News & Events

Energy Economics Weekly Briefings

America’s (Energy Efficient) Economic Future

Written by: Ellen Hughes-Cromwick

Key Takeaways:

  • Former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and former Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx came to the University of Michigan during the last week.
  • Both addressed America’s future and the dimensions of policy necessary to secure better growth and prosperity for all.
  • Pritzker highlighted the importance of policy to upskill and help workers prepare for future jobs. Foxx elaborated on transit system design to help low and middle income workers.
  • Policies offered by both could generate more energy efficient outcomes.

The University of Michigan Energy Institute (UMEI) hosted former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker for a day of events last week. Pritzker and her team met to discuss applied research in the area of electrified, connected and autonomous vehicles.

  • Discussions about data science and data analytics projects as well as the UMEI’s battery labs highlighted the important work being done in these emerging areas of electrified and connected vehicles.
  • Pritzker and her team toured Mcity, our U-M testing facility for connected and autonomous vehicle technology.
  • Along the way, we discussed the importance of supporting these technologies because they will also have the potential benefit of greater energy efficiency and reductions in CO2 emissions.

Former Secretary Pritzker gave the inaugural Vandenberg lecture armchair at the Ford School of Public Policy. Pritzker highlighted the importance of driving policy solutions to the future of work.

Former Secretary Foxx talked about urban transit design and how important public transit systems are to low and middle income workers. 

  • He also emphasized that diversity helps to achieve better urban planning outcomes.
  • Foxx alluded to the ability of tech to enhance transit systems through greater connectivity.
  • Here at U-M, we are fortunate to have a leading faculty member, Pascal Van Hentenryck, who has developed a dynamic “hub-and-shuttle”system with Lyft-type connectivity for passengers (see this video).

Both Pritzker and Foxx intimated that we have the talent and knowledge to achieve a better future. Now we just have to do it.