Tufts Energy Conference to explore energy markets

The ninth annual Tufts Energy Conference , to be held on March 8 and 9, will address “pressing energy issues in developing markets,” according to its website.

The conference will include two keynote addresses and seven panels, according to TEC Conference Chair Katherine Nolan. The talks will be interspersed with activities like the fourth annual Tufts Energy Competition, the newly added Tufts Solar Competition, poster sessions and an energy showcase.

“I think [the panels] are a great opportunity for professionals in the field to talk and to get some discussions going on these issues that are very important and very relevant to the work that they do every day, and the work that Tufts students might do in the future,” Nolan said.

This year’s keynote speakers will be World Bank Vice President for the Sustainable Development Network Rachel Kyte and Chris Hummel, chief marketing officer at Schneider Electric, according to Nolan, who is a second year student at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Last year, more than 300 people — including academics, students and government and business professionals — attended the conference, and similar numbers of participants are expected this year, TEC Content Co-Director Henry Barrett said.

“I think [TEC] is a pretty good way to get students involved in the campus community, to get alumni back involved and to get teachers involved,” Barrett, also a second-year Fletcher student, said. “I think it grows a better sense of community on campus here and within the Boston area, as well. It is a great way of getting people together to talk about these really important issues.”

According to Barrett, TEC is different than other conferences because of the international perspectives it offers.

“TEC is unique within the other 10 or so conferences that happen each year within the greater Boston area because we really focus on international aspects of energy,” he said. “I think that sets us apart, and I think it is an important aspect of the overall conversation that we provide.”

Ruben Korenke, the other content co-director, explained that the theme is extremely relevant because of the increasingly important role of emerging markets.

“When you look at projections of where investment in energy is going to happen, it is to the largest extent emerging markets,” Korenke, a second year Fletcher student, said. “I think emerging markets have this great growth path in front of them and an opportunity to shape this path in a different way than developed economies did.”

Twenty-two energy-related businesses will have tables at the conference to explain what they do and demonstrate their newest innovations, according to TEC Showcase Director Bonnie Bronenberg. The companies include small, local organizations, as well as TEC’s 12 sponsors, which include large companies like CB&I, BP and Schneider Electric.

“I think it is a great opportunity for people to interact with the companies that are out there instead of just going to their website and reading their mission statement,” Bronenberg, a senior, said. “Getting that face-to-face connection with someone who is working in the industry and [is] passionate about what they are doing definitely gives a very exciting feel to the conference.”

Nolan and Korenke explained that TEC’s goal is to engage students in a discussion on energy and that the conference is meant to teach regardless of attendee’s knowledge base.

“If you are interested in energy, this is a good way to get started and get a really broad overview of what there is, to connect with people, and identify what you want to learn more about,” Korenke said. “I think it’s a starting point for you to learn, and also if you have an interest you really can dive deeper into it.”

Korenke added that the conference will provide an opportunity for students, alumni and speakers to connect with one another.

“TEC is a place where you can exchange ideas and also where you can learn how other people are thinking about this issue,” he said.

According to Nolan, students can purchase tickets online for $15, which includes full access to both days of the conference, as well as lunch and snack food.