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Columbia Energy Exchange

Arun Majumdar: A Bullish View on Energy Innovation

The world has seen remarkable advances in clean energy technology in recent years, from increasingly cheaper ways to produce solar and wind energy to breakthroughs in energy storage that suggest even bigger advances soon. So, what will it take to keep that pace going?
In this episode, host Bill Loveless joins Arun Majumdar, a materials scientist and engineer whose distinguished career spans the classroom, the laboratory and Washington. Arun is now a member of the faculty at Stanford University’s Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering and the co-director of the Precourt Institute for Energy, which coordinates research and education across all seven schools and the Hoover Institution at Stanford.
In 2009, Arun was nominated by President Obama to become the founding director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) at the U.S. Department of Energy, and later served as an acting Under Secretary at DOE.
After leaving DOE and before joining Stanford he was Vice President for Energy at Google. And among other stops in his career, he taught at the University of California at Berkeley and worked as an associate director at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Bill caught up with Arun outside the Center on Global Energy Policy’s recent Summit in New York to talk about advances in clean energy technology and the roles that government and the private sector have played in those developments. Along those lines, they looked specifically at ARPA-E, which he helped make a model of innovation and which the Trump administration would abolish.
They also talked about some of the new dynamics in energy policy in Washington, including the Green New Deal.

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