Dramatic improvements and cost reductions in renewable energy technologies have occurred over the past decade and even greater improvements are expected in the years to come. In addition, plentiful unconventional gas resources in North America and potentially broadly around the world provide prospects for a long-term lower carbon-emitting fossil fuel for electricity production and other uses. This optimistic outlook is in stark contrast to the energy situation in developing countries. Even today, several billion people lack access to electricity and clean cooking fuels. Additionally, industries in these developing countries--which are crucial for raising people from poverty, suffer from unreliable electricity and fuel supplies, which dramatically lowers productivity. This talk will first discuss the promising developments in advanced energy technologies and then explore the prospects, challenges and options for addressing energy access in the developing countries.
About the speaker: Sally M. Benson was appointed GCEP Director in January 2009 after holding the Executive Director post since March 2007. A Professor (Research) in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering (ERE) in the School of Earth Sciences, Benson has been a member of Stanford’s faculty since 2007. Her research group in ERE investigates fundamental characteristics of carbon dioxide storage in geologic formations as a means of climate change mitigation. She teaches courses on carbon dioxide capture and storage and greenhouse gas mitigation technologies.
Prior to joining GCEP, Benson worked at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), serving in a number of capacities, including Division Director for Earth Sciences, Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Sciences, and Deputy Director for Operations. Benson graduated from Barnard College at Columbia University in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in geology. She completed her graduate education in 1988 at the University of California, Berkeley, after receiving master’s and doctoral degrees, both in materials science and mineral engineering.