Energy Conference

Navigating Climate Change & Energy Security in the Northeast: The Next 5 Years

We organized a dialogue with over 180 politicians, academics, industry leaders and extraordinary students in attendance to discuss the current status, needs and future of the energy sector in Connecticut and the region on October 24, 2022.We invite you to explore the key takeaways from the conference and view the UConn Today feature for more information.

Opening remarks by Dr. Anagnostou at Energy Conference

Global Challenges at the Local Level – Bridging the gap between limited resources and latent federal funding opportunities

  • The current and future challenges in the energy sector presented in the conference necessitate collaboration between national labs, industry, communities, and academia to fully realize the upcoming federal funding opportunities related to recently passed bills. Special attention should be given towards assisting communities better prepare to benefit from latent funding opportunities, particularly those under-resourced, marginalized and environmentally vulnerable.

Developing Actionable Information

  • Government agencies need actionable information from the scientific community to meet resilience improvements, to do this, the scientific community needs to develop robust, dynamic tools that capture these complex problems. These approaches and tools should be developed and operationalized through the lens of equity and justice, to avoid recreating infrastructural, technological inaccessibility and distributive inequities. Long-term approaches towards solutions are necessary, such as critically looking at lifecycle analysis, waste stewardship and assuring circular economies.

Identifying Skills & Building Workforce Pipeline

  • To address the impending need for workplace replacement, thought and action should be dedicated towards identifying what training for jobs will be, what skills are necessary to make sure we have trained workforce ready to deliver on projects that the federal government is providing. Skillsets encompass both general and specific knowledge of the policy, technology, and social dimensions of these problems. Special attention should go towards actively recruiting historically underserved into building this pipeline of people who are equipped to work on these topics.

The Power of Listening & Platforming Voices: Placing Equity & Justice at the Center

  • Equity and justice were highlighted as the critical lens as we transition to milestones in renewable energy. Increasing technical literacy is important for not leaving anyone behind in the electrification transition. We discussed marginalized communities not having access to technology, thus making them vulnerable to storms and unable to benefit from the energy reliability that microgrids can bring. To address community needs, we discussed the power of listening and the need to create dialogue that serves as a platform for community voices. Through listening and engaging in collaborations, needs can be advocated for and be better positioned to gain access to incentives that federal government provides.

Increasing interregional relations and forward-thinking policy

  • Collaboration with neighboring states is imperative to fully leverage infrastructure networks and resources to meet major renewable integration challenges, such as integrating sustainable renewables in power grid. The future of electric vehicles (EVs) poses real uncertainty and challenges for utilities. The rate and timing of EV adoption, the amount and distribution of renewable energy to meet these demand curves necessitate academic-lab-industry-government cooperation. The electrification of the transportation sector is a beginning of ‘smart’ improvements. These technological changes and ‘the revolution of the mundane’, will have an impact on how people engage in society and their lives. Since engaging in this new world would require certain technical skills and access to information, concerted effort should be given to increasing scientific literacy across all demographics such that no one is left behind.

This event would not have been possible without the support of ISO New England, Eversource, CNG SCG and Fuel Cell Energy.