Energy & Climate Change

Energy is the defining challenge of the 21st century, with unprecedented implications for national security, long-term economic competitiveness, and climate change. Leading the way on finding solutions, the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are pooling their vast expertise in engineering, chemistry, biology, environmental science, law, public policy and other related fields to help achieve an affordable, sustainable and clean supply of global energy.

The Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute (BECI), directed by Professor Paul Wright, provides a coordinating hub for all of Berkeley's energy and climate efforts to ensure the integration of science, engineering, social science, market, and policy research. Specific programs launched in 2011 include the Cal Energy Corps, a program created to engage UC Berkeley students in the design, development and delivery of sustainable energy and climate solutions around the world, the Innovation Seed Fund, a fund that supports multi-disciplinary research by UC Berkeley faculty as well as the Berkeley Energy and Climate Lectures.

Over 400 faculty and researchers at UC Berkeley and the Berkeley Lab focus their efforts on developing renewable and sustainable energy sources, advancing new technologies to help curb energy demand, understanding the implications for climate change and the environment, and formulating appropriate and timely policy responses. Their research provides a multi-faceted approach to solving the world's energy challenge from four major perspectives:

 

Supply

Demand

Environment

Policy

 
 
 
 
As the world's need for energy grows, research focuses on developing clean fuel initiatives to make the most of traditional fossil fuels while investing in cutting edge research to develop sustainable technologies which can be produced from diverse sources, including biofuels, wind and solar energy. Developing energy efficient technologies for buildings, homes, transportation, power systems and industry is a key component of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. Researchers at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab work on bringing clean, reliable and affordable energy technologies to the marketplace; and making a difference in the everyday lives of consumers by enhancing their energy choices and their quality of life. Energy technologies can have profound consequences for the environment both over the long term, as evidenced by the global climate change from fossil fuel carbon emissions, and immediately, as was made vividly clear by the historic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Sustainable energy technologies will carry their own environmental impacts that must be understood before widespread implementation. Even the most innovative and effective technologies cannot solve the world’s energy and climate problems without commensurate changes in public policy. Understanding the potential social and economic impacts of sustainable energy technologies will be critical to their success.