Energy Seminars

Wednesday, July 28 | 12 -1:15 p.m.

Mini-Symposium: Clean Energy Infrastructure is Human Infrastructure

Congress is currently negotiating the Biden administration's dual multi-trillion dollar infrastructure proposals — the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan. These proposals  would invest massive sums of money in what is traditionally regarded as infrastructure —  roads and bridges, water systems, the electric grid and transmission networks. They also have an explicit focus on climate resilience and addressing the racial inequities that were caused or exacerbated by past infrastructure projects (highways dividing minority neighborhoods, highly polluting energy generation plants being sited near Black and brown communities, etc.) While debate around the proposals is highly partisan, with arguments predictably focusing on the price tag, another point of contention is the ways in which the proposals link jobs, training, wages, and education and other aspects of so-called 'human infrastructure' to more traditional conceptions of infrastructure. 

What are the costs and benefits of this approach? Join us as a panel of experts discusses the Biden infrastructure plan and its climate and clean energy elements, from economic, policy, and equity angles. 

Learn more and register

Fall 2021 Series

Building a Resilient, Sustainable Future: Perspectives on Buildings and Energy

The construction and operation of residential and commercial buildings represent about 40 percent of energy consumption in the US and globally. Despite steady growth in renewable energy generation, fossil fuels -- oil, natural gas, and coal -- make up the lion's share of energy production (and carbon emissions) in the world. Additionally,  according to International Energy Agency Director Fatih Birol, "over the next 40 years, the world is expected to build 230 billion square metres in new construction – adding the equivalent of Paris to the planet every single week." Therefore, how we build, where we build, and how we operate our homes and commercial buildings are critical considerations in averting the worst effects of climate change. 

This fall, join the Dartmouth Energy Collaborative for a lunchtime Energy Seminar Series as we explore the impact, challenges, and opportunities that the construction and operation of the built environment presents for a warming world. We'll learn about the current status of the Dartmouth campus, explore the approaches other colleges have taken to sustainable building and efficiency, look at the Empire State Building retrofit project, hear about the tools available to move the needle, and wind up the series with a  tour of the new, highly efficient Irving Institute building. 

Session details and registration will open soon! 

Past Talks

April 27 | 12:15 -1:15 p.m. (ET)

Energy Pools - Creating a Data Visceralization for Energy Consumption

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Energy Pools
Energy Pools uses recycled or renewable textile strands to represent U.S. energy consumption in 2018 (1013 strands to represent the 101.3 Quadrillion BTUs of energy consumed).

Caroline Casey '21, Nikki Stevens (PhD candidate) and Jacque Wernimont (Distinguished Chair, Digital Humanities and Social Engagement) have worked collaboratively to build an interactive and tactile installation to help people understand energy usage in the United States. Climate and data scientists have continued to search for ways to make large scale data sets and long-term problems accessible to non-specialist audiences. Energy Pools is an effort to use large-scale art installation with recycled textiles to make energy data accessible and tactile and to encourage viewers to explore the steps needed to change the future of energy use in the United States. This talk will feature a discussion of the creation of the installation and thoughts on how tactile engagement with energy data might facilitate information understanding.

View a recording of this talk

About the Speaker

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Jacqueline Wernimont
Jacqueline Wernimont

Jacqueline Wernimont is the Distinguished Chair of Digital Humanities and Social Engagement and she use feminist, anti-racist frameworks to understand quantification and commemoration as social and political practices. She is also the co-Director of HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaborative) and run the Digital Justice Lab at Dartmouth.

Her work extends beyond the writing of traditional academic books into public, engaged scholarship. This has included writing for popular outlets, multimedia installations, and leading projects on privacy, intersectional approaches to technology and data, and creative communication of computing infrastructure.

April 13, 2021

Renewable Energy Project Finance Basics with Josh Pearson '97

View a recording of this talk.

View slides from this talk.

About the Talk

Building large-scale renewable energy projects demands time, money, human capital, and risk tolerance. Most renewable projects would never be built without the involvement of third-party debt and equity investors. Understanding the essential assets, financial attributes and risks associated with renewables projects is prerequisite to an understanding of renewable project financing. It also provides insights into public policies, consumer preferences, economies of scale and other macro topics that will influence the future of renewables.  With this overview in mind, we will address the following questions:

  • What are the most common types of financings available for utility-scale wind and solar energy generation projects?
  • At what points in a project's life cycle do financings come into play?
  • What assets are necessary for these financings, and what economic incentives and considerations shape these investments?
  • What are "offtake agreements", and what role do they play in a project's operations and financings?
  • What is "tax equity financing", and how do the federal "Production Tax Credit" (for wind) and "Investment Tax Credit" (primarily for solar) benefit renewable projects?
  • What are the macro drivers of new renewables investments, and what opportunities exist to expand renewables?

 

About the Speaker

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Joshua Pearson
Joshua Pearson

Josh Pearson '97 is Vice President-Legal and Associate General Counsel for EDF Renewables, a renewable energy company which develops, constructs and is a long-term owner and operator of wind and solar electricity generation and storage projects.  Josh's day-to-day responsibilities include negotiating, drafting, and critical review of M&A transactions, power and environmental attribute offtake and derivatives transactions, permitting and environmental matters, interconnection and transmission agreements, equipment procurement and project construction (EPC) contracts, debt and tax equity financings, as well as operations and maintenance and asset management agreements. Josh spent eight years working at two nationally recognized law firms before joining EDF Renewables in 2009.

March 30 | 12:15 - 1:15 PM (ET)

Electric Industry Discourse on Climate Change and Weather in US SEC Public Disclosures

What can be learned about electric industry companies' behavior, plans, and positioning from what they say, and how they say it, in legally required public disclosures? Motivations of electric industry companies are assumed, often reasonably, to reflect general corporate attributes, such as profit-driven decisions and use of the considerable information on how weather events affect electric system reliability. In the midst of large-scale weather-related power interruptions, many may question a company's operational planning, as well as its ability to identify risk.  Julia Chelen, Research Associate with the Dartmouth Institute at the Geisel School of Medicine, will discuss how behavioral decision research can be used to identify meaningful differences between individual companies and assess how a company may act in the future.

Watch a recording of this talk.

About the Speaker

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Julia Chelen
Julia Chelen

Julia Chelen is a Research Associate with the Dartmouth Institute at the Geisel School of Medicine where she studies the quantification and modeling of human judgment. Her research combines computational methods and behavioral decision theory to understand how individuals and organizations make decisions in a range of contexts, predominantly those related to energy and health policy.  At Dartmouth, Chelen is a member of Dr. Amber Barnato's lab where she collaborates on projects examining risk perception and communication, behavior change interventions, and physician emotional regulation. Formerly, Chelen was the Assistant Director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Advanced Modeling in the Social, Behavioral and Health Sciences and a research member of the Center for Social and Economic Dynamics at the Brookings Institution. Her research has been published in cross-disciplinary outlets including Nature and Computational Brain & Behavior. She holds a Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy, as well as B.S. in Decision Science and Public Policy and Management, from Carnegie Mellon University.

Winter 2021 Seminar Series

Critical Infrastructure in a Climate-Changing World  

Climate change is impacting our planet in ways that are becoming ever more apparent. The infrastructure that undergirds modern life — from roads and ports to energy generation installations and transmission lines — is one area increasingly at risk from climate-fueled flooding, fires, extreme heat, and sea level rise. Infrastructure is also key to helping us avert the worst effects of a warming planet as we transition to more affordable, sustainable, just, and reliable energy systems. The Dartmouth Energy Collaborative invites you to join us for our winter lunchtime seminar series as we explore the challenges and possibilities of building a more just and resilient infrastructure system that powers the energy transition.

 

Critical Infrastructure in a Climate Changing World, Session One

January 12 | Vulnerable Systems: Climate Urgency and Energy Equity

View a recording of this talk.

In the first session of our Critical Infrastructure in a Climate Changing World series, Professor Shalanda Baker of Northeastern University and Associate Professor Erich Osterberg of Dartmouth look at the societal impacts of climate change and explore the opportunities for a more equitable energy future.  
 
About the Panelists


 

Shalanda H. Baker is a Professor of Law, Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. She has spent over a decade conducting research on the equity dimensions of the global transition away from fossil fuel energy to cleaner energy resources. She is the author of over a dozen articles, book chapters, and essays on renewable energy law, energy justice, energy policy, and renewable energy development. She is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Initiative for Energy Justice, an organization committed to providing technical law and policy support to communities on the frontlines of climate change. Her forthcoming book, Revolutionary Power: An Activist's Guide to the Energy Transition, argues that energy policy should be the next domain to advance civil rights.

 


 
 

Erich Osterberg is Associate Professor of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth College. His overarching research objective is to understand how and why climate has changed, and identify trends and sources of air pollution. His specialty is creating long (50-50,000 years) records of climate change and air pollution by analyzing chemical markers preserved in glacier ice cores.He also studies data from weather stations and climate models to determine recent climate trends to differentiate natural cycles from human-caused changes. Professor Osterberg is particularly interested in aspects of climate change that impact communities, including sea-level rise from melting glaciers, and the changing number and intensity of storms.

About the Moderator


 

Stephen Doig is the director of research at the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society at Dartmouth, where he is focused on fostering interdisciplinary efforts to tackle pressing multidimensional challenges at the interfaces of energy and society.  Prior to his arrival, Dr. Doig was on the senior leadership team at Rocky Mountain Institute for over 10 years, where he led research and applied efforts in areas ranging from low carbon strategies for states and utilities to designing and building a data center to reduce its energy use by 80%.  He also led teams in building retrofits (e.g. the Empire State Building), carbon fiber car components, efficient oil refining, and low cost solar PV systems. Most recently he founded and led RMI's efforts to bring sustainable energy for economic development (SEED) to African nations, established the Institute's program in the Caribbean Islands (including Puerto Rico) and whole system design effort to make community scale solar affordable.

Critical Infrastructure in a Climate-Changing World, Session Two

January 26 | Policy Perspectives on Climate and Infrastructure with Julio Friedmann and Abby Hopper

In our second session, "Policy Perspectives on Climate and Infrastructure," Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) Julio Friedmann and President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association Abby Hopper '93  will discuss climate change and infrastructure from a policy perspective. What are the policies governing infrastructure  that have contributed to the urgency of our climate moment? What policies are needed to help us transition to a more sustainable energy future and address the impacts of climate change that we are already seeing?

The talk will be moderated by Elizabeth Wilson, Director of the Irving Institute for Energy and Society and Professor of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth. 

VIEW A RECORDING OF THIS TALK.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

Julio Friedmann is a Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA. He recently served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy at the Department of Energy where he was responsible for DOE's R&D program in advanced fossil energy systems, carbon capture, and storage (CCS), CO2 utilization, and clean coal deployment. His expertise includes Large-Scale Carbon Management, CO2 removal, CO2 recycling, Oil and Gas systems, international engagements in clean fossil energy, and inter-agency engagements within the US government. He has also held positions at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, including Senior Advisor for Energy Innovation and Chief Energy Technologist. He is also the CEO of Carbon Wrangler, LLC, is a Distinguished Associate at the Energy Futures Initiative, and serves as a special advisor to the Global CCS Institute. He was recently named as a Senior Fellow to the Breakthrough Institute and the Climate Leadership Council.

Dr. Friedmann is one of the most widely known and authoritative experts in the U.S. on carbon removal (CO2 drawdown from the air and oceans), CO2 conversion and use (carbon-to-value), and carbon capture and sequestration. His expertise includes technology, policy, and operations. In addition to close partnerships with many private companies and NGOs, Julio has worked with the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Treasury.

Dr. Friedmann received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), followed by a Ph.D. in Geology at the University of Southern California. He worked for five years as a senior research scientist at ExxonMobil, then as a research scientist at the University of Maryland. He serves as a formal and informal advisor to several clean energy and CarbonTech companies.
 

Abigail Ross Hopper '93 is President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, the national trade organization for America's solar energy industries. She oversees all of SEIA's activities, including government affairs, research, communications, and industry leadership, and is focused on creating a marketplace where solar will constitute a significant percentage of America's energy generation.  Before joining SEIA, Hopper served as Director of the Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Director of the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA), Energy Advisor to Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and Deputy General Counsel with the Maryland Public Service Commission. Before embarking on a career in public service, she spent nine years in private practice. Abby Hopper graduated Cum Laude from the University of Maryland School of Law and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Dartmouth College. She is the very proud mom of three children and loves to read and ride on her Peloton.

ABOUT THE MODERATOR

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Elizabeth Wilson
Elizabeth Wilson

Elizabeth Wilson is a Professor of Environmental Studies and the inaugural Director of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society.  She studies how energy systems are changing in the face of new technologies and new societal pressures. Her work focuses on the implementation of energy and environmental policies and laws in practice. She studies how institutions support and thwart energy system transitions and focuses on the interplays between technology innovation, policy creation, and institutional decision making. Recent research has examined how energy policy stakeholders view the opportunities and challenges of creating smart grids and decision making within Regional Transmission Organizations, which manage the transmission planning, electricity markets and grid operations of over 70 percent of North America. Her research has also examined how stakeholders in different U.S. states view emerging energy technologies like wind power and carbon-capture and sequestration and the electric power transmission system. Her recent books include Energy Law and Policy (West Academic Publishing) (with Davies, Klass, Tomain and Osofsky) and Smart Grid (R)evolution: Electric Power Struggles (Cambridge Press) (with Stephens and Peterson). Wilson's research group is working on two NSF supported grants on media and stakeholder perceptions of Smart Grid technologies and on decision making in Regional Transmission Organizations.

 

Critical Infrastructure in a Climate-Changing World Session Three

Feb. 9 | 12:15 - 1:15 PM | Technological Perspectives on Climate and Infrastructure

Dana Guernsey '06, TH'07, '08, VP of Product and Energy Markets at Voltus

In our third session, "Technological Perspectives on Climate and Infrastructure," VP of Product and Energy Markets at Voltus, Dana Gurnsey '06, TH'07, '08, will share her perspective on how the energy industry, and in particular her company, Voltus, which provides cash-generating energy products to commercial, institutional, and industrial customers, are thinking about climate change and energy infrastructure. She will explore the changes in capacity, information technology, and policy over the past few decades and discuss what those mean for a climate-changing world.     

VIEW A RECORDING OF THIS TALK.

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Dana Guernsey
Dana Guernsey

About the Speaker: Dana Guernsey '06, TH'07, '08 is Vice President of Product and Energy Markets at Voltus. Dana joined Voltus to continue her passion for helping customers find double bottom line opportunities by using less energy to save money. She is a leading expert in global energy markets and brings more than a decade of experience developing innovative, demand-side energy management products and programs that have delivered billions of dollars in proven value to customers and ratepayers. Before Voltus, Dana was Director of Product Marketing at FirstFuel, which offers cloud-based engagement software to help utilities deepen relationships with their business customers and increase energy efficiency. Prior to FirstFuel she led corporate development and go-to-market strategies at Ambri, an MIT spinout company commercializing batteries for large-scale energy storage on the electric grid. Prior to that she was the Director of Energy Markets at EnerNOC, where she led a world-class team responsible for the profitable management of the company's complex portfolio of nearly 10,000 MWs of demand response assets, covering dozens of wholesale electricity markets and regulated utilities across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Dana grew up in New York City and holds an M.S. in Engineering Management, B.S. in Engineering, and B.A. from Dartmouth College. In her now home state of Massachusetts, recognized as the U.S. leader in energy efficiency by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Dana was named a Mass High Tech "Woman to Watch" in 2014 for her groundbreaking work in the energy and technology industries. Outside of work Dana is likely to be found on the ski slopes, biking, or hiking with her husband and two children.

About the Moderator: Geoffrey Parker is a professor of engineering at Dartmouth College where he also serves as Director of the Master of Engineering Management Program. In addition, he is a research fellow at MIT's Initiative for the Digital Economy where he leads platform industry research studies and co-chairs the annual MIT Platform Strategy Summit. Prior to joining Dartmouth, Parker was a professor of business at Tulane University. He received a B.S.E. from Princeton and M.S. and Ph.D. from MIT. Parker has made significant contributions to the field of network economics and strategy as co-developer of the theory of "two-sided" markets. He is co-author of the book "Platform Revolution." His current research includes studies of platform business strategy, data governance, smart cities and energy systems, financial services, and electronic healthcare record systems. Parker's research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the states of Louisiana and New York, and numerous corporations.  He serves or has served as department editor and associate editor at multiple journals and as a National Science Foundation panelist. Parker won the Thinkers50 2019 Digital Thinking Award, along with Marshall Van Alstyne, for the concepts of the inverted firm, two-sided markets, and how firms can adapt and thrive in a platform economy. Parker is a frequent keynote speaker and advises senior leaders on their organizations' platform strategies. Before attending MIT, he held positions in engineering and finance at GE Semiconductor and GE Healthcare.

Critical Infrastructure in a Climate-Changing World Session Four

March 2 | 12:15 - 1:15 PM | Finance Perspectives on Infrastructure and Climate

How do we finance the energy transition, ensuring that there is an adequate — and equitable — investment in the infrastructure needed to move toward a more sustainable energy future for all? In our fourth session, "Finance Perspectives on Infrastructure and Climate," Dartmouth Professor Matthew Delmont and Founder & CEO of re:focus partners Shalini Vajjhala will share their perspectives. 

VIEW A RECORDING OF THIS TALK.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

Matthew Delmont is the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of History at Dartmouth and a Special Advisor to President Hanlon for faculty diversity. An expert on African-American History and the history of Civil Rights, he is the author four books: Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African American Newspapers (Stanford University Press, 2019); Making Roots: A Nation Captivated (University of California Press, 2016); Why Busing Failed: Race, Media, and the National Resistance to School Desegregation (UC Press, 2016); and The Nicest Kids in Town: American Bandstand, Rock 'n' Roll, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in 1950s Philadelphia (UC Press, 2012).  His next book, Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad, will be published by Viking Books in 2022.  He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Public Scholar Award to support this research.  In addition to these books, he regularly shares his research with media outlets, including the New York Times, NPR, TheAtlantic.com, Washington Post, and The Conversation.  Dr. Delmont has spoken and consulted with Fortune 500 companies, universities, colleges, and community organizations regarding civil rights, diversity and inclusivity, and how to reckon with the history of racism in America. 

Shalini Vajjhala is Founder & CEO of re:focus partners, a design firm dedicated to developing integrated resilient infrastructure solutions and innovative public-private partnerships for vulnerable communities around the world. Prior to founding re:focus, Shalini served as Special Representative in the Office of Administrator Lisa Jackson at the US EPA, where she led the US-Brazil Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability. Previously, she was Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Office of International & Tribal Affairs at EPA and Deputy Associate Director for Energy & Climate at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She joined the Obama Administration from Resources for the Future. Shalini received her PhD in Engineering & Public Policy and B.Arch in Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University and she is currently a nonresident senior fellow with The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program.
 

ABOUT THE MODERATOR

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Elizabeth Wilson
Elizabeth Wilson

Elizabeth Wilson is a Professor of Environmental Studies and the inaugural Director of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society.  She studies how energy systems are changing in the face of new technologies and new societal pressures. Her work focuses on the implementation of energy and environmental policies and laws in practice. She studies how institutions support and thwart energy system transitions and focuses on the interplays between technology innovation, policy creation, and institutional decision making. Recent research has examined how energy policy stakeholders view the opportunities and challenges of creating smart grids and decision making within Regional Transmission Organizations, which manage the transmission planning, electricity markets and grid operations of over 70 percent of North America. Her research has also examined how stakeholders in different U.S. states view emerging energy technologies like wind power and carbon-capture and sequestration and the electric power transmission system. Her recent books include Energy Law and Policy (West Academic Publishing) (with Davies, Klass, Tomain and Osofsky) and Smart Grid (R)evolution: Electric Power Struggles (Cambridge Press) (with Stephens and Peterson). Wilson's research group is working on two NSF supported grants on media and stakeholder perceptions of Smart Grid technologies and on decision making in Regional Transmission Organizations.

Resources Mentioned in the Talk

Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America
Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project: Racial Restrictive Covenants
How Decades of Racist Housing Policy Left Neighborhoods Sweltering
Black Homeowners Face Discrimination in Appraisals
In Jackson, Miss., two weeks with no running water and no end in sight
Four steps to undo the harms of legacy infrastructure in the COVID-19 recovery
Northwest Resiliency Park

March 9 | 12:15 - 1:15 p.m.

Local Impact: Climate and Infrastructure in the Upper Valley

On Tuesday, March 9 at 12:15 p.m., join us for "Local Impact" our final session of Critical Infrastructure in a Climate-Changing World. How are local industries thinking about the impact of climate change on local infrastructure and our communities? How can we build more resilient communities that are able to adapt and cope with the effects of climate change as well as help mitigate its worst consequences? Hypertherm's Environmental Stewardship Team Leader, Robin Tindall and Corporate Improvement Program Manager Alex Jaccaci, join Dartmouth Sustainability Director Rosi Kerr in a conversation focused on the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont. 

A video recording of this talk will be posted soon. 

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

Alex Jaccaci is the Corporate Improvement Program Manager at Hypertherm where he supports associates across the global company to implement continuous improvements and pursue operational excellence. At Hypertherm, Alex serves as a member of the Green Engagement Advisory Committee supporting the company's sustainability objectives. Alex is the founder and serves as the chair of the Upper Valley Adaptation Workgroup, a regional partner organization advancing the mission of climate resiliency in local New Hampshire and Vermont communities. Alex's prior experiences include serving as the Associate Vice President for Organizational Improvement and Planning at Alice Peck Day Health Systems where his responsibilities included guiding strategic planning, performance improvement and sustainability. Alex is also the former President of Growth Curve Associates, a consulting firm fostering leadership development and high-performance teams in organizations. Alex received his BA in Sustainable Design from the University of Vermont, and his MA in Organizational Management and Development from the Fielding Graduate University.

Robin Tindall serves as Hypertherm's Environmental Stewardship Team Leader, integrating environmental stewardship along the entire value chain. Her efforts are central to Hypertherm's mission of reducing the environmental impact of everything it does. Guided by an aggressive set of  corporate sustainability goals, Robin touches upon all aspects of the business beginning with product design, supply and operations, to end use and product end of life. Under Robin's watch, Hypertherm's landfill waste is down to under 1% today; electricity consumption is down 6% percent.  A trained environmental engineer with a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, a B.S.E. in environmental engineering and an MBA, Robin's experience stretches 23 years.

Rosi Kerr is Dartmouth's Director of Sustainability. She aims to help transform Dartmouth into a global leader of sustainability scholarship, education and action. Rosi brings experience in community-based energy systems, energy markets, environmental nonprofits and organizational change to her role at Dartmouth. Rosi loves doing fun things with her kids, the far North, hiking, rowing, bikes (especially old ones) and cooking brunch.