Former California state legislator Nancy Skinner is bringing her expertise on energy and climate policy to UC Davis, working with energy, transportation, and policy centers in West Village.
The three-term state assemblymember will serve as a senior policy fellow for the UC energy and transportation programs, including the Energy Efficiency Center, Institute of Transportation Studies, and the Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy.
Skinner will offer to UC Davis her keen insights on how scientific research can help to better inform governmental actions.
“My time in local and state government demonstrated to me how vital it is for public policy to be grounded in science,” said Skinner. “I’m delighted to be at UC Davis, both to learn firsthand from researchers and to identify opportunities to communicate that research clearly to lawmakers and regulators, so that the excellent work being done here can have a bigger impact in the policy arena.”
From local to state government, Skinner said the “trajectory” of her career has had a strong focus on societal sustainability, pollution reduction, clean energy commercialization, and climate action.
She began her public service in 1984 as the first and only UC Berkeley student to be elected to the Berkeley City Council. As a councilmember from 1984-92, Skinner established the Berkeley Energy Services Corporation and the city’s commercial and residential energy upgrade ordinances. In 1990, she co-founded ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, the leading global network devoted to local governments engaged in sustainability, climate protection, and clean energy initiatives. She served as executive director of the organization’s U.S. office and international director of ICLEI Cities for Climate Protection. She is a co-producer of the first carbon counting tool to help cities conduct emissions inventories and coordinated the 2005 Climate Summit, which helped facilitate the signing of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act.
Over the course of her legislative career representing the East Bay’s 15th District from 2008-14, Skinner served as chair of the Natural Resources, Rules, and Budget committees. She authored dozens of laws, with energy-focused legislation that included an expansion of incentives for solar customers (AB 560)—and others that addressed energy storage (AB 2514) and building energy efficiency (AB 758, AB 1883). Skinner noted that the solar bill in particular sent a clear market signal about solar in California. “We’ve had great job growth in that industry.”
Skinner is a graduate of UC Berkeley, earning a bachelor’s of science degree from the College of Natural Resources and master’s degree in education.
Skinner said she is honored to be affiliated with UC Davis, joining researchers she has worked with and respected for years, including Lew Fulton, co-director of Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS), and Dan Sperling, director of ITS-Davis and faculty director for the Policy Institute. “You can’t interface in the transportation world and not be aware of Dan,” she said.
In welcoming Skinner, Sperling said: “We are thrilled to have Nancy Skinner join our team at UC Davis that is working toward a renewable and efficient energy future for California. Nancy’s impressive background in energy public policy will prove highly valuable for our collaborations with government and industry, as well as with our university partners.”