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Annual Report 2018-2019 message from the co-directors

Message from Co-Directors

DECEMBER 11, 2019 | Sally Benson & Arun Majumdar

Realizing the vision of sustainable, affordable and secure energy for everyone will take decades of hard work from countless people around the world. To keep ourselves invigorated and committed, it is important to take stock occasionally of contributions within that large, shared mission.

In looking back over the 2018-19 fiscal year, we are filled with appreciation for the remarkable achievements of the faculty, students, post-doctoral fellows, staff, industrial collaborators and supporters, all of whom comprise the Precourt Institute for Energy and its Stanfordwide programs. We entered the year with these stated top objectives:

1. Launch the Sustainable Finance Initiative
2. Launch the Stanford StorageX Initiative
3. Strengthen existing initiatives and programs
4. Launch the Stanford Energy Global Council
5. Create a Stanford presence on carbon management
6. Establish a fully-funded, comprehensive student energy program

The following pages provide details on how the Precourt Institute was able to make significant progress on these goals. We launched the Sustainable Finance Initiative in October 2018 with the support of Bank of America. The StorageX Initiative started in the summer of 2019  seven industrial affiliate members and two great faculty members agreeing to lead it.

Existing programs gained additional resources for research. Shell joined the Strategic Energy Alliance in August 2019 with a significant commitment to support research. The Bits & Watts Initiative and Stanford Energy Corporate Affiliates added new members, too.

The Global Energy Council held its first meeting – on the future of transportation – in August. This led to the release of the meeting’s key messages. A full report is due spring 2020.

We began to create a Stanford presence on carbon management with the integration of the Precourt Institute and the Stanford Center on Carbon Sequestration. Similarly, we started to develop the Explore Energy program, a revamped and cohesive energy education program for launch in the 2019-20 fiscal year, which we are very excited about.

Beyond these big priorities, this report highlights some achievements from the year in research, education and
external engagement. The education of future leaders is Stanford’s highest calling. The Precourt Institute is very much a part of this. Our courses include Stanford Energy Seminar, Stanford Energy Ventures, Sophomore College and Smart Grid Seminar. During the year, the Precourt Institute and its programs funded 83 internships and fellowships, mostly for undergraduates, as well as eight postdoctoral fellows.

We were also able to foster much productive engagement between Stanford and the global energy community. The highest profile of these engagements was our first Global Energy Forum, but smaller meetings, participating in conferences organized by others, interacting with industry, publicizing research results, publishing opinion pieces and advising policy makers are all part of the interactive whole.

Thank you for all your contributions to the institute, its programs and the broader missions during the past year. As this report illustrates, with sustained effort and cooperation we can have a bright and secure energy future

With warm regards,
Sally Benson

Co-director, Precourt Institute for Energy                                       
Professor, Energy Resources Engineering

Arun Majumdar
Co-director, Precourt Institute for Energy
Jay Precourt Professor, Mechanical Engineering