Colorado’s Vail Valley takes one’s breath away, from its stunning natural beauty to its crisp, thin mountain air. Now, the Valley is seeking to be known for more than recreation. Taking a cue from its famous cousin in Switzerland, Vail is hosting a mini-Davos economic forum focused on energy issues.
This will be the second annual Vail Global Energy Forum, following up on the success of the inaugural 2012 event. “The goal of the Vail energy forum is to give people a high-level view of energy and the changes in the energy system, and enhance their understanding of energy issues for public policy decisions,” says Dr. James Sweeney, director, Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, Stanford University, and a conference chair.
The forum was conceived and nurtured by long-time Vail resident Jay Precourt. His inspiration was to reach out to a broad, well-educated community that could consider the sweeping scope of energy, from supply and demand balances to environmental and economic impacts to national security and new technologies.
“We like having the forum in Colorado because Colorado is both a very environmentally conscious state and a major producer of energy,” says Carl Colby, executive director of the Vail Global Energy Forum. “Colorado balances those diverse interests very carefully.”
A key feature of the Vail Global Energy Forum is its accessibility. “We warmly invite engaged members of the general public, academics and students from Colorado universities, and business and industry leaders,” says Sweeney. Ticket prices are very reasonable, starting at $200 for the two-day event. It will be held March 2-3, 2013, at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek, Colo.
This year’s forum features major sections focusing on natural gas and hydraulic fracturing, end-user energy efficiency, and the impact of unconventional oil and gas on North America and the world economy. Key speakers from the political arena include Jeff Bingaman, outgoing U.S. senator, New Mexico; John Hickenlooper, governor of Colorado; George P. Shultz, former U.S. secretary of state and secretary of the treasury; and Cathy Zoi, former assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy at the U.S. Department of Energy.
Other speakers will address energy technology, from the intricacies of well completions to the development of wind power and smart grids. These include Mark Zoback, professor of geophysics at Stanford; Jim Brown, president of western hemisphere, Halliburton; and Arun Majumdar, former director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and currently vice president for energy at Google.
Furthermore, the financial world will be well represented by Tom Petrie, former vice chairman, Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Erik Straser, general partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures; and Daniel Reicher, executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford. “We want to learn about energy investment opportunities, from renewables to natural gas and oil,” says Colby.
“We are interested in everything from the core question of whether true U.S. energy independence is conceivable, to the economic, social and political implications of a shift of that magnitude.”
More information about the forum and purchasing tickets is available online.