PowerTrip Orientation 2022

During their first week on campus, Energy Graduate Group students participate in an orientation program–Power Trip– to learn about the wide variety of energy related research and policy work being conducted at UC Davis and in the Sacramento/Bay area through discussions with researchers and leaders from industry, government, public interest groups, and academia. PowerTrip is made possible by the generous support of individual donors.

Tuesday, September 13th

Noah Krasner

After a quick introduction from Alissa, the dozen or so EGG students got busy with a very intense Connect 4 tournament. After I was bested in the quarterfinals, Daphne came out on top as our victor. She reports her experience was “absolutely riveting. Everyone was out for blood and I don’t think I would have made it past the final round if I didn’t just close my eyes and drop the pieces.”

Following our icebreaker, Annemarie, Alan, and Alissa each gave short talks introducing the EGG and the current pressing issues regarding energy systems. Annemarie, charming as always, ensured us of the many resources available through our time at UC Davis. Alissa and Alan covered broad energy concepts in their talks, such as wasted energy in typical Sankey diagram style, energy injustice, and the all-famous duck curve.

For lunch, Sandy Berg joined us, the Vice Chair of the California Air Resrouces Board. Her refreshing friendliness reflected her interests in environmental justice and small to medium businesses. She genuinely saw the future in our interests, and clearly has hope for our generation to accept the environmental justice baton from her own. On a technical note, Sandy showed us the CARB’s 2022 Scoping Plan, where it recommends policies to be passed to comply with AB 32’s 40% emissions reduction mandated by 2030. She left us on this: “What changes the world is truly how we’re going to implement changes,” rather than getting lost in minutia. 

After lunch, the folks from Pacific Gas and Electric gave a virtual talk about their plans and policies for the decade. Aaron August, the VP of Business Development and Customer Engagement spoke broadly about PG&E’s values, as well as dove deep into bidirectional EV charging and duck-curve reduction. Next, Vanessa Bryan, the Senior Manager of PSPS Customer Engagement and Strategy, spoke about mitigating wildfire risk and enhanced power line safety settings (EPSS). Chris McNeece, the Director of Short-Term Electricity Supply (STES), introduced the cohort to bidding and pricing of energy, as well as CAISO and day-ahead markets. Finally, Marlene Murphy-Roach, the Director of Income-Qualified Programs (IQPs) and Disadvantaged Communities, described the ever-pressing balance of providing aid to those in need while keeping prices fair for others.

The first day of Power Trip was concluded with a quick history of notable folks in energy by Kelly. Peppered by pictures of his longer-haired days, he taught the cohort the power of creative thinking in the energy industry. He ended his talk with a powerful quote to propel us into our degrees: “If you believe in something, stand up for it.”

Wednesday, September 14th

Peter Ambiel

Solar is to our clean energy transition, as kittens are to happiness – you can’t have the latter without the former.

On the second day of Power Trip, the 2022 EGG cohort took a trip west to the Putah Creak Solar Farm owned by Valley Clean Energy (VCE), the community choice aggregator serving Yolo County. The solar farm is located just outside of Winters adjacent to a PG&E substation. The cohort was welcomed by VCE staff and Dan Noren, CEO of Summit Energy, the engineering firm that designed and constructed the solar farm (Dan is also an UCD alum!). The facility is a 3 MW solar plus storage installation that will help provide Yolo County residents with clean electricity during the day and the evening when the sun goes down.

While the solar farm was the focus of the trip, it was admittedly difficult with kittens demanding attention.

After the tour, the cohort returned to Davis for lunch. The lunch de jour was Alibaba, a local restaurant on the Davis campus that serves a quick bite that will last you all day. The newly minted UC Davis graduates in EGG introduced the cohort to the informal exchange rate on campus when assessing a purchase – one Alibaba burrito. I know kilowatt-hour is about as entrenched as a unit of measure that exists, but I think there’s room for one Alibaba burrito in the energy world.

 

Once we finished lunch, the cohort participated in an insightful training from Eric Sanchez, Diversity and Inclusion Educator in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, called Making the Unconscious Conscious: Understanding and Mitigating Bias. The training helped to highlight how bias informs our perceptions and reactions to people and environment around us and recognize the different microaggressions that we may unconsciously commit and helpful ways to prevent them.

 

The day finished up with Meg Slattery, Kabian Ritter, and Prof. Alissa Kendall discussing the EGG DEI student run group. EGG students are committed and focused on DEI issues to make the program as welcoming and comfortable for all students. EGG students run an Energy Justice seminar during the Winter quarter to inject justice principles into student’s curriculum and research projects.

Thursday, September 15th

Billy Evans

Thursday began with the EGGs driving to the campus central heating and cooling plant to take a guided tour with Joe Yonkoski. After discussing important developments in the plant’s progression towards full electrification, we discussed topics like the “Big Shift” and new natural gas legislation for CA. Exploring the control room, the EGGs learned how the campus is provided with conditioned air around the clock.

Returning to the home office, a beautiful shift in weather led to a catered lunch from Dos Coyotes being enjoyed outside on picnic benches.

After lunch, the EGGs met with Jose Bodipo-Memba via Zoom. Jose is the director of Sustainable Communities at SMUD. The group explored the myriad of issues relating to vulnerable and low-income communities with respect to community electrification and energy equity. Future goals were outlined including and not limited to electric vehicle charger proliferation, removal of gas stoves, and installation of solar panels in under-represented communities. The students were able to dive deeper and discuss the socioeconomic factors that impact the desirability of updated energy systems, and the importance of education and access to transparent data and information.

Following SMUD’s presentation, the group walked just a few yards down the street to the Western Center for Cooling Efficiency. David Vernon, the Co-Director of Engineering walked the group through the center, highlighting new technologies such as aerosol building sealants, indirect evaporative cooling, liquid desiccants, and HVAC component efficiencies in different climates.

For the second time in the day, the EGGs took the vans for a field trip. Driving across town to the California Lighting Technology Center (CLCT), Jae Y. Suk warmly welcomed us. The center is involved in multiple interesting, interdisciplinary research projects. Whether through the implementation of new technologies, the development of building energy standards, or research and development, the lighting center has a wide portfolio regarding the way we understand and use lighting fixtures.

Friday, September 16th

Billy Evans

Friday morning was spent meeting with and furthering our understanding of the array of government organizations and NGOs that produce, promote, and enforce energy policy. The EGGs were able to meet Commissioner Shiroma from the CPUC, Chair of the Board Angelina Galiteva at CAISO, and Commissioner Gunda from the CEC. Freely able to ask broadly ranging questions to prominent figures in Energy Policy, the EGGs were given an amazing opportunity to develop their own ideas and envision the ways in which they would participate in some of the world’s most pressing climate initiatives.

After a delicious lunch catered from Musette, the students have the brain food necessary to process the well formulated arguments from NRDC’s famous Ralph Cavanagh. Ralph eloquently discussed some of the nation’s most heated topics with ease, integrating policy, technology, economics, and sociology. Ralph has more than 40 years of experience at the NRDC, and is a wonderfully engaging speaker. Even Professor Kelly Kissock sat down stating, “I never miss a chance to hear you speak”.

After breaking for lunch, we had the pleasure of hearing from David Phillips, the Associate Vice President of the UCOP discussing the UC’s plan for becoming net zero carbon over the next decade. While every campus differs in policy and planning, he congratulated UC Davis for leading the charge on many important electrifications projects.

Our day ended with a lightning introduction session from a variety of programs on campus. Hearing from directors, managers, professors, and other graduate students, the new EGGs were presented with many ongoing research projects at UCD. Whether interested in ecology, EVs, cooperatives, or industrial applications of energy technologies, all the new students heard from talented people in their area(s) of interest.

Environmental Justice Leaders Program

The Energy and Efficiency Institute (EEI), in partnership with the Institute of Transportation Studies and the Policy Institute launched a new Environmental Justice (EJ) Leaders Program in 2022 to connect university-based research programs and personnel with community expertise and knowledge.

The EJ Leaders Program engages a cohort of seasoned environmental justice leaders into the academic/research/policy space, providing unique opportunities for collaboration and learning that benefits participating fellows, the communities they serve, and the university researchers they engage with.

Motivation

This program aims to address three key challenges:

  1. Communities have untapped knowledge that is not disseminated widely or is ignored by government and other entities, due to physical distance, language barriers, cost, and lack of access to information;
  2. the research community has untapped knowledge and expertise but has historically shared an asymmetrical power balance with environmental justice advocacy groups and community organizations; and
  3. there has been limited sharing of information between academia and EJ communities, poor public engagement, and missed opportunities to improve public policy.

This program will address these challenges by connecting university-based research programs and personnel with community expertise and knowledge.

General Application Timeline

Application Opens: September
Application Deadline: November
Program Start: January

Leaders

In January 2022, we welcomed our first cohort of 11 leaders. This group of environmental justice leaders represents diverse geographies across California, as well as other states, and is working with communities on issues such as energy just transitions, active transportation, vehicle electrification, air quality, toxic site cleanup, water quality, and economic growth. 

Contact Us

This program is led by Dr. Sarah McCullough. She can be reached at: smcc@ucdavis.edu

PowerTrip Orientation: September 14-17, 2021

During their first week on campus, Energy Graduate Group students participate in an orientation program–Power Trip– to learn about the wide variety of energy related research and policy work being conducted at UC Davis and in the Sacramento/Bay area through discussions with researchers and leaders from industry, government, public interest groups, and academia. PowerTrip is made possible by the generous support of individual donors.

Tuesday, September 14
By Kristi Dayemo

Masks couldn’t hide the excitement of the new EGG cohort as they gathered around the conference room table. Students and faculty made small talk while waiting for the first activity, a series of introductory icebreakers. Energized from building marshmallow and spaghetti structures, the students returned to their seats to listen to the first speaker. 

Professor Kendall kicked us off with an overview of energy consumption trends, decarbonization methods, and environmental justice. She covered concepts like the duck curve, California energy history, and important energy entities in California like the California Energy Commission, California Air Resources Board, and California Independent System Operator (CAISO). Next, Dr. Kissock and  Ben Finkelor introduced the Energy and Efficiency Institute (EEI). They impressed upon us the breadth of EEI’s network and the importance of acting as ambassadors to the program as we progress in our careers. The morning session ended with a tour of the UC Davis West Village, a planned zero net energy community.

In the afternoon, Keoni Almeida from CAISO gave us an overview of the organization’s mission and services. He discussed emerging issues that CAISO is facing, such as meeting fluctuating energy demands, adopting progressive state standards, and transitioning to distributed energy resources. Following Keoni’s presentation, we participated in an open discussion facilitated by Ali Loge and the faculty. We talked about the social and economic impacts of battery material, the future of nuclear power, and our inspiration for joining EGG. 

Panama Bartholomy from the Building Decarbonization Coalition was our final speaker of the day. He began by giving us background on gas consumption and costs in buildings. Panama explained methods to decrease gas consumption in buildings such as solar panels, induction stoves, and heat pumps. He ended the session with advice to work on clean energy generation and emphasized the importance of developing a strong professional network.

Wednesday, September 18
By Farhana Sharmin

On Wednesday, our PowerTrip programming was mostly virtual. We started with an insightful talk by Ralph Cavanagh, co-director of the Energy Program/Senior Attorney at Natural Resources Defense Council.

After the lunch break, we began a discussion with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). John Caffrey, Sr. Program Engineer, Custom Implementation from PG&E, introduced us to the organization, highlighting the diversity of staff working on energy efficiency and the current programs that are being developed to help decarbonize the grid, while increasing environmental equity. Maril Wright, Sr. Director, Customer Energy Solutions provided a brief welcome speech. Over the course of the afternoon, we were able to learn about PG&E’s Community Wildfire Safety Program from Justina Louie, Manager, Electric Program Management. Chris McNeece, the director of Short-Term Electric Supply then described how rates in a short-term electricity contract may stay the same or fluctuate based on the market. Then Marlene Murphy-Roach the director of Income Qualified Programs & Disadvantaged Communities talked to us about how their work affects energy justice and environmental justice for disadvantaged communities in California.

Wrapping up the PG&E session, we spoke with several UC Davis alumni working at the company. The alumni had different energy, environmental, and economics-related backgrounds and discussed their experiences, work environments and future opportunities at PG&E. It was great to connect with these energy professionals with UC Davis backgrounds!

After a short afternoon break, we met with representatives from the consulting firm Energy + Environmental Economics (E3). Kai Orans (Head of People Development), Tory Clark (Director), and several E3 consultants, talked to us about some of the clean energy transition projects they are involved in, their integrated modeling framework and their recruiting and hiring processes. Jonathon Stage from Willdan, then spoke to us about their new construction projects nationwide and the California Energy Design Assistance program, involving the optimization of customer and stakeholder needs along with the description of the systematic processes they follow. He also mentioned the California Ecosystem and California Energy Efficiency program that was recently launched.

The last event of the day took us to the farmer’s market in Davis, where many farmers gather every week to display and sell what they grow locally, as well as a variety of other goods. We were able to meet and chat with both incoming and returning energy graduate students and all got to know each other better. This in-person activity, at the end of the day, felt refreshing after a day of virtual sessions. Overall, it was a successful day that helped us learn more about energy and what we might want to do in the future.

Thursday, September 16th
By Brianna Dooley

Our third day of Power Trip began with a tour of the main campus district heating system conversion project, led by Josh Morejohn, Energy Manager of UC Davis Facilities. Josh explained why the campus has taken on this massive project of converting its old and inefficient campus steam distribution system to a new energy-efficient hot water system for heating. After seeing some live action construction, Josh also showed the group several building mechanical rooms, both old and newly converted. 

Josh then led the group on a tour of the Central Heating and Cooling Plant (CHCP), which serves over 8 million square feet of building space on campus with hot and chilled water. Students were able to experience the sheer size of the large equipment and appreciate the work that facilities has done to make the plant as efficient as possible. 

Power Trip continued in the afternoon with a virtual presentation by Jose Bodipo-Memba, Director of Sustainable Communities at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). After sharing an overview of SMUD history, vision, and operations, Jose talked about his role in ensuring that all communities within SMUD territory can participate in energy and incentive programs, as well as his work in closing the gaps that often leave marginalized communities out. He demoed SMUD’s Sustainable Communities Resource Priorities Map, an interactive tool that displays data on different local areas that are most likely to be underserved or in distress. 

Our final activity of the day featured a virtual panel with prominent energy leaders in California. We heard from Commissioner Andrew McAllister of the California Energy Commission (CEC) and Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Commissioner McAllister shared information about his extensive career experience and his current work with the CEC to improve data and forecasting tools to support clean energy policy. Commissioner Aceves gave students an overview of the CPUC’s structure and current initiatives in the state.

I think EGG students felt inspired by all of the activities today, as they were able to learn more about some great initiatives headed by UC Davis, SMUD, the CEC, and the CPUC.  

Friday, September 17th
By Brianna Dooley

On Friday, we started our day at West Village with “lightning round” presentations from energy-related programs on campus. We heard from Kurt Kornbluth’s Program for International Energy Technologies (PIET); Josh Morejohn’s Energy Conservation Office (ECO); Robert Good and the Center for Water-Energy Efficiency (CWEE); Colin Murphy and the Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy; Chris Simmons and the Food-Energy Nexus; Cori Jackson and the California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC); Scott Hardman and the Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center (PH&EV); and Sarah Outcult’s Market Transformation Research Program (MTRP). 

Students also met with David Phillips, Associate Vice President of Energy and Sustainability at the UC Office of the President. David gave an overview of the history of sustainability within the UC system and how it has advanced rapidly in the past decade. He then discussed current UC goals related to climate, energy, transportation, water, and food. 

After a nice outdoor lunch, the lighting round introductions continued with a tour of the Western Cooling Efficiency Center (WCEC), led by Dave Vernon, the Co-Director of Engineering. Dave showed students a few of the innovative research projects the Center is working on, like aerosolized sealants for building envelopes and the testing of new refrigerants with lower global warming potential.

We finished the day with an interactive session led by Sarah McCullough, Associate Director of the UC Davis Feminist Research Institute (FRI) and three current EGG students. The “Asking Different Questions” activity focused on how we, as STEM students, can better frame our research to incorporate justice and a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In small groups, students reflected on why they chose the EGG program at UC Davis and what their goals are. The groups also worked together to create mind maps of who they feel they have a responsibility to, ranging from their family to their advisors, their community, and beyond. The larger group then collaborated on drawing a “power map” of all parties who have a hand in energy and energy policy–from utilities, to the CPUC, the CEC, up to CAISO, FERC and even the United Nations. I think students really enjoyed this workshop, because it allowed us to explore and realize the complex relationships among energy, policy, research, and culture. 

To wrap up our exciting week, we met at a local Davis park for pizza. It was great to get together with incoming and current EGG students.

Student Testimonials

Power Trip is the best-kept secret at EGG and UCD. It seems like a footnote when applying, but if grad school is more about networking and building connections than taking tests, then this program, the Energy Graduate Group orientation, is doing it right. The energy and expectations are high. It feels like we’ve done so much already, and classes have hardly even started.

Power Trip provides an excellent introduction to every and all things energy. It is comprehensive and introduces you to industry, innovation, and policy. It brings ideas you may not have previously thought to be of interest to you. The socializing events created an inclusive, compassionate cohort that truly wants to see everyone succeed.

Power trip was such a great way to kick off grad school. It provided a fantastic intro into the California energy landscape and opened our minds to a great array of different topics and issues that we’ll be able to engage with through the program.

Power Trip is an amazing crash course on the California energy sector and a warm welcome to the research opportunities at UC Davis. We had the opportunity to interact with a wide range of stakeholders, faculty, and fellow students. I feel a sense of community and belonging with the EGGies and reassurance that I picked the right program.

Power Trip was a fantastic way to be introduced to EGG, EEI and more. Meeting with important industry players and partners like CAISO, SMUD, and PG&E was a unique opportunity that I value highly. Getting to know my cohort and the faculty/staff involved was another great way to start off the year. My friends in other graduate programs were jealous of how many group activities we had!

Energy Graduate Group Fall Seminar Series

As part of their education, every Energy Graduate Group student attends a fall seminar series that exposes them to eminent scholars and professionals who are engaged with a wide variety of key energy-related issues at the local, state, national and global level. These seminars are open to the public.

Upcoming Events & Seminars

Friday, December 2, 2022
Alumni Panel: Kristen Bush, Rhys Davis
Attend Online (passcode=ucdenergy)

Past Events & Seminars

Orientation Program Blog: Power Trip 2019

In September, UC Davis welcomed its third class of Energy Graduate Group students. During their first week on campus, students participated in an orientation program–Power Trip– to learn about the wide variety of energy related research and policy work being conducted at UC Davis and in the Sacramento/Bay area through discussions with researchers and leaders from industry, government, public interest groups, and academia.

Tuesday, September 17

By Tobiah Steckel

Tuesday marked the assembly of the third class of the Energy Graduate Group (EGG). We started with introductions and an icebreaker activity to learn more about the cohort, which made it clear that there was much diversity bound by one unifying goal: achieving a more sustainable future. We then heard from faculty, staff, and students on a variety of programs and opportunities, including the California Independent Systems Operator (ISO), Food-Energy nexus, water efficiency, vehicle research, and entrepreneurship.

After drinking from the “fire hose” of new information, we headed to California ISO in Folsom, CA. The information provided prior to the trip was very helpful in digesting the operations and role of the California ISO, especially for those students not familiar with California. We were afforded the privilege of peeking into the control room during operating hours. The backdrop of this control room was a screen that encompassed an entire wall and contained an intimidating amount of information. The operations in this room involved many aspects of the ISO’s responsibilities–showing the flow of energy throughout the Western region, market price, load demand and much more. Next to the control room, we caught a glimpse of the reliability coordinator. This operation of the California ISO is relatively new, as of 2018, and acts as an authority to multiple balancing authorities across the region.

After visiting the California ISO, we returned to Davis to see two more operations. The first stop was to a microgrid with battery storage operated by Professor Jae Wan Park and his students. The novel aspect of this microgrid was the reuse of old Nissan Leaf batteries as a storage device to harness energy, even when demand is absent, and deploy it when it is needed (i.e. when the sun ceases to shine). Electric vehicle (EV) consumers prefer to maintain their initial range as much as possible, despite the limitations of lithium-ion batteries, thus there is an artificially shortened battery life for many EV batteries. This reuse application helps extend the life of a battery for possibly 7-10 years before the battery’s end of life.

The spirit of innovation was maintained as we ventured to SunPower’s research and development ranch. SunPower boasts the highest efficiency solar panel in the market, though for a slightly higher cost. The environment at the ranch was reminiscent of an intellectual playground, with solar installments and various robots scattered across the property. Though the operations were fairly exposed to us, there were a couple of areas covered up in tarps (for proprietary reasons). This was a fitting way to end the first day–wondering what was under those tarps paralleled the thought of what excitement the future holds for all of the EGG students. Thanks to all the professors, students, faculty and professionals that helped make this day interesting and productive!

Wednesday, September 18

By Rhys Davis

On Wednesday, we hopped in the vans early and headed west to San Francisco. As a rite of passage, we experienced our first foggy, rush hour traffic jam at the Bay Bridge Toll. When we arrived at PG&E headquarters, Michelle van Tijen, Supervisor for Energy Efficiency Residential Programs, showed us around and gave us a safety briefing. Vincent Davis, Senior Director of the Energy Efficiency Programs, and Melody Augustin, Director of Clean Energy Programs, then gave us an introduction to the organization, highlighting the diversity of staff working on energy efficiency and the current programs being developed to help decarbonize the grid while increasing environmental equity. Suncheth Bhat, Director of Clean Energy Transportation, discussed PG&E’s electric vehicle programs, which included plans to roll out more charging stations and continue incentivizing folks to transition to electric vehicles for commutes and commercial transportation. Austin Hastings, Director of Central Operations Support, outlined the future of natural gas in an increasingly decarbonized economy. He discussed ideas to create cleaner natural gas, utilize natural gas for rail and marine transportation, and add grid resiliency using natural gas generators. Matthew Pender, Director of Community Wildfire Safety Program, laid out PG&E’s short-term and long-term strategies for fire prevention which included clearing a larger area around poles, installing stronger poles and more insulated wires, and preventative power shutoffs.

PG&E has several UC Davis alumni, and we were fortunate to sit down and have lunch with a handful of folks working on different energy and customer programs, where we discussed school, the experience of working for PG&E, and our delicious Mediterranean lunch selection. Following lunch, we walked over to the PG&E Trading Floor to meet with Chris McNeece, Director of Short-Term Electric Supply. He gave us a quick rundown of the growing problems of grid stability in the age of renewables and the ever-present “duck curve.” We also were able to witness the process of energy procurement on the trading floor, from long-term to real time.

Following our fearless leader, Ben Finkelor (Executive Director for the Energy and Efficiency Institute), through the streets of San Francisco, we ended up in the offices of Energy+Environmental Economics (E3). Nancy Ryan, a partner at E3, described their mission as an energy consulting company and discussed some of the work that they had performed for clients from regulators to investors. Director Tory Clark and consultants Charlie Duff and Nichole Hanus regaled us with tales from their most recent projects, including a mapping of potential energy futures in Minnesota. Following the presentations, we had a cookie and networking session with consultants at E3. From there, we headed back to the vans and traversed the Bay, the coastal hills, and finally the farmland that led us back to UC Davis’ West Village.

Thursday, September 19

By Kristen Bush

We began the day with an overview of the goals and initiatives used to drive the development UC Davis’ West Village. This was facilitated by the Energy and Efficiency Institute’s Executive Director, Ben Finkelor. As the largest planned “zero net energy” community in the United States, considerations for successful operations included fair billing based on service quality, as well as reduced load and additional service. It was enlightening to witness the sustainable innovation contained within West Village, where many EGG activities are based.

Following the overview of West Village, we had a tour of the campus’ Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester (READ) led by Ph.D student, Tyler Barzee of the Biological and Agricultural Engineering department. The collaborative nature of the biodigester was evident from its feedstock derived from locations such as the on-campus dining halls, to its partnerships with businesses such as Clean World and Raley’s Supermarkets.

After touring the biodigester, we traveled to the California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) where we were greeted by Nicole Hathaway, a Senior Development Engineer. Through its expansive partnerships with companies/entities such as Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Honda, and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), the CLTC has been instrumental in transforming the impact of applied lighting and energy efficiency technologies. This is evident in their acknowledgement of and adherence to the three elements of healthy lighting design: intensity, spectrum, and duration. Advancements made in the application of circadian lighting for the medical field, as well as the furthering of integrated building controls, highlighted the CLTC’s commitment to commercializing innovative lighting technology.

Our tour of the CLTC was followed by lunch at a nearby park. During this time, we had a brainstorm session with Julia Fan, Annemarie Schaaf, and Ali Loge on recruitment for the EGG program. This section of time was used to reflect on our own experiences with the application process and the ease with which we were able to access different resources.

After lunch, we traveled to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) where we were welcomed by Paul Lau who serves as the Chief Grid Strategy and Operations Officer. Following this welcome was a brief presentation by Josh Rasin, a Project Manager in the Research & Development section. Current projects that he touched on included SkyCool (which cools buildings by the use of deep space bodies), SAN CO2 (an efficient heat pump), and Grid Rabbit (an energy management system used in hotels). Next, Richard Oberg, Manager of Program Delivery Customer Solutions, discussed decarbonization and building electrification through integrated resource plans. He also discussed customers’ habits/behaviors and how these may be changeable through downstream and midstream installation incentives and/or mandates. Lastly, Shiloh Costello, Partnerships Manager of the Sustainable Communities Initiative, led an insightful discussion about the ways in which SMUD can assist underserved communities by contributing to a healthy neighborhood environment, a prosperous economy, and social well-being. Examples of such projects included Habitats for Humanity, mutual housing assistance networks, and Clean Cars for All. It was nice to see such extensive care taken when acknowledging and challenging the negative effects of the stratification of wealth on disenfranchised communities.

Our final visit of the day took us back to campus where we toured the Central Heating and Cooling Plant serviced by UC Davis Facilities. Leading the group was Josh Morejohn, Energy Manager of UC Davis Facilities. We were guided through the intricate system used to maintain the appropriate temperature levels of campus facilities. This included chillers, boilers, and variable frequency drives to move the process along. During the tour, Josh shared that there are plans to shift to a hot water system as opposed to steam. This would increase efficiency and move the facility closer to satisfying the campus’ carbon-neutrality goals.

The tours we participated in allowed us to look at problems concerning energy in a new way. It was interesting to see our research interests take on new forms and meanings. I’m appreciative of the fact that this orientation has allowed us to reflect on our respective journeys through the energy field, and that it has allowed us to see ourselves making a difference in such a changing landscape.

Friday, September 20

By Rhys Davis

On the final day of Power Trip, we started by shipping out to Sacramento and meeting a panel of California Energy Leaders at the California Energy Commission. Participants included Janea Scott, Vice Chair of the California Energy Commission; Genevieve Shiroma, Commissioner at the California Public Utilities Commission; and Steve Cliff, Deputy Executive Officer for the California Air Resources Board. Each participant provided a brief overview of the key role their agency plays in California’s energy future, as well as their unique educational/career paths. They all answered questions about California environmental and energy policy as well as how to advance our careers in the energy field.

After the panel, we headed back to Davis to have lunch with Sharon Tomkins, Vice President of Strategy and Engagement for SoCalGas. She discussed new technologies for creating clean natural gas such as hydrogen gas creation and anaerobic digestion. The group then biked over to Valley Clean Energy in downtown Davis, where Jim Parks, Director of Customer Care and Marketing, shared with us the concept of Community Choice Aggregation as an alternative to investor owned utilities. Valley Clean Energy procures energy for Davis and surrounding Yolo county communities with higher commitments to renewables and a pledge to match or beat PG&E rates. From there, we then biked back over to West Village, where we met Steve Wheeler, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design and a resident of Village Homes. Steve gave us a tour of the Village Homes community, one of the earliest adopters of sustainable community planning. He showed us their many shared but intimate spaces, intentionally graded ground for good drainage, and diverse housing designs.

To end the great week, we were treated to dinner at Muir Commons, home of Ben Finkelor. Ben, returning EGG student Greg Miller, and many others prepared a delicious meal of tacos with a cheesecake to finish it off. We mingled with returning EGG students, alumni, and affiliated faculty and staff and decompressed from a wonderful, exhausting introduction to energy through Power Trip.

Student Memories

“The Power Trip helped broaden my perspectives on the energy industry and I made connections at companies which do meaningful work in this industry.”

“My Power Trip experience was the last bit of reassurance that I needed to know that I’m in the right place at the right time. Leading up to the trip, I didn’t know what to expect. I think my previous understanding of the energy field was limited. In a sense, I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. Although the Power Trip was packed with activities, I think that was the best way for us to be able to interact not only with one another, but also with the ever-changing field of energy. It was also comforting to be able to build community among ourselves and with the continuing students. Everyone-including students, staff, and faculty-has been so welcoming and down-to-earth. I feel like I’ve been fully accepted into the EGG family. I’m looking forward to seeing all of us grow together.”

“Power Trip was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet with people on all sides of the fast-changing energy landscape right as we are entering into an environment where we have a chance to use the knowledge and connections gained during the week.”

“The Power Trip experience is a an amazing opportunity to immerse yourself in topics that you will delve deeper into at your time in Davis. Hearing from professionals from a myriad of subjects is a preview for what may be on the other side of grad school.”

“Overwhelmingly exciting!”

For additional photos, please see our flickr album.

What EGG Students Have to Say

“My experience in the EGG program has been a positive one. This program has not only given me access to a supportive network of like-minded individuals, but it has also helped me gain experiences that will position me for a successful career in the energy sector. I’m grateful for all of the opportunities that I’ve had thus far.”

-Kristen Bush

“What I think makes EGG stand out from similar sustainability-focused programs is how genuinely invested the faculty and staff are in your well-being and success. This is evident in conversations about classes, research, conference and career fair attendance, and extracurriculars to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Not to mention that the students are equally, if not more, supportive of each other. I have had such a positive experience pursuing my PhD because of the support I’ve received at Davis.”

-Mark Lozano

 “EGG brings together talented students and faculty who are passionate about making a change at the intersection of energy and climate change. I feel supported by my faculty, staff, and peers to broaden my interdisciplinary knowledge base and to challenge myself to think critically about the challenges associated with decarbonization. The interdisciplinary approach of EGG provides students a unique opportunity to engage with research at a world-class academic institution while applying their skills and knowledge to real-world problems. I genuinely appreciate the immense educational value which the EGG program provides.”

-Jean Ji

“The flexibility and interdisciplinary nature of EGG allow me to build the knowledge and skills I need for my dream career. This program has also provided me with networking opportunities and access to leading researchers at UC Davis, policy makers in the capitol, and private companies with ties to the university.”

-Jon Martindill

“EGG students are diverse in terms of backgrounds, career interests, and expertise. So there is always something to learn from others. Though there is a freedom to choose from a wide range of courses across UC Davis, my favorites were ones in which there were other EGG students. This added to the overall experience and helped build our cohort. As an international student, realizing what unique perspective and skills I have was empowering for me.”

-Sada Wachche

“If you are passionate about sustainable energy, then studying in the Energy Graduate Group is akin to being the proverbial kid in a candy store: you are on the most sustainable campus in the world, with direct access to research centers and faculty who are tackling the most challenging issues in sustainable energy, and a support network of staff and peers who will connect you with career opportunities in some of California’s leading companies and organizations.”

-Greg Miller

“The Energy Graduate Group is a place where each member has diverse interests and backgrounds, but we all share the same goal. As a transfer student with an Animal Science background, I realize the urgent need in integrating cross-disciplinary efforts towards solutions for reaching a sustainable future. EGG provides each of us freedom in developing our own study plans to gain crucial skills and knowledge, while also encouraging us to broaden our experiences and exposure to different perspectives.”

-Stephanie Chen

“The EGG community brings together thought leaders and experts across the energy industry. That collaborative environment — fostering discussion and learning across disciplines and areas of expertise — was an essential and invaluable part of my EGG experience. Working within that community expanded my lens and helped me understand and think about problems in the energy sector in a much broader and more sophisticated way.”

-Nick Pappas

“The interdisciplinary approach and program design allowed me to tailor my degree according to my career goals. Faculty and colleagues are the best asset of the program bringing high quality education, thorough discussions and insightful perspectives from my peers. The seminars were fascinating and an excellent tool to introduce me to new and current topics.”

-Leticia Pineda

“The most valuable aspects of my EGG education were: Firstly, opportunities for engagement with firms.  Even if I never end up working for/with one of these companies, experience interacting with industry is so critical! Secondly, but likely more importantly, interaction with faculty. At least once a week I encounter cutting-edge research that was authored or co-authored by a faculty member that I worked closely with during my education. Finally, the exposure I got to different disciplines.  I am able to have conversations with experts in a wide spectrum of fields because I was exposed in school.  Policy, mechanical engineering, planning, economics, computer programming.”

-Zane McDonald

“My EGG education enhanced my ability to dive into complex issues and contribute meaningful results to high-profile and ambitious state-level energy and climate programs from the onset.”

-Greg Chin

Orientation Program Blog: Power Trip 2017

In September, UC Davis welcomed the inaugural class of 16 UC Davis Energy Graduate Group students. During their first week on campus, students participated in an orientation program–Power Trip– to learn about the wide variety of energy related research and policy work being conducted at UC Davis and in the Sacramento/Bay area through discussions with researchers and leaders from industry, government, public interest groups, and academia.

Monday, September 11

By Nick Pappas

This marked the first day of Power Trip for incoming UC Davis Energy Graduate Group (EGG) students. In the morning, we learned about energy issues from EGG-affiliated faculty members. Professor Bryan Jenkins discussed the scale of the energy challenge, introducing concepts like KAYA, Sankey diagrams, and carbon sinks, all while reminding students of the importance of using the right units. Professor Jim Bushnell provided an overview of the unique economic characteristics of energy systems, covering electricity, natural gas, and petroleum, and highlighting concepts such as market power and the regulation of monopolies. Professor Kevin Novan reminded us that our society is, in fact, using too much fossil fuel energy, and introduced core concepts in environmental economics such as the importance of differentiating between global and local pollutants in developing regulations. Finally, Professor Alan Meier highlighted the important roles of behavior, controls, technology and culture in forming energy demand.

In the afternoon, we visited Pacific Gas and Electric’s historic headquarters building in San Francisco for a spirited discussion of energy policy and operations at the state’s biggest electric and gas utility. We discussed the changing role of grid operations and investment with the expansion of renewables, such as solar and wind, and distributed resources, such as electric vehicles and battery storage. PG&E staff showed us the grid control center, describing the important role of PG&E’s hydroelectric system in balancing variable renewable resources and meeting energy demand needs throughout the year.

Tuesday, September 12

By Greg Chin

We began our day at the California Independent System Operator, or CAISO, in Folsom, CA. CAISO’s job is to operate the bulk of California’s electric grid, which includes power systems, transmission lines, and the electricity market in an efficient and reliable manner. Jordan Kingsbury gave an overview of the CAISO building, which is LEED certified,, their history, their role in operating California’s electric grid, present challenges, and future outlooks for the company. CAISO specializes in optimization and forecasting to ensure present and future electricity demands are met by the electric grid. CAISO has to be prepared to address anomalies like inclement weather, natural disasters, and other disruptions that could affect the grid and their operation. We were then introduced to Craig Williams who took us to the control room. No photography was allowed in this room, so picture NASA’s flight control center, but even more modern. It was very impressive! Here, operators control the electric grid 24/7, 365 days/year.

Following our visit to CAISO, we traveled to the CA Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters in downtown Sacramento.  Here we heard from a panel of energy leaders, including Michael Picker, President of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC); Dan Sperling, Director of the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies and member of the California Air Resources Board (CARB); and Karen Douglas, Commissioner with the California Energy Commission (CEC). The panelists gave us a great overview of their agency’s role in shaping the future of California’s energy system. They emphasized the importance of working together to reach California’s climate policy goals. In addition, they reinforced the need for bright, young minds to help solve present and future challenges in government.

Following the panel discussion, we took a State Capitol tour where we learned about the Capitol’s rich history beginning in the California Gold Rush days. Interestingly, a bill was introduced in the 1970s to tear down the existing Capitol and replace it with two modern towers. A bill to renovate the existing Capitol was instead passed. I personally love the renovated Capitol and am glad they chose to save it from demolition.

Wednesday, September 13

By Alex Campbell

Energy Graduate group students and faculty gathered, coffees in hand, at the Davis Amtrak station.  On the third day of Power Trip, we took public transportation to our various destinations, starting with Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor to Richmond. From the Richmond rail station, we broke into groups to take Lyft rides to the first stop of the day: Chevron’s Richmond refinery complex. During a van tour of Chevron’s facility, we learned about the company’s massive industrial chemistry operation.

After taking another short Lyft ride, we visited the solar company SunPower’s waterside office in Richmond. At SunPower, we learned about some of their highlighted projects as well as the company’s solar technologies. We then traveled

to Oakland’s 12th Street station where we caught the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains to visit the National Resource Defense Council’s San Francisco office. Here we met with Ralph Cavanagh, Codirector of the Energy Program for the Natural Resources Defense Council to learn about the role of this non-profit organization in driving change in the energy system.

Our final stop took us back to Oakland, where we visited the California Clean Energy Fund, or CalCEF. CalCEF’s Kenneth Alston spoke to us about the organization’s role as a facilitator and incubator for clean energy startups.

Thursday, September 14

By Ryan Barr

We started the fourth and final day of the Power Trip with a tour of the campus biodigester, the result of over 20 years of R&D by Professor Ruihong Zhang and her team. There, we peppered PhD student Tyler Barzee with questions about the potential of anaerobic digestion to process waste and produce natural gas.

We then received a tour of UC Davis heating and cooling facilities from the campus Energy Manager, Josh Morejohn. The group discussed opportunities for improvement of energy efficiency, including the impending transition to a system which uses hot water as opposed to steam. Look for this project to drastically reduce campus buildings’ operating costs and energy use in the years to come.

Next, we spoke with Professor Michael Siminovitch, Rosenfeld Chair and Director of the California Lighting Technology Center. He graciously showed us his state of the art testing facilities and demoed novel lighting solutions. We learned about the importance of lighting efficacy as well as energy efficiency, and we were all convinced of the importance of considering both correlated color temperature (CCT) and color rending index (CRI) when selecting lamps

After another busy morning, we heard from campus researchers, engineers, and core EGG faculty over lunch. Kurt Kornbluth talked to us about his D-Lab and Program for International Energy Technologies. We discussed building audits with David Vernon and Life Cycle Assessment with EGG Chair, Alissa Kendall. Professor Dave Rapson shared his perspective on energy and climate policy, and Gil Tal concluded with an overview of his work at the Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center.

We then walked over to the Honda Smart Home for a tour from the project lead himself, Michael Koenig. He impressed us with an overview of the careful design decisions his team made to produce an entirely functional and sustainable four-person home: from the foundation, flooring and furniture to the solar panels and electric vehicle. Next, we toured the Western Cooling Efficiency Center with Outreach Manager, Paul Fortunato, who taught us about the benefits of indirect evaporative cooling. Finally, we discussed West Village’s origin story with Katherine Bannor, the Program Manager of the Energy Efficiency Center, before concluding the week with a community dinner at the Muir Commons Cohousing Development in west Davis.

It was truly an exceptional end to an action-packed week. Thanks again to all our hosts for your insight and hospitality!

Student Memories

“Power Trip provided us with an invaluable introduction to concepts in energy systems, with a particular emphasis on understanding the systems from a societal and operational perspective. From our tour of PG&E to our discussion with the state’s leading energy regulators, Power Trip gave us a great head start in developing our knowledge and networks around the state’s energy systems.”

“What a unique opportunity this was to to meet and bond with fellow students while also enjoying the experience of networking and exploring career possibilities that I was familiar with! I’ve never felt so eager and motivated to begin researching and molding my future potential!”

“The EGG Power Trip was an amazing introduction to energy concepts and excited me to start my coursework! It really showed me how much I didn’t know about energy.”

“The EGG Power Trip was a great opportunity to get to know my cohort and meet and hear from prominent energy-related governmental agencies, NGOs, and companies in the Northern California region.”

“I couldn’t imagine a better introduction to Davis, Sacramento, and the Bay Area. The corporate and agency connections we established are sure to pay dividends throughout and beyond our time as graduate students.”

“The trip was a great way to see what energy professionals do. I enjoyed seeing how private industry, non-profits and government agencies approach energy issues in their own ways.”

For additional photos, please see our flickr album.

Orientation Program Blog: Power Trip 2018

In September, UC Davis welcomed the second class of Energy Graduate Group students. During their first week on campus, students participated in an orientation program–Power Trip– to learn about the wide variety of energy related research and policy work being conducted at UC Davis and in the Sacramento/Bay area through discussions with researchers and leaders from industry, government, public interest groups, and academia.

Tuesday, September 18

By Jake Highleyman

This day marked the commencement of the Power Trip 2018 orientation. Excited about the week, the new Energy Graduate Group students chatted across the table before getting to know each other more formally through a well-designed ice-breaker activity. Next, we heard from several students and faculty about the general energy landscape in California—from both the technical and economic sides. Two things became very clear: California is on the cutting edge of climate and energy policy, and that in order to understand all the overlapping stakeholders and agencies, one must have a strong appetitive for acronyms. But the presentations were only the beginning of an incredibly exciting week. After lunch with two visiting Chevron executives, we toured the local UC Davis-run anaerobic biodigester plant, which converts organic waste into methane gas and then electricity. We learned a great deal about the facility from PhD student Tyler Barzee, including its technical workings, its reliability struggles, and the economic conditions necessary for its success. The main takeaway? Nothing is ever simple!

Next, we toured the UC Davis central heating and cooling plant. For many of us, this was the highlight of the day. Josh Morejohn, the campus Energy Manager, gave a dynamic tour of the giant water boilers and chillers needed to keep campus facilities at the right temperature. We learned that the campus is planning to switch all its heating from steam to a much more efficient hot water system. It was a good example of UC Davis’ actions to save energy and decarbonize the campus. Josh also showed us the Energy Conservation Office, where staff and students are researching and implementing all sorts of creative energy-saving techniques.

To top off a tremendous day, we got to tour one of the premier solar photovoltaic research and development labs in the nation. Located on the outskirts of Davis, the SunPower R&D Ranch was impressive. We got to see how a cutting-edge solar company tests its latest panel technologies before bringing them to market. As the sun set over the neighboring farmland, I assumed that the rows of single-axis-tracking solar panels would follow the sun all the way to the horizon line. Instead, they smartly rotated slightly back towards the sky so that the row behind would stay out of the shadows.

The first day of orientation was a rousing success, and we are incredibly grateful to everyone who took the time to help us begin to understand the energy landscape.

Wednesday, September 19

By Meg Slattery

On Wednesday, the new Energy Graduate Group (EGG) students experienced our first taste of Bay Area traffic on the way to San Francisco, where we were joined by a few returning students and faculty members. The first half of the day took place at the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) headquarters in San Francisco. PG&E is a investor-owned utility company that provides gas and electricity to roughly 16 million people in central and Northern California. We heard from a variety of personnel who spoke about topics including PG&E’s wildfire mitigation strategy, energy efficiency, demand response, the utility’s strategy surrounding disadvantaged communities, and renewable source procurement. The presentations continued through lunch, where we were joined by a few UC Davis alumni. After lunch, we took the elevator up to PG&E’s newly established Wildfire Safety Operations Center, where a team of meteorologists, engineers, and other analysts work 24/7 to assess wildfire risk based on weather data, news feeds, emergency transmissions, and other sources.

After our visit with PG&E, we walked to the offices of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental advocacy nonprofit. At NRDC, we had the opportunity to speak with Ralph Cavanaugh, Senior Attorney and Co-Director of the Energy Program at NRDC (not to mention Chair of the Energy and Efficiency Institute’s Board!), as well as Colin Murphy, a policy advocate at NextGen Policy. We learned a great deal listening to their insights on recent energy-related California legislation, particularly SB 100 (100% carbon free energy by 2045), SB 901 (wildfire prevention and response), and SB 237 (direct access). These conversations proved valuable over the next few days, as we were exposed to the perspectives of various industry stakeholders who are impacted by these energy policies in different ways.

A big thanks to everyone who took the time to meet with us at both locations and/or facilitate our visits!

Thursday, September 19

By Greg Miller

On Thursday, our group made the short commute into Sacramento, the state’s capitol, to meet with the public servants who are leading the state’s energy transition within government agencies, public utilities, and independent system operators. In a breakfast roundtable discussion, new and returning EGG students sat down with Commissioner Andrew McAllister of the Energy Commission, Vice Chair Sandy Berg of the Air Resources Board, and Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves of the Public Utilities Commission. In addition to learning about the role of each agency in policymaking and regulation, the speakers shared their perspectives on key aspects of becoming future energy leaders: developing an underlying disciplinary rigor and a broad and diverse perspective, and the ability to understand and avoid any unintended or regressive outcomes during energy transitions. 

We then toured the state capitol building, not only learning about the history of the state, but also gaining a deeper understanding of how state legislation is formulated and passed. At the time of our tour, several important energy-related bills had been signed by the Governor, such as SB100 (the new 100% carbon-free energy target), while others had passed the legislature and were awaiting signature by the end of the month, such as SB901 (the wildfire liability bill). 

After a picnic lunch on the capitol lawn, we headed to the headquarters of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, or SMUD, which is one of the leading publicly-owned utilities in the country. There, we met with Paul Lau, their Chief Grid Strategy and Operations Officer (and Energy and Efficiency Institute board member), as well as members of SMUD’s Energy R&D department, who are leading the charge toward the adoption of innovative energy technologies and programs. 

Our afternoon wrapped up in Folsom, where the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) manages the grid’s reliability by acting as the “air traffic controller” of generators, transmission operators, and the markets that link them together. We got to observe the control room, with its wall of screens displaying everything from the real-time grid frequency and forecasted load curves to the Weather Channel and wildfire locations. We dove deep with a discussion of frequency regulation, reactive power, and the formula, called “Area Control Error,” which serves as one of the main inputs into the real-time management of grid stability. 

We finished the day with a better idea of the policy opportunities for energy transition, a handful of business cards for future internship opportunities, and an appreciation of the proximity of these opportunities to our new home in Davis.

Friday, September 20

By Claire Sugihara

After hearing from some of the most prominent energy leaders in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, we returned to Davis on Friday to learn more about the many energy-related programs and initiatives both in and around the UC Davis campus. This began with a tour of the Western Cooling Efficiency Center (WCEC), where we learned about some of the many innovative technologies they test and develop such as indirect evaporative cooling, aerosolized sealant for building leaks, and improved efficiency measures for cow cooling.

From there we traveled to the California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC), where Dr. Michael Siminovitch showed us the facilities and learned about their work with circadian lighting for hospitals to improve the quality of life for both nurses and patients. This tour was particularly interesting because of all the innovations in lighting technologies that are often overlooked but are so important to our overall wellbeing.

After a quick break for lunch, we heard from some of the researchers who we will be working with daily. We heard presentations from representatives of the Plug-in Hybrid and Electric Vehicle (PH&EV) Research Center, the Center for Water-Energy Efficiency (CWEE), the Food-Water-Energy Nexus research program, and the Davis Energy Economics Program (DEEP), each of whom presented on some of the current research that students, researchers, and faculty are doing.

Next, we biked to Village Homes, a unique Davis subdivision built to limit impacts on energy and natural resources. Here we learned from Professor Steve Wheeler about the sustainable building practices of these homes, such as orientation, natural drainage systems, narrow street width, and edible landscaping, all of which help to reduce the environmental impacts of the development. From there, we ended the day with a celebratory dinner at Muir Commons where incoming EGG students were able to meet with continuing students, faculty, and staff.

It was exciting to learn about all the innovation happening right here in Davis, and how the work we are doing can have such a large impact on our energy systems. Overall, the experiences and connections we gained during the week will allow us to strengthen the increasingly important partnerships between the world of academics, government, businesses, and nonprofits. Thank you to all of those who worked to organize this amazing event and to everyone who took the time to share their expertise with us!

Student Memories

“Power Trip was a great way to focus and ground my academic interests in the practical realities and pressing challenges of our energy system, as communicated by the industry and policy experts who are leading this transition.”

“Power Trip opened my eyes to the complex and exciting energy landscape in California. Because I can now place my academic coursework and research directly within a larger context, I feel much more energized to begin my degree.”

“It is fantastic and I highly recommend any incoming student to come and join this event.”

“The Power Trip allows for a unique opportunity not only to gain exposure to a wide array of potential career fields, but it also provides networking opportunities and discussions with leaders in these fields while simultaneously bonding with your fellow EGG students!”

“Power Trip was an engaging, helpful first exposure to the energy landscape of California. By the end, I felt like I had a good understanding of the current challenges and opportunities in energy generally, but particularly those that are unique to California. I now have a better idea of what a career in the energy field could actually look like, and it immediately brought our cohort together, which has been a huge plus while navigating a new city and adapting to being back in school.”

For additional photos, please see our flickr album.

Orientation Program Blogs

During their first week on campus, Energy Graduate Group students participate in an orientation program–Power Trip– to learn about the wide variety of energy-related research and policy work being conducted at UC Davis and in the Sacramento/Bay area through discussions with researchers and leaders from industry, government, public interest groups, and academia. PowerTrip is made possible by the generous support of individual donors.

For Current Students

Degree Requirements

2019 M.S. and Ph.D. Degree Requirements (pending Grad Council approval)

2017 M.S. and Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Mentoring

UC Davis Mentoring

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