One of the world's leading experts on renewable and sustainable energy will give a free public talk on the future of clean energy on Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. in the University of Arizona's Center for Creative Photography auditorium.
Dan Arvizu heads the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, DOE's primary lab for energy efficiency and renewable energy research and development, where he leads efforts to more quickly move clean energy technologies from lab to market. During his talk, Beyond Energy Innovation, he will explain why renewable energy will play a much larger role in the economy than anyone is predicting.
The issue of renewable energy is an important one for Arizona residents, said Ardeth Barnhart, program director for the UA Renewable Energy Network, or UA REN.
"The ability of our state to sustain a comfortable quality of life and improve our economic opportunities depends on the decisions we make about how we will manage energy in the future," she said. "Renewable energy and energy efficiency will play a much bigger role than people are anticipating because of rapid advances in technology and adoption of these sources into regional and global energy plans."
State regulators already have set the stage for this: the Arizona Corporation Commission approved a Renewable Energy Standard in 2006, requiring regulated electric utilities serving customers in the state to generate 15 percent of their energy from renewable resources like solar, algae and wind by 2025, Barnhart said.
The underlying purpose is to support investment and installation of renewable energy systems, primarily solar energy, in residential, commercial and utility-scale sectors, ensuring utility companies in Arizona add renewable energy to their mix.
Arvizu has more than three decades of experience working in the renewable resources field and frequently interacts with national leaders in Congress, the White House, academia, non-governmental organizations and industry.
Before his appointment in 2005 to head the NREL he was the chief technology officer with CH2M HILL, a global provider of engineering, construction and operations services. He also was an executive with Sandia National Laboratories and started his career at the AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories. He earned a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.
Arvizu is currently a coordinating lead author on a special report on renewable energy for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and is a consultant to the National Science Board-the governing body of the National Science Foundation – where he recently completed serving a presidentially appointed six-year term.
His talk is co-sponsored by UA REN, which is designed to stimulate the adoption of renewable energy and help transform energy systems to meet future needs; Tucson-based Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the nation's oldest foundation devoted wholly to science; and the National Science Foundation.