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Anna Ebers | December 2020

27 Dec 2020 2:10 PM | Anonymous

Please note your affiliation and years of experience in the energy and/or environmental field.

I am an energy economist and statistician with over a decade of experience, currently employed at the engineering consulting firm Tetra Tech. I am also a non-resident energy transitions fellow at UT Austin’s Energy Institute and an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, College Park and the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, where I teach graduate classes in energy policy and economics. 

Any particular achievement/interest in the energy/environment space that you would like to mention? 

I am passionate about artificial intelligence and believe it is a general purpose technology, with the potential to revolutionize our society, akin to how the invention of the steam powered engine changed society during the Industrial Revolution. To highlight AI applications in the energy field, I recently organized a series of USAEE webinars with academic speakers and practitioners of AI.

In your opinion, what are the important issues facing the energy industry today? 

I recently completed a review study, commissioned by the Estonian Government, that found that the world is likely to fall short of its mid-century climate commitments to keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius. I believe that AI could be the driving force for closing this gap, allowing us to protect our climate and further economic growth at the same time. In a way, it could allow us to “have our cake and eat it, too.” I am seeking to better understand how future technological advancements and potential Black Swan events impact the global energy landscape. Just as the pandemic was a ‘negative’ Black Swan that sets us back, technological discoveries like AI can be seen as a Black Swan with a tremendous positive influence. In my latest research, I suggest that energy modellers and scenario planners need to pay more attention to such extreme events. They are much more likely than we commonly think.

How long have you been a member of NCAC? Any particular NCAC memory you would like to share with us?

I first became a member of USAEE in 2013. In recent years, I have been involved with USAEE as a council member and a committee member. I was curious about joining a local chapter and when the pandemic hit I decided to join NCAC, because I did not want to lose connection to people working in energy in the DC Capital region. Coincidentally, I was recently contemplating whether we have reached ‘peak oil’ this year. That same week I received an email from NCAC about a webinar that addresses that exact topic (it involved BP’s Chief US Economist Michael Cohen). It was an excellent discussion and demonstrated how timely and relevant NCAC events are.


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