From September 11th to 14th the KBH Center joined the Energy Institute, the Jackson School of Geosciences, the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and the Cockrell School of Engineering in hosting a delegation from the US State Department for a 4-day electricity workshop. On the 12th, Dr. John Butler, the executive director of the KBH Center, coordinated the Energy Finance Panel, while Professor Melinda Taylor organized the one on Energy Law. Thirty-two State Department officials as well as students from departments across campus were in attendance.
The finance presentations featured a panel of experts moderated by Sheridan Titman (Walter W. McAllister Centennial Chair in Financial Services) that included Rob Jones (Director, Shell Midstream Partners), Mark Egan (Managing Director, Merrill Lynch Commodities), Shalini Ramanathan (VP Origination at RES America) and Michael Page (President and CEO of Renewable Assets, LLC). The topics ranged from financing vehicles available in the US to impediments to completing transactions with foreign partners.
The law presentations included a discussion of the PUC and the challenges Texas faced early on in figuring out how to meet the RPS and integrate wind power into the grid (Becky Klein, former Chair of the Texas Public Utility Commission), the development of wind farms in Texas and especially the considerations relevant to private landowners (Rod Wetsel, Founding Partner, Wetsel, Carmichael & Allen, L.L.P.), and a brief overview of the regulatory framework in Texas (David Adelman, Harry Reasoner Regents Chair in Law), among others. There was also a roundtable discussion about Mexico’s experience to date with reforms to the electricity sector, especially efforts to expand the portfolio of renewable power generation (Jose Maria Lujambio, former General Legal Counsel, Mexican Energy Regulatory Commission).
The organizers also co-hosted a lunch where several State Department officials spoke on careers at the State Department to students from departments across campus.