During March 2014 we hosted two of our international collaborators – Malcolm McCulloch and Skip Laitner.

We kept them busy!

Skip is a resource economist with a particular interest in the economics of energy efficiency.  He gave talks at Otago University , the Otago Chamber of Commerce , Otago Access Radio  and Channel 9.  He was also a keynote speaker at the National Energy Research Institute’s Energy Conference.

Malcolm heads the Energy and Power group at the University of Oxford, and his research includes electric vehicles, smart energy systems, and community-based energy transitions.  Malcolm was a keynote speaker at the NERI conference (click here to watch)  and spent time with Dunedin electric car innovator Hagen Bruggemann (click here to read).

Put an economist and an engineer into the room together, and sparks will fly!  In this case, the sparks were generated by an enthusiastic exchange of ideas, and a high level of agreement on some key issues in energy.

Professor Malcolm McCulloch

Professor Malcolm McCulloch is the Head of the Energy and Power Group (EPG) at the University of Oxford.

The focus of the EPG is developing, and commercialising sustainable energy technologies. Malcolm has active research programmes in the three sectors of domestic energy, transport and renewable generation.

The domestic sector is one of the largest energy sectors in the UK. A key research area is the development of smart feedback metering that provides useful information to enable behaviour change. This work led to the spin-out: Intelligent Sustainable Energy, of which Malcolm is both a founder and non-executive director. Intelligent Sustainable Energy has now merged to form Navetas Energy Management.

In the transport sector, research is ongoing in developing power trains for electric and hydrogen vehicles. On example of a successful development in this area is the Morgan LifeCar – the first ever Hydrogen sports car. Using new materials, the project led to the development of high-efficiency, low-weight motors – the yokeless and segmented armature motors. This has resulted in the Oxford spin-out company Oxford Yasa Motors, of which Malcolm is also a founder and non-executive director. His is also the director of the Institute for Carbon and Energy Reduction in Transport, based at the Oxford Martin School.

In the field of renewable generation, novel lightweight low speed direct coupled generators are being developed along with a transverse axis tidal turbine.

Malcolm has over 60 publications and 15 patent and patent applications.

John “Skip” Laitner

John A. “Skip” Laitner is a resource economist who leads a team of consultants with his own group, Economic and Human Dimensions Research Associates based in Tucson, Arizona. He served nearly 10 years as a senior economist for technology policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He won EPA’s Gold Medal award for his contributions to economic policy analysis for that agency. More recently, he led the Economic and Social Analysis Program for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a well-known think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Author of nearly 300 reports, journal articles, and book chapters, Laitner has 42 years of involvement in the environmental, energy and economic policy arenas. His expertise includes benefit-cost assessments, behavioral assessments, resource costs and constraints, and the macroeconomic impacts of energy and climate policy scenarios. Among his latest publications is a report for which he was the lead author in January 2012, The Long-Term Energy Efficiency Potential: What the Evidence Suggests. Among the key findings in that report is that the U.S. has the capacity to reduce the nation’s long-term energy needs by about one-half and still maintain a robust economy. He also co-edited a book with colleague Karen Ehrhardt-Martinez, People-Centered Initiatives for Increasing Energy Savings. Washington, DC: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.