The Center for Energy & Society works collaboratively with communities, industry, and policymakers on a wide variety of projects — all of which advance people-centered energy innovation.

Pathways to a Low-Carbon Future

Working with the Salt River Project, center faculty and students are working to define plausible pathways to carbon neutrality for the Arizona economy and to engage stakeholders in dialogue about the state’s long-term future.

Community Solar Innovation

Funded by a $1.5 million grant from the US Department of Energy, we’re working to create developing and testing models of community-driven solar innovation that help reduce poverty, increase resilience to climate disasters, redress environmental and racial injustice, and build local capacity for self-reliance. We are working with the University of Puerto Rico and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to create novel solar solutions that not only provide our four partner communities with reliable, affordable, and clean energy but also help them use that energy more effectively to create local social benefits.

Solar Tomorrows

In collaboration with some of the world’s best known science fiction writers and energy experts from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the QESST photovoltaic engineering research center, and Lightworks, ASU’s university-wide energy initiative, center faculty and students are helping to imagine and explore alternative solar-powered futures for the cities and countrysides of tomorrow. The project has produced two collections of stories, art, and reflections: The Weight of Light and Cities of Light.

Increasing the Social Value of Energy

Thanks to a $500k grant from the UK Office of Policy Management, we are working with communities and stakeholders in Sierra Leone to improve the ability of energy users to generate social and economic value from the use of energy. The project is a partnership with one of Sierra Leone’s top energy and economic think tanks, the Centre for Economic Research and Capacity Building.

As countries seek to advance their shifts to clean energy technologies, the success of these efforts will rest on enabling citizens to benefit from the opportunities and navigate the disruptions.

International Energy Agency, Our Inclusive Future: The Global Commission on People-Centered Energy Transitions
Accelerating Decarbonization of the US Energy System

Center director Clark Miller is a member of The National Academies Committee on Accelerating Decarbonization of the US Energy System. The committee’s first report detailed recommendations for the next decade, from 2020-30, necessary to ensure the US started on the path to decarbonization and laid out a comprehensive policy approach to ensuring a just energy transition. The committee is now working on its second report, which aims to evaluate the technology, societal, and policy pathways to carbon neutrality in the US economy by 2050.

Sustainable Photovoltaics

The center is an outgrowth of the QESST photovoltaics engineering research center and continues to partner with QESST to lead photovoltaics sustainability research. That partnership includes three core initiatives: (1) analyses of the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of terawatt-scale photovoltaic development; (2) analyses, in partnership with the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy at Delaware, of the future of cities powered by solar energy; and (3) analyses of strategies for leveraging community-driven solar energy innovation to create more inclusive and resilient futures for low-income communities.

Ending the Energy-Poverty Nexus

Energy is complicit in racial and economic inequality, here in the US and around the world. That reality should motivate us to make social justice an integral part of the energy revolution. The center is working on numerous efforts to deepen understanding of the energy-poverty nexus and to develop solutions that untangle its webs and turn energy into a generative force for social thriving and economic development in communities.

Navigating the Complexities of Arizona’s Energy Future

Even before the center existed, faculty and students at ASU were hard at work helping business, policy, and civil society leaders understand and engage the challenges of solving climate change and transforming the state’s energy systems, e.g., through a collaboration with AZ Town Hall.

Let’s build the future together.

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