Roger Duncan is a former Research Fellow at the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the former General Manager of Austin Energy, the municipal electric utility for Austin, Texas. Prior to that, he served as executive manager for several City of Austin departments, including the Environmental and Conservation Services department and Planning and Transportation. Roger was also elected to two terms as Austin City Council member in the early 1980’s. In 2005, Business Week magazine recognized Roger as one of the 20 leading “carbon reducers” in the world. 

Dr. Michael E. Webber is based in Paris, France, where he serves as the Chief Science and Technology Officer at ENGIE, a global energy & infrastructure services company. Webber is also the Josey Centennial Professor in Energy Resources at the University of Texas at Austin. Webber’s expertise spans research and education at the convergence of engineering, policy, and commercialization on topics related to innovation, energy, and the environment. His latest book, Power Trip: the Story of Energy, was published in 2019 by Basic Books with a 6-part companion series that will air on PBS starting Earth Day 2020. His first book, Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival, which addresses the connection between earth’s most valuable resources and offers a hopeful approach toward a sustainable future, was published in 2016 by Yale Press and was converted into a documentary.  He was selected as a Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers and as a member of the 4th class of the Presidential Leadership Scholars, a leadership training program organized by Presidents George W. Bush and William J. Clinton. Webber has authored more than 400 publications, holds 6 patents, and serves on the advisory board for Scientific American. Webber holds a B.S. and B.A. from UT Austin, and M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.  


Most people at some time or another have fantasized about stepping into the future, if only for a moment. Anyone who grew up watching The Jetsons knows the feeling. Would there be flying cars? Would buildings be sleek, “smart,” and clean, or would they be just one more dysfunctional component of a decaying infrastructure? Would there be robots everywhere? Would life be peaceful or conflict-ridden? Star Trek or The Terminator?

This book is our effort to describe the energy future. It presents our vision for buildings, transportation systems, and the electric grid.

These three sectors—buildings, transportation, and the generation of electricity—account for more than 75% of the total energy consumed in the US, and the same is generally true worldwide. Although agriculture and industry are also important energy consumers, most types of energy conversions take place in these three sectors, making them useful lenses into the future. Moreover, we believe that the increasing interconnections of energy and information in these sectors present a fascinating story about our future. In the future, buildings and vehicles will evolve into sentient-appearing machines. We will be living, working and moving about inside robots.


  • How does the coronavirus pandemic impact our transition to a sustainable, renewable energy-based economy?
  • Ways energy is changing and how it is interconnected with everything in our society
  • Specific ways that energy is evolving and how this will affect our future
  • What are the effects on energy consumption as a result of the pandemic?
  • Tips for policymakers and planners to prepare for the future
  • When are we going to get flying cars?


  • June 5 – World Environment Day
  • June 8 – World Oceans Day
  • June 15- Global Wind Day
  • August — Water Quality Month
  • September 3 — Skyscraper Day
  • September 21- Zero Emissions Day
  • October — National Community Planning Month
  • October 31– World Cities Day