Weekly Energy Digest


Why Blue LED Lights Won the Nobel



Trading Oil for Coal (Keystone for EPA)


Oil and Gas:

Cheaper Oil: Winners and Losers



Inside Tesla



Four Trends Shaping the US Solar Plus Storage


A Farewell to Fossil Fuels: Answering the Energy Challenge:


Energy Initiative Event: Amory Lovins Talk

On Friday November 7th, members of the Duke Energy Club attended a talk given by Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute (www.rmi.org/Amory+B.+Lovins). Lovins is the Co-founder and Chief Scientist at RMI and has worked extensively as an expert consultant for companies, heads of state, and national organizations. A true polymath, he has also delivered thousands of lectures and published 31 books, including books on poetry, landscape, photography, and music.

Lovins’ talk focused on his recent book “Reinventing Fire: Business Solutions for a New Energy Era.” The talk started with a thought-provoking description of the public energy conversations in the US today:

“America’s public energy conversation boils down to this question: Would you rather die of A) oil wars, or B) climate change, or C) nuclear holocaust, or D) all of the above? Oh, I missed one: E) none of the above? That’s the one we’re not normally offered.

What if we could make energy do our work without working our undoing? Could we have fuel without fear? Could we reinvent fire?

You see, fire made us human; fossil fuels made us modern. But now we need a new fire that makes us safe, secure, healthy and durable.”

From there, Lovins outlined his plan for reinventing fire and weaning off “the rotted remains of primeval swamp goo” that still powers 90% of the world’s energy, while at the same time, saving $5 trillion, by 2050.

Far from a far-fetched plan, Lovins assumes no act of congress or new inventions. He argues that simply through private enterprise combined with local civil society and military innovation we can reach this goal and make money doing it. Or in Lovin’s words:

“I’m going to tell you how to get the United States completely off oil and coal, five trillion dollars cheaper with no act of Congress led by business for profit.”

The boldness of this statement could not be overstated, yet his plan is surprisingly simple. Which is a good sign that he’s on to something. So what does his plan look like?

Lovins’ plan draws on four kinds of innovation: technology, design, business strategy, and policy to shake up the four sectors that use energy—transportation, buildings, industry, and electricity. He then goes through each sector explaining the improvements that can be made. His vision is fascinating and he truly is acting the composer of a symphony of solutions that can help launch us into a new energy age.

Our members thoroughly enjoyed the talk and we’d highly recommend you check out Amory Lovins’ writing at the links below.

Lovins gave a similar speech for TED, which can be found here: http://www.ted.com/talks/amory_lovins_a_50_year_plan_for_energy

For more information on his book:


RMI Blog:


Club Event: Energy Finance Q&A with Eric Jivadi

The Duke Energy Club invited students for an informal Q&A session with Eric Javidi (Fuqua ’09), the director of UBS Investment Bank’s Global Natural Resources Group on Thursday, October 9, for students who are interested in energy, finance, or project management to find out more about this line of work.

Mr. Javidi is a part of the senior midstream oil & gas / Master Limited Partnership (“MLP”) team at UBS and focuses on mergers & acquisition advisory as well as capital markets activity. Prior to joining UBS in 2012, Mr. Javidi was a member of the Natural Resources Investment Banking team at Barclays and Lehman Brothers in Houston, TX as well as New York, NY, where Mr. Javidi focused on midstream oil & gas / MLPs. Mr. Javidi received his MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and his BA from the University of California, Davis.


Charlotte Energy Tour

(P.M. Michael Baker left, Co-Pres. Nathan Hsieh right)

The Duke Energy Club sent participants on the Energy Initiative’s Power Trip to Charlotte this last week, and Co-President Nathan Hsieh and Project Manager Michael Baker were both on board from the early hours to see what energy companies in North Carolina are like! The trip entailed a tour of the facilities that belong to EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute), as well as a talk on their mission statement as a non-profit research organization. The group stressed the importance of their independence and reliability to their overall business model because of the fact that their success is truly tied to their ability provide the public with better services.

Afterwards, the trip continued onto DukeEnergy, located in downtown Charlotte. Students and faculty heard about the companies plan to implement a large-scale solar generation project and their movement and growth as a business, aiming to leverage more sustainable forms of energy. Moreover, the tour group was also allowed a sneak-peek, behind the scenes, at what it looks like to manage the demand-response of power generation in virtually all the Carolinas. The also gave out some cool, solar-powered flashlights!

The next stop was the SIEMEN’s manufacturing plant, where immense turbines and generators for power plants are built. It was an incredible opportunity to see the sheer scale and scope of what the industrial heart of America looks like. It was also a cool intellectual activity to get to see the cogs of the machine that we, as consumers, use on a second-by-second basis, but never get to hear, touch, feel or see.

The trip then moved onto dinner in Greensboro, where the group was taken to the Proximity Hotel, a leed-certified building equipped with solar panels to clean and heat water, regenerative driving in their elevators, as well as a state-of-the-art electric grid design. In the rooms, lighting and outlets have been designed and implemented in a way that is incredibly efficient, cost-cutting and innovative and the elevators actually generate electricity on the way down, leveraging algorithms to appropriately determine the number of floors required to make it back up.

Ultimately the tour ended up back in Durham, sadly to us all, but it was an awesome opportunity to experience the facilities and work-culture that surround a number of not-so-local energy companies. These reputable groups are providing ground-breaking research and innovative materials to the industry in order to spur growth and development. As a result, it was an incredible opportunity to get a hands-on look at what businesses in the energy space are getting involved in. The Energy Initiative plans on scheduling further events like this, so check in on their listserv to get involved and get signed up – we highly recommend it!