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Energy Technology, Law, Policy, and Societal Impact

Convergence Research

Following its launch in April 2020, the Convergence Research Incubator introduced its first internal competitive call for concept notes whose primary objective is to incentivize convergence research across departments, schools, and institutes by providing seed funding opportunities to form research teams that address complex research challenges and innovative, interdisciplinary research collaborations. This call catalyzed the engagement of 71 faculty members representing 10 colleges across Texas A&M campuses, with cross-sectoral stakeholders representing public, private, civil society organizations, who co-created 17 concept notes focused on innovative ideas under thematic areas of water-energy-food nexus, energy digitization, and the future of manufacturing in circular economies. 

Concept notes were reviewed by a curated panel from across the university, representing a broad range of disciplines. Three concept notes were selected to receive $15,000 seed grants to continue developing their concepts toward large proposals within the coming year. To build on the momentum created by the call, participating teams were invited to contribute white papers to an upcoming Special Issue in Springer’s Circular Economy and Sustainability titled “Convergence research: Catalyzing sustainable energy solutions for circular economies of the future,” to be published in Spring 2021.

U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Initiative

The U.S. Department of EnergyMIT Energy InitiativeStanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy, and the Texas A&M Energy Institute collaborate to implement the U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Initiative. Mid-career women in clean energy are recognized at the annual U.S. C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium, an invitation-only gathering of approximately 250 people across the clean energy spectrum. At this celebration, a Lifetime Achievement Honoree and eight U.S. C3E Awardees are announced.  The U.S. C3E Ambassadors are a group of more than 40 distinguished senior professionals who represent the U.S. C3E Initiative at public forums.

Energy Price Index

In a recent study published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers at the Texas A&M Energy Institute have devised a metric that reflects the average price of energy in the United States. Much like how the Dow index indicates trends in stock market prices, the researchers’ metric reflects the changes in energy prices resulting from the type of energy sources available and their supply chains.

As a potential real-world use of this metric, the researchers explored two policy case studies. In the first scenario, they studied how the energy price index would change if a tax on crude oil was imposed. One of their main findings upon tracking the energy price index was that around $148 billion could be generated in four years for every $5-per-barrel increase in crude oil tax. Also, this tax would not significantly increase the monthly cost of energy for U.S. households. In the second case study that explored the effect of subsidies in the production of electricity from renewable energy sources, they found that these policies can cause a dip in energy prices even with no tax credit.

Other contributors to this research include Dr. Alexander Niziolek, Dr. Onur Onel, Dr. Logan Matthews and the late Dr. Christodoulos Floudas from the Texas A&M Energy Institute; and Dr. Detlef Hallermann and Dr. Sorin Sorescu from the Mays Business School at Texas A&M. This research is funded by the Texas A&M Energy Institute and the Mays Business School.