Local Activities

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USAEE Breakfast Energy Series Talks ("BEST")

Facilitated by the National Capital Area Chapter (NCAC), Washington, DC


Molly Macauley, Vice President for Research, Resources for the Future welcomes guests and Professor Catherine Wolfram (UC Berkeley) to RFF for her BEST Presentation. (Washington, DC: March 16, 2015)

USAEE’s Breakfast Energy Series Talks (“BEST”), facilitated by the National Capital Area Chapter (NCAC) is a program that, from time to time, provides a forum for energy luminaries visiting the Washington, DC area to make presentations on their current research interests to local members and others from the DC area.  Currently these events are held at the Washington, DC offices of Resources for the Future (RFF).  It is envisioned that other USAEE (as well as IAEE) chapters could facilitate similar forums in their local areas.

BEST was initiated in 2014 by  Karen Palmer, Research Director and Senior Fellow at RFF, who at that time was USAEE’s Vice President – Government.  Dr. Palmer pulled together an ad hoc committee to assist her in serving USAEE members who work for the government, whether directly or as consultants.  Mark Lively, then president of NCAC, worked closely with committee and was instrumental in the development of this initiative .

On March 16, 2015, BEST featured a presentation by Catherine Wolfram, the Cora Jane Flood Professor of Business Administration at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley. Dr. Wolfram is also Faculty Director of the Energy Institute at Haas and of The “E2e” energy efficiency initiative, a joint effort of UB Berkeley, MIT and University of Chicago.  E2e is an organization that fosters a network of researchers, policy-makers, and organizations interested in understanding energy efficiency. Researchers affiliated with E2e design and run state-of-the-art research projects and educate policy and business leaders on the need for evidence-based energy efficiency evaluations.

Dr. Wolfram’s talk was titled "Do Energy Efficiency Investments Deliver? Evidence from the Weatherization Assistance Program."    She discussed the reasons why policies to promote energy efficiency have been so focal in discussions of energy policies and climate and environmental policy and described how a bipartisan consensus has seized on the perceived benefits of energy efficiency policy in proposing and enacting new policies to promote efficiency.  In her talk, she presented evidence from a new paper that uses an innovative experimental approach to obtain ex post, field estimates of savings from the Weatherization Assistance Program, the nation's largest residential energy efficiency program. The results suggest real savings, though not as large as those projected by the ex ante engineering models. The paper that formed the basis of Dr. Wolfram’s presentation may be found on the E2e website at http://e2e.haas.berkeley.edu.

The first BEST event was held on July 1, 2014, with a presentation by William Hogan, Raymond Plank Professor of Global Energy Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Research Director of the Harvard Electricity Policy Group in the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government. Dr. Hogan spoke on "Electricity Market Design and the Green Agenda."   

The BEST organizers are looking for suggestions for energy luminaries from around the country who travel to Washington, DC, regularly and who might be interested in making a BEST presentation on an upcoming trip.  If you have a suggestion for a future BEST speaker who will bring important insights to a DC audience, please contact Vlad Dorjets, USAEE Vice President - Government  at  vdorjets@omb.eop.gov or Karen Palmer at Palmer@rff.org


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