Energy Leaders Fellowship Program

Energy Leaders Fellowship Program



Project Description

In July 2010, the N.C. Energy Office of the N.C. Department of Commerce funded the launch of the NC Energy Fellows Program with nearly $500,000 in support from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. From January 2011 until April 2012, 10 fellows helped establish North Carolina as a center for innovative energy strategies. These fellows gained considerable firsthand experience leading a host of initiatives at five locations: NC State Energy Management, NC Solar Center (now the NC Clean Energy Technology Center), NC State University Sustainability Office, the Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management Systems Center (FREEDM), and Advanced Energy. Special projects included developing campus outreach materials to promote sustainability programs, a statewide alternative fuels database and a feasibility study to deploy smart grid technology on NC State’s Centennial Campus.

Background

The five partner organizations of the Energy Fellowship Program at NC State worked together closely to achieve common goals in energy research, innovation, and sustainability. Through joint projects and the 10 fellows, each organization was able to advance its efforts to improve energy efficiency within the state of North Carolina and beyond.

Goals

The 10 fellows were divided into three teams designed to work across organizations to achieve project goals:

  • The Sustainable Outreach Materials Team was created to develop tomorrow’s energy leaders and enhance collaboration among NC State’s energy organizations. The team’s goal was to increase campus, community and industry awareness of NC State as an energy leader. The group also aimed to enhance NC State’s efforts and partnerships within the green economy through outreach, communication and collaboration.
  • The Centennial Campus Smart Grid Feasibility Project team studied the benefits and hurdles of smart grid technology infrastructure, developed a comprehensive stakeholder analysis, and built on existing NC State infrastructure to realize increase energy reliability and cost savings.
  • The Alternative Fuel Database team was tasked with developing a coordinated plan to expand and document the use of alternative fuel and advanced transportation technologies in North Carolina. At that time, much of the state’s alternative fuel use was not reported.

Implementation

The Sustainable Outreach Materials team created energy-conservation focused outreach materials that showcased all the partner organizations. These materials emphasized the collaborative efforts of sustainability among the partners and showcased NC State as an energy leader. The materials produced focused on the collaboration among the partner organizations to create innovative solutions to energy issues, the creation of a partnership model for reducing energy consumption and how reduction in energy is essential to sustainability and climate neutrality. The team covered a broad spectrum of media avenues including video and exhibition materials. Through the use of consistent messaging, the team highlighted the ability to break down communication barriers that slow the progress of energy innovation and research.

The Centennial Campus Smart Grid Feasibility Project team’s main object was to develop an Advisory Board to consult and implement smart grid activities on campus, as well as to deliver a Development and Implementation Plan. The plan acts as a smart grid guiding document for NC State. It built on lessons learned from other smart grid projects, addressed the needs of key stakeholders and advanced the goals of NC State’s Strategic Energy Management Plan, Strategic Sustainability Plan, Centennial Campus Master Plan and Climate Action Plan.

The Alternative Fuel Database team was challenged to coordinate shared resources and develop a statewide roadmap of alternative fuels. The team developed a plan with these key elements: a common platform to track and report current alternative (non-petroleum) fuel use across the state, an Electric Transportation Roadmap component to facilitate an upcoming regional electric vehicle roll-out, and electric vehicle infrastructure planning with regional stakeholders.

“[This program] has allowed me to get a glimpse of the research and innovation that happens in industry in North Carolina.”Helen Chappell, Energy Fellow
“I thought about going straight to graduate school after I graduated. I’m really glad I didn’t. Now I am getting a completely different perspective than what I got in school.”Anna Stokes, Energy Fellow

Timeline

The 10 fellows worked from January 2011 until April 2012.

Financing

The project was financed with nearly $500,000 in support from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Results

The Sustainable Outreach Materials Team produced a video that showcased the five energy organizations on the NC State campus. This video provided an avenue to enhance partnerships and collaboration between each organization through joint projects and initiatives. In addition, the video showcased NC State as an environmental steward and key role player in preserving North Carolina’s natural resources.

The Centennial Campus Smart Grid Feasibility Project team produced a report that helped move the smart grid energy management system from concept to reality by examining the advantages, challenges and obstacles associated with deployment of smart grid on a larger scale.

The Alternative Fuel Database team developed a plan with these key elements: a common platform to track and report current alternative (non-petroleum) fuel use across the state, an Electric Transportation Roadmap component to facilitate an upcoming regional electric vehicle roll-out, and electric vehicle infrastructure planning with regional stakeholders.

The NC State Energy Fellows were:

  • Anna Stokes, B.A. Public Policy, Minors: Urban Planning and Music Performance, Alternative Fuel Database
  • Erin Moore, PEM, B.S. Meteorology/Environmental Science minor, Sustainable Outreach Materials
  • Helen Chappell, B.S. and M.S. Physics, Alternative Fuel Database
  • Hillary Meredith, M.B.A. Sustainable Management, B.F.A. Design, Smart Grid Feasibility Study
  • Kelsey Kusterer, B.A. Journalism & Mass Communication, second major of Spanish, Sustainable Outreach Materials and Alternative Fuel Database
  • Liz Bowen, LEED AP, PEM, B.S Geology & Environmental Geosciences, Smart Grid Feasibility Study
  • Marcy Bauer, B.S. Molecular Biology, M.S. Environmental Science, Alternative Fuel Database
  • Megan Cain, B.S. Environmental Technology & Management, Sustainable Outreach Materials
  • Michael Thornton, Ed.D. Candidate – Technology Education, Sustainable Outreach Materials
  • Roxanne Ryan, B.S. Physics/Mathematics minor, Smart Grid Feasibility Study
  • Spencer Kurtz, B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Smart Grid Feasibility Study
  • Services:

    • energy