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.

For Spring 2015 we will meet every Friday of classes at 12 noon in Koelbel 220.

If you have an idea for a topic or want to lead a session, fill out this form:

Energy Talks: Energy Entrepreneurship!

In light of the upcoming Energy Frontiers Conference focused in entrepreneurship through startups, government, larger scale industry, and other avenues, this week’s Energy Talks will be focused on energy entrepreneurship. We will cover this topic using two articles as our basis. The first details the measures that the UN is taking to promote sustainable development through entrepreneurship. This includes the role of governmental policies in encouraging entrepreneurs to pursue the novel ideas that they develop in energy-related fields, as well as the importance of this new technology being adopted by developing countries. This article will then tie into the second article, which focuses on how young people can change the game of energy entrepreneurship, and the need for opportunities to exist for these individuals to grow their enterprises. Between these two articles, we will be more equipped prior to Energy Frontiers to understand the complexity of the dynamics between startups, government, and industry in furthering energy innovation.

3/6 Energy Talks: NREL

This week, energy talks will be focusing on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in preparation for Energy Frontiers on March 19th, where the keynote speaker will be Dr. Dan Arvizu, Director of NREL, and the panel discussions will have several panelists that are connected to NREL.  Did you know that the CU Energy Club is the student alliance of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI) which is a joint institute between CU and NREL, so we are officially connected to this amazing national laboratory!

This talk will provide an overview of NREL, highlight some of their ongoing research efforts, and hopefully hear some cool NREL projects that all of you know about!   For more info on NREL visit their website,, or watch this NREL overview Youtube Video.

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

Special Guest John Perlin–February 27

Come join us for a special Energy Talks with our guest John Perlin, author of “Let It Shine: The 6000-Year Story of Solar Energy.” Listen to an engaging presentation as John “pairs the successes and failures of solar pioneers with discussions of how early and modern people made use of the sun. Discussions  pair a history of mankind’s achievements with documentation of the solar industry hallmarks of change. The result is an excellent, extensive, yet lively survey of solar energy ideas through the centuries.’-Midwest

February 13–Nuclear Power

There has been a lot of discussion nationally and globally about whether nuclear power is a pathway to a lower carbon future or whether it is a risk worth taking. France’s electricity comes dominantly from nuclear power, Germany is trying to reduce its use of nuclear for electricity generation, and Japan may be restarting some of the nuclear power plants that it closed after the Fukushima meltdown. We will present some of the viewpoints and then open the floor for discussion.

February 6–Oil Prices

This week we will be talking about oil prices. We will discuss reasons why prices might have fallen for the last six months and  why and if that decline is over. We will also discuss what affect oil prices have on the economy and the energy system. We will first review what some analysts think about these questions and then discuss our own thoughts and knowledge. If you want to review the state of oil in the US, look over the EIA’s current data and analysis of what’s up with oil.

December 5 — Natural Gas Power Plants

This week we will be discussing natural gas power generation. Natural gas is currently one of the fastest growing energy sources. We will compare the different types of gas-fired power generation such as simple cycle, combined cycle, and reciprocating engine technologies. We’ll then talk about the pros and cons of natural gas and compare it with other energy sources like coal. Feel free to check out some information about natural gas power generation before Friday.

This Energy Talks will also lead nicely into our tour of the Plains End natural gas power plant south of Boulder during the afternoon. If you are joining for the tour, we’ll be leaving shortly after Energy Talks and will return to CU around 3:30. Find out more information and reserve your spot on the tour here (or through our events calendar).


This week’s energy talk will discuss some of the externalities of energy production and use. We will first define the term externality and then discuss some of the external costs associated with energy. We will also discuss how this information can be used to inform, and possibly change, the behavior of energy consumers, to get your thoughts flowing before Bill LeBlanc’s talk on changing behavior at our Monthly meeting December 1.

November 7- Clean Power Plan with special guest Pam Kiely

This week we have a special treat. Pam Kiely will discuss the Clean Power Plan (proposed regulations on CO2 from electric power) with us before the comment period closes December 1. If you want to be informed and/or take part in the regulatory process come join us! The link to the Federal Register where you can make comments is here:

Pam Kiely is a Colorado-based environmental advocate and consultant. As principal of PK Strategies, she works on energy and climate issues for a range of clients across the Intermountain West.

For close to a decade Pam has worked extensively on energy legislation in the Colorado General Assembly, including successful efforts to boost Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard and pass Colorado’s landmark Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act. She has also been engaged in critical regulatory efforts, most recently working as part of the team to secure the first framework in the country to directly regulate methane emissions from oil and gas operations. Before transitioning to consulting Pam led Environment Colorado, managing program work and political strategy for the statewide advocacy organization from 2008-2011.

A graduate of Harvard University, Pam is a former collegiate cyclist and Outward Bound sailboat captain.

October 31- Concentrated Solar Power

In Friday’s Energy Talk, the Energy Club will be covering a host of concentrated solar power 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 concentrated solar power technology and the technology’s current standings. We will conclude with an engaging discussion on the current and future concentrated solar power markets.

Want a brief primer on CSP before the meeting?  Watch this short DOE video.