Comparative Energy Policies and Technologies in France and the USA

Conference Brochure


Organized by Dr. Michael Webber of UT Austin, this conference will bring together representatives from academia, industry, government, and the media from the USA and France for a conversation about a variety of energy policies and technologies. The central thesis is that while France and the USA both share a similar set of concerns related to the abundance, safety, reliability, and cleanliness of energy, the two countries have taken very different approaches to achieving our respective goals (particularly, for instance, regarding how they have each dealt with nuclear and shale gas). Consequently, each country has different positive and negative results to share. This conference will seek to share best practices for solutions to our energy challenges, while educating participants about the problems and possible solutions, and establishing a collaborative Transatlantic relationship. To this end, this conference will specifically seek to compare and contrast the energy landscape in the USA and France around four core topics: shale gas production; the grid (including nuclear, smart grid, renewables and energy efficiency); public policy; and media coverage.

Tickets include lunch and a reception after the conference.  All tickets are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis and there are a limited number of tickets at the lower price tiers. 


Sponsors: French Embassy, EU Delegation, US Department of Education, UT Center for European Studies, France-UT Institute, UT Cockrell School of Engineering, UT College of Liberal Arts


Partners: French Consulate in Houston, TX; CleanTX Foundation in Austin, TX


Confirmed Speakers:


·      Media:

o   Evan Smith, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of the Texas Tribune

o   Russell Gold, energy writer for the Wall Street Journal

o   Clifford Krauss, energy writer for the New York Times

o   David Sassoon, Founder and publisher, InsideClimate News

o   Karl De Meyer, correspondent at Les Echos

·      Academia:

o   Prof. Ernie Moniz, Director of MIT’s Energy Initiative and former Under Secretary of the Department of Energy

o   Prof. Richard Newell, Director of Duke University’s Energy Initiative and former Director of the Energy Information Administration

o   Prof. James Sweeney, Director of Stanford University’s Precourt Energy Efficiency Center (tentative)

o   Dr. Patrice Geoffron, Professor of Economics, University Paris Dauphine

o   Dr. Scott Tinker, Director, Bureau of Economic Geology, UT Austin

o   Dean Greg Fenves, Cockrell School of Engineering, UT Austin

o   Dean Randy Diehl, College of Liberal Arts, UT Austin

·      Policy and Government:

o   French General Consul

o   Hon. Mark Strama, Representative, Texas House of Representatives

o   Dr. Franck Carre, Scientific Director of the Nuclear Energy Division, Commissariat a l’energie atomique et aux energies alternatives (CEA), France

o   Dr. Paul Lucchese, Advisor to the General Director, New Technologies for Energy, Commissariat a l’energie atomique et aux energies alternatives (CEA), France

·      Industry:

o   Pierre Gauthier, President and CEO, Alstom US

o   Rod Nelson, VP of Communications and Innovation & Collaboration, Schlumberger

o   Dr. Finis Southworth, CTO, AREVA, Inc.

o   Zin Smati, President & CEO of GDF SUEZ North America

o   John Bannerman, CEO, Total E&P USA (invited)

o   Electricite de France (invited)


830 am:   Opening of the conference (Prof. Doug Biow, Director, Center for European Studies, UT Austin)

845 am:   Welcome and Opening Remarks (French General Consul)

900 am:   Panel I: Shale Gas Production and its Global Impacts

1030 am: Break

1045 am: Panel II: The Power Sector: Nuclear, Smart Grid, Renewables and Efficiency

1215 pm: Lunch (included with conference registration)

115 pm:   Keynote: Dr. Scott Tinker (Director, Bureau of Economic Geology, UT Austin) with introduction by Dean Fenves, Cockrell School of Engineering, UT Austin

200 pm:   Panel III: Energy Policy

330 pm:   Break

345 pm:   Panel IV: Energy Coverage in the Media

515 pm:   Wrap-up Comments (Dr. Michael E. Webber)

520 pm:   Closing Remarks (Dean Randy Diehl, College of Liberal Arts, UT Austin)

530 pm:   Reception

Expected attendance: 200+ attendees, comprised of professors, students, and members of industry, government, and NGOs; the conference will be open to the public, but will require advance registration. 

Dissemination: The conference will be videotaped for later dissemination via the web.



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