Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

CSTPR Noontime Seminar

The geopolitics of the energy transition
by Morgan Bazilian, Professor of Public Policy, Colorado School of Mines


The notion of an ‘energy transition’ remains an inchoate concept. Classically understood to encompass shifts in the national supply of energy or the discovery of new energy resources, energy transitions are now also conceptualized to include transformations in the markets that deliver energy, in addition to conversions in end‐use devices. In its recent formulation, it refers to a confluence of issues from rapid cost declines in renewable energy systems like wind and solar, to the US shale ‘revolution’, to IT advances in smart grids, to innovative new business and contract models.

While the climate change impacts of the transition are being well‐monitored, less so are the other energy‐related considerations. The lecture will outline some of the contours, inter alia; each complex on their own: 

  1. Institutional shifts in the influence and membership of multilateral organizations like the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA).
  2. The accelerating growth of trade in natural gas either through new international pipelines or via a rapidly expanding market for liquefied natural gas (LNG).
  3. The supply chain of cutting‐edge clean edge technologies and their trade.
  4. Issues of cybersecurity that are growing in importance with the rise of interconnected systems and new forms of metering and system operations.
  5. The changing landscape for conflict and other minerals due to these changes in technologies and their deployment in large numbers.
  6. The growing regional interconnection in electricity grids from the silk road to East Africa.
  7. The enormous issue plaguing developing countries: lingering energy poverty and the demand for provision of quality and affordable energy services to billions of people and businesses. It is clear that these areas go well beyond technology.

Morgan D. Bazilian is Executive Director of the Payne Institute and Professor of Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines. Previously, he was Lead Energy Specialist at the World Bank. He has over two decades of experience in energy, natural resources, and environmental policy and international affairs. He holds a Ph.D. in energy analysis and was a Fulbright Fellow. He is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has published over 110 papers in learned journals, and his 2008 book: “Analytical Methods for Energy Diversity and Security” is a seminal work in the field. His work has appeared in Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Foreign Affairs. Dr. Bazilian is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Advisory Council on Energy, and served as an advisor to the International Energy's World Energy Outlook, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance's Global Energy Outlook. Dr. Bazilian was the European Union’s lead negotiator on technology issues at the UN’s climate change negotiations, and a member of the UN Expert Group on Technology. He was the first Chair of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership Programme Board, and a founder of the UNEP Public Finance Alliance steering group. He was a contributing author to the IPCC and the Global Energy Assessment, and served as an advisor to a €200M cleantech venture capital fund. 


Wednesday, February 6, 2019
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm





  • CIRES employees
  • CU Boulder employees
  • General Public
  • NOAA employees
  • Science collaborators


  • Seminar
  • Open to Public



CSTPR Conference Room