From the President, USAEE






Lori Smith Schell

Founder and President

Empowered Energy

(Durango, CO)


There’s probably never been a more exciting time to be part of the world of energy.  For better or worse, energy is often front-page news.  Everyone you talk to has an opinion on how the world’s energy problems should be solved, though the solutions offered are often ill informed or based on little factual evidence.  The USAEE has a critical role to play in ensuring that the debate surrounding energy policy is based on the best information available and that a healthy debate on competing policies can be held to give everyone the chance to be heard.

As part of that process, final preparations are being made for the upcoming 32nd USAEE/IAEE North American Conference, being held in Anchorage, Alaska, from July 28-31, 2013.  The chosen theme of the conference is “Industry Meets Government:  Impact on Energy Use & Development” and there are several plenary sessions that have a decidedly Arctic theme, along with a number of plenary sessions on developments in electricity markets and oil & natural gas markets.  A very special offsite reception will be held on Tuesday evening at the Alaska Heritage Center, providing additional time to connect with colleagues and friends, including an offsite reception at the Alaska Heritage Center.  You can view the full conference program at  I encourage you to register soon as the early bird rate ends on May 31st.

Conference delegates will present 131 papers in 32 concurrent sessions on a wide range of topics. I will be presenting a special tutorial on "The ABC's of Energy Policy" during an interactive concurrent session targeted to those delegates who are relatively new to the energy industries.  There will be two separate concurrent sessions that highlight the top contenders for our highly competitive student awards, the Case Competition and the Best Student Paper; i expect these to be among the more popular concurrent sessions to be held in Anchorage.  We had twenty teams from fifteen colleges and universities take part in the Case Competition and representatives from the top three teams will make presentations at a special concurrent session to see which teams takes home the $5000 prize.  In additon, we had 11 papers competing for the Best Student Paper award and authors of the top four papers will present their findings at another special concurrent session to see which student will win the top prize.  Our third student competition is the Poster Session, to which we have invited 20 student contenders to compete for the Best Poster cash award of up to $1000.  This event provides delegates with a chance to see the results of student research in a casula setting during the Monday night Networking Reception.  We are greatful to the sponsors who make the cash awards possible for these student competitions.  I would also like to acknowlegde the many volunteers who put the Herculean effort in to develop and judge the Case Competition, the Best Student Paper competition and the Poster Session, and also to those who review, rank and allocate the many abstracts into the concurrent sessions.  Our annual conference would not be possible without each and every one of you, to whom I extend my sincere and personal thanks.

We are continuing a new event that was launched at the Austin conference with the addition of a half-day, post-conference workshop.  The topic of the post-conference workshop in Anchorage is “Methane Hydrates” with sponsorship from Rice University and presentations from West Virginia University and the U.S. Department of Energy.  These post-conference workshops are part of USAEE’s goal of broadening its offerings and increasing its value to a broad spectrum of members.  Please note that there is an additional charge of $50 for this workshop and seating is limited, one more reason to get your registration in before the early bird rate ends on May 31st.

In addition to the conference program, there are three technical tours available to further enhance the value of your conference attendance.  On the Saturday before the conference starts there are two options:  (i) A day trip on Alaska Airlines to the North Slope for $900, and (ii) an afternoon bus trip in the Anchorage area touring a landfill gas facility and the new in-city electric generating station that it feeds for $35 per person.  Following the conference, there will be two-day combined bus-ferry trip to the oil terminal in Valdez for a per person charge of $425 (single)/$350 (double).

The USAEE is only one of several affiliates of the IAEE that holds its own conference and there are many opportunities to attend IAEE-related conferences around the globe.  I had the good fortune to attend the Latin American Association of Energy Economics conference in Montevideo, Uruguay last month on behalf of the USAEE and was inspired by the interaction of the more than 300 delegates from all over the Americas.  I am also looking forward to being part of the European conference in Düsseldorf, Germany, in August, and would note that there are many more IAEE-affiliate conferences to choose from.  And of course the IAEE International Conference is nearly upon us, happening in Daegu, South Korea, June 16-20, 2013.  I unfortunately will miss the Daegu conference due to its date conflicting with my daughter’s university graduation, but I encourage you to get more information on this very exciting conference and on all IAEE-affiliated conferences on the IAEE website at

USAEE and IAEE will be co-hosting the IAEE International Conference at the New Yorker Hotel in New York City from June 15-18, 2014.  Planning is just getting under way for the 2014 IAEE/USAEE International Conference, so if you’d like to get involved in the planning, please let me know.

USAEE’s Vice President-Chapter Liaison has been working closely with regional members to establish new USAEE Chapters.  In addition to the new Bay Area Chapter announced last time, USAEE is pleased to welcome the Three Rivers Chapter (serving the region around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) and the Louisville, Kentucky, Chapter.  We hope to help energize these new Chapters through visits and presentations from one of our two 2013 Distinguished Lecturers:  Mr. Surya Rajan of IHS-CERA and Mr. Todd Onderdonk of ExxonMobil.  We are pleased to have both of these gentlemen help us kick off our new Distinguished Lecturer Series (DLS).  More information on the DLS and how to nominate speakers can be found at

I welcome your input on how we can continue to grow USAEE membership and add value to you as a member of the Association.  Please feel free to contact me directly by phone at (970) 247-8181 or by e-mail at if you have ideas you’d like to share.  I look forward to continuing our collective efforts in what has so far been an exciting and productive year.

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