Major Energy Conference to Address Supply-Demand Challenges Amid Global Transitions

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Illustration by DALL-E

In light of the increasing global focus on energy transitions, a daylong, multispeaker conference is scheduled to delve into the intricacies of energy reliability and the potential for supply-demand disparities that could challenge the sector, now and well into the future. Set against a backdrop of soaring energy demands and shifting energy sources, this pivotal event aims to bring clarity and direction to an industry at a crossroads.

The conference, “Ensuring Reliability: The Right Energy in the Right Places at the Right Times,” takes place Thursday, April 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at George Mason University’s Van Metre Hall at Mason Square in Arlington, Virginia. The event is produced by the National Capital Area Chapter of the U.S. Association for Energy Economics (NCAC-USAEE) and is cohosted by Mason’s Schar School of Policy and Government and the Center for Energy Science Policy (CESP).

As developed nations, particularly the United States, have come to expect near-universal access to reliable and affordable energy, the landscape is rapidly changing. The introduction of new technologies and an uptick in energy consumption—driven significantly by data centers and widespread electrification—pose unforeseen challenges to energy systems designed around older paradigms. Northern Virginia, home to three Mason campuses, is the world’s largest data center hub.

The conference is important for a number of stakeholders, including the hosting academic units.

“George Mason—its students and faculty—has much at stake in getting energy and climate change ‘right,’” said Richard Kauzlarich, codirector of the CESP. “Developing a better understanding of electrons—as in electrical grids—and molecules—as in natural gas—through the exchanges that will take place at this conference is critical to advancing the Schar School as a vital partner with the private sector in developing policy solutions to local, national, and global energy challenges.”

The conference will feature a lineup of preeminent experts in energy economics who will analyze these challenges from both domestic and international perspectives. Participants will engage in discussions centered on how to navigate the tightening gap between energy supply and demand.

A focal point of the event will be a major study by the National Petroleum Council, which is set to release findings on greenhouse gas emissions across the natural gas value chain. This report comes at a crucial time as the role of natural gas continues to be a contentious topic within energy debates.

Additionally, attendees will have the opportunity to tour a new laboratory at Mason, where cutting-edge solutions to energy challenges are under development. The Smart Grid Lab represents a significant stride toward technical advancements in energy production and management.

The conference aims to foster a robust dialogue on the best paths forward for an industry that is integral to global economic stability and environmental sustainability. With stakes high, the energy sector's ability to adapt and innovate will likely dictate the pace at which the world can achieve its broad environmental goals while continuing to meet the growing energy needs of a dynamic global population.

For registration information, see this NCAC-USAEE registration page. There are student prices available.