7.3.20 2020 LibertyHomes Fellows
Updated: Aug 31, 2020
Hi PAYS® Pals, here's your weekly newsletter!
August 11 – 3pm | Holmes to Speak on Webinar: Innovative Financing Models for Low and Moderate Income Participation in Clean Energy
Holmes Hummel, Clean Energy Works
Sushma Masemore, NC Department of Environmental Quality
Our Pals at NCSEA have shared this summary: Over the past decade, we've seen substantial growth in clean energy within the utility, commercial, and residential spaces. Though many have benefited from this success, low and moderate-income communities have been left behind. In an attempt to address this disparity utilities, private companies, and advocates have begun to implement creative financing models that provide access to energy efficiency upgrades, solar installation, and electric vehicles to these often overlooked communities. Tune in to this webinar to hear from experts across the country who are innovating and implementing these cutting edge programs. Where Energy Policy Gets to Work. Over the course of six months, NCSEA will be offering a FREE monthly webinar series featuring varying topics in clean energy from finance to policy and market insights. Join hundreds of attendees from across the country to get the latest scoop on trending clean energy topics sweeping the industry. Each webinar will feature nationally and regionally renowned experts within their respective fields to help shape the conversations driving forward clean energy in North Carolina and the country.
More information on the webinar series, and the August 11 webinar can be found here: https://www.makingenergywork.com/register
Introducing 2020 LibertyHomes Fellows!
Last year, our 2019 LibertyHomes Fellows were so helpful pitching in at all levels that we decided to make the Fellows program a real thing! For example, Caroline Boone, an undergrad at MIT, helped us build a PAYS toolkit for utilities, Olivia Antrobus, a graduate from Oberlin, planned our first of many PAYS® retreats, and Brian James, also a graduate from Oberlin, built our first website!
We now have a new round of fellows that we're excited to introduce! Below they share their bios, the projects they are up to, and their aspirations post-LibertyHomes!
Majid Ahmadi: Majid is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He also holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master's of Science degree in Industrial Engineering. His work mainly focuses on energy policy and energy innovation. He has also worked for private companies and NGOs including The Greenlink Group and The Urban Labs at the University of Chicago. He has published several publications in journals including IEEE and WIRES Energy & Environment. He is excited to bring his skills to improve the diffusion of innovative energy technologies through the lens of behavioral economics.
For LibertytHomes, he is incorporating behavioral science techniques into energy efficiency program marketing collateral and is designing experiments so we can determine the effectiveness of marketing strategies in various markets where PAYS® is being implemented.
Majid is sticking on as a full-time fellow!
Alicia Brown: Alicia graduated from Mississippi State University in May of 2020 with a BS in chemical engineering and a minor in political science. As a 2019 Truman Scholar, she is passionate about evidence-based energy policy, and she hopes to leverage her technical background to facilitate communication between policymakers and the scientific community. Her interest in the intersection of engineering and policy led her to intern with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association and to co-found the Mississippi State chapter of the Climate Reality Project. Following a summer with LibertyHomes, Alicia will begin a Solar Innovation Fellowship with the Mississippi Public Service Commission, where she hopes to contribute to efforts to increase renewable energy development in the state.
My primary project right now and over the course of the internship has been data analysis for Roanoke Electric Cooperative's Upgrade to $ave program, which includes evaluating the program from both a utility and a customer perspective. For the customer side of things, I am analyzing which retrofits are most cost-effective (in terms of savings relative to investment), how much more the utility could invest and still provide 20% savings within a 12 year payback period, exploring the effects of fuel-switching, and understanding which retrofits provide the greatest 12 year cash flow. From the utility perspective, I have worked with Stephen to create four models (electric heating only, fuel switch, fuel heating only, and overall) to understand the value of different types of customers to the utility in consideration of lost/gained electricity sales, peak demand reduction, energy efficiency credits, and demand response opportunities. I am also in the initial stages of pulling data from Ouachita Electric Cooperative for a similar analysis.
What attracted me to Liberty Homes is that the model it promotes is capable of making a significant difference within our existing, imperfect system. Rather than lobbying for dramatic changes that will take years, Pay As You Save reduces carbon emissions today in places that are often very resistant to that kind of language. It is scalable, inclusive, and, most importantly, benefits both the consumer and society without other ratepayers having to subsidize those who participate. It is a system that I would love to see spread across the country and that I genuinely believe is one of the best ways to reduce emissions affordably and on a large scale.
My current plan for the future is a Solar Innovation Fellowship with the Mississippi Public Service Commission, where my responsibilities will include working with the Commissioners on net metering policy, integrated resource planning, community solar, and solar plus storage. My hope is that through that work, particularly in terms of integrated resource planning, I can promote the Pay As You Save system as a valuable demand side resource. With many of our customers facing high energy burdens, Pay As You Save would be a valuable resource for individuals, utilities (mostly coops), and the state as a whole.
Cydnie Golson: Cydnie is a Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Virginia in the graduating class of 2021. She is passionate about addressing the climate crisis in a way that is not only equitable but also harmoniously encompasses the wide variety of cultures, societies, and ecosystems the earth provides for. Clean energy technologies have been Cydnie's primary focus in the past, though her interest has transitioned to the policy and financing frameworks that strongly influence the adoption of these technologies and their ultimate ability to benefit the environment. A technical internship in 2019 with a public utility in Austin, her hometown, made Cydnie realize the key importance of these factors to truly make strides towards decarbonization. At LibertyHomes, Cydnie will evaluate avenues to acquire funding for the organization, and develop a strategy to increase financial support for LibertyHomes' mission to "Liberate All American Homes by 2040! Using Pay As You Save®.
Cydnie is working to develop potential sources of funding to support LibertyHomes' mission. She is researching competitions, grant opportunities, and other avenues. This work will not only financially support LH's mission, but also help to make LH a more well-known player in the energy efficiency space. Cydnie is also working to generally support LH's business development strategy, as well as contributing to the design of LH's website.
Cydnie is interested in the intersectionality of environmental issues with racial and income equity and saw LH's mission as a direct connection to this. She hopes to use her background in mechanical engineering and interest in clean energy to improve people's lives in both the short and long term through methods that reduce societal carbon emissions. Cydnie believes that the climate crisis is the most pressing issue of our times, and wants to do everything she can do to help.
Cydnie is a rising fourth year at UVA, and plans to enter into the clean energy field following college. Whether this is in technology/renewable energy development or policy advocacy, she hopes to make the most impact possible with her work and time!