for new ways to conserve.

      Gov. Jerry Brown has mandated 25 percent water reductions and has called on resource managers to create new incentives for conservation. Tiered pricing – charging more per gallon to customers who use more – could be an effective mechanism. In fact, many water utilities in California and elsewhere already use tiered pricing structures. However, a recent court decision in a case brought by ratepayers in San Juan Capistrano may stymie such efforts.

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      How to Keep Green Policies from Crashing the Electricity Grid

      News / May 22, 2015

      Many Californians still remember the electricity crisis in 2000 and 2001, when a combination of tangled state and federal regulations and opportunistic behavior by market participants led to soaring wholesale prices and rolling blackouts.

      Could something similar happen today, but this time as a result of trading tied to policies for reducing carbon emissions and mandating a higher share of electricity produced from renewable energy?

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      The End of Expensive Oil?

      Commentary / April 8, 2015

      The shale oil and gas revolution in the United States (U.S.) has led to a more than 4 million barrels per day increase in domestic oil production since 2008. Combined with an almost 1 million barrel per day increase from the Alberta tar sands, the surge in North American oil production has significantly reduced the region’s demand for imported oil. Increased production of shale gas in North America and the significantly lower dollar per million British thermal unit (BTU) price of natural gas versus oil have caused a number of sectors of the U.S.

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      The global oil price drop may last for the next couple decades, Stanford economist says

      Commentary / March 30, 2015

      Global oil prices may stay low for the next 10 or 20 years, according to Stanford economist Frank Wolak.

      The most likely medium-term outcome is $50 to $70 per barrel, according to Wolak. He is the Holbrook Working Professor of Commodity Price Studies in the Department of Economics at Stanford University.

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      Energy Dispatches: Climate Action Personality Types on Campus

      Commentary / February 10, 2015



      The Scientist


      Characteristic Insight: Climate change is real and it is going to hurt—a lot.

      Characteristic Blind Spot: This doesn’t mean people will do anything about it.

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      International Conference on Regional Carbon Policies

      News / October 31, 2013
      We invite you to an international conference on “Regional Carbon Policies” that PESD is hosting at Stanford University on Thursday, December 5th.
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