Alumni Discuss Global Energy and Macro Policy

May 27, 2024

On Friday, May 24, a panel of distinguished Princeton alumni gathered to share their perspectives on global commodity markets, the energy transition, and energy policy. Organized by the JRCPPF Alumni Forum and moderated by Abhiram Karuppur ’19, an MBA candidate at Harvard Business School, the lively discussion underscored the complexity of the energy transition and the mix of geopolitical, technological, and economic challenges. 

The panelists emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach to the the energy transition and highlighted the potential of digital technologies, new materials, and innovations like small modular reactors (SMRs). They also discussed the interplay between energy transition and geopolitics, evaluating policies related to the oil and gas sector and considering the potential impact of energy demand on geopolitics. Additionally, speakers discussed energy independence and capital allocation challenges, emphasizing the importance of regulation and capital allocation to support the energy transition.

Amy Myers Jaffe ’80, professor and director of the Energy, Climate, and Sustainable Justice Lab at New York University emphasized that the energy transition is well underway, noting "not only do we have a big push towards electrification, but we have new technologies and new ways of doing things and new materials that are going to join together with artificial intelligence to radically transform how we use, how we produce and how we transport energy." 

Edward Morse *69, a special advisor at Hartree Partners and former deputy assistant secretary of state for energy policy, highlighted the growing demand for electricity globally as emerging market economies like China become wealthier. Meeting this demand means that fossil fuels will be in the energy supply mix for long into the future. Morse also pointed to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a transformational event not just for energy markets but for all commodities markets, which has prompted much of Europe and the U.S. to revisit the question of international energy dependency.   

Helima Croft *01, head of commodity strategy and MENA research at RBC Capital Markets, noted that the shale revolution in North America has led to the U.S. being a net exporter of oil. Yet, the shale revolution has not necessarily eased energy supply concerns for the U.S.. Containing energy price shocks, limiting supply disruptions, and maintaining multiple sources of supply are still a critical factors for U.S. foreign policy.

Watch the full video of the panel discussion on YouTube!