Stanford scholars met in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 10 to discuss current clean energy technology and its viability to continue as a sector of growth in the United States and around the world (read event program, speaker bios and innovation briefs).

The panel, moderated by Varun Sivaram, Acting Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations and introduced by Perry L. McCarty Director Chris Field, was convened by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy. The event was the second in the Stanford Environment & Energy Panel Series, highlight pressing environmental and energy challenges and risks that the new Administration will need to confront. The next discussion in this series will address climate adaptation and how to confront impacts from sea level rise, changing weather patterns, and other climate change-related issues. A few highlights from the recent event:

“This is different from the wind energy that you’re used to seeing. The very large turbines that are typically sighted in just a few locations around the country and then have their energy sent over long distances to the end users. In distributed wind energy, we’re looking at much smaller devices that are distributed over a much broader geographic area, in many cases closer to the end user, and that has a lot of potential advantages for both the cost of energy and also its versatility.”

- Panelist John Dabiri, professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University, discussing his research on distributed wind energy generation.

“It’s been really rewarding to see the success that the solar industry has finally started to have over the last five years. The industry is growing by about 30 to 40 percent every year and the costs of the solar panels have dropped by more than a factor of 10 in the last six or seven years. Now we have a situation where, depending on where you live, it can be cheaper to get your electricity from solar cells.”

- Panelist Michael McGehee, professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Senior Fellow, by courtesy, at the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University explaining the recent success of the solar energy sector and its emergence as a viable energy alternative for ordinary Americans.

“Ultimately, we need to decarbonize, we need to get to net zero carbon emissions, and technologies like carbon capture and storage are going to be absolutely crucial to being able to achieve this. There are many studies that show that not only does it make it much easier to fully decarbonize the energy system but they also show that by incorporating carbon capture and storage, it will be the lower cost option.”

- Panelist Sally Benson, co-director of the Precourt Institute for Energy; director of the Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) and professor at the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences at Stanford University.

Watch Video of the Event: