The Case for a Regional Energy Strategy

Apr 30, 2013 Environment

Although the Power of 32 doesn’t have a specific initiative to develop a regional energy strategy, we are strong advocates of the concept — which is in part an outgrowth from the Power of 32 Environment Committee’s assessment of the public input attained from our initial community outreach process.  Members of the P32 Environmental Committee have kept the conversation alive and were instrumental in organizing a first-ever public forum on the rationale and precedent for a regional energy strategy.

Sustainable Pittsburgh and Washington & Jefferson College Center for Energy Policy and Management hosted the closing session for Engineering Sustainability 2013 organized by the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation on Tuesday, April 9, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh. Entitled “Presenting the Case for Crafting a Regional Energy Strategy and Plan,” the session featured a keynote by Jane Long, retired Principal Associate Director at Large for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory & Fellow, LLNL Center for Global Strategic Research. Panelists included Greg Babe, CEO, Orbital Engineering, Inc. and former President and CEO, Bayer Corporation; Jeffrey Ball, Scholar-in-Residence at Stanford University's Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance; and Bobby Vagt, President, The Heinz Endowments.

Dr. Long presented the process overview and findings of California’s Energy Future Committee, which developed a comprehensive analysis on how California could meet its greenhouse reduction goals. Dr. Long emphasized the value of measuring data, life cycle analysis, and asking the right questions. The panel discussion covered the role of natural gas as a bridge to a clean energy economy, why regions are the ideal locus for energy planning and strategy, and the need for a sustainability framework and goals to catalyze innovation and chart a deliberate future relative to energy production, consumption, efficiency, and conservation. 

Court Gould, Executive Director of Sustainable Pittsburgh, says the group concluded that this region will have an energy policy, but it will either be by choice or by default.

“Considering the fast change in our energy economy and the fact that resources are more local and regional, there is an embryonic trend around the country of regions creating comprehensive energy plans,” explains Gould. “Certainly the advent of the shale plays here present a rare moment and opportunity to take pause and act smartly about bridging to the future clean energy economy.  There is a leadership opportunity for the Power of 32 region to be a pacesetter and leader in America by working on a process to develop a regional strategy complete with goals and measures against established baselines.”

The conversation will continue. Interested individuals can learn about new developments by subscribing to Sustainable Pittsburgh’s 3E Links newsletter.