World Economic Forum Names NREL’s Arent a Distinguished Fellow

Oct. 24, 2022 | By Wayne Hicks | Contact media relations

A man gestures as he stands at a podium.
Doug Arent speaks at the NREL Partner Forum in August 2022. Werner Slocum, NREL

Doug Arent, who has occupied longtime leadership roles at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has extended his portfolio of responsibilities even more.

The World Economic Forum (WEF), an independent global organization based in Switzerland that is dedicated to improving the state of the world, has welcomed Arent as a Distinguished Fellow. Arent’s year-long appointment will see him working on two platforms: WEF’s Clean Power and Electrification program, where he will provide guidance and thought leadership; and the Energy, Materials, and Infrastructure team, where he will identify opportunities for the organization to make an impact on industrial, urban, and energy ecosystems.

“It's an honor to represent NREL and our knowledge that is not only cumulative but continues on the cutting edge,” said Arent, who has worked with the WEF for the past decade.

Arent is executive director for Strategic Public-Private Partnerships at NREL, where he is tasked with building partnerships to transform energy economies across the globe. He has previously served at NREL as the deputy associate laboratory director for the Scientific Computing and Energy Analysis directorate, was the founding executive director of the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis, and directed both the Strategic Energy Analysis Center and the Integrated Applications Center.

“Dr. Arent brings a unique set of experience and skills to the forum,” said Roberto Bocca, the head of Energy, Materials, and Infrastructure Platform at the WEF. “We highly value his in-depth knowledge of clean energy technologies to work with us to refine our strategy, engage with leaders from the business community, and advance our mission to improve the state of the world.”

“The bulk of their platform is focused to advance decarbonization and climate change mitigation,” said Arent, co-author with many of his NREL colleagues of the new paper “Challenges and opportunities in decarbonizing the U.S. energy system.”

“The forum partners cover every sector of the economy,” Arent said, “and there is a pervasive set of discussions on how to rapidly decarbonize while addressing the complex economic and geopolitical landscape.”

Arent also serves as a nonresident fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, and in the same position at Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University, which is where he earned his doctorate. Through both fellowships, he is advancing relationships with research teams across NREL and helping build collaborative research programs. He recently spent several weeks in Italy as part of the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Residency Program, where he engaged “with authors and scholars on how to infuse greater elements of clean energy into work ranging from rural agriculture in Africa to data governance and gender equality.”

Arent joined NREL as a senior researcher in 1991, briefly left the laboratory near the end of the 1990s, and returned to hold a series of leadership positions.

His role with the various global organizations allows him to share knowledge gathered from his NREL colleagues, Arent said.

“It’s an absolute honor to work with so many bright, dedicated people,” he said. “I get the opportunity to assimilate our research knowledge together into critical insights, particularly for business leaders or policymakers who don't have time to understand or read the research.”