Partner Sites

Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice

Dartmouth College: Tuck - Energy Collaborative

Co-president John Gardner tells us which governments he admires for their support for developing clean energy

By  Gabi Champagne

Thu Oct 11 2012

Energy expert John Gardner worked at management consulting firm Monitor Group and as a research assistant at a Washington D.C. think tank before arriving at Dartmouth-Tuck to do an MBA.

John hopes to use his MBA to bring new ideas to clean tech management in the future. We caught up with John, Co-president of the Energy Collaborative, to find out about the clubs initiatives and which governments have made the most progress in terms of renewable energy.

What are your club's big initiatives this year?
This year we had six big initiatives. We wanted to outreach to the energy community in Vermont and New Hampshire; give career support for our students; improve education and dialogue; and increase alumni involvement. We also thought it was important to heighten the presence of energy on campus and increase the interdisciplinary engagement between Tuck (Dartmouth’s business school), Thayer (Dartmouth’s graduate engineering school) and Vermont Law School.

A bit about your personal background: what were you doing pre-MBA?
I worked in management consulting at Monitor Group and was previously a research assistant at a Washington, D.C. think tank.

Where do you see yourself after you complete your MBA?
Clean tech management, trying to think outside the box to make clean tech economic, as described below.

Which governments do you think are making the most meaningful difference in renewable energy?
I think that the governments in China, Germany, Denmark and the US are making the most meaningful difference in renewable energy. The US Department of Energy is far more active and supportive of clean tech than many believe. It is fostering interaction among students, businesses, governments and other research institutions to drive a step change in how we generate and use energy.

However, I think the greatest change is happening within the industry, and not within government, as it finds ways to make the technologies economic in the face of decreasing policy support. I find this the most exciting development. This means thinking outside the box and focusing on things like the more stable pricing of renewable energy and the associated lower risk to business.

What do you think is the best source of renewable energy in terms of quality and cost?
There is no single answer – it must be a portfolio of diverse solutions, though I do think that demand-side management and efficiency is an even greater opportunity than generation.

Do you think the costs of abating emissions balance the benefits?
I think if we are thoughtful about how we implement clean tech solutions, the benefits from more efficient generation and usage should outweigh the costs, even before taking into account lower environmental impact (I point back to the idea of constant, low risk generation associated with renewables for instance). Including environmental impact, I think the benefits far exceed the costs.