Our Programs

Past Programs

    A National Roadmap on Advancing Energy Technologies

    The Howard Baker Forum program, A National Roadmap on Advancing Energy Technologies, was established to produce an actionable, national roadmap for advancing energy technologies through the application of high performance computing (HPC) modeling and simulation. Startups, particularly small and medium-size businesses, have not taken full advantage of these unique national assets. High performance computing can provide an edge to American entrepreneurs and companies and hasten implementation of crucial new technologies by substantially reducing development time and cost. The U.S. national laboratory system can provide expertise and capabilities at a level found few places in the world.

    In the interest of harnessing these capabilities and advancing American energy technologies, the Howard Baker Forum joined with the Bipartisan Policy Center and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) to engage the public and private sectors in developing a national high performance computing roadmap. The National Summit was the first step in this process. The subsequent Report on the National Summit identified three initial action items that will facilitate HPC adoption by U.S. energy companies:

    1. Co-sponsor meetings on clean energy technology advancement to determine the HPC state-of-the-art and to identify areas of need for companies at different stages. These meetings will include a North Dakota Energy Symposium, a Washington, D.C. conference on shale gas technology, and a series of regional meetings and events designed to connect businesses around the country to American HPC experts and capabilities.
    2. LLNL will publish a call for proposals from clean energy businesses of all sizes to gain access to the LLNL supercomputers and computational experts. Winning proposals will be provided with LLNL's HPC capabilities and expertise for pilot projects aimed at solving specific problems.
    3. Generate a dynamic, innovative, and interactive website for clean energy computing. This site will be a one-stop-shop for what stakeholders need to know in order to leverage America's HPC assets. Visit www.hpc4energy.org to learn more.

    A National Summit on Advancing Clean Energy Technology

    On May 16 and 17, 2011, the National Summit mobilized the extraordinary talent and insights of energy technologists and computational experts with the knowledge and experience of industry executives and public officials. During the event, speakers and panelists discussed the practical pathways necessary to improve America's pursuit of energy and environmental security, economic growth and competitiveness, and the creation of next generation high-tech jobs. This informative exchange of ideas served as the foundation for a National High Performance Computing Roadmap.

    North Dakota Energy Symposium:
    Using Technology to Enhance Clean Energy Production

    On March 5, 2012, The Howard Baker Forum and LLNL took the ideas of A National Summit on Advancing Clean Energy Technologies: Entrepreneurship and Innovation Through High Performance Computing on the road to Fargo, North Dakota. Senator John Hoeven and North Dakota State University hosted the first regional National Roadmap event featuring experts from academia, the national laboratories, state regulatory officials, federal energy regulatory officials, and private sector representatives. Senator John Hoeven, with representatives from sponsoring organizations and industry, held a press conference on-site to discuss energy challenges and opportunities. Following the press conference Senator Hoeven delivered a keynote address.

    Symposium Agenda

    The Conference on Bipartisan Energy Policy


    The Conference on Bipartisan Energy Policy was organized to develop a systems approach to national policy-making that would apply the nation's best science-based decision-making tools to the evaluation of policy options. A group of leading universities and national laboratories worked with the Howard Baker Forum to investigate and analyze how we can improve the way energy policy is made.


    In 2008, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy joined forces with national laboratories and other research universities to establish a program that examined the process of decision-making and use of analytical policy tools as they apply to energy and climate change. In 2009, the Centers hosted a roundtable and subsequent workshop where highly distinguished former executive branch and congressional officials, along with experts from the national laboratories, academic institutions, nongovernmental groups, and industry explored ways to establish an open and transparent process for the formulation of energy and climate policy. The conferees concluded that the U.S. government could benefit from a program that applies systems thinking models with broad stakeholder input to analyze, evaluate, and monitor energy and climate policy options. The computational tools and modeling capabilities necessary to provide such analysis, although currently dispersed across a number of public and private institutions, are available in the United States. Recognizing these realities, the conferees organized a final working group to determine how these resources might be aggregated and mobilized to improve the policy-making process by employing systems thinking. The sponsoring and contributing members of the Conference included representatives and experts from the national laboratories and leading research universities. The participating national laboratories, Sandia and LLNL, are known for their computational expertise and capabilities. Among the research universities represented are a number of experts from institutions that have established records in energy systems related research and modeling. The Conference task force members were:
    • Wade Adams—R.E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science & Technology, Rice University
    • Massoud Amin—Technological Leadership Institute, University of Minnesota
    • Timothy Anderson—Director of Florida Energy Systems Consortium, University of Florida
    • Dawn Bonnell—Director of Nano-Bio Interface Center, University of Pennsylvania
    • Nancy Brune—Principal Member of Technical Staff, Sandia National Laboratories
    • Scott L. Campbell—The Howard Baker Forum, Washington, D.C.
    • Ventatesh Narayanamurti—Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
    • David Rosowsky—School of Engineering, Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute
    • Douglas Rotman—Energy & Environmental Security Program, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
    • Arnold Vedlitz—The Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University

    American Shale Consortium

    The Howard Baker Forum focuses on critical issues facing the nation and, in the leadership tradition of Senator Howard Baker, seeks practical and bipartisan solutions in the national interest. Shale gas and liquids are potential game-changers for American political, economic, and energy security. The Howard Baker Forum is actively working toward a national consensus. With its technology partner, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Howard Baker forum seeks to address the contested issues surrounding this important natural resource.

    The two institutions have been working together to broaden the national dialogue on shale energy by inviting a wide array of stakeholders to join the process of consensus building and national policymaking. The American Shale Consortium is being established to institutionalize these efforts and bring together diverse stakeholders interested in practical, near-term solutions.


    Cheap and abundant natural gas has transformed U.S. industry and global energy, with implications for energy security, geopolitics, manufacturing, environmental protection, and global climate change. Underlying this energy boom are new approaches to stimulation of tight hydrocarbon reservoirs, chiefly multi-stage stimulation, horizontal drilling, and hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as “fracking”). To understand and assess the longevity and continued impact of a gas-abundant energy future, the Howard Baker Forum and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory hosted a two day symposium featuring experts from the commercial, industrial, research, and political spheres. The resounding conclusion is that abundant low-cost gas is here to stay, but the nation’s ability to use this resource depends on how technology, policy, and regulation interact.

    The first meeting of the Consortium's Washington Conference Series on Shale Energy, entitled The Changing Outlook for U.S. Energy: Will Shale Gas Transform America's Energy Future, was held September 24 and 25, 2012 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The first day focused on economics, domestic and international politics, and environmental concerns—the second day on technical issues and their impacts. View the agenda and list of speakers here. Keynote speakers included Daniel Yergin (IHS-CERA), Amy Myers Jaffe (UC Davis), former Gov. Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming, CEOs and CTOs from oil and gas production and service companies, and surrogates from the presidential campaigns.

    Security and Geopolitics

    Speakers discussed the profound impact of low-cost gas production on two related topics: U.S. domestic energy security and geopolitical rebalancing. Sustained U.S. development of tight hydrocarbon resources (shale gas and tight liquids) has reduced imports of oil and could lead to exports of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). This new domestic energy supply has already cushioned impacts from Middle East turmoil and sanctions on Iran. The consensus is that over the long-term shale gas development globally will reduce Middle East and Russian influence in Europe, Africa, and Asia. If the U.S. proceeds with substantial LNG exports, it may also rebalance trade, improve U.S.-China relations, and help Japan through its energy reformation following the Fukishima nuclear accident.

    Economic Impacts

    During the conference, participants identified many of the economic benefits associated with tight hydrocarbon development. These include some of the lowest power prices in the developed world, increased tax revenues, and the resurgence of energy intensive industry and manufacturing. Extraction of tight hydrocarbons has helped to create more than 200,000 jobs in previously depressed areas such as the the Rust Belt and rural America.

    Environmental and Regulatory Concerns

    At the conference discussion focused on the nature and depth of environmental problems and the potential regulatory approaches to manage them. Despite questions by audience and moderators regarding state versus Federal regulatory roles, most speakers suggested that both state and federal regulators have a role and solutions should focus on the capacity of regulators and the content of proposed rules. Many agreed that the industry record of drilling and completions is quite good, yet additional progress is still needed. Ultimately, participants agreed that the safe and environmentally sound production of tight hydrocarbons was possible with current best practices and that prudent, considered regulation can contribute to environmental protection.

    Two major environmental concerns dominated the discussion—ground water contamination (chiefly from poor drilling and completion practice, less from composition of hydrofracking fluids) and air pollution (including fugitive methane emissions, flaring, and production of NOx from diesel generators and trucks). Many representatives of the energy industry and environmental NGOs agreed that issues such as road traffic and noise were a major public concern. Most agreed that existing technology could manage many of these concerns, and that urgent regulation was unwarranted. All agreed that public outreach and reduction of public grievances are essential.

    HPC for Energy


    Launched in February 2013, HPC4Energy.org widely disseminates information about the power of high performance computing (HPC) to improve American competitiveness in the global marketplace. 

    HPC4Energy.org serves as a clearinghouse and one-stop shop for businesses engaged in developing energy technologies and interested in leveraging HPC and the expertise at the national laboratories to advance the commercialization of new products.

    The website features success stories, articles by leaders in energy technology, and facilitates partnerships between American companies and national laboratories. The site's mission is to bring business leaders, research institutions, and computing professionals to discover the impact of high-performance computing on American entrepreneurship and innovation.


    HCP4energy.org is an extension of the National Roadmap for Advancing Energy Technologies, which was launched on May 16-17, 2011 in Washington, D.C., at the summit hosted by the Howard Baker Forum, the Bipartisan Policy Center, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy, the Council on Competitiveness, the American Energy Innovation Council, the National Venture Capital Association, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Science Coalition. The summit produced an actionable, national roadmap for advancing energy technologies through the application of HPC modeling and simulation.

    This roadmap calls for a series of events around the country to identify challenges of energy companies, a pilot energy incubator program to be conducted by the national laboratory, and an interactive website to communicate the opportunities to leverage America's HPC assets.

    Senator Howard Baker, Chairman of the Howard Baker Forum, observed that "In an increasingly competitive world, the United States must encourage innovation to maintain and, in some cases, reclaim our technological lead in the world economy. One way to accomplish this goal is for the private sector to leverage the extraordinary assets, especially high performance computing, that reside in our national laboratories. The HPC for Energy website provides a valuable gateway for the private sector to do so."

    For more information, please contact holly.wolf@howardbakerforum.org or visit www.hpc4energy.org.