An experienced geologist and energy executive, David Lawrence was the executive vice president exploration and commercial with Shell until 2013. As part of his duties, David Lawrence guided aspects ranging from new business development to Shell’s wind energy division WindEnergy, Inc.
Founded in 2001, WindEnergy is engaged in eight projects across the United States and one in Europe. Together, its wind farms have more than 700 turbines that produce enough energy to power over 100,000 households. Its European farm, Egmond aan Zee, is located in the North Sea between Great Britain and the continent. Building on its previous experience in offshore energy production, Shell has designed the 36 turbines to last 20 years.
Domestically, some of the company’s largest operations are centered in Texas. With almost 250 wind turbines, the Brazos and White Deer wind farms produce a cumulative 240 megawatts of power for about 72,000 households and are co-owned with Mitsui Wind and Entergy, respectively. The company’s other operations are located in California, Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
In 2013, David Lawrence transitioned from his role as an executive with Shell Upstream Americas and the head of Gobal Exploration for Royal Dutch Shell to become the chairman and CEO of Lawrence Energy Group, Director of Stone Energy Corporation and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute. During his tenure with Shell, David Lawrence contributed to a number of important natural gas projects, such as the Repsol liquefied natural gas (LNG) acquisition, which helped advance the company’s commitment to cultivating natural gas resources.
Shell states that more than 30 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are a result of electricity generation, and notes that reducing emissions from this industry is crucial to preventing extensive climate change. The company asserts that by switching from coal to natural gas, energy producers could reduce power plants’ CO2 emissions by about 50 percent.
Utilizing additional gas for electricity production could have a significant impact on the efforts of countries working to meet emission reduction goals, according to the industry giant. To accommodate rising demand for natural gas, Shell leads various production efforts, including extracting gas from dense rock and transforming natural gas into a liquefied form that is easier to ship.
An accomplished oil and gas industry professional with over three decades of experience, David Lawrence recently served as the executive vice president of exploration and commercial for Shell Upstream Americas in Houston. Today, David Lawrence uses the experience he acquired as a Shell executive to assist organizations like the Yale Climate and Energy Institute (YCEI), a nonprofit group that works to help the world prepare for and adapt to climate change.
In its efforts to educate the scientific community and the general public about climate change issues, YCEI holds a variety of workshops, symposia, special lectures, and conferences throughout the year. One of the organization’s most popular events is its Annual Conference, which has been held on the Yale campus in New Haven, Connecticut, each spring for the last six years.
YCEI’s most recent Annual Conference took place on April 24, 2015, and focused on the future of nuclear energy. Highlights of the event included panel discussions on topics such as nuclear energy regulation, policy, and safety.
In addition, the conference featured a special screening of the documentary Pandora’s Promise and several lectures from prominent keynote speakers, including Matt Crozat, a senior advisor in the US Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. For more information about YCEI’s 2015 Annual Conference, or any of its future activities, visit www.climate.yale.edu.
Before embarking on his career with Royal Dutch Shell, David Lawrence earned a Ph.D. in geology from Yale. David Lawrence brings a wealth of knowledge gained from executive roles at Shell to his position on the advisory board for the Yale Climate & Energy Institute (YCEI). YCEI aims to advance understanding of the Earth’s energy resources and climate systems.
The institute supports interdisciplinary climate and energy research conducted by faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows. One program, the Climate System and Human Health Initiative, focuses on climate changes caused by human activity and how those changes may affect human health. Another initiative, high-resolution climate assessments, studies the potential impacts of global warming on vulnerable regions in the Northeastern United States, the Arabian Peninsula, and Africa. YCEI also has a research initiative focused on unconventional hydrocarbon resources.
Through these research programs, YCEI is creating a plan for Yale to adapt to expected climate change over the next 50 to 100 years. In addition, YCEI is providing insight on practical solutions to help the world address the challenges of climate change while meeting global energy demands.
Former Shell Upstream Americas executive vice president David Lawrence has over 30 years of experience in the gas and oil industry, and currently serves as chairman of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute (YCEI) Advisory Board, Chairman of Lawrence Energy Group LLC and as Director for Stone Energy Corporation. On April 10, 2015, David Lawrence, who had worked for Shell for almost three decades led a panel on "Oil and Gas Exploration and Production in the New Price Environment" and provided a speech for the Yale Alumni in Energy (YAE) Seventh Annual Conference.
The YAE conference took place on Yale’s West Campus and served as a forum for students, faculty, and alumni to discuss energy topics and network with peers. Events on the agenda included presentations by keynote speakers, sessions on the Electricity Sector and Future Grid, and discussions regarding developments in energy law and oil’s new price environment. Guest and keynote speakers included renowned economists, key policymakers, energy industry leaders, and some of the top researchers from throughout the country.
A longtime energy professional who filled several senior executive roles for Shell Oil Company and Royal Dutch She'll and its various affiliates worldwide, David Lawrence founded and chairs the Lawrence Energy Group. Committed to energy and renewables, David Lawrence served as Shell’s executive vice president for exploration and commercial and was responsible for the company’s wind business.
The climate change debate is hampered by the fact that most people are not aware of their own carbon emissions; likewise, they often do not see any real value other than satisfaction from taking steps to reduce that footprint. David Lawrence’s Carbon Price Challenge is designed to cut carbon emissions, save energy and money, support innovation and clean energy, and support the reduction of energy poverty worldwide. It provides tools to measure the cost of emissions and the dollar value of conservation efforts.
The challenge involves, first, using one of several online calculators to determine your own annual carbon emissions in tons. Next, establish goals for reducing that footprint, preferably for both the short and the long term. For the sake of comparison, it is estimated that the average annual emissions are about 17 tons per person.
The third step is to calculate your own carbon tax based on those emissions. Although the range used by individuals and companies for this purpose is broad, $25 per ton is a reasonable amount. The average person would thus pay an annual carbon tax of about $425. The fourth step, which can also be done with the online calculators, is to develop a plan to reduce your emissions.
The next step of the challenge is to invest the self-imposed tax in clean energy solutions in one of three ways:
1. Invest directly in enterprises that make and sell products and services that reduce consumers’ carbon footprints.
2. Purchase products and services that reduce your own carbon footprint.
3. Contribute to organizations that conduct research into clean energy.
Step five calls for contributing to organizations like the Ashden Trust, SolarAid, and GRID Alternatives, which work to end what Lawrence calls energy poverty.
An energy executive, David Lawrence most recently led the exploration and commercial division at Shell Upstream Americas and served as the head of global exploration for Royal Dutch Shell. In addition to his ongoing business interests with Lawrence Energy Group, he today writes the blog Energy Perspectives, drawing on his expertise in traditional and renewable energies. The platform serves as a means for him to share his thoughts on energy and climate issues. Since establishing the blog, David Lawrence has been invited to syndicate his content through TheEnergyCollective.com.
With more than 240,000 visitors per month, TheEnergyCollective.com publishes information about energy policies, technologies, fuels, and innovations as well as climate changes that impact the industry. Website articles are written by influential leaders from around the world who have firsthand experience shaping the future of the energy industry. The website receives support from Siemens Energy and Royal Dutch Shell.
In a recent article published on TheEnergyCollective.com website, the policy director for the Idea Bank’s clean-energy team discussed the progress of America in the renewable-energy sector. As of April 2015, the United States is on track to have its cleanest year ever, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This may be due in large part to tax incentives and a decline in the cost of installing solar panels and wind turbines.
Regardless, there are already contracts in place for the construction of solar and wind infrastructure that will produce 18.3 gigawatts of renewable energy in 2015. In addition, ongoing efforts to replace coal-burning power plants with natural gas plants will continue to reduce carbon emissions by half.
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.