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Centers | Energy Management and Innovation Center

Texas MBAs Win Renewable Energy Challenge

From McCombs TODAY
February 9, 2011

Texas MBA students Josh Stillman, Chris Wolf, Jacob Steubing and Kevin White won the second annual Ross Energy Club’s Renewable Energy Case Challenge held Jan. 27-28, at the University of Michigan.

L to R: Josh Stillman, Jacob Steubing, Kevin White, Chris Wolf celebrate after their big win.
L to R: Josh Stillman, Jacob Steubing, Kevin White, Chris Wolf celebrate after their big win.

They beat teams from 15 of the nation's top business schools, including UCLA Anderson, Chicago Booth, Virginia Darden, Duke Fuqua, Northwestern Kellogg and Dartmouth Tuck.

“The case asked each team to analyze the impact of impending coal plant retirements in the northeast due to EPA regulations, while also taking into consideration renewable energy standards in the region.” said team member Joshua Stillman.

When explaining the solution that garnered the team first, Stillman said, "The challenge was to figure out what type of power plants could be built to take advantage of renewable energy credits and rising electricity prices, while also making sure the reliability issues associated with a loss in coal plant supply would be resolved. We saw that although renewable portfolio standards needed to be met, the intermittent nature of solar and wind could present reliability issues for the region, and so dispatchable energy sources with low capital costs must be examined to balance the region’s portfolio. In particular, we recommended solar and wind investments in attractive REC markets, as well as demand response and gas combustion turbines to provide peaking capacity."

The case was written by the RECC committee in association with the title sponsor, Duke Energy, and presented in a traditional style case competition.

“It was interesting to investigate such a cutting-edge challenge facing our country,” said Stillman. “Seeing all of the teams present different solutions, it became clear that there is no one answer to such a complex dilemma.”

Stillman, Wolf, Steubing and White are all members of the McCombs CleanTech Group, an MBA student organization whose mission is to promote an economically viable, sustainable, and “intelligent-energy” future, through the support of market and technology innovations in energy efficiency, sustainable development, renewable energy and emissions abatement.

“As the CleanTech Group, we wanted to ensure that McCombs is represented in energy discussions on a national scale.” said Stillman.

Last year, McCombs students took second place.