Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Designing a Federal Clean Energy Standard: Q&A with Dr. Bryan Mignone by Marie Virella, MPP '13

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to ask Dr. Bryan Mignone, Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a few questions regarding his upcoming lecture, “Designing a Federal Clean Energy Standard" (event information listed below).  The lecture will detail various ways in which the U.S. will develop a new Clean Energy Standard (CES). In particular, three different designs will be featured and outlined, all of which share the common goal of providing 80% clean energy by 2035.


Question: Why would you encourage students and faculty to attend and learn more about the different designs of the Clean Energy Standard? What are some of the main points that you find most important?

Dr. Mignone: I hope to convey two main points. First, I will suggest that there are many different types of policies and measures that could shape our future energy system beyond the ones that get talked about the most. Second, I hope to show how the type of quantitative analysis that gets discussed in public policy departments can be used to help inform real policy decisions.

Question: You have spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill and obviously are well acquainted with road blocks. If you could explain briefly, what do you foresee will become the main challenge to this new policy initiative ( business community, the debt crisis, government budget....)?

Dr. Mignone: All new policy ideas face hurdles. Frankly, one of the largest challenges to the Clean Energy Standard will be getting the attention of lawmakers in an election year when many other priorities compete for consideration. Since you asked about the fiscal context, one nice thing about this policy proposal is that it does not add to government spending and could potentially reduce it.

Question: Do you feel at this time in American history and politics that you will be able to gain support and momentum for this objective? What makes this time period so different from other past years?

Dr. Mignone: Very few new policy ideas get unanimous support when they are first introduced, but there is a fair amount of institutional memory in Congress. In other words, the legislative process requires quite a bit of education and communication over time, and it is important to see any near-term effort as part of that larger, longer-term process.

Question: What made you passionate about energy policy and climate change? What inspired you to work in this area of policy?

Dr. Mignone: I am originally trained as a climate scientist. At some point toward the end of my graduate career, I looked at my research and the larger set of scientific information available and concluded that we knew enough about the threat of climate change to act responsibly. At that point, I personally became more interested in studying the solution than the problem, and I have been in DC ever since!

Event information:

Speaker: Bryan Mignone, U.S. Dept. of Energy
Title: "Designing a Federal Clean Energy Standard"
Date: March 1, 2012
Time: 10:30AM to 11:30AM (refreshments at 10:00AM)
Location: Institute of Marine and Coastal Science (IMCS), Alampi Room, Cook Campus http://policy.rutgers.edu/news/events.php

Email contact:  
More information: http://rei.rutgers.edu/

Bryan Mignone is a senior policy advisor in the Office of Policy & International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In this role, he leads a domestic policy team and advises senior leadership on a wide range of climate change and energy policy issues. Since arriving at DOE in 2009, Mignone has worked to bolster the economic and quantitative analysis capabilities of the Policy Office, overseeing a research portfolio spanning climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation. He has contributed to several specific activities and reports, including the U.S. Government’s first social cost of carbon estimates, the President’s clean energy standard proposal and DOE’s report on electric system resource adequacy implications of air quality regulations, among others. Mignone previously served as professional staff on the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and as a fellow and research director at the Brookings Institution, where he focused on market-based environmental policy design and other climate and energy policy topics. Mignone was awarded a Ph.D. in geosciences from Princeton University, a graduate certificate in science, technology and environmental policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and an A.B. in physics and philosophy from Cornell University.

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