Tulsa University Lands National Energy Policy Institute

Article excerpt

The National Energy Policy Institute established its headquarters at the University of Tulsa under an agreement signed Tuesday with the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

With an $8 million outlay in September, the foundation created the institute under former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles. It committed another $1 million Tuesday to TU for its support of NEPI, whose two employees will work in a residential tower under conversion to office space.

Tulsa philanthropist George Kaiser said he hopes the institute develops rational, cost-effective recommendations for a national energy policy to reduce both America's dependence on imported oil and its greenhouse gas emissions. By doing that, he said it also would improve the nation's national security while reducing the power of hostile, "medieval" oil-producing governments.

Studies and research supported by the nonprofit also would help position Tulsa as a research center for next-generation energy technology.

"Tulsa and Oklahoma have long provided national energy leadership in oil and gas," said Kaiser, chairman of the Tulsa firms BOK Financial and Kaiser-Francis Oil. "It is now time to forge a new energy role in Tulsa at the leading edge of technology and sustainable energy development."

Besides a wealth of academic talent and research capabilities, the University of Tulsa offers several elements that should help the institute flourish. The Collins College of Business, Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences tout established records for developing and commercializing intellectual property.

TU's College of Law, which hosted the signing Tuesday during its Second Annual Chesapeake Energy Lecture, is already home to the National Energy-Environment Law and Policy Institute, or NELPI. Law school dean Janet Levit said NEPI would fit in well.

"I realize I am just one letter away from a very serious trademark infringement lawsuit by Dean Levit," said Knowles, drawing laughter. …