Growing energy around EPIC mission
Prof. Michael Greenstone has boosted the presence and community at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago since becoming its director in July 2014.
Over the past year, the five-year-old organization has more than doubled in size and connected with new decision-makers, opinion leaders, energy and environment experts, and students around the world. EPIC has done so while advancing its mission: to conduct frontier interdisciplinary research that discovers solutions to the world’s most complex energy challenges; to impact our future by translating research into real-world results; and to educate the next generation of global leaders to build solutions that work.
This mission has struck a chord with faculty from throughout the University who share Greenstone’s urgency to confront the energy challenge: namely, to ensure energy markets provide access to reliable, affordable energy, while limiting environmental and social damages.
“We are following UChicago’s tradition of using economics, science, and data to fundamentally alter understanding of the world’s most complex challenges,” says Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Professor in Economics. “The global energy challenge is one of the largest problems out there, and we are already making significant contributions to solving it.”
The affiliated faculty and researchers of EPIC, which is leading cross-cutting initiatives across several UChicago departments and schools, are doing just that. Steve Cicala, assistant professor at the Harris School of Public Policy, has put together a first-of-its kind, custom data set containing hourly power dispatch levels for every U.S. power plant over the past decade in order to find out how deregulation of the electricity market has affected the cost of generating power. Koichiro Ito, assistant professor at Chicago Harris, is analyzing demand for air purifiers in China to determine how much people are willing to pay for clean air. Prof. David Archer is using global models to simulate the carbon cycle of the ocean to determine how greenhouse gases contribute to global emissions and impact efforts to stem climate change.