STEP Researchers Awarded Impact Goal Grants from Institute on the Environment
June 13, 2022

Faculty and staff in the Humphrey School's Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP) program are recipients of 2022 Impact Goal grants from the University's Institute on the Environment (IonE). The Impact Goals are  designed to drive progress in addressing climate change, in areas where solutions have been slow to develop. 

IonE awarded grants to six interdisciplinary teams; the Humphrey School is involved in two of them:

• Distributed Energy Resource Innovation Initiative: An Engaged Learning Partnership for Energy Transition with Great River Energy: Associate Professor Gabe Chan and researcher Matt Grimley

This project plans to develop the Distributed Energy Resource Innovation Initiative (DERII), a first-of-its-kind research platform to drive utility business model innovation and clean energy deployment. The University will collaborate with  Great River Energy (GRE) and its network of 28 member electric cooperatives that serve 720,000 energy consumers across rural Minnesota. DERII proposes to establish a collaborative learning partnership to implement and research how utilities can drive the energy transition.

• Growing the Just Solar Revolution to Scale in Minnesota: A Regional Analysis of Equity: Assistant Professor Elise Harrington

The concepts of equity and inclusion receive a lot of attention from energy project leaders and policymakers, but many projects still move quickly to solutions without addressing root causes and power. Project partners will work with the Just Solar Coalition to determine barriers and bridges to root systems change and true equity in solar energy. Participatory action research teams consisting of students, community mentors and college/university faculty will promote model projects. In addition, a research cohort will analyze emerging issues and help the Just Solar Coalition address the root causes of inequity at scale. 

Read descriptions of all six projects.