Dr. Joe Nyangon: A True Technology Leader Influencing Clean Energy Innovation While Staging Industry and Research Experiences
We are witnessing profound shifts in every industry, marked by emerging frontier technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, and nanotechnology. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, has referred to these shifts as the ‘fourth industrial revolution.’ But as he says, “the fourth industrial revolution is not only about smart and connected machines and systems. Its scope is much wider. Occurring simultaneously are waves of further breakthroughs in areas ranging from gene sequencing to nanotechnology, from renewable energy to quantum computing.” But how can governments and the private sector master these changes leverage technology design, strategy, and implementation while recognizing the enduring forces that are changing the business environment? How will fusion of these frontier technologies and their interaction across the physical, digital and biological domains make the fourth industrial revolution fundamentally different from previous revolutions?
With the rapid pace of change triggered by the fourth industrial revolution, governments and businesses are being challenged to an unprecedented level. Today’s political, legislative, and regulatory authorities are being overtaken by the merger of global megatrends like climate change and resource scarcity, rendering leaders unable to cope with the speed of technological change and the significance of its implications. In such conditions, are government policies and regulations effective in supporting business and technology developments without stifling innovation while preserving our collective future?
Achieving the cardinal elements of the fourth industrial revolution requires tackling climate-triggered disasters through strategic design and deployment of network connectivity of devices, systems, platforms, and ecosystem-based businesses. For this matter, business and political leaders ought to focus on addressing the uncertainty surrounding the planet’s future by contextualizing the formulation of science, technology, and innovation (STI) in the real world. As technology advances at breakneck speed, it should be harnessed to solve the deleterious impacts of climate change. Leading this charge is Dr. Joe Nyangon, who is a clean energy innovation influencer and a member of the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council.
Enriched Utility Industry Experience and Performance
Dr. Nyangon is an experienced power and utility expert leading clean energy innovation and rapid decarbonization of transportation, electricity, buildings, and industrial sectors. He has published 60+ leading papers on energy systems optimization, energy economics, policy design, energy forecasting methodologies, and climate risk pricing strategies, including aggregation of distributed energy resources into wholesale electricity markets. Dr. Nyangon works for SAS Institute, 40+ years trusted leader in analytics innovation, empowering and inspiring customers around the world to transform data into intelligence. SAS provides the SAS Viya platform, a cloud-native, and portable cloud platform, supported by continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), which integrates the art of decision making with the science of artificial intelligence (AI), forecasting and optimization, natural language processing, computer vision, statistics, machine learning (ML), deep learning, visualization, and data management, bringing the power of analytics to everyone, everywhere, whether on-premises, in the cloud or on edge.
Dr. Nyangon advises utilities on how to navigate the challenges posed by decarbonization, decentralization, and digital transformation of the electricity industry. He has vast experience designing innovative new applications to solve business problems, guiding customers through deployment, and performing scenario analysis. Dr. Nyangon has experience in building recommendation systems for integrating distributed energy resources (DERs), energy forecasting, e.g., distribution load forecasting, electricity market design and grid resilience, smart grid and smart cities design, climate risk assessment, and applying algorithms for managing electric vehicle and smart charging infrastructure deployment. Prior to SAS, Dr. Nyangon was a Postdoctoral Researcher in Energy Economics and Engineering Systems at the University of Delaware, where he led research efforts funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Science Foundation (NSF) on the current technical, market, and policy trends driving electric power system transformation, including the rapid growth of distributed energy resources, community choice aggregation schemes, policy design of renewable portfolio standards (RPS), and regulatory drivers that are accelerating innovations in the electricity sector.
Like many different sectors, the energy sector is experiencing profound change. Increased reliance on clean energy technologies like solar and wind power is helping the environment and improving industrial efficiency. The concept of clean and green energy requires expansion, transformation, and infrastructure deployment. It is an elaborate work that requires long-term infrastructure planning and investment. A significant amount of talent must be allocated to complete this monumental task. Suffice to say that the carbon curve can only be bent through partnerships, technological innovations, and game-changing technologies. There is a rallying cry that conventional technology is becoming a burden instead of an asset because it is increasing carbon emissions. Dr. Nyangon is an experienced, trusted, and knowledgeable leader supporting businesses in formulating technology strategy, implementation plans for predictive maintenance, grid inspections, and asset management for organizations. In his role, he comes with experience in energy modeling and decision analytics, energy and engineering economics and policy analysis, and electricity generation and transmission asset management and planning. He earned a Ph.D. and two master’s degrees focusing on energy systems engineering, computing systems, and energy economics from Columbia University, the University of Delaware, the University of Greenwich, and has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Nairobi.
Enriched Research Experience
Dr. Nyangon is an experienced researcher, industry expert, and author with a track record of leading strategic investment decisions, driving growth in clean energy innovation, and commercializing new and disruptive technologies. His first book published in 2021 was titled Sustainable Energy Investment: Technical, Market, and Policy Innovations to Address Risk. The book highlights the technical, market, and policy roadmap for unlocking sustainable investment in the energy sector. In the context of sustainable energy investment, the transition to low-carbon energy systems, and the need for a climate-resilient economy, there is a need for the financial markets to support strategic net-zero emission activities in a more organized manner that accelerates the shift to a clean energy economy. Dr. Nyangon is leading these research efforts through partnerships that bring together government, academia, and business industries to work together.
For instance, he is a Non-Resident Fellow of the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines and a Research Fellow in the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
Leadership Through Combinatorial Innovation and Awards
Dr. Nyangon believes in leadership that continuously empowers and inspires corporations in a strategic direction by reinventing self, partnerships, and collaboration through combinatorial innovation. That is, the ability to combine new technologies to create a new wave of discoveries. This focus on combinatorial innovation is exhibited through continuous refinement of existing combinations of technologies and the development of new technological combinations. It should be supported by research and development (R&D) investment. Why is this critical? Customer expectations and needs are constantly evolving, and leadership must ensure that technologies are evolving as well.
Leading the design of advanced analytics to help utilities meet critical objectives such as supplying safe, reliable, affordable, and clean energy services as well as addressing more recent demanding challenges like evolving customer demand, technology innovation, and changing regulatory environment requires combinatorial innovation. These include leveraging specialized automation and predictive infrastructure to monitor remote energy assets, thereby detecting and preventing power outages and related downtimes. AI will play a significant role in emerging technologies such as 5G, electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, drones, intelligent electric grids, smart home technology, and vehicle-to-grid technology.
Dr. Nyangon’s work in these fields has been recognized with several awards and honors. He was elected a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Other awards include the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Energy Economics and Engineering Systems at the University of Delaware and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Climate Corps Fellowship Award. Moreover, he achieved the First Award in the United States Association for Energy Economics (USAEE) and the International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE) Case Competition, a University of Delaware’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Leadership Award, a University of Delaware Doctoral Research Fellowship Award, a University of Delaware’s Professional Development Award, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Climate Fellowship Award, a University of Delaware’s Graduate Research Fellowship, Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs Dean’s Environmental Science and Policy Fellowship Award, TED Fellowship Award, and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Executive Director World Environment Day Citation Award. “As the electrical grid continues to age, a key role is reserved for investor-owned utilities as a major player in the energy system to help reimagine the grid’s technological capabilities and address emerging challenges like climate change, through investment in technical, market, and policy innovations for a sustainable future,” he added.
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