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Gaming the Gulf for a new energy future

Written by:

ALLY Energy

The Gulf Research Program of the National Academy of Sciences has the vision of creating “a more safe, resilient, and sustainable future for the Gulf and all those who call the region home.” Therefore, influencing and enabling a safe and just energy transition is at the core of the GRP’s mission.

In December 2022, the GRP hosted a two-day in-person event with interactive serious gaming scenarios to explore opportunities, obstacles, and potential synergies related to implementing a safe, just, and equitable energy transition. The GRP invited ALLY Energy along with other experts to participate from federal, state, and local government agencies; academia; nongovernmental organizations; industry; and other community and environmental stakeholders. 

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How it began: The NAS Gulf Research Program

On April 20, 2010, the Macondo Well of the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killed 11 people, and spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. As part of the criminal settlement from this spill, the National Academies were endowed with $500 million for 30 years, from 2013-2043.  The NAS Gulf Research Program is charged to use this endowment (plus any interest it accrues) to benefit those impacted by the Deepwater Horizon spill

The goal is to increase offshore energy safety, environmental protection, human health, and community resilience.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, expert advice to the nation on issues relating to science, engineering, and medicine. They originate from a congressional charter signed by President Lincoln in 1863. The National Academies—which encompass the Gulf Research Program—are private, nonprofit institutions. While the National Academies often advise the federal government on questions of science, technology, and health policy, they are not part of the federal government.

A Decade of Research

The NAS Gulf Program is now almost 10 years old. Its spending has supported research grants, consortium-based grants, and cooperative research grants. It has advanced science and understanding, built partnerships, bridged knowledge to action, and is monitoring for progress for change.  You can read more about the plan here.

Readiness for the Energy Transition in the Gulf

As the GRP looks to the next 20 years on how it will make an impact on the region, its focus is now looking at how the region can invest for a resilient future in communities that will be impacted by the energy transition.  The Energy Transition Serious Game's goal is to understand the risks, challenges, and opportunities for the Gulf states.  The desired outcome is to help the region thrive as sources, demands, and processes transition from the older ways to the ways of the future.

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Serious Gaming for the Gulf

The Gulf Research Program (GRP) has successfully utilized serious gaming with diverse stakeholders to explore opportunities for the GRP to influence and impact areas of dire Gulf Coast needs. These prior informative efforts included a focus on Oil Spill Response and Investment in Resilient Infrastructure. Both events strengthened and renewed interaction and communication amongst experts, including representatives from federal, state, and local government agencies; academia; nongovernmental organizations; industry; and other stakeholders.

The serious games produced multiple insights, among these the need to further engage with the Gulf community, the need to anticipate future safety concerns in offshore energy, and the need for prioritization of resilient infrastructure investment. Specifically, these events and emerging international priorities have emphasized the requirement for decarbonization through an “energy transition”. An energy transition is defined as the change from one primary energy source to an alternative energy source. In our context (and over the next several decades), it is the movement away from fossil fuels to renewables and other energy sources to achieve a carbon-negative energy future.

How can you get involved?

Stay tuned to our website and social media.  In 2023, ALLY Energy will be bringing this work to our community to participate.  Learn more about the GRP and its work here.  

Gaming for the Future

 

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