Experts to discuss fracking, renewables, more at Vilar |

Experts to discuss fracking, renewables, more at Vilar

If You Go

What: Vail Global Energy Forum

When: March 1-2

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek

Tickets: Single day $135. Signature Package $200, Synergy Package $500.

Information: Single day tickets get you main level general admission seating to one day of VGEF events. Signature Package is main level general admission seating to all VGEF events, plus hospitality events. Synergy Package gets you access to everything, plus First Light First Tracks skiing, snowshoe tour and closing night event.

Buy tickets at or the Vilar Performing Arts Center at (970) 845-TIXS (8497); For more information email Gena Buhler of the Vail Valley Foundation at

The Vail Global Energy Forum is presented by the Vail Valley Foundation in conjunction with Stanford University’s Precourt Institute for Energy, Precourt Energy Efficiency Center.

The Lineup

George Shultz, Former Secretary of State, currently Hoover Institution, Stanford University

John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado

Jeff Bingaman, Former Chairman, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Dennis Beal, Vice President, Global Vehicles, Fed Ex Express

Jim Brown, President , Halliburton, Western Hemisphere

Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund

Jiang Lin, Chairman, China Sustainable Energy Program

Arun Majumdar, Vice President of Energy, Google

Alan Murray, President and CEO, Pew Research Group

Dennis Slagle, Executive Vice President, Group Trucks Sales and Marketing for Americas, Volvo

Cynthia Wang, Managing Director, China International Capital Corp

BEAVER CREEK – Energy makes the world go around and the Vail Global Energy Forum will focus on how to keep it coming and keep it green.

This year’s forum includes gas drillers, greenies, frackers and geophysicists in presentations and panel discussions. It’s organized by Stanford University’s Precourt Institute for Energy and Precourt Energy Efficiency Center and the Vail Valley Foundation.

The goal is simple: To simplify complex issues while providing real solutions for an issue that won’t go away as long as people need energy. If you’re lucky and paying attention, then you may even get to watch someone sip fracking fluid, or maybe magnesium chloride, as a couple presenters did this past year.

The discussions tend to be civilized and based on information instead of emotion, which is how Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper thinks all energy discussions should be.

“We are going to be fact based, we’re going to be respectful, and finally we’re going to compromise,” Hickenlooper said. “The real challenge is getting everyone on the same facts.”

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Facts from trusted sources can be tough to come by, Hickenlooper said, especially around hydraulic fracturing.

Not so long ago, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said, done properly, hydraulic fracturing could be safe. Opponents were loud and immediate.

“It caused a huge uproar, but she didn’t back away from that and she remained fact based,” Hickenlooper said.

Tech attitudes

Attitudes and technology change constantly, usually for the better, said filmmaker Carl Colby, one of the event organizers.

“Thirty years ago, if you met in a coffee shop, you’d also be smoking. Now it’s almost completely unacceptable. How did that happen?” Colby said, as an example of how accepted social norms change.

That same attitude change will be displayed at the Forum, as Halliburton’s president will stand on the same stage as the Environmental Defense Fund.

“That’s critical. If you just brought in the industry people, or the academics, you’d be missing some vital perspectives,” Colby said. “That’s why we wanted it to be as well rounded as possible.”

All of the above

Hickenlooper calls himself a recovering geologist on loan to public service. He says he’s an “all-of-the-above” energy guy, and that includes renewables such as wind, solar and geothermal, along with oil and natural gas.

Hickenlooper said he looks at Colorado’s energy industry through the prism of three “critical” issues: economics and jobs, environmental issues and world security.

The ability to temper some of the intensity around the world that can be related to energy, he said.

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology could quadruple the amount of oil and gas available, and also expand the horizons of where drilling can happen, he said.

Blue bridge to our green future

Shale gas resources are a blue bridge to our green future, says Stanford University geophysicist Mark Zoback.

Hydraulic fracturing can be done safely and it’ll have to be, because the world will be doing more of it, he said.

“We cannot stop thinking toward the future just because we have abundant natural gas. If it’s a bridge, there has to be something on the other side. And what’s on the other side is a carbon-free energy future,” Zoback said.

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