As the chairman and CEO of Lawrence Energy Group, David Lawrence leverages executive leadership experience with Royal Dutch Shell and Shell Upstream Americas to invest in emerging opportunities and advanced technology projects in the gas, oil, and renewable energy industries. David Lawrence also draws on his global industry experience with Shell and other ventures, as well as academia and government to maintain the Energy Perspectives blog through the Energy Collective. In his most recent post, he detailed his Carbon Price Challenge, which focuses on individually reducing CO2 emissions and investing in efforts to end energy poverty.
Through energy conservation and efficiency efforts and a self imposed carbon price, David Lawrence explains that individuals can use subsequent cost savings to invest in clean energy and support organizations that work to relieve energy poverty worldwide, such as Innovation: Africa. This organization has completed numerous energy projects across Africa and created its first Eco Village in the village of Ndaula in Malawi in 2011. Before the Eco Village project, the 37,000 people who lived around Ndaula couldn’t access a lit environment to study%2 or receive medical care after sunset.
Innovation: Africa thus focused its power-delivery efforts on two schools and a medical facility in the center of the village. By powering all three buildings and installing a solar-powered water system, the organization helped foster widespread changes for the residents of Ndaula. Citizens can now easily access clean water and 24-hour health care; adults can participate in evening education programs; and the village as a whole can cultivate more crops.
After earning his PhD in geology and geophysics from Yale University in 1984, David Lawrence embarked on a career with Shell Oil Company and Royal Dutch Shell that lasted nearly 30 years. After retiring from Shell in 2013, he established the Lawrence Energy Group to invest in emerging oil, gas, and renewable energy enterprises. David Lawrence belongs to numerous industry and service organizations and was recently named chair of the external advisory board of the Yale Climate & Energy Institute.
The Yale Climate & Energy Institute is primarily a research and teaching program, established by Yale University to promote and enhance the understanding of energy resources and the earth’s climate systems, as well as the myriad consequences of changes in those systems. The institute supports research and teaching that address mitigation of climate change as well as adaptation to it. The institute also seeks to identify and formalize practical approaches to these issues as policies at the local, regional, and global levels.
The YCEI focuses its involvement in several core programs, including postdoctoral fellowships, grants for workshops and symposia, energy studies programs for undergraduates, and seed grants for interdisciplinary research. It is also developing focused research initiatives that study the relationship between unconventional hydrocarbon resources and the environment, as well as the impact of the climate system on human health.
Although YCEI’s mission is to contribute to the overall approach to climate change, it is also developing specific plans for Yale to adapt to regional climate change during the next century. Typical of the center’s ongoing research projects are contemporary studies of drought in the American West, a study of the climatic genesis of the Black Death and other historic plague epidemics, and the speed with which the climate responds to increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
A former executive with Shell Oil Company and Royal Dutch Shell, David Lawrence most recently served as head of global exploration and executive vice president of exploration and commercial for Shell Upstream Americas in Houston, Texas. Today, David Lawrence is CEO of Lawrence Energy Group LLC, a director for Stone Energy Corporation and Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Yale Climate and Energy Institute. He contributes articles to The Energy Collective blog on various climate and energy topics, such as the global impact of energy poverty.
Although energy services are often easily accessible in developed countries, nearly 1 in 5 people worldwide do not have electricity in their homes, and millions of others lack safe, reliable, and/or affordable access to energy. In addition, over 2.5 billion people rely on traditional biomass fuel sources—wood, dung, crop wastes, etc.—to heat their homes and cook their food.
This energy poverty stalls human and economic development, leads to health complications, and shortens adult life expectancy. Burning traditional biomass exposes families to harmful indoor air pollution, which causes respiratory illness that is responsible for more than 4 million deaths each year, according to the World Health Organization. Also, hospitals without electricity have trouble treating many curable conditions, especially those related to pregnancy and birth.
A number of government, corporate, and nonprofit organizations are currently working to address energy poverty around the world. Many of these organizations have partnered with the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which seeks to achieve universal access to modern energy services by 2030. For more information about the initiative, visit www.se4all.org.
Utilizing decades of experience as a geologist and business leader, David Lawrence formerly held the position of executive vice president with Shell Upstream Americas in Houston with responsibilities including exploration.