I’m an engineering professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, GA and a Resident Fellow with UGA’s Center for International Trade and Security (CITS) in the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA). My professional background has been split between 15 years in the private sector (production engineering, energy services engineering, and environmental engineering) and 20 years at UGA. I established the university’s first environmental engineering undergraduate program in 2009 and ushered it through full accreditation in 2012, and I teach graduate and undergraduate courses in energy systems and energy security. I also serve on the Advocacy Council for Nuclear Matters and the Advisory Board for the Energy Policy Research Conference.
My current research is in the area of energy policy and integrated energy resource planning for the power sector, comprehensive energy policy and the energy and national security implications of nuclear power. In particular, I focus on comprehensive energy policy that accounts for the realities of a world undergoing unprecedented economic growth and development and that gives full consideration of the value of nuclear power in meeting these economic objectives under the constraints of carbon reductions. To that end, I’m currently leading the development of an Energy Systems, Security and Policy Initiative (ESSPI) at UGA in collaboration with UGA’s Center for International Trade and Security in the School of Public and International Affairs. I also have a strong interest in the deployment of energy technologies in developing economies and regions stricken by energy poverty.
As such, this blog is primarily about energy, environmental issues and policy that accounts for the broader international context. In its various forms energy has become a political chip in what seems like a high-stakes poker game between environmental activists, politicians, industrialists, and quite a few others. As bystanders, the general public is often left to wonder what cards are being held by each, how high the stakes actually are, and how they can see through the smoke that often fills the room. My intent is to discuss the issues and make some sense out of a debate that is noisy, confusing and polarized—oftentimes, intentionally so. In general, I’ll try to present energy issues in a format that’s understandable and beyond political and academic abstractions that often serve only to indoctrinate the public in a worldview that is both narrow and biased. The intended audience is the general public and any students or young folks who have an interest in the energy field.
Personally, I have concerns about energy, national security and climate change, which I consider to be critical issues of our day. At the same time, I have grave concerns about the U.S. economy and the extent to which the U.S. will leverage its current energy position on the global stage. With energy central to both our economy, our national security and our environment, we cannot afford to force-fit U.S. energy and environmental policies that favor one to the neglect of the other (that is, environment over economy and national security, or vice versa) or that compromise America’s economic leverage or it’s position of leadership in global affairs. I believe these issues and our response to them will, to a great extent, define us for generations to come.
On a more personal note, and more importantly, I’ve been married since 1981 to the same sweetest, prettiest girl I’ll ever know and have been in love with her since we started dating in high school. I’m also a father and a grandfather and my concerns and actions are guided by what I believe is best for the world that I pass along to my children and grandchildren.
I also have political positions on most things, which I’ll share from time to time, although I’m not so naive to think that everything in life fits into my political beliefs. Some things are best left separated.
My political position is summarized in Straight Outta Reagan.
I welcome your feedback.