Clean Energy Corps
CEE is proud to feature the UMass Clean Energy Corps as a critical aspect of our efforts to help achieve both the UMass educational mission and the clean energy goals of the Commonwealth. Established in 2016, the Corps is a student-centered initiative focused on assisting entities across the Commonwealth develop and meet their clean energy goals. The Corps is trained, coordinated and managed by Professor Ben Weil and the CEE staff. The Corps provides energy analysis and consulting services to Massachusetts cities and towns, trains students in advanced energy analysis and auditing techniques, draws high caliber students to the sustainability undergraduate and graduate programs, and helps UMass and CEE demonstrate the value of their integrated teaching, extension, and research programs to the public. The primary goals of the Corps are to:
- Give students hands-on energy assessment, building science, and clean energy project management experience while working with real-life business clients and projects;
- Link Massachusetts communities to the technical assistance and workforce capacity they need to envision, develop, and meet their clean energy goals; and
- Prepare the next generation of energy professionals entering the Massachusetts clean energy economy.
Meet the Fall 2018 Clean Energy Corps
B.S. Natural Resources Conservation (2019)
Most Streamed Spotify Artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers
B.S. Natural Resources Conservation (2020)
Most Streamed Spotify Artist: The Mountain Goats
B.S. Geography - GIS; Natural Resources Conservation (2020)
Most Streamed Spotify Artist: Alle Farben
Summer 2018 Energy Corps Members
B.S. Environmental Science (2019)
Most Streamed Spotify Artist: Billy Joel
B.A. Finance; B.F.A. Chinese Language and Literature (2019)
Most Streamed Spotify Artist: Defiance, Ohio
B.S. Mechanical Engineering (2020)
Most Streamed Spotify Artist: Quinn XCII
Current Clean Energy Corps Projects
Corps members are working with CEE staff to provide energy analysis
and consulting services to Massachusetts cities and towns under DOER’s Green Communities program,
which aims to help cities and towns identify and implement clean energy solutions that reduce costs, addresses climate goals, and strengthen local economies. Students and staff work in partnership with cities and towns to perform a baseline assessment of energy use and develop plans to meet Green Communities’ 20% energy reduction goals. Read how the Corps helped Greenfield, MA surpass their energy reduction goals here.
Offshore Wind and Energy Storage
Corps members are working with CEE Director Dwayne Breger to develop a system dynamic model that simulates the energy, capacity, and economic implications of adding large-scale energy storage to offshore wind projects. Students are exploring the connections between the annual performance of offshore wind and wholesale energy markets to demonstrate and optimize the value added by storage to wind developers and ratepayers in the context of the anticipated offshore wind development off the coast of Massachusetts.
Read a summary of the modeling effort here: Modeling Approaches
Check out the project poster here: Offshore Wind and Energy Modeling - Poster
Previous Corp Members & Projects
- Varsha Suresh, Masters of Sustainability Science: Renewable Energy (2018)
- Matthew Raymond, B.A. Sustainable Building Science & Technology (2018)
- Juan Toro-Killion, B.S. Geography; Hospitality & Tourism Management (2018)
- Jeremy Price, Masters of Sustainability Science: Renewable Energy (2018), Master of Regional Planning: Land-use & Environmental Planning (2017)
- Rebecca Howard, B.S. BDIC: Sustainability Science (2019)
- Rachel Bratton, B.S. Environmental Science; Resource Economics (2019)
- Francesca Cigliano, B.B.A. Management and Sustainable Community Development, (2018)
- Nicholas Cutrone, B.S. Natural Resource Conservation; Resource Economics (2019)
- Emily Hespeler, B.S. Environmental Science (2019)
- Ian Weishar, B.S. Forest Ecology & Conservation (2017)
- Christos Saledas, B.S. Environmental Science (2017)
Municipal Aggregations Survey
In collaboration with CEE staff and the Western Massachusetts Community Choice Energy group, Corps member Varsha Suresh compiled current and historic electricity rate data for both electric utilities (e.g. National Grid, Eversource) and municipal aggregations, which purchase electricity in bulk for residential and business customers in their respective cities or towns. We analyzed this data to determine whether municipal aggregations in Massachusetts are meeting stated goals of aggregation, including price savings, price stability, and increased renewable energy content in the electricity supply.
Download the final report here: A Survey of Municipal Aggregation Performance in Massachusetts
Renewable Thermal Mapping
Together with CEE staff, Corps members worked to create geographic information system (GIS) databases and visualizations that helped to identify promising locations and commercial sectors that might benefit from renewable thermal technologies such as solar hot water, heat pumps, modern wood heating, district heating, and more. Corps members compiled factors such as the size, location, business type, and fuels used in commercial facilities with large heating demands that might best take advantage of renewable thermal technologies. Regional heating demands can then be compiled and visualized together with strategic partners (e.g., heating supply companies) that can help to outreach to and further develop these markets.
As the UMass central heating plant approaches its current heating capacity, CEE partnered with the UMass Physical Plant to analyze new options for heating buildings on campus. Corps members worked with the Physical Plant and the Office of Sustainability to identify buildings that may be appropriate candidates for distributed renewable thermal technologies in place of the steam district heating system currently used throughout campus.
GIS Analysis of the Commonwealth Woodstove Change-Out Program
The Electric Vehicle Infrastructure at UMass Amherst: Analysis and Recommendations
Reflecting national trends, the use of EVs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) is on the rise.However, barriers to EV adoption remain. Working with CEE staff, UMass Transportation Services, and EV experts across the field, Emily Hespeler looked at current EV policies in place at UMass, analyzed usage trends at campus charging stations, and investigated case studies at other schools. Emily's findings help to elucidate current campus infrastructure usage patterns and provide general recommendations for strengthening the EV infrastructure at UMass Amherst.
Download the final report here: Electric Vehicle Infrastructure at UMass Amherst: Analysis and Recommendations
Northampton, MA: Exploring the Relationship Between Home Age & Energy Efficiency
The City of Northampton, Massachusetts is seeking to reduce its carbon footprint by increasing the number of residents investing in home energy improvements. As such, the City has developed the HeatSmart Northampton campaign – an outreach program designed to encourage residents to replace older oil and natural gas heating systems with renewable thermal energies. To assist in this effort, Corps member Francesca Cigliano used GIS spatial analysis to analyze energy and property data, and correlate energy efficiency data with building age and location. Francesca’s work enables the City to better target outreach activities toward likely adopters of home energy improvements.
Download the project poster here: Northampton, MA: Exploring the Relationship Between Home Age & Energy Efficiency
ArcGIS Analysis of MassDEP Boiler Database for Clean Energy Strategies
The MassDEP Boiler Database contains data on ~7,000 power plants and industrial boilers, which could be candidates for district heating, combined heat and power, or conversion to renewable fuels. Corps member Christos Saledas brought the data into ArcGIS and queried the database based on fuel source, throughput, and location to identify likely candidate facilities for these technologies. Christos’s work will enable Clean Energy Extension to target outreach to facilities with high potential to adopt innovative clean energy strategies.
Download the project poster here: ArcGIS Analysis of MassDEP Boiler Database for Clean Energy Strategies