Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Climate Change Science Institute and the Georgia Institute of Technology hosted a Southeast Decarbonization Workshop in November that drew scientists and representatives from government, industry, non-profits and other organizations to strategize about clean energy opportunities unique to the southeastern United States.
The workshop at Georgia Tech brought together community members and regional experts to encourage conversations about accelerating decarbonization, including identifying strategic science and technology gaps, engaging a diversity of views and promoting benefits for all, and exploring nature- and place-based solutions that are sensitive to key assets, including water, land, and communities. Participants identified a range of strategic partnership opportunities based on real stakeholder needs across the region.
Organizers Peter Thornton, ORNL CCSI director, and Marilyn Brown of Georgia Tech’s Climate & Energy Policy Lab focused the event on themes of innovation, demonstration, deployment and system interactions.
“The Southeast is both uniquely vulnerable to climate change and home to emerging clean energy technology and manufacturing hubs,” Thornton said. “With strong public-private partnerships, we can develop and deploy bold solutions to build climate resilience while creating jobs and economic benefits.”
Thornton also stressed the importance of community engagement as a foundation for any successful partnership: “We must be ready and willing to invest time and effort in building trust at the community level. We need to be good listeners to understand what the real needs are for the most vulnerable populations. We need to show up and provide value to good work that is underway in these frontline communities.”
For more information, contacts, and presentations from the event, see the workshop’s website.
UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. The Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit energy.gov/science.