Category: AmCham Norway
“The big danger in incentivizing [renewable] energy market development is that government money can become the market.” So stated New York state’s visiting “energy czar” during an illuminating recent roundtable discussion with senior Stavanger-region leaders.
Prior to his role as Chairman of Energy & Finance for New York, Richard Kauffman worked in energy and finance at some of the highest levels, most recently serving as senior advisor to Secretary Steven Chu at the US Department of Energy.
In his current role, Mr. Kauffman oversees and manages New York State’s entire energy portfolio, leading the state’s comprehensive Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative to restructure the energy and utility industry, a 10-year commitment to support local renewable energy and efficiency markets.
Mr. Kauffman was invited to Norway through the US Department of State Speaker Program to share his experiences in using a market-based approach to building more cost-efficient energy systems.
Jointly hosted and coordinated by the Stavanger Chamber of Commerce, ONS, AmCham, and the US Embassy, participating organizations included Lyse, Nordic Edge, SR-Bank, Aker BP, Statoil, ExxonMobil, Norsk Vind, Hitec Vision and Ålgård Holding.
After welcoming remarks from CEO’s of both Stavanger Chamber and ONS, Mr. Kauffman went on to detail a US energy market very much in transition. “With infrastructure and inputs designed in another era, we can’t keep doing what we’re doing in the power sector – it is incredibly financially inefficient.” For its part, New York is committed to 50% renewables by 2030 for its 20 million citizen market.
Acknowledging that other countries and US states have led the way, Kauffman noted that New York was lucky in that “by being late to the game, we’ve been able to learn from unsuccessful energy market mandates. Government should set the rules and let companies determine how to best service the energy marketplace.”
During the ensuing roundtable discussion, technology development and scalability dominated as key themes. “IT systems built atop legacy utility infrastructure, with no market interface, are difficult to build.” For companies and investors able to accurately navigate and innovative in the energy space, however, it was agreed that the future is bright.