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Energy, Water, and Debt: Linked Problems, Common Solutions?

In the last year, conflicts between energy needs and water quality and supply have increased and caught national media attention. Some of the protests against the Keystone XL pipeline were based on fears about potential for contamination of water. Opposition to shale gas development also draws heavily on worries about water pollution. And 2011 saw power plant output threatened, not by fuel shortfalls, but by shortages of cooling water.

With the economic recession wreaking havoc on local budgets, high and rising public debt is making it far less plausible that government will be able to buy our way out of energy and water scarcity.

How can energy and water challenges be addressed in light of these new economic realities? On what institutions should we rely to make the essential trade-offs? Is new technology the answer, and, if so, what technology, and how should it be fostered?

The first panel gave brief overviews of the main challenges posed by the energy water nexus. A second panel critically assessed current proposed solutions.

Jim Nussle, Keynote Speaker

President & COO of Growth Energy

Lee Lane, Moderator, Panel One

Hudson Visiting Fellow

Craig Zamuda, Panel One

Senior Policy Advisor of U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Climate Change Policy and Technology

John Lyman, Panel One

Director, Atlantic Council's Energy and Environment Program

W. David Montgomery, Panel One

Senior Vice President of NERA Economic Consulting

Kenneth Weinstein, Moderator, Panel Two

Hudson Institute President & CEO

Gary Libecap, Panel Two

Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California, Santa Barbara

Jes Munk Hansen, Panel Two

President of Grundfos North America

Sheila Olmstead, Panel Two

Tenured Fellow, Resources for the Future

Kassia Yanosek, Panel Two

Founding Principal, Tana Energy Capital LLC

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