Energy Explained

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Events Industrial Decarbonization

How Best to Utilize Existing Energy Infrastructure in A Net-Zero Future

Past Event

October 4, 2021

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Building energy infrastructure can be a time-consuming and costly process. As an alternative, researchers and engineers have looked into ways to adjust and adapt existing infrastructure to help minimize costs and help accelerate the speed of the transition, which is urgently necessary to address the threat of climate change. The existing pipeline system is a potential stranded asset that risks locking us in a fossil fuel future. But is there a way to upgrade the system to offer a lower-cost means to transport low-carbon fuels that models show will be needed to achieve net-zero? This event will explore whether in the same way that the electric grid allows for increasingly low-carbon electrons to be transported, it may be possible for the natural gas grid to enable increasingly low-carbon molecules to be transported.

The Center on Global Energy Policy recently convened a panel of experts to examine energy infrastructure more broadly both within and outside the United States to identify niches around the globe where one can utilize existing energy systems to facilitate a net-zero future. Our panelists discussed ways to improve the environmental performance of energy systems around the world to make them more compatible with a decarbonizing future and where investments in these systems should be directed and how to address the real risks of fossil fuel lock-in.


  • Jason Bordoff, Co-Founding Dean, Columbia Climate School; Founding Director, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA


  • Maria Elena Drew, Director of Research, Responsible Investing, T. Rowe Price
  • Melanie Kenderdine, Principal, Energy Futures Initiative
  • Demetrios Papathanasiou, Global Director for the Energy and Extractives Practice, World Bank
  • Maarten Wetselaar, Director, Integrated Gas, Renewables and Energy Solutions, Royal Dutch Shell