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Izatt Christensen Lecture Energy: Changing for the Better


Dr. Franklin (Lynn) Orr spoke at the 10th Annual Reed M. Izatt and James J. Christensen lecture on October 19, 2017. His topic was “The Global Energy Transformation: Where Do We Stand?”

Dr. Orr served as the Under Secretary for Science and Energy from December 17, 2014 to January 20, 2017. As the under secretary, Dr. Orr was the principal advisor to the secretary and deputy secretary on clean energy technologies and science and energy research initiatives.

Orr’s lecture focused on the need for energy in everything we do, which leads to a demand for economical, efficient, and environmentally friendly innovations in the future.

“While we have accomplished much in past years, there is still a need and plenty of opportunity space for improvements to energy technologies and systems,” Orr said.

Orr suggested we look at several areas for a clean energy transition:

  1. Improve energy efficiency everywhere
  2. Generate electricity with low-carbon technologies (wind, solar, nuclear, geothermal, hydro, …)
  3. Improve the grid to accommodate intermittency, bolster resilience
  4. Electrify energy services (transportation, heat pumps, …)
  5. Replace coal with natural gas, and/or deploy carbon capture and storage for either
  6. Develop new technologies (R&D)

Orr reminded the students that the world is relying on them to come up with those new innovations. He closed with four words of encouragement: “You can do it!”