Energy Days conference aims to provide innovative solutions to energy challenges

April 14, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Energy is ubiquitous in our world, but massive innovation is needed if we are to provide the clean, safe, abundant and affordable energy a prosperous future will require, according to Penn State President Eric Barron. Leaders in the energy field project that 50 percent more energy will be needed by the year 2040. To help identify and address the energy challenges facing society, Penn State will be hosting the second annual Energy Days conference on May 22 and 23 at The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center. The conference is free and open to the public. 

This interdisciplinary event will bring together leaders from across the energy spectrum, including members of industry, government, non-profits and academia. Energy Days aims to build a network of engaged stakeholders and identify areas where Penn State can be a strong partner in education and research.

“Energy Days is not your typical conference. We will have plenary sessions with great speakers and brilliant ideas, but we’re really organized around workshops,” said Tom Richard, director of the Institutes of Energy and the Environment and professor of agricultural and biological engineering in the College of Agricultural Sciences. “We’ve blocked off time for in-depth workshops on a variety of topics, each of which were selected and organized around a set of outcomes that are ambitious but also achievable.”

The workshops cover a wide range of topics related to energy and its use, including fossil and renewable resources, grid infrastructure, efficiency, additive manufacturing and water quality. Opportunities for education and economic development also will be addressed.

Speakers for the conference include Andrew Ott, the president and chief executive officer of PJM, who oversees the largest electricity market in the world; and Bill Ritter Jr., the former governor of Colorado, who now serves as director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University. The conference will also feature President Barron, Executive Vice President and Provost Nicholas Jones and Vice President for Research Neil Sharkey. 

“Energy Days will continue to help lay the groundwork for addressing critical energy issues — locally, regionally, nationally and internationally,” said Lara Fowler, assistant director for outreach and engagement of the Institutes of Energy and the Environment and senior lecturer at Penn State Law. “By bringing people together for this kind of discussion, we hope to better understand our challenges and find ways to work together -- from industry to university, from policymaker to students -- to find solutions.”

The conference will also feature tours of Penn State energy facilities and a poster session highlighting breakthrough research occurring at the University. Poster submissions are welcome until the Friday, April 28 deadline.

For more information on the conference or to register, please visit

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 27, 2019