Executive Q&A: Defining a Smart Energy Future

Geologist Dr. Scott Tinker is on a mission to educate the world on the critical intersection of energy, environment and economics. Can he save the world’s energy future by drawing players into the radical middle?

Dr. Scott Tinker

University of Texas geology professor and Switch Energy Alliance founder Dr. Scott Tinker wants to change the conversation around energy. “We’re trying to help everyone to understand that there’s not good and bad energy or clean and dirty energy,” he said. (Source: Scott Tinker)

An icon of the modern oil and gas indus­try, geologist Dr. Scott Tinker is—per­haps unintentionally—rising up to be the global voice of reason in a world that is increasingly divided over the path of lon­ger-term energy solutions. Through his non­profit venture Switch Energy Alliance (SEA), Tinker is disseminating educational videos that explore the benefits and challenges of all forms of energy without political slant. Always the narrator, his calm voice and measured delivery make you want to trust him.

His first documentary, “Switch,” has been viewed by 15 million people worldwide in­cluding in colleges, high schools and middle schools in 50 countries. In this film Tinker travels the world exploring the energy resourc­es that sustain economies today, from coal, so­lar, hydro, biofuels, oil, gas, nuclear and more. In “Switch On,” his second documentary, he again travels the world to countries with little to no access to energy, looking at the impact energy resources make on developing coun­tries, even communities. Soon, a video-based, monthlong energy curriculum developed by SEA will begin being taught in high schools.

Just the latest iteration in the evolution of his career, Tinker is best known today as the direc­tor of the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin, a position he’s been in for the past 20 years and ongoing. He is also the state geologist of Texas.

A long-time voice of expertise to the oil and gas sector, it’s his nonpartisan, objective video resources featuring the role of energy in glob­al societies that are now reaching the mass­es, particularly in schools. Tinker spoke to Investor on why he is on a mission to spread a reasoned conversation about energy to the broader public. 

Already have an account? Log In

Sign up for FREE access to view this article now!

Unlock Free Access

Steve Toon

Steve Toon is Editor-in-Chief of Oil and Gas Investor magazine. He joined Hart Energy in 2007 as editor of its A&D Watch newsletter and A-Dcenter.com. He received a BA in journalism from Baylor University.