What is the future of fossil energy in a carbon- constrained environment? That, says Raymond Orbach, is a driving question he hopes to address as the first director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. The physicist and undersecretary for energy in the Bush administration says his second thrust is to “enable intermittent energy sources—wind and solar—to contribute to the [utilities’] base load.” Coming from Washington, DC, he adds, “I am very concerned about energy security in a sustainable fashion for our country.”

Orbach sees his new role as bringing together top researchers in science and engineering with people in the university’s business, public policy, and law schools; the Texas state legislature; and the private sector. “You can’t separate policy from science when it comes to energy production and carbon constraints,” he says. “And the private sector needs to know what we can do.”

The Energy...

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