Our Highlights and Takeaways
Every year, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) annually hosts one of the energy industry’s most important thought leadership conferences. Tech innovators, academics, utility leaders and government officials, among other key figures, discuss the present and future of energy. This year, Type One Energy participated and our CEO Christofer Mowry joined as a panelist.
The JW Marriot Austin played host to celebrate the institute’s 90th anniversary, where breakout sessions, talks, panels, and dinners were held from June 11 to the 13th. The event also hosted renowned keynote speakers like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and the US Secretary of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm, who touched upon the challenges of reaching net-zero carbon emissions and standardizing electric vehicle superchargers.
These conversations at EEI’s conference come at a crucial time to tackle how energy production affects the environment, especially amid growing worries about current temperature spikes worldwide. It was also the right moment to discuss the recent fusion energy breakthroughs, like reaching net-energy gain last December, and the government’s increased involvement in funding and propelling the field to reach pilot-scale fusion within the next decade.
Type One Energy Group joined the panel moderated by Jim Schaefer from Guggenheim Partners. Titled, “The Nuclear Renaissance,” the session also included key industry fellows Julie Kozeracki from the U.S. Department of Energy, and Chris Levesque, President and CEO of TerraPower.
Our own Christofer Mowry underlined the sector’s social impact: “When you think about the social investment in these (nuclear) technologies and why are we doing it, it’s really about addressing the path to net-zero.” He also noted the needs fusion energy should meet in the long run, “The world’s population is growing and standards of living are increasing. Those take more energy.”
Jim Schaefer stressed the key role nuclear science and technology plays in clean power, “We have to develop hydrogen… carbon capture and storage is great, but at the end of the day, we need baseload electrons, either from fission or fusion.” Furthermore, Chris Lavesque called for the need to innovate in the industry, “We run these great plants. We still run them well. But if we want to solve problems, nuclear science needs to be leveraged more.”
In other highlights from the event, Bill Gates spoke to EEI Chair Warner Baxter about policies for innovation and said, “Massive electrification is daunting, but you can see that there is a path that doesn’t involve saying customers have to pay a lot more for electricity.” Baxter added that net-zero emissions goals can advance thanks to federal investments like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the clean energy tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act.
Gates concluded with a powerful statement: “Electrification is what it’s all about. It’s a huge opportunity.”
EEI provides an annual opportunity for the energy industry to check its own pulse and learn what industry leaders and government officials are planning for the future. Speakers concluded their conversations with optimism, but also some caution, particularly with incoming matters like cybersecurity and grid resilience. Fusion energy also established itself as a necessity rather than an innovative alternative for the world’s energy supply in the coming years.