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Think & Drink: Clean Energy

————— February Presentation —————
Topic: Exploring Global Clean Energy Trends – One Map at a Time
Speaker: Edith Newton Wilson, PhD

Earth scientists are acutely aware that our climate is changing, sea level is rising, and polar ice is melting at an alarming rate. How do we address the rising global need for energy while eliminating the majority of fossil fuel combustion that contributes to global warming? Consider the current global sources and uses of energy. Almost half of global energy is consumed by the industrial sector, while transportation accounts for another quarter. If clean affordable energy sources can be substituted for coal, oil and natural gas in these sectors, the remaining commercial and residential markets will follow. Simple mass balance indicates that the most prolific and renewable ultimate source of energy is the sun. Falling component costs along with improved storage technology are driving a burst of primary solar capture, especially in new markets. Along with wind, hydro, and geothermal, solar is reaching an economic threshold that fosters rapid market growth. Adoption of electric vehicles is proceeding apace in Europe, China and the United States. Additional transportation needs can be met by lighter fuel components once the economic puzzle of gas-to-liquids technology is solved. Coupled with cost decline, renewable resources are also – well – renewable. Replacement costs are negligible. This results in increasing global demand that is fed more efficiently each year by shrinking supply investment. The new energy business model is not one of massive upfront expenditure, long time-frames, high risk, and high rate of return that is shackled to aging infrastructure. Instead the world of abundant clean energy will be one of rapid deployment, low risk, low up-front capital investment, and distributed, lean infrastructure – if any. As geoscientists and engineers, we have opportunities to transfer our skills, technology and talents from fossil fuel exploration and production to the development of clean energy resources. Areas of applicable expertise range from risk assessment to strategic mineral exploration to natural gas production to environmental stewardship of all forms of energy production. We can also work to introduce solar pumps and vapor recovery units into existing oil fields in our current roles as petroleum professionals. Perhaps our most valuable skill is the creativity and thirst for discovery that we bring to the job. Energy scientists embrace risk and change. We are pioneers and wildcatters - now and always.

Edith is the owner of Rock Whisperer LLC, a consulting firm which undertakes global clean energy and climate mitigation projects and works to engage emerging professionals in energy solutions for a changing world. Rock Whisperer continues to provide geological services and advice to oil and gas operators and investors. As a coach for Sustainable Tulsa (Official), Edith helps organizations to achieve responsible economic growth. She also works with local businesses and not-for-profit entities to promote industrial, commercial and residential clean energy solutions. Edith is a founding and honorary member of the Geosciences Advisory Board at the University of Arkansas. She is an active Past President of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa and a member of the Tulsa Global Alliance. Edith is a member of the Society of Economic Geologists, president-elect of the Energy Minerals Division of the AAPG, and past president of the Tulsa Geological Society. Edith is a native of Macon, Georgia, where her mother and grandmother were nationally recognized architects. She received her BA in Geology from Dartmouth College in 1982, and her MA and PHD in Carbonate Sedimentology from Johns Hopkins University in 1988. Her career in the energy industry began in Houston where she was an international explorer, negotiator and manager with Amoco and BP. In 2000, the Wilson family moved to Oklahoma where Edith worked with Phillips Petroleum on global new ventures, ConocoPhillips on leadership development and then with Samson Resources on domestic shale gas projects. In 2008, she co-founded TallGrass Energy, which acquired and operated oil and gas properties in Oklahoma and Texas. Edith shares a love of the mountains with her husband and son. In 2004, she climbed Kilimanjaro (19,431’), the highest peak in Africa. Edith has traveled throughout Europe, Africa and the western hemisphere, and is conversant in French, Italian and Portuguese.


Think & Drink is like a TED Talk, but enhanced with alcohol. Each month, someone with a deep understanding of a specific STEM field will provide insight into their field, research, or related topic. Presentations are informal and discussion is encouraged.

Presented by The STEMcell Science Shop.

Think & Drink nights are every 2nd Thursday from 6:30-8:30 at Heirloom Rustic Ales on Kendall Whittier Main Street.

Event is FREE