Vol. 22, No. 3 (October 2014)
USAEE Dialogue is the official on-line Newsletter of the US Association for Energy Economics. Its mission is to communicate recent research, analyses and case studies on issues of energy economics that are of general interest to the membership. Articles are invited from members of IAEE in all sectors of the energy economics’ community -- business/consulting, government and academia (including students) -- who live and/or work in North America. USAEE Dialogue is also a forum for reports of local USAEE Chapter activities. For further information please consult: "Guidelines for Submissions of Articles" at
From the President, USAEEMichael CanesDistinguished FellowLogistics Management Institute(McLean, VA)
I’m pleased to report to the USAEE membership that we hosted an extremely successful IAEE international conference in New York City this past June. Record numbers of participants (583) and of abstract submissions (over 780) were just two metrics reflecting the interest and response of IAEE members from around the world, including of course the USA. The conference was organized so as to be of interest not only to our academic members but also to those from business and government. For example, there was a session on oil and gas reserve evaluation and financing, two on emerging challenges to electric utilities, and another on recent developments in transportation. Happily, USAEE also managed to make some money from the conference, money that will be fully reinvested in Association activities to offer ever improving services to the membership.
So much happened at the conference that it’s hard to summarize it all. But I’d like to focus on a few activities that involved interactions between students and other members.
The evening before the official program began, USAEE sponsored a “Mentoring” session in which students were invited to hear several professional energy economists summarize their careers and draw lessons learned for people just starting out. These economists were spread around a single room, with groups of students rotating from one to another to hear a variety of perspectives from academics, consultants, energy company employees and others, and to fire questions at them. Feedback on this session has been positive and I believe USAEE will offer a similar feature at next year’s annual conference in Pittsburgh (October 25-28, 2015).
Every year USAEE sponsors a Best Student Paper competition, with awards to the winners. The papers are judged by regular members of USAEE. I did not attend this particular session but was told that the presentations and the feedback given by the judges were outstanding. Finalists included students from the Stockholm School of Economics, the University of Maryland, DIW Berlin and the Colorado School of Mines combined with Columbia University. The winner was Dan Werner of the University of Maryland. (A summary of his paper is included in this issue of Dialogue.) This is an event that USAEE may choose to feature more prominently at future conferences so that more people can come to watch it.
Another event involving competitors is the Case Competition, where student teams make presentations of their approaches to solving a particular energy-related business problem, with the presentations rated by regular members. This year the challenge was to come up with a financial instrument that would help attract investment in energy efficiency investment. I attended this competition and can report that the judges strongly challenged the students to articulate their ideas and the rationales behind them clearly and concisely. The three finalist teams came from UC Davis (1st place), the University of Kentucky (2nd) and MIT (3rd). This too is an event that perhaps deserves a more prominent place within the conference, so that more people can enjoy watching it.
Finally, there was a poster competition in which students summarized their energy-related research on a large poster board and then explained it, first to a panel of judges and then to general conference participants who walked around a large room to view the posters during two excellent standup lunches. By running the session over two days, we were able to feature 33 posters. A team from Tsinghua U. in China and MIT led by Xiaohu Luo won the Monday poster competition, while Laura-Lucia Richter of Cambridge won on Tuesday and was judged the overall winner.
There were, of course, social activities for students as well. These included a happy hour, a breakfast, a reception and a dinner where students mixed with regular members. USAEE is not just a grind for young people! In all, 129 students attended the New York conference, solid evidence that energy economics has a healthy future. I am hopeful that students who attended the conference will relish the experience, continue to participate in USAEE activities, and become future leaders of local chapters as well as of the national organization.
This will be my last Presidential message in Dialogue. The year has gone by extremely quickly, but much has happened. In particular, I’m proud of the progress being made by our Government and Business committees in widening the scope of services to those segments of the USAEE membership even as we continue to provide a high level of service to our academic members. The strength of USAEE lies in its ability to intermix these three communities to mutual advantage. I’m confident that the incoming Association leadership fully understands this and that USAEE will continue to thrive.