June 20, 2007
BP Foundation awards $7.5 million to Stanford for research on energy markets
The BP Foundation has awarded a five-year, $7.5 million grant to Stanford University's Program on Energy and Sustainable Development to support research on modern energy markets. The foundation is funded by BP, one of the world's largest energy companies.
The gift follows the BP Foundation's initial grant of $1.8 million over three years, which was pledged in 2004 in support of the program.
"BP's support has allowed our program to study the world's most pressing energy problems, such as global warming, energy poverty and the prospects for the world oil market," said program director and Stanford law Professor David Victor. "In addition to BP Foundation support, we learn from BP's experience as an energy company because they operate in all the markets where we do researchsuch as in China and India."
"BP Foundation believes the work undertaken at Stanford deals directly with global issues that are key to meeting the world's growing energy needs," said Steve Elbert, chairman of the BP Foundation. "The drive to research and implement strategies to further understand today's energy markets is important work, and we are proud to partner again with Stanford."
The Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, part of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, concentrates on the legal, political and institutional dimensions of how societies derive value from energy. The BP Foundation grant is part of a rapid expansion of Stanford's research and teaching on energy issues, much of which focuses on the technical aspects of energy systems.
All of the program's research is public and published openly, including on its website (http://pesd.stanford.edu/). The gift from the BP Foundation, as well as all similar gifts to support the program's research, includes special provisions that assure the research program's independence in setting its research agenda.
The agreement with Stanford is one in a series of BP partnerships with universities in the United Kingdom, the United States and China, representing a total commitment of more than $600 million. The program at Stanford complements work on similar topics at Princeton University, Tsinghua University and Imperial College, among others.
Founded in 2001, the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development focuses on the "political economy" of modern energy servicesthe interaction of political, institutional and economic forces that often dominate energy markets. It collaborates with the Stanford Law School and other university departments and schools, including economics, engineering and earth sciences. About half of the program's resources are devoted to research partnerships in key developing countries, including Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa. Program researchers have examined the emergence of a global business in natural gas, reforms of electric power markets and the supply of modern energy services to low-income rural households in developing countries.
The program's other major sponsor is the Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, Calif., a research consortium that includes most of the world's largest electric companies.