Surprisingly, these influential and outspoken panellists, who you might expect would have opposing views on just about everything, seem to be having a candid, but surprisingly civil conversation about a very controversial subject: was it something in the water?

This otherwise unimaginable ‘outbreak of civility’ is pretty much in line with the interdisciplinary aspirations of panel moderator Dan Reicher’s new institute at Stanford.

Here’s a quote from Professor Reicher in an extract from the announcement of the $7 Million Interdisciplinary Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance:

“…integration of policy and finance is key to addressing [U.S. and global energy systems] problems and seizing the unprecedented opportunities. We need smart policy to set the stage for fundamental change in our energy systems and innovative finance to make things happen—from early stage innovation to the broad-scale deployment of clean energy technologies. I look forward to helping the center become a catalyst for an environmentally and economically sustainable energy future.”

Reicher was assistant secretary of energy for energy efficiency and renewable energy during the Clinton administration. A member of President Obama’s transition team, he was most recently director of climate change and energy initiatives at Google.

The Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance will be housed at both the [Stanford] Law School and the [Stanford] Graduate School of Business, bringing together the best minds from both disciplines to advance the development, financing, management and regulation of the clean energy technology sector.

The center is the latest of Stanford University’s efforts to address comprehensively the global energy challenge—from advancing energy efficiency to developing and deploying renewable energy, to reducing the effects of fossil fuels.

The center’s focus on policy and finance solutions will complement the work of other institutes, as well: the Precourt Institute for Energy; the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy; the Freeman Spogli Institute for International StudiesProgram on Energy and Sustainable Development; and the Stanford Environmental and Energy Policy Analysis Center at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

The panel session in the video was called: Natural gas and renewables: a perfect match or misguided concept? The event was the 7th Annual Clean-Tech Investor Summit, held in Indian Wells California on January 19-20 2011

Apart from moderator Dan Reicher, the other panelists were Andrew LittlefairCarl Pope and Vikram Rao