Section Image: Ann Bluntzer and Energy MBA candidate Pete Baldwin with Admiral Samuel Paparo, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, during the institute's trip to deliver findings on the Pacific Islands Energy Initiative.

Ralph Lowe Energy Institute Delivers Findings of Joint Research to Department of Defense’s Commander of the Pacific Fleet

The institute and an interdisciplinary team from across campus presented months of collaborative work on the Pacific Island Energy Initiative to Admiral Samuel Paparo, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The proposal provides an energy security plan for the nation’s strategic partners in the Southwest Pacific Islands.

December 07, 2023

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii – To finalize the extensive research associated with the Pacific Islands Energy Initiative Ralph Lowe Energy Institute Executive Director Ann Bluntzer, delivered the findings to Admiral Samuel Paparo, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet and his senior leadership team. 

Admiral Paparo described the results as “doable and innovative solutions” and added, “We are ready to move on this immediately.” 

Ann Blunzter aboard the USS Tuscon (SSN770)
Ann Blunzter aboard the USS Tuscon (SSN770)

The research initiative was a joint effort between TCU Neeley’s Ralph Lowe Energy Institute, Oklahoma State University and industry partners to brainstorm and develop real energy security solutions for a region that is at risk. The presentation occurred in Pearl Harbor at the historic headquarters of Admiral Chester W. Nimitiz, who served as the commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet during World War II. The setting for Friday's briefing served as a reminder that energy can play a vital role in national security.

“The TCU faculty and our graduate students have gone above and beyond the call of duty and have made a real impact today towards creating realistic energy solutions to advance our nation’s strategic positioning to counter Chinese influence in the region,” Bluntzer said.

The final research presentation was eight months in the making. After meeting with Admiral Paparo in March of 2023, the institute assembled an interdisciplinary team from across the TCU campus, academia, and industry to address bringing technological solutions to address energy needs in Tonga, Fiji and the Federated States of Micronesia. The Ralph Lowe Energy Institue which is part of the TCU Neeley School of Business, also had the advantage of conducting financial feasibility analysis on the proposed solutions under the expertise of Vassil Mihov, who is the Theodore and Beulah Beasley Faculty Fellowship and finance professor, and TCU Neeley Energy MBA students. Michael Slattery and Stathis Michaelides, both professors in the College of Science and Engineering, provided extensive environmental and engineering solutions.

“This is TCU at its best, bringing together our talented faculty and students from multiple disciplines across campus to answer the call from our government with national security at risk,” Bluntzer said. “We have been able to provide real, economic solutions to assist our U.S. military in their efforts in the Pacific.”

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