TU faculty assist in planning – and then present at – energy conference in Italy - The University of Tulsa
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TU faculty assist in planning – and then present at – energy conference in Italy

The energy needs of individuals, communities, and the state invoke not only the demands on common resources, but also the environmental health of our communities.

On March 27-28, The University of Tulsa co-sponsored a program on the development, challenges, and scalability of energy commons in light of legal restrictions in conjunction with the European Union’s Erasmus Program, the University of Turin, and the University of Groningen. The program was organized by Björn Hoops of the University of Groningen.

“Private Law in the Energy Commons” was held at the University of Turin in Turin Italy. Three TU faculty members were engaged in planning the program: Sarkys Professor of Environmental Engineering Daniel Crunkleton, Associate Professor of Law Gwendolyn Savitz, and Professor of Law Marc Roark.

Savitz presented a paper, “How Administrative Rules (Dis) Incentivize Small-Scale Production,” in which she outlined the logistical challenges of energy distribution and transfer and how the legal administrative backdrop is often not well suited to incentivize small-scale actors to engage in energy development. One key facet she described was the role of energy consumption that does not align with the timing that solar power generates or the storage capacities of organizations doing solar power. Savitz joined Alesandro Sciullo (University of Turin) and Anna Grignani (University of Eastern Piedmont) for a panel discussion, Community and Participation: The Role of Public Bodies, Inclusivity, and Technological opportunities.

Roark presented a paper, “Scale, Property Resources, and Resilience,” explaining how energy commons interact with different registers of resource that are comparable. He described how the political rhetoric around energy creation and the material resources necessary to facilitate solar projects are often linked, either as something that enables energy commons development or hinders it. Roark’s presentation was part of a larger panel dedicated to how Resilient Property theory interacts with energy commons. Roark, along with co-panelist Lorna Fox O’Mahony (University of Essex) developed Resilient Property theory in their book “Squatting and the State: Resilient Property Theory in an Age of Crisis” (Cambridge University Press 2022). They were joined by Bram Akkermans (University of Maastricht), who has also written about Resilient Property theory.

Crunkleton was scheduled to present “Using Artificial Intelligence to Optimize Energy Commons” but was unable to attend due to travel difficulties.