Ernest Moniz
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Ernest Moniz

Secretary of Energy (2013–2017); Nuclear Physicist and Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

A renowned MIT physicist and energy policy leader, Dr. Ernest Moniz served as the secretary of energy under President Barack Obama, where he focused on promoting energy technology innovation and advancing “all-of-the-above” energy initiatives and was a key architect of the Iran nuclear deal.

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Ernest Moniz In the News

  
   
Energy Technology and Policy: Innovation, Security, and Climate Change

The energy world has changed dramatically over the last decade and faces continuing change as the world commits to a low-carbon future. Oil and natural gas production in the United States has grown dramatically and impacted global markets, while coal use has dropped precipitously. Renewables costs have become competitive with those of traditional electricity sources, while new and existing nuclear power faces regulatory and cost challenges. The inevitable march towards lower-carbon energy challenges infrastructure, policy, and business models. A timely discussion of the complex interplay of these trends includes:

  • The technology, policy, and business model innovations needed to advance all energy sources over the next years and decades
  • Critical infrastructure needs
  • The development of global energy markets and implications for energy security
  • The continued need for partnerships between public and private entities and the importance of state and regional innovation strategies

Transforming the Electricity System

The electricity system is critical to our economic competitiveness, our environmental stewardship, and our national security. The traditional means of and business models for generating, distributing, and using electricity are all being challenged. Dr. Ernest Moniz will address the issues end to end:

  • How natural gas, wind, and solar are dominating new generation capacity, while creating new system challenges for managing variable energy sources

  • The electricity transmission and distribution systems have new demands for reliability and resilience, with information technology integration providing solutions but also cybersecurity challenges

  • The challenges facing traditional utility business models at a time of flat demand and distributed generation, and the opportunity for major value creation in new consumer services presented by the “internet of things”

  • The need for electricity regulatory structures to transform to match the evolving system

Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security

Nuclear energy continues to be controversial as it presents multiple opportunities and challenges, including a dominant carbon-free energy source; safety and waste management concerns; notable cost and schedule challenges; the security risks in having nuclear technology capability spread geographically, particularly in the presence of international terrorism; and a new focus on technological innovation to overcome or mitigate the challenges. Dr. Ernest Moniz draws on his extensive scientific and energy policy expertise to explain the complex relationship between these issues. In this in-depth, informative presentation, Dr. Moniz shares:

  • The evolving nuclear technology landscape and the need for a substantive shift in policy to support new approaches to nuclear energy, nuclear waste, and nuclear financing
  • The concerns about nuclear proliferation—particularly in the Middle East—in light of growing interest to deploy nuclear power and acquire nuclear technology expertise
  • The political, policy, and technical challenges of nuclear waste management

Meet Ernest Moniz

A renowned MIT physicist and energy policy leader, Dr. Ernest Moniz served as the secretary of energy under President Barack Obama, where he focused on promoting energy technology innovation and advancing “all-of-the-above” energy initiatives and was a key architect of the Iran nuclear deal.

A physicist and foremost expert in energy technology and policy and a longtime professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dr. Ernest Moniz served as the 13th U.S. secretary of energy in President Obama’s second term. During his tenure, Dr. Moniz advanced American scientific leadership, energy technology innovation, environmental stewardship, and nuclear security and strategic stability. Notably, he was a primary architect of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, an agreement to verifiably prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, thereby advancing important U.S. nuclear nonproliferation goals. To do so, Dr. Moniz partnered with Secretary of State John Kerry and other world leaders and negotiated directly with Iranian nuclear officials to conclude the deal and then to guide successful implementation for its first 18 months. In the run-up to the Paris climate negotiations, he led the successful effort to place energy technology innovation at the heart of the global response to climate change.

As secretary of energy, Dr. Moniz spearheaded partnerships between the public and private sectors in order to bolster U.S. global leadership in scientific, technological, environmental, and energy innovation. He led the effort to develop modern energy security principles appropriate to today’s energy markets, adopted by the G7 leaders in 2014, and approved U.S. exports into an expanding global LNG market. Dr. Moniz effected significant management change at the Department of Energy, an organization with a nearly $30 billion annual budget, emphasizing enterprise-wide approaches for mission success and a major focus on resilient energy infrastructure. At MIT, he led technology and policy studies on the future of nuclear, natural gas, coal, and solar energy in a low-carbon world. These studies have had significant impact on government energy policy and programs. Dr. Moniz founded the MIT Energy Initiative that engaged numerous faculty from multiple disciplines with global energy companies. He will continue to address nuclear security issues through his role as co-chairman and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

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