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Stanford University Student Helping with Efforts in Ensuring All Californians Can Benefit from Energy programs



A Stanford University student who interned this summer at the California Energy Commission was able to help with the work involved in the efforts to ensure all Californians have access to and benefit equally from the clean energy services, investments and opportunities that the state has to offer.

Akua McLeod, who is a sophomore at Stanford, worked in the Office of Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller. She was one of the four student fellows at the Energy Commission from the Stanford Energy Internships in California/Colorado (SEIC) program.

The program, which is in its second year, provides undergraduate and graduate students at Stanford with internships at energy-related public service organizations in California. Twelve students are interning this summer at five agencies including the Energy Commission, the California Air Resources Board, and the California Independent System Operator.

McLeod said she was grateful for the opportunity with the Energy Commission.

“Ultimately, I think it is this increased appreciation for public service that will stay with me,” she said.

Her work during the summer focused on developing energy equity metrics for the Energy Commission study that examined barriers and provided recommendations on how to help low-income residents and disadvantaged communities participate in the state's transition to a low-carbon energy future.

The Energy Commission adopted the Senate Bill 350 Low-Income Barriers Study in 2016. The study stems from a directive in SB 350, which established new energy efficiency and renewable electricity targets by 2030.

The California Clean Energy Equity Framework and Indicators draft staff report expands on a recommendation from the study by identifying 12 energy equity indicators that can be used to measure these barriers.

McLeod gathered datasets for the indicators and helped to create maps that highlight existing barriers and identify low-income communities that are of greatest need.

At the August 9 business meeting, McLeod discussed the progress in developing the indicators and offered a preview of the tools generated through this process. The indicators highlight the complexity of energy barriers and the efficacy of using maps to identify regions for targeted investment.

Ultimately, these maps will serve to identify with greater granularity which communities are most impacted by barriers such as high energy burden, low clean-energy related investment, and limited access to renewables, she said.

“More than anything, this process has taught me that energy equity challenges are undeniably multifaceted and that real solutions must be equally complex,” McLeod said.

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California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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