A Message from the Director

AJ headshot 3Happy New Year! I wish you all a prosperous and enjoyable 2015. The past year has been one of our most productive, and – as we head into a new one – I would like to thank the many people and organizations that made particularly important contributions to our success.

I will start by thanking the entire team here at SERC for their efforts over the past year. We have completed a prodigious amount of work, and everyone has pitched in. I am especially grateful to Allison Hansberry and Carolyn Ortenburger for their administrative and operational support. This year SERC managed more grant money and engaged with more project partners than we ever have in the past. We simply could not have done this without Allison’s leadership and Carolyn’s expert work.

Leading SERC in partnership with Peter Lehman and Charles Chamberlin is a pleasure and an honor. They have made immense contributions to the Center and the clean energy field since SERC was founded in 1989. Other talented faculty colleagues who have made crucial contributions to SERC’s work this year include David Vernon, Kevin Fingerman, Han Sup Han, Steve Hackett, and Laurie Richmond. Additionally, we are in the process of hiring a new faculty member for a joint Environmental Resources Engineering Department/SERC position and look forward to welcoming her or him to campus later this year.

Among SERC staff members, Jim Zoellick and Greg Chapman deserve special thanks for their leadership and efforts on the RePower Humboldt project. Jim has worked tirelessly as SERC’s project manager, and Greg has led the design and installation of the biomass energy system. Marc Marshall, Mark Rocheleau, Mark Severy, and Andy Harris have also made key contributions to this project. We are grateful to our project partners, including especially the Redwood Coast Energy Authority and the Blue Lake Rancheria. I would also like to congratulate the Blue Lake Rancheria for being recognized by the White House and the U.S. Department of Energy as a Climate Action Champion. The Rancheria was one of only 16 U.S. communities that received this honor.

I am grateful to Colin Sheppard for his leadership and analytical work over the past year. He has helped SERC develop a robust portfolio of clean transportation work related to infrastructure development for electric vehicles while also engaging in projects ranging from wave energy development analysis to regional renewable energy deployment. Colin has also been a proposal-writing powerhouse.  Kevin Fingerman, Andy Harris, Jim Zoellick, Dave Carter, and Manan Parikh have also played vital roles in our clean transportation work.

In the six months that Dave Carter has been with us, he has expertly managed our efforts on the Waste to Wisdom biomass energy project, a broad collaboration under the leadership of Dr. Han Sup Han of HSU’s Forestry Department. Dave has also contributed substantively to a number of SERC’s clean transportation projects and proposal-writing efforts. Mark Severy, Marc Marshall, David Vernon, and Richard Engel also played significant roles in SERC’s work on Waste to Wisdom this year. Another innovative biomass energy effort at SERC involves the use of biomass feedstock to generate hydrogen fuel through a catalytic reformation process. David Vernon leads this work, with key contributions from Mark Severy and Billy Karis.

Our entire off-grid energy team has worked hard all year on our efforts to improve energy access in Africa and Asia as part of the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global, Lighting Africa, and Lighting Asia programs and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Global LEAP initiative. I owe Meg Harper special thanks for her leadership on a World Bank funded effort to develop test methods and quality standards for off-grid solar home systems. Kristen Radecsky has also demonstrated leadership through her continued management of product testing for the Lighting Global quality assurance program. Many others have contributed substantially to this work over the past year, including Ga Rick Lee, Tom Quetchenbach, Malini Kannan, Kyle Palmer, Erik Page, Kevin Gauna, Peter Alstone, Chris Carlsen, Brendon Mendonça, Robert Hosbach, John Hunter, Ian Hunter, Patricia Lai, Nick Bryant, Amit Khare, Mark Rocheleau, Janoah Osborne, Greg Pfotenhauer, and Asif Hassan. Going forward, we are excited to welcome Richa Goyal to our energy access team in the very near future.

SERC’s education and outreach activities continued in 2014 under Allison Hansberry’s leadership. We reached over 1,700 people in 2014, including students in K-12 schools, HSU students, and community members. Much of this work was carried out by SERC docents, in particular Yaad Rana, Greg Pfotenhauer, and Robo Okumo. We all appreciate the important contributions that this work makes to our community and to the effort to increase public understanding of clean energy technologies.

Our work at SERC is truly a team effort, both within the Center and beyond. We are thankful for the support we receive from Rhea Williamson, Steve Karp, and the entire team at the HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation. We also appreciate the HSU Advancement Foundation’s management of assets that are invested on behalf of SERC.
I would also like to thank the eight members of the SERC Advisory Board for their important contributions to SERC over the past year. We look forward to continued productive engagement in 2015.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank our many collaborators and funders for their engagement and support. Beyond HSU, some of our key partner organizations over the past year included the Redwood Coast Energy Authority; the Blue Lake Rancheria; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems; the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association; the Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standards Program; the Forest Products Laboratory of the U.S. Forest Service; Biochar Solutions Incorporated; the Pellet Fuels Institute; Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; and the Siskiyou County Economic Development Council. Our largest funders over the past year included (in no particular order) the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the California Energy Commission.

We appreciate the trust, support, and collaboration of all of these partners, and look forward to doing more good work together in 2015.