Fifth annual Energy Week at Duke focused on upheaval and resilience
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In April 2021, Duke University announced that the student organizers of the fifth annual Energy Week at Duke (Nov. 9-12, 2020) had won a university-wide 2020-2021 Sustainability Award for "Creativity During COVID." Energy Week's learning and networking opportunities—offered virtually for the first time—attracted total attendance of more than a thousand, including university students, energy professionals, and others interested in the future of energy. 

The 2020 Energy Week organizers included more than forty undergraduate and graduate students in degree programs at the Fuqua School of Business, Nicholas School of the Environment, Pratt School of Engineering, Sanford School of Public Policy, and Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. Student organizers were advised by the Duke University Energy Initiative and the EDGE Center at the Fuqua School of Business.

“Every year, it’s so inspiring for us to witness and support the students’ efforts, but this year they outdid themselves,” reflected Energy Initiative director Dr. Brian Murray. “Faced with a global pandemic, these students collaborated virtually across multiple time zones to take the Energy Week experience online with a fantastic, engaging event lineup. It was a powerful demonstration of Duke students’ determination, adaptability, and creativity, as well as a testament to Duke’s vibrant interdisciplinary energy community.”  

Upheaval and Resilience: The 2020 Energy Week Lineup

The theme for Energy Week at Duke 2020 was Upheaval and Resilience. “The energy sector is grappling with massive shifts right now, including climate change and its impacts, a global pandemic, disruptive technologies and business models, and increased awareness of equity and environmental justice issues,” explained Duke student and Energy Week co-lead Panayiotis Koutsogeorgas (MEM/MBA ‘21). “We wanted to explore how individuals, companies, and communities are responding to these dynamics and building resilience for the future."

The week’s signature event, the Duke University Energy Conference, highlighted industry experts’ insights on upheaval and resilience in the energy and climate policy sphere, energy markets, cleantech entrepreneurship and investment, and sustainable development.

Featured experts included Duke University Trustee Carmichael Roberts T ’90, PhD ’95 (Co-founder and Managing Partner, Material Impact). Roberts leads the investment committee for Breakthrough Energy, launched by Bill Gates and other billionaires to accelerate progress toward net-zero emissions. In a keynote conversation (view video at right) with his Material Impact colleague Sidney McLaurin MEM/MBA ’17, Roberts shared candid insights on the cleantech scene’s evolution, what budding entrepreneurs need to know, his experience as an investor, entrepreneurship during the pandemic, diversity in cleantech, and more.

Other keynote speakers at the Conference were energy journalist Amy Harder (Axios) and investor Wes Edens (New Fortress Energy, Fortress Investment Group) in conversation with Duke alumnus Husein Cumber T '97 (Florida East Coast Industries). View the full Conference video playlist, including keynotes, quick talks, and panel discussions.

The Energy Week lineup also featured Climate Whistleblowers: A Live Podcast event (view event video or listen to podcast episode), presented in coordination with the Sanford School of Public Policy’s Ways & Means podcast. Virtual networking events during the week included the Energy Innovation Showcase spotlighting novel energy technologies and programs; SPARK Career Event, connecting Duke students with 24 energy employers; and a Power Hour for interaction among the Duke community and special guests.

The Energy Research Poster Presentation, organized by the Pratt MEMP Energy Club, highlighted university students’ energy research and awarded a total of $7,500 in prizes to competition winners: Akintonde Abbas, UNC Charlotte (first place); Sara Sultan, UT Knoxville (second place); Rahul Chakraborty, NC State (third place); and Vanessa Zambrano, UC Berkeley (best undergraduate poster). 

Meanwhile, more than 70 teams of graduate students across six countries vied for $15,000 in prizes in the 2020 Energy in Emerging Markets Case Competition. Organized by the MBA Energy Club and sponsored by the Energy Access Project at Duke, the annual competition encourages students to propose solutions for industry partners to tackle real energy challenges in the developing world. This year’s winning teams hailed from the University of San Francisco (first place), Yale (second place), and the University of Michigan (third place). 

Save the Dates: Energy Week at Duke 2021

Planning is underway for the sixth annual Energy Week at DukeNovember 8-11 2021, with the Conference scheduled for Wed., Nov. 10, 2021). 

More About Energy Week

Energy Week at Duke was launched in 2016, when student energy clubs across campus teamed up to build on the success of the MBA Energy Club’s Duke University Energy Conference (presented annually since 2009) and Energy in Emerging Markets Case Competition. While Energy Week’s leadership and lineup varies each year, the series consistently attracts total attendance of more than a thousand to educational and networking opportunities focused on energy business, policy, and technology.

In 2020, these student organizers played key leadership roles, coordinating efforts by dozens of their peers from degree programs across Duke: 

  • Energy Week Co-Leads: Will Foster (MEM/MBA ‘22), Panayiotis Koutsogeorgas (MEM/MBA ‘21)
  • Energy Week Marketing Co-Leads: Nicole Lococo (MPP ‘21), Will Slap (MEM/MBA ‘22)  
  • Duke University Energy Conference Leads: Katie Davis (MEM/MBA '21) with MBA Energy Club co-presidents Davis Guebert (MEM/MBA '21) and Zoe Ripecky (MEM/MBA '21) 
  • Energy in Emerging Markets Case Competition Co-Leads: Zukhruf Amjad (MEM '21), Hassan Nadeem (MEM '21), Emily Perry (MEM/UNC MBA '22), and Keith Zukowski (MBA '21)
  • Climate Whistleblowers Co-Leads: Myra Parsonnet (MPP '21) and Raphael Wineburg (MPP '21)
  • SPARK Career Event Co-Leads: Akash Gulati (MEM/MBA '22), Leyi Ruan (MEM '21), and Sagar Shah (T '23)
  • Energy Innovation Showcase Co-Leads: Akshay Krishnan (MEM '21) and Ian Reichardt (MEM '21)
  • Research Poster Presentation Co-Leads: Alfred Indome (MEMP '20)
  • Energy Week Technology Co-Leads: Stefan Chen (MEM '23), Grace Fernandez (MEM/MBA '23), Yash Doshi (MEM '22), and Charlotte Navin-Weinstein (T '23)
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Energy Week at Duke 2019 [Photo Slideshow]

The fourth annual Energy Week at Duke (Nov. 4-7, 2019) explored emerging trends in the energy sector. Highlights included the full-day Duke University Energy Conference and the Energy in Emerging Markets Case Competition. Energy Week 2019 also featured a film screening, career events, research poster presentation, workshops, innovation showcase, and more!

This event series was organized by 60+ undergraduate and graduate students from degree programs across Duke University, including members of the MBA Energy Club, Nicholas School Energy Club, Pratt MEMP Energy Club, and Sanford Energy & Environment Club.

Energy Week is supported by the Duke University Energy Initiative, the Center for Energy, Development and the Global Environment (EDGE) at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, and many corporate sponsors:




Portland General Electric
Southern California Edison


DTE Energy
Duke Energy
National Grid


Cypress Creek Renewables
Power Advocate


NC Electric Cooperatives
Smart Electric Power Alliance

Research Poster Presentation:

Apex Clean Energy

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Students organize fourth annual Energy Week at Duke to explore climate change and energy’s future
Duke alumnus Andy Haun (B’05), Chief Technology Officer for Microgrids at Schneider Electric, networks with students at the Duke University Energy Conference in November 2018.
Duke alumnus Andy Haun (B’05), Chief Technology Officer for Microgrids at Schneider Electric, networks with students at the Duke University Energy Conference in November 2018. 
Energy Week Logo

Several dozen undergraduate and graduate students from across Duke have teamed up to plan the fourth annual Energy Week at Duke (Mon., Nov. 4 to Thurs., Nov. 7, 2019), a series of events focused on climate change and the future of energy. 

All events are free to students and to Duke employees—but registration is required.

  • Mon., Nov. 4 - Get inspired by how everyday Americans are taking action on climate change at a screening of the National Geographic documentary Paris to Pittsburgh followed by a panel discussion among local policy experts and leaders. Organized by the Nicholas School Energy Club. 
  • Tues., Nov. 5 - Eat, drink, and mingle with energy professionals and students at the Duke University Energy Initiative’s Energy Mix, where the MBA Energy Club will award $15K in prizes to the winners of the Energy in Emerging Markets Case Competition. Afterward, students can meet with reps from 17+ energy companies at the SPARK Career Event
  • Wed., Nov. 6 - Check out industry leaders' takes on energy's future at the Duke University Energy Conference ($40 including lunch; free for students and Duke employees). It’s an all-day event, but the MBA Energy Club organizers say it’s fine if you can just stay for a panel or two. The event features speakers from ABB, BlackRock, Chevron Technology Ventures, Duke Energy, Natural Resources Defense Council, Tesla, and more. Stop by the Research Poster Presentation, organized by the Pratt MEMP Energy Club, to learn about energy research at Duke and beyond.  
  • Thurs., Nov. 7 - Learn to communicate about environmental issues with reluctant audiences by attending the Sanford Energy & Environment Club’s Change My Mind event with republicEN founder and former US Rep. Bob Inglis [R-SC]. Finally, explore the latest in cleantech at the Energy Innovation Showcase, featuring cutting-edge energy startups, researchers, and investors like 8 Rivers, Duke Electric Vehicles, Flux Hybrids, Infinite Cooling, Modern Energy, mPower, NC Clean Energy Technology Center, SJF Ventures, Solar Sister, Windlift, and more. 

This student-organized event series is supported by the Duke University Energy Initiative, the Center for Energy, Development and the Global Environment (EDGE) at the Fuqua School of Business, and many corporate sponsors.

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Watch: Videos from the 2018 Duke University Energy Conference

The 2018 Duke University Energy Conference during Energy Week at Duke featured industry luminaries delivering fresh takes on energy markets, trends, policies, and technologies. This great video playlist by Duke's Fuqua School of Business includes keynote addresses by Andy Haun of Schneider Electric and Gerard Anderson of DTE Energy, as well as full panel discussions on energy and transportation, innovation, microgrids, digital applications, finance, and more.

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Commentary: A Mexican model for offsetting carbon (Tani Colbert-Sangree in The Baltimore Sun)

Tani Colbert-Sangree represented Duke University at an annual ceremony for the carbon offset credits generated by the forest management practices of 12 indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Mexico. She writes in-depth about why the community-focused effort in Oaxaca is a project worth replicating all over the world.

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