Each month, we'll look at the technologies and innovators who are driving the energy transition in Colorado. Never miss an episode by signing up for our Institute newsletter.

January 19: Energy Accessibility
Tuesday, January 19 at 4 p.m. MT
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Colorado's ongoing energy transition isn't just about technology; it's also about people. Each year, tens of thousands of residents struggle to pay their electric bills or lack access to reliable energy. The cost of electricity remains a primary market driver and can greatly impact behaviors and attitudes toward energy. Yet most analyses agree that the state's robust decarbonization targets will rely on widespread adoption of newer, more efficient energy systems and/or costly retrofitting. How can policymakers, utilities, and businesses help make energy access more inclusive, and what does it truly mean to have a "just transition" for all?

On January 19, we'll discuss these topics and more with Jennifer Gremmert, Executive Director of Energy Outreach Colorado. She'll discuss her organization's work to mitigate energy costs for underserved communities in Colorado before discussing the current policy landscape and efforts that are underway to address this crucial area of need. We'll also answer audience questions live during a moderated Q&A session.

This free public webinar is presented by the Institute for Science & Policy and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The session will also be streamed to Facebook and YouTube.

Previous Episodes:

Episode 1: Electric Vehicles
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The transportation sector has rapidly become one of Colorado’s leading sources of carbon emissions in recent years, accounting for nearly a quarter of all its greenhouse gases. In 2018, the state released its first-ever electric vehicle plan, outlining its goals for building out infrastructure, boosting consumer demand, and accelerating the transition to a zero-emission fleet. Meanwhile, Colorado research labs have continued their work on next-gen EV batteries and rapid charging technologies. But ongoing challenges remain due to lingering questions over cost, range, battery life, and charging station availability – not to mention the economic impact of COVID-19. So what lies ahead for electric vehicles in terms of development and widespread implementation?

Presenters: Michael King, Assistant Director of Electrification & Energy for the Colorado Department of Transportation, and Jason Quinn, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University. 

Episode 2: Grid Innovations
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The architecture of America’s energy grid is evolving in new and exciting ways. As more and more renewables come online, scientists and utilities are working together to move away from older passive distribution models and instead create an active, optimized energy flow for homes and businesses. By implementing new technologies and smart building integrations, a more efficient grid can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create resilience throughout the system. So what does the next generation of energy production look like, and what will it mean for consumers?

Presenters: Kyri Baker, Assistant Professor of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder and Bryan Hannegan, President & CEO of Holy Cross Energy. 

Episode 3: Hydrogen
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Hydrogen is the simplest, most abundant element in the universe and has long been studied for its ability to both carry and store clean energy. At scale, hydrogen fuel cells have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in numerous sectors, most notably transportation. Significant implementation hurdles remain, however, and the technology will need to become much more cost-effective in order to compete in the energy marketplace. Where does hydrogen research stand as of today? And what might some of the next innovations look like?

Presenters: Eric Payne, Senior Licensing Executive at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Gray Byers, Program Manager for Business Innovation at Xcel Energy.

Episode 4: Transmission
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When it comes to conversations around increasing renewable energy deployment in the U.S., one vital component often goes overlooked: transmission. High-voltage lines move wind and solar energy from where it is generated to where people are, but build-out has lagged behind in recent decades. Studies have found that a coordinated nationwide network - similar to the interstate highway system - could more effectively distribute clean energy dynamically across regions and time zones, mitigating the inherent variability of renewables and paving the way for deep decarbonization. Yet the notion of major transmission investment has been met with reluctance, due in no small part to concerns over cost as well as the difficulty of navigating a patchwork of state and local jurisdictions. 

Presenter: Christopher Clack, CEO of Vibrant Clean Energy, LLC

Disclosure statement:
The Institute for Science & Policy is committed to publishing diverse perspectives in order to advance civil discourse and productive dialogue. Views expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the Institute, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, or its affiliates.