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By Akua McLeod ‘20

In so many ways, this summer at the California Energy Commission has exceeded my (already high) expectations. My time here has been nothing if not immersive – for two months I have basically lived and breathed energy, and if I’m being honest about my nerdiness, it has been awesome. For my summer project, I have been helping to develop energy equity indicators that measure barriers to renewable energy and energy efficiency resources for low-income communities. Specifically, I’ve helped to gather datasets to create visual tools that highlight low-income Californian communities that are of greatest need. Ultimately, these indicators will support implementation of the SB 350 Low-Income Barriers Study – a 2016 report which offers recommendations for fixing low income energy barriers.

More than anything, this process has taught me that energy equity challenges are incredibly multifaceted – and that real solutions must be equally complex. Having the opportunity to present about this work at the Commission’s August 9th Business Meeting was exciting and getting the chance to deepen my understanding of how impactful energy policy tools are formed has been even more rewarding. Ultimately, as I look towards the beginning of my sophomore year – and the uncertainties that choosing a major may bring – I hope to continue to explore areas where technical backgrounds overlap with policy expertise.

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