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Throughout the 150 years of modern energy history, change has been a pervasive driving force in our industry – from the development and deployment of new energy sources to the emergence of more and more diverse uses for energy as fuel and feedstock; the creation of new transport routes and delivery mechanisms to link energy sources to markets, shifting the geopolitical energy map of the world; and the accelerating impact of technological development both increasing our capacity to supply energy as well as to use it ever more efficiently. But in these early years of the 21st century, the pace of change seems to be accelerating as we move ahead into what many have termed the era of energy transitions. Meeting the challenge of providing affordable energy for growing populations while managing the carbon and environmental impact of energy supply and use is a central issue for the 21st century. Solutions informed by the sound application of energy economics will be vitally important in the coming years.
The 37th annual USAEE/IAEE Conference provided a forum for informed and collegial discussion of how these emerging realities will impact all stakeholders – from populations to companies to governments—in North America and around the world. In 2019, we were taking our conference to the Denver, Colorado area, where oil and natural gas production had been a vital contributor to US energy supply for decades. The state has also strongly promoted energy diversification, particularly into wind and solar power; had worked at collaborative frameworks for energy development embracing the needs of multiple stakeholder interests; and was the home to a strong intellectual and academic tradition of thinking about energy supply, energy technologies and energy markets.
The conference highlighted contemporary energy themes at the intersection of economics, technology and public policy, including those affecting energy infrastructure, environmental regulation, markets, the role of governments, and international energy trade. Participation from industry, government, non-profit, and academic energy economists enriched a set of
robust, diverse and insightful discussions.