Graham Sustainability Institute

Clean Energy Conversations

Clean Energy Conversations aim to tie together decarbonization research and initiatives across campus by providing regular, organized opportunities for networking and collaboration among and between the U-M research community and external partners.

Researchers from different disciplines, who otherwise would rarely come together, will find in Clean Energy Conversations a space to connect and collaborate on the highly interdisciplinary work of deep decarbonization. Through these networking and working sessions, we seek to catalyze future activities by identifying both gaps in knowledge and areas of cross-campus expertise ripe for proposals, applied research, and learning opportunities.


    Initially, the Clean Energy Conversation Series will be open to U-M faculty and research staff across all three campuses. Later, we anticipate inviting leaders from energy and environmental for- and non-profit organizations in Michigan, as well as some national NGOs. We anticipate holding one or more special session(s) for student researchers.


    Virtual meet-and-greets and working sessions will take place via Zoom from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. ET throughout the 2020-2021 school year. U-M faculty and research staff are invited to join as many sessions as they choose.


    Deep decarbonization will affect all people and aspects of society, and requires action across all sectors of the economy. The electric power system has seen the most progress in reducing its emissions, but efforts must quickly expand to include industry and transportation. U-M has top-tier research expertise in many of the areas critical to solving the decarbonizing challenge.

    We expect Clean Energy Conversations will reveal real-world decarbonization opportunities and barriers, enhance research impact, and increase public engagement on clean energy. As the series progresses, we anticipate focusing each session on one of these or other key themes:

    • Regional cross-sector economic impacts
    • Physical infrastructure requirements
    • Equity and environmental justice implications of infrastructure decisions
    • Region-wide implications of proposed recommendations of the PCCN

    In initial meetings, participants will have the opportunity to provide input on key interest areas and help set the agenda for future meetings. The first sessions are also designed to facilitate cross-campus introductions.

    In addition to Clean Energy Conversations, multiple efforts are underway across the University of Michigan to advance the global transition to a zero-carbon energy future. Some of the ambitious initiatives taking place this fall include the following.

    The President's Commission on Carbon Neutrality is also continuing its work to develop recommendations for U-M to achieve net-zero emissions.