Category Archives: Energy Talks

Energy Talks is a weekly informal discussion series. Every week, a topic is chosen and a few articles are posted on the site, for background information. Free lunch is provided by the club, and discussion is always a nice break from your daily routine. Here is the schedule for fall 2014:

All sessions are at 12 noon in GOLD A2B70

Date Room Time Leader Topic
September 19 GOLD A2B70 12pm Jake Aho Energy Talks- format and content
September 26 GOLD A2B70 12pm Jake Aho Wind Energy
October 3 GOLD A2B70 12pm Smith and Simon Solar Energy
October 17 GOLD A2B70 12pm Jake Aho Energy in Politics
October 24 GOLD A2B70 12pm TBA
October 31 GOLD A2B70 12pm TBA
November 7 GOLD A2B70 12pm TBA
November 14 GOLD A2B70 12pm TBA
November 21 GOLD A2B70 12pm TBA
….Every Friday of classes, full schedule coming soon!

October 17th- Energy in the Upcoming Elections and Politics

This Friday Energy Talks will begin with a discussion on the stance of the candidates in the upcoming November election on energy related issues. We will then discuss energy in Colorado and national politics. Remember to register to vote or update your voter registration info!

Please note that the CU Energy Club does not support any political party or candidate. Our mission is to educate students and let them make up their own mind!

As always, Free Half-Fast Subs. Hope to see you there!

October 3rd- Solar Energy

In Friday’s Energy Talk, the Energy Club will be covering a host of solar energy related topics. We will start at the beginning, discussing the factors that led to the development of solar energy as a feasible resource. The market development makes for a nice segway to explore the evolution of solar cell technology and the technology’s current standings. We will conclude with an engaging discussion on the current and future solar markets.

September 26- Wind Energy

Is the answer blowing in the wind?  Today’s discussion will focus on wind energy, the current state of affairs, general trends, and future direction.  We will be discussing wind energy in general, but also talking about some of the new statistics and industry trends found in the 2013 Wind Technologies Market Report, which was recently released and is packed full of information.  If you want to get a better understanding on how wind energy works, check out this YouTube video.

April 18: Grid Technology Basics

This week Alex Brissette will be filling in with a mildly technical talk on the fundamentals of the electric grid — how it is designed, and why works the way it does.  It should provide a solid background for understanding some of the challenges related to new technologies, such as rooftop solar and electric vehicles.
This talk will be centered on the technical side of how the grid works, such as why AC instead of DC, transmission vs. distribution, the basics of power electronics, and how power and frequency relate to system stability.

April 4: Tesla Motors

Hello All,

This week we are going to be discussing Tesla Motors.  The hot new car company is pioneering fully electric cars; its model S is all the rage these days and in the last year its stock price has been soaring.  Last year 2 small fires in Model S cars caused a large dip in the company’s stock, but not for long.

Tesla’s corporate strategy was first to release the Tesla Roadster, a zippy sports car, which from 2008-2011 sold 2,250 units for a list price of just over $100,000USD.  The second phase was to produce a luxury sedan, the Tesla Model S for about half that, followed by a crossover family car, the Model X, and finally a revolutionary cost competitive Camry killer Model E, slated for 2016.  Slowly, Tesla is poaching customers from other companies and keeping them hooked.  In 2014, Tesla plans to sell 40,000 vehicles worldwide, a number which is projected to continue growing as economies of scale kick in and consumers become more receptive to the idea of driving an electric vehicle.

Its an amazing time in the car industry, a revolutionary shift towards electric vehicles, and a promising new way to move away from fossil fuel transportation. Hope to see everyone there!


March 21: Reliable and Resiliant Electric Grids

The reliability of the electric power grid is very important to the economy, national security, and our way of life.  The reliability and resiliency of the grid is being discussed more in the national news lately because of a sniper attack on a California substation.  There has been increased talk of using microgrids to increase the robustness and resiliency of the grid by having many layers of autonomous power networks that can operate independently of the rest of the transmission and distribution network.
Providing reliable electricity is more than just protecting the grid against physical attacks, but also requires the real-time balancing of energy generation and load (usage), which introduces challenges when incorporating more variable generation renewable energy.  If the balance between generation and load is not carefully matched, we can have blackouts, such as in New York on 2003 (simulation, and news report), and in San Diego in 2011 (simulation).
As always, free Half Fast Subs
See you there!

March 14: Nuclear power, yes or no? A look at Japan and Germany

Hi All,

This week we will take a look at the future of nuclear power in the world. Recently, Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan has talked about starting up Japan’s fleet of nuclear plants in anticipation of the upcoming summer months which bring high electricity demand. In the 3 years since the incident, Japan has moved toward heavy reliance on oil and natural gas to meet its energy demands, but these are costly since Japan relies heavily on imports. After the incident, Germany made plans to become nuclear free by 2021 citing safety concerns. Then of course is the USA which still gets 20% of its electricity from nuclear, but will we build more? Will we take down our old plants. Should we? Nuclear power has always been a contentious issue, and this week we will have a discussion on where the world is going and where it should go next. Hope to see you all there.


March 7: The future of energy technology (and the world)

Hi All,

This week we will be looking into the future a little bit.  Much has changed in the last century but much more will change in the century to come.  The population of the world has passed 7bn and will peak at about 11bn by 2100.  This change is more than just a number; a larger portion of these people will be educated and living in the middle class.  Of course, there is the doomsday account of how they will consume more energy and resources, but also the optimistic view that billions of additional educated people will have a better chance of inventing technologies that will define the future.  Hope you all can make it.