Response to the Perception that USAEE is an

Academically Dominated Association

Karl J. Nalepa
ReSolved Energy Consulting, LLC
Austin, TX


The USAEE is intended to be an Association that brings together academia, industry and government to address issues in energy economics. This “three legged stool” approach provides a forum for academic research, industry application and government policy to interact in a way that we believe is unique in the energy industry. Lately however, there has been articulated a perception that the USAEE is an academically dominated Association. Since this perception may be at odds with the idea of the Association as a “three legged stool,” we developed a short questionnaire and provided it to the members of the Academia, Industry, Government, and Membership Committees for feedback on this perception and its implications with respect to the mission of USAEE. Following are the questions asked and a summary of the comments received:

1)   Do you believe USAEE and the North American conferences are academically dominated or that there is a perception that they are academically dominated?

2)   If yes to 1), please describe the basis for your belief and explain how and from where you see such a perception stemming.

3)  Do you believe the USAEE should represent a better balance between business, government and academia, and if so, what do you think USAEE can do to demonstrate such a balance between these three membership constituencies?

We received a wide range of comments and suggestions offered by a number of very interested members of these Committees and the USAEE. Some suggested that the “perception” can be resolved simply by better communicating who attends conferences from each segment or who is speaking from each segment. But the main take away from all of these comments is that there is a broad recognition that academia plays an important - if not a leading - role in the USAEE, but this should be expected and is generally not a concern. The view is that academia sets the stage for implementation by industry and government exactly as anticipated under the concept of the “three legged stool.” That said, a number of good, actionable ideas were offered to encourage participation and recognize the contributions of industry and government in the USAEE. These include such ideas as providing more business or policy-oriented content during conference concurrent sessions and offering “case study” programs that integrate academia, industry and government approaches to a current issue.

In short, the USAEE is intended to provide a forum for academic research, industry application and government policy to interact in a way that is unique in the energy industry. Our efforts should be to recognize this relationship and continue to provide opportunities for each segment to contribute to the collective advancement of energy economics. 

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