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Energy Opportunity Forum: Catalyzing Energy for Development and Social Progress

Past Event

November 17, 2023

9:00 am - 12:15 pm est

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Over half of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa has no access to electricity. Hospitals in these regions struggle to provide healthcare, food, and vaccines get wasted due to lack of cooling, And businesses struggle to improve productivity. At the same time, a third of United States households experience energy insecurity – many forgo food or medicine to pay utility bills, live in unhealthy conditions, or face utility disconnections altogether. Governments, experts, and civil society have highlighted the urgency to accelerate the use of reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy for catalyzing overall well-being and development. How do we unleash this energy opportunity so individuals and communities across the world can realize their fullest life potential?

Join the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs for the inaugural Energy Opportunity Forum hosted by the Energy Opportunity Lab (EOL).

The annual Energy Opportunity Forum brings together global leaders, champion practitioners, policymakers, and community leaders who are deploying innovative sustainable energy solutions to catalyze healthy and prosperous communities in the United States and emerging economies.  

The Energy Opportunity Lab catalyzes opportunities for improved life chances by producing actionable research, holding strategic convenings, and collaborating with communities to identify practical, equity-focused policy solutions that can help to eradicate energy insecurity in historically disadvantaged communities across the United States and enable energy for development globally. EOL was launched during COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in November 2022.

Welcome Remarks
Dr. Melissa C. Lott, Senior Director of Research, Center on Global Energy Policy; Senior Research Scholar, Columbia SIPA

The Energy Opportunity Lens
Jason Bordoff, Founding Director, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia SIPA; Professor,  Columbia SIPA; Co-Founding Dean Emeritus, Columbia Climate School (Moderator)
Dr. Diana Hernández, Managing Director – Domestic Programs, Energy Opportunity Lab; Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health
Andrew Kamau, Managing Director – International Programs, Energy Opportunity Lab

Keynote Address: Transcending Boundaries in the Pursuit of Energy Opportunity
Hon. Shalanda H. Baker, Director of the Office of Energy Justice and Equity, Secretarial Advisor on Equity, and Chief Diversity Officer at the U.S. Department of Energy

Policy and Practical Solutions for Addressing Energy Insecurity in the United States
Dr. Diana Hernández, Managing Director – Domestic Programs, Energy Opportunity Lab; Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health (Moderator)
Chandra Farley, Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Atlanta, Georgia
Prof. Michael Gerrard, Founder and Faculty Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School
Sonal Jessel, Director of Policy, WE ACT for Environmental Justice
Dr. Destenie Nock, Assistant Professor of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

Unlocking Financing for Productive Uses of Renewable Energy in Africa
Jonathan Elkind, Fellow and Senior Research Scholar, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia SIPA (Moderator)
Dr. Vijay Modi, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University
Angela Churie Kallhauge, Executive Vice President, Impact, Environmental Defense Fund
Tshepidi Moremong, Chief Operating Officer, Africa 50
Stéphane A. Rigny, Founder and CEO, Sarmin Holdings Inc.

Climate, Conflict, and Migration: Contextualizing Recent Developments in Haiti
Andrew Kamau, Managing Director – International Programs, Energy Opportunity Lab (Moderator)
H.E. Amb. Martin Kimani, Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Closing Remarks
Matthew Harris, Founding Partner, Global Infrastructure Partners; Founder, bedari collective

This event will be hosted in person in New York City. Upon registration, you will receive a confirmation email with access details.

This event is open to the press, and registration is required to attend. For media inquiries or requests for interviews, please contact Natalie Volk ([email protected]).

For more information about the event, please contact [email protected].