Director’s Column: October 2017

The past year has been a very productive one for the Schatz Center, and I am grateful for all the good work that our team and partners have done to turn opportunities into successes.

Headshot of Arne Jacobson


Arne Jacobson, Schatz Director

I want to give special acknowledgement to everyone involved in the development and implementation of the Blue Lake Rancheria (BLR) Low-Carbon Community Scale Microgrid. The BLR Microgrid Project was funded by the California Energy Commission, with project leadership by the Schatz Center’s Dr. Peter Lehman (Principal Investigator), Dave Carter (project manager), and Jim Zoellick (co-project manager), in collaboration with the Blue Lake Rancheria’s Tribal Government and many technical partners.

This microgrid project is now a finalist for two award competitions, including the 2017 Platts Global Energy Awards (one of six finalists for the Commercial Application of the Year; the winners will be announced in New York City on December 7) and the Pennwell Projects of the Year Awards (one of three finalists for Best Renewable Project; the winners will be announced in Las Vegas on December 5). In addition, the Blue Lake Rancheria recently received the John D. Solomon Whole Community Preparedness award from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), for which the microgrid was a contributing factor leading to the award. I congratulate the Rancheria, our team, and our partners for all their success so far, and my fingers are crossed for even more good news in December.

I would also like to discuss three key investments that we have been making to lay the foundation for future contributions to clean energy research and development. First, our success at the Schatz Center depends on the efforts and expertise of our faculty and professional staff. We have a talented and experienced team, and, over the past year, we have been fortunate to attract several key new members. On this front, I am pleased to announce that Dr. Nick Lam will be joining us soon as a Schatz Center Research Scientist. Nick specializes in energy access, indoor air quality, and environmental health, and he will play a leading role on our off-grid energy access team. He has a Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences from U.C. Berkeley, and he is currently working as a post-doctoral research scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We are excited to welcome Nick to the Schatz Center.

In addition, we hired Maia Cheli this past March for a newly created position that includes media relations and coordination of the Schatz Center’s educational programs. Since joining, she has led an effort to revamp our website and expand our portfolio of public relations materials. Early next year, after the new website has gone live, she will turn some of her attention to development and implementation of our Center’s education and outreach activities. We are very happy to have Maia on our team, and we have already benefited greatly from her expertise and hard work.

Among faculty associated with the Center, Dr. Liza Boyle and Dr. Peter Alstone joined us in August 2016, and both are already making substantive contributions. Liza has engaged in proposal development and in research related to the effect of particulate deposition on solar arrays, including work with an engineering undergraduate student, Merissa Coello, that will lead to a journal publication. Peter has been involved in research on innovative new strategies for management of California’s electric grid. Peter is also the team lead for a new $1.5 million project funded by the California Energy Commission (CEC) through their Solar+ program. Dr. Kevin Fingerman, who joined us in 2013, is the lead for a new $1 million CEC-funded project that involves developing tools for assessing the environmental impacts and benefits of biomass power plants in California. We are also very happy to welcome Dr. Sintana Vergara, who joined the Environmental Resources Engineering Department as an Assistant Professor this August and is already working with the Schatz Center team on a proposal for research involving measurement of methane emissions from biomass energy operations. As Director, it is exciting to see the growing contributions of new members as they work together with our existing team.

Second, we continue to expand opportunities for students at the Schatz Center. Since last fall, we have had 13 students working in paid positions and seven students supporting our efforts as volunteer docents. I would like to give a special welcome to students who have joined in the past few months, including undergraduates Bryce Baker, Jo Caminiti, Merissa Coello, Benjamin Kees Goldberg, Matilda Kerwin, Michael Malone, Murielle Manka, Eli Wallach, and Richard Williams, and graduate students Max Blasdel, Thalia Quinn, and Anamika Singh. Thalia and Anamika deserve special mention, as they are this year’s recipients of the Schatz Energy Fellowship and the Blue Lake Rancheria Fellowship for Clean Energy Studies, respectively.

I am pleased to announce that Andrea and Don Tuttle of Arcata are establishing the Donald and Andrea Tuttle Fellowship for Clean Energy Studies. This fellowship will provide $15,000 in funding to one incoming graduate student per year in the Energy Technology and Policy (ETaP) or Environmental Resources Engineering (ERE) options of the Environmental Systems Graduate Program. The fellowship is for one year with the potential to renew for a second year. The selected fellow will also receive a position to work at the Schatz Energy Research Center. Our heartfelt thanks go to Don and Andrea for their generous gift. At the Schatz Center, we are committed to expanding opportunities for students in the clean energy field as we work to develop a new generation of leaders, and support from partners like Andrea and Don Tuttle and the Blue Lake Rancheria help us greatly in making progress toward this goal.

Our third investment has been in a new 1,900 square foot “West Wing” addition, built to accommodate our growing staff and capabilities. Construction of the building is nearly complete, and we expect to move in by early December. The new facility will provide us with 14 new work stations, two offices, and a much needed second conference room. We are grateful for the generous support from Louis W. Schatz, Anne and David Katz, Peter and Carolyn Lehman, Christina and Jack West, Jamie Everett, and Joel Lehman, and grant funding from the California Energy Commission, who together made this project possible.

We are thankful to HSU Facilities Management (especially Mike Fisher and Garrett McSorley), Suarez-Kuehne Architecture, Adams Commercial General Contracting, and the many local contractors who made professional contributions to this project. Our new addition is a beautiful building that is well matched to our existing facility in both function and form, and we are excited to move in and get to work in it.

Goodbye until next time.

A Message from the Director

AJ headshot 3As we move into autumn, I would like to take time to thank the SERC team and our many excellent project partners. We are in the midst of one of the busiest and most productive years in our history. The successes we have had are a result of the hard and good work of our stellar team and our collaborators.

Over the past year we have worked on over 20 projects involving more than 60 collaborators. This work spans four continents, including efforts in Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Nigeria), Asia (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, and China), Europe (UK, Netherlands, and Germany), and North America (USA). While I cannot thank each of our partners by name, several deserve special mention, including the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, the Blue Lake Rancheria, Siemens, Pacific Gas and Electric, Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Global LEAP, everyone from the BRDI/Waste to Wisdom team, and colleagues from the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global, Lighting Africa, and Lighting Asia programs.

As you can imagine, our team has been very busy. While everyone has pulled their weight and more, special thanks are due in several areas. First, our operations and administrative team, led by Allison Hansberry, has worked tirelessly to keep everything moving forward effectively. I give my sincere gratitude for their efforts and good work. Second, SERC’s project managers have managed substantial responsibility with grace and poise. Dave Carter, Jim Zoellick, Jerome Carman, and Meg Harper merit special thanks for carrying heavy project management loads in difficult circumstances. Third, Steve Karp and his team at the Humboldt State University Sponsored Programs Foundation deserve credit for all the support they provide during both the pre- and post-award periods. We all appreciate their efforts; we could not succeed without them. Fourth, the SERC Advisory Board has helped us immensely through input that ranges from strategic guidance to networking support. Their assistance has been invaluable. Fifth, I want to thank everyone on the SERC team who has stepped up and helped with fundraising and proposal writing over the past few months, despite all the other work on their collective plates. While many have contributed, several people in particular have played leadership roles in this push, including Peter Lehman, Kevin Fingerman, Jim Zoellick, Jerome Carman, Meg Harper, Richa Goyal, and Mark Severy. I also want to thank all of the agencies that have supported our work over the past year. Here, the California Energy Commission, International Finance Corporation, World Bank, and U.S. Department of Energy merit special mention for being among our leading funders.

I will close with some staff transitions. First, I am pleased to welcome our new faculty members; Peter Alstone and Liza Boyle joined us in August. Peter has a joint appointment between SERC and the Environmental Resources Engineering (ERE) Department, while Liza is a Faculty Research Associate at SERC and a member of the ERE Department. Both are already engaged in activities at SERC, and we look forward to much more of their involvement going forward. I am also pleased to welcome Scott Toyama, Jimento Aikhuele, and Steve Shoemaker to the SERC team. Scott joined in May as a full-time engineering technician in our off-grid solar laboratory. Jimento and Steve are incoming graduate students in the Energy Technology and Policy (ETaP) master’s program. Jimento is this year’s recipient of the Schatz Energy Fellowship, while Steve is the first recipient of the Blue Lake Rancheria Fellowship for Clean Energy Studies. It is great to have them both on board (and thank you again to the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe for establishing the fellowship).

Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank people who have moved on from SERC to other endeavors. These include Malini Kannan, Janoah Osborne, Ga Rick Lee, Greg Pfotenhauer, and Lukas Kennedy; they each made great contributions over the past few years to SERC’s work related to off-grid solar, clean transportation, and/or biomass energy. I am also grateful to Asif Hassan, Jayati Thakor, Steve Harrison, Emily Klee, and Rich Williams, all of whom worked for us as students, for their efforts on projects related to off-grid energy access and biomass energy. Richa Goyal, who has been with us at SERC as a visiting scholar for the past year and a half, has moved back to India. Fortunately for us, she will continue to work with us as a consultant going forward. Finally, a very special thank you is due to Mark Rocheleau, who retired from SERC in June after 24 years of dedicated service. All of these good people are greatly missed, but we are excited about all the good things that they are doing out in the world.

Goodbye until next time.

A Message from the Director

We are pleased to welcome two new faculty members to SERC and the Environmental Resources Engineering (ERE) Department. We recently received confirmation that Peter Alstone and Liza Boyle accepted the tenure track positions that were offered to them. They will bring new ideas and dynamism to the ERE Department and SERC, and we are excited to have them join us.

Peter completed a PhD in the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley this past fall, and is currently a post-doc at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is an alumnus of SERC and has an MS from HSU (ERE option of the Environmental Systems graduate program). His bachelor’s degree is in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University. Peter’s dissertation examined the role that information technology is playing in enabling the expanded use of clean energy, and his dissertation revolved around a case study of the off-grid solar market in Kenya. His postdoc work at LBNL involves analysis to estimate the potential for demand response on California’s electrical grid. The work is being used by the California Public Utilities Commission to set state policy related to demand response and grid integration of renewable energy. Peter’s position at HSU is a joint appointment, with responsibilities at SERC (40% of his time) and the ERE Department (60%).

Liza also finished her doctorate in the fall of 2015. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. She has MS and BS degrees in mechanical engineering from CU Boulder and the University of the Pacific, respectively. Liza’s dissertation focused on the effect of soiling due to particulate deposition on the performance of solar photovoltaic arrays. The work involved experimental measurements and statistical analysis aimed at identifying factors that affect array performance. In conducting the research, Liza drew from her expertise in solar energy and air quality. The work is intended to lay the foundation for the development of tools to help commercial solar operators optimize power production and operations costs for their arrays. Liza’s faculty position in the ERE department puts her in a good position to engage in research through SERC, and we look forward to collaborating with her when she joins us here at HSU.

In other SERC news, we are happy to welcome Kim Thorpe as a new staff member. She is working on our energy access projects. We have also remained very busy with project work, and are engaging closely with the HSU planning department and an architectural firm as they work to design a 1900 square foot addition for SERC.

Goodbye until next time.

A Message from the Director

Christie Goldfuss, Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and Dr. John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, at the technology showcase during the White House Forum on Catalyzing Markets for Off-Grid Clean Energy Access in Washington, DC.

Christie Goldfuss, Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and Dr. John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, at the technology showcase during the White House Forum on Catalyzing Markets for Off-Grid Clean Energy Access in Washington, DC.

Hello from Washington, DC, where I just attended the White House Forum on Catalyzing Markets for Off-Grid Clean Energy Access. The session involved a lively round table forum with participation from government, industry, investors, foundations, and development agencies. It also included a technology showcase attended by high-level administration officials. It is exciting to see off-grid energy access receive this attention. The fact that the event was held is a testament to the growing recognition of the linkage between energy access and poverty alleviation and to the recent growth of the off-grid solar sector.

Round Table Discussion in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House Forum on Catalyzing Markets for Off-Grid Clean Energy Access in Washington, DC.

Round Table Discussion in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House Forum on Catalyzing Markets for Off-Grid Clean Energy Access in Washington, DC.

I am now headed to Dubai for the 4th International Off-Grid Lighting Conference and Exhibition, which will be attended by over 450 delegates from around the world. SERC will be well represented at the conference, with three current staff members and three SERC alumni joining me at the event. Our collective work will be featured at the conference, including presentations on quality assurance for off-grid solar, the market implications of key technology advances in the sector, and the role of super-efficient DC appliances in enabling cost reductions for off-grid products. It will be a busy week.

Back at SERC, we have been busy on a number of fronts, including the kickoff of our microgrid collaboration, the Waste-to-Wisdom biomass project, and a host of clean transportation efforts. Over the past few months, we also added six new team members, including Pramod Singh, Steve Harrison, Jake Rada, Julie Groff, Lukas Kennedy, and Jeff Mosbacher. I am very pleased to be able to welcome them to SERC.

Goodbye until next time.

A Message from the Director

AJ headshot 3As we celebrate our 26th year here at SERC, we are taking stock and looking toward the future. As part of this effort, we recently held our fourth all-team retreat (our prior retreats were held in 2003, 2008, and 2012). Our goals for this retreat were to review and refine SERC’s five-year strategic plan. The session was a productive one, and I was impressed by the thoughtfulness and passion of our team. I give my thanks and appreciation to everyone who participated.

Our work portfolio has grown rapidly over the past few years, and our staff and expenses have grown with it. In our strategic plan we identified three key challenges. First, we need to manage our finances carefully as we grow to ensure that we can cover our overhead costs along with our project costs. Second, we must increase the size of our team in proportion to our workload and budget; here, we should focus especially on bringing in new faculty principal investigators and project managers. Third, we need adequate space to carry out our work.

Fortunately, we are making progress in all three of these areas. We added two members to our professional staff: Jerome Carman, who will focus (at least initially) on our clean transportation work, and Greg Pfotenhauer, who works on our biomass and off-grid energy access projects. We also hired several HSU students, including Andy Eggink, Yaad Rana, Jason McMack, and Jayati Thakor. In addition, Anna Partridge, an engineering student from Smith College and a student of Environmental Resources Engineering (ERE) alum Denise McKahn, is working with us over the summer. I am very pleased to welcome all of them to our team. Finally, as noted in another article, SERC and the HSU ERE department will jointly conduct a search for a faculty member with responsibilities split between the department and our Center. Applications are due on October 30 of this year. We hope that this will be the first of several new research faculty hires over the coming years.

We have taken two steps to increase our physical space. First, we are investing in an approximately 1900 ft2 expansion that will sit to the west of our existing building. This addition is scheduled to be completed by August 2016 and will have space for eight open office workstations, two enclosed offices, a meeting room, and some flexible use work space. We also recently remodeled a 200 ft2 room at SERC. In the near term, the room will house four staff and student workstations. This room will be converted to dedicated laboratory space once the expansion is complete.

In the mean time, our projects continue to keep us very busy. Happy summer solstice, and goodbye until next time.

A Message from the Director

AJ headshot 3I spent much of the month of March traveling for project-related work. The travel included time in Africa (Ethiopia), Europe (Germany), and Asia (India and Bangladesh). Much of my attention during this time was on projects that have a strong solar energy dimension. I therefore would like to use this column to reflect on a few revealing trends and numbers related to the solar energy sector in these places and here at home in California.

I will start in Sub Saharan Africa, where sales of quality assured pico-solar products (i.e. off-grid solar products with a solar module smaller than 10 peak watts) have exceeded 7.5 million units over the past five years. Although we do not have detailed data for sales elsewhere in the world, the limited information that we do have about sales in Asia makes it clear that global sales during this period were well above 10 million units. While the adoption rates represented by these sales numbers still constitute only a small fraction of the over one billion people globally who do not have access to grid electricity, they do indicate that pico-solar systems are beginning to represent a real alternative for providing services such as electric lighting and mobile phone charging.

The rapid growth of pico-solar use for lighting and mobile phone charging has been enabled by a few key trends. On the technology front, declining prices and rising efficiency (or, more properly, rising lumen efficacy) for light emitting diodes (LEDs) have helped reduce the cost and improve the performance of pico-solar lighting systems. Falling prices for solar modules and lithium iron phosphate batteries have also been important, along with innovative business strategies for distribution and sales of pico-solar products. In addition, measures taken to support market development and to ensure product quality by programs such as Lighting Africa, Lighting Asia, and Lighting Global have helped enable expanded use of pico-solar technology.

In Bangladesh, pico-solar use is still at an early stage, but the market for larger solar home systems, most of which have solar modules ranging from about 20 to 60 peak watts, is the largest in the world. Over the past decade, over 3.5 million solar home systems have been sold in Bangladesh through the Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) program. In 2014, sales through the IDCOL framework averaged sixty thousand systems per month. This innovative and successful program builds on Bangladesh’s existing micro-lending financial institutions to enable sales of household solar systems to rural families under reasonably favorable loan terms. Going forward, solar home systems markets in Bangladesh and elsewhere stand to benefit from increased availability of super-efficient direct current (DC) appliances and sales models that utilize mobile banking and other forms of information and communication technology to help make solar systems more affordable.

SERC continues to contribute to development of the off-grid solar sector by leading implementation of the Lighting Global quality assurance program. As noted in Meg Harper’s article, we are currently collaborating with colleagues from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Germany to expand the existing quality assurance framework, which focuses on pico-solar products, to include larger solar home system kits (i.e. systems with solar modules rated at up to 100 peak watts). While the focus of our visit to Germany was on off-grid solar, the topic of grid-based solar use came up regularly. Germany has been a leader in solar photovoltaic (PV) technology adoption, in large part due to aggressive government policies in support of the sector. In 2014, Germany generated 6.9% of its electricity from solar PV systems, and on a few particular days more than 50% of its electricity came from solar power. However, in the last few years, Germany has reduced its support for adoption of solar PV, and sales have dropped rapidly from their peak of 7.6 GW of installed capacity in 2012 to about 3 GW in 2014. Nonetheless, we all owe Germany for their leadership in generating demand for solar and therefore in helping to reduce the cost of PV modules and associated equipment. The precipitous decline in solar module prices over the past decade is due in no small part to Germany’s aggressive pro-PV policies during that period.

Back at home in California, solar PV utilization continues to grow. In 2014, solar technology accounted for over 5% of electricity generation, up sharply from about 2% in 2013. As we work to support continued development of the solar industry across all of these countries, we should seek to ensure a positive and stable regulatory and market environment wherever possible.

Goodbye until next time.

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.

A Message from the Director

AJ headshot 3We were pleased to welcome HSU’s new president, Lisa Rossbacher, to SERC last week for a tour and meetings with some of our staff. We look forward to working under her leadership in the years to come.

During President Rossbacher’s visit, SERC Founding Director Peter Lehman and I provided a brief account of SERC’s 25-year history and a summary of our current portfolio of projects. She then met with faculty and staff associated with SERC during her tour. My thanks go to everyone from our team who participated in the session for their professional and engaging presentations.

While preparing remarks for the meetings with the President, I was – once again – struck by the scope and diversity of SERC’s clean energy project work. That same diversity is represented in this newsletter, which includes coverage of wave energy on the North Coast, electric vehicle infrastructure planning for the city of Delhi in India, field research about off-grid solar lighting and energy systems in Kenya, and alternative fuels for transportation in Northern California.

As we expand our work, we also need to bring in new team members. I am happy to welcome Kyle Palmer, Malini Kannan, and Asif Hassan to SERC. Kyle and Malini were both hired to work on the lighting lab team, where they will engage in testing off-grid lighting and energy products in the context of SERC’s role as technical lead for the Lighting Global Quality Assurance program. Kyle, an alumnus of the Environmental Resources Engineering (ERE) program at HSU, is re-joining SERC after several years of independent work. Malini came to us from UC San Diego, where she earned a BS in environmental engineering. Asif, who came to HSU this fall as a master’s student in the Energy Technology and Policy (ETaP) program, is the Schatz Energy Fellowship recipient for 2014. He has a BS in electrical and electronic engineering from Islamic University of Technology in Bangladesh. It is great to have all three of them on our team.

I will close with a reminder that SERC and the ERE department at HSU are jointly conducting a search for a new tenure track faculty position. The selected candidate will divide time between teaching in the ERE department and conducting research at SERC. Applications are due on October 31, 2014. The expected start date is August 2015. Additional details are available here. Please pass this announcement on to anyone who might be interested to apply.

Goodbye to you all until next time.

A Message from the Director

AJ headshot 3Happy summer from sunny northern California. I am pleased to let you all know that SERC and the Environmental Resources Engineering (ERE) department at Humboldt State University (HSU) are jointly conducting a search for a new tenure track faculty position. The person hired for the job will divide her or his time between teaching in the ERE department and conducting research at SERC. This is a fantastic opportunity for the right person, and we look forward to bringing a new, dynamic faculty member on board. See the announcement in this newsletter for additional vacancy details.

Speaking of new team members, we are pleased to welcome four new people to SERC. Our most recent addition is Ga Rick Lee, a senior energy analyst from Australia. Ga Rick will work on our energy access projects, including especially our projects related to quality assurance for off-grid lighting and energy systems for rural electrification in Asia and Africa. Much of our work in this area is linked to the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global, Lighting Africa, and Lighting Asia initiatives. Ga Rick worked most recently for the Australian Red Cross in the Philippines, and he brings considerable experience and expertise to our already strong energy access team. In addition, we have hired two HSU engineering students, Greg Pfotenhauer and Janoah Osborne, to work as research assistants on our energy access projects. Their efforts are focused on testing off-grid lighting products and other associated laboratory tasks. We are also very pleased to welcome Manan Parikh to SERC. Manan is working as a research assistant on work focused on assessment of the potential to expand the use of alternative transportation fuels in five northern California counties. These four new team members are in addition to David Carter, who, as I mentioned in our spring newsletter, joined SERC as a senior research engineer in May. We are very pleased to have all of these new people, and their expertise and enthusiasm, on board.

I will close by thanking everyone who was able to join us in celebrating our 25th Anniversary in May. We had a great celebration, and it was good to see many familiar faces and long time friends at the event. A special thanks goes also to the team from SERC who led the effort to organize the event. I appreciate all the good work that went into the preparations.

Goodbye to you all until next time.

A Message from the Director

AJ headshot 3Spring is a time of renewal and celebration. Here at SERC, we have much to celebrate as we reach our 25th anniversary. I joined SERC as a graduate student in 1993, a few years after it was founded. When I look back, I am amazed at all that this Center has accomplished. It is especially gratifying to review the list of SERC alumni and to reflect on where they are now. To date, 145 people have either worked or volunteered at SERC, and many are now working in the clean energy field. Their collective activities and accomplishments have made a real difference in the world. It will be great to see all of the alumni who can make it to the anniversary party on May 16.

Speaking of SERC alumni, two key SERC staff members are about to make the transition. Robert Hosbach, an integral member of our energy access and off-grid lighting team, has accepted a position working in the energy efficient appliance standards group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Richard Engel, a senior research engineer who has been with SERC for over 14 years, is also moving on. Both will be deeply missed, and we wish them well on the next steps in their journey.

Although they cannot be replaced, we are in the process of hiring several new team members. We are excited to be able to announce that Dave Carter has accepted our offer to join SERC as a senior research engineer. Dave is a licensed civil engineer with almost a decade of professional experience. He is also an alumnus of SERC, having worked here as a student and just after his graduation back in 2004 and 2005. We are also in the process of hiring for four other positions. We are selecting candidates for two staff positions and one student position associated with the Lighting Global program and other activities related to energy access for low-income people living in off-grid areas. We are also reviewing applications for a position focused on alternative fuels for transportation.

I will close by thanking our Advisory Board for their input during a very productive meeting on April 11. This year’s meeting was our second on-campus session, and we are very pleased with the support and guidance that the board is providing. We are already looking forward to the next meeting.

Goodbye until next time.