Think Globally, Solve Locally?

Michael Giberson

Among the casualties of yesterday’s rolling blackouts in the ERCOT power system was a Texas A&M University conference dedicated to helping solve global energy challenges.

Via the Texas A&M News and Information Service:

Texas A&M System Gearing Up To Help Solve Global Energy Challenges

COLLEGE STATION, Feb. 3, 2011—The Texas A&M University System is fine-tuning its game plan for playing a leading role in helping solve global energy challenges, with expert input provided by a host of authorities from both the private and public sectors.

Texas A&M’s lineup of researchers in a variety of fields—ranging from its high-ranked petroleum engineering department to an oceanographer who gained widespread attention for his environmental findings from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico—huddled with key representatives from such entities as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Public Utility Commission, Texas Railroad Commission, the Argonne National Laboratory and ExxonMobil.

It all played out at the 2011 Energy Forum conducted by the Energy Engineering Institute. …

The 300 conference participants were blind-sided with an up-close and personal experience about dependability and reliance on energy—energy in the form of electricity and lighting. Just as the concluding luncheon for the forum was set to begin, College Station fell victim to the statewide “rolling blackout” prompted by the unusually cold weather and resulting high demand for energy. The result was an unintended candle-light luncheon.

Speaking with the help of a hastily rigged small lectern light, the luncheon speaker, Texas Railroad Commission Chair Elizabeth Ames Jones, recounted the history of oil in the Lone Star State and praised its ‘vibrant and healthy energy industry.”

… Ironically, the lights came back almost immediately after Jones concluded her remarks.

(I’ll have more about the ERCOT’s rolling blackouts tomorrow. -MG)