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ASU continues to shape Arizona's energy future

Gary Dirks, director of LightWorks and the Wrigley Institute at ASU
August 25, 2014

Arizona State University has long taken action in shaping Arizona’s energy future.

In the next iteration of this endeavor, Gary Dirks, director of LightWorks, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and the Algae Testbed Public-Private Partnership (ATP3) at Arizona State University, has been named a member of the Governor’s State Energy Advisory Board.

“I am delighted to sit on the state energy advisory board, to help frame the Arizona energy narrative and to explore the many rich possibilities of Arizona’s energy future,” Dirks said.

In 2011, the 99th Arizona Town Hall focused on Arizona’s Energy Future as the key theme, following a series of discussions on ASU background research conducted about the future of energy in Arizona. The published report was made available to Arizona Town Hall members, the Arizona Legislature and other elected officials, public libraries and the general public. This coincided with a Youth Town Hall on the same topic, hosted at ASU.

In 2012, ASU kicked off its annual Emerge event, convening artists and scientists to help reimagine and redesign the future by confronting the accelerating pace of our ever-changing lives. Emerge asked, “What kind of future do we want to make?” That event, which united numerous university entities, ignited a larger drive to find tangible solutions to these challenges, and ways to illuminate these new futures.

Since these events, and through Dirks' leadership, ASU has been involved in a number of projects and opportunities to shape our energy future both here in Arizona and across the globe.

In 2013, the Wrigley Institute at ASU developed a short course for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group. This course updated IFC staff members of the Climate Sector Group on the latest science and knowledge on the impact of climate change in various areas, including energy systems. The course was built around IFC priority considerations when assessing investment need and potential in developing countries.

Earlier this year, the Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy released emPOWER Arizona, the statewide energy assessment for Arizona’s energy future, which was developed by the Governor’s energy task force. ASU’s Energy Policy Innovation Council, led by Kris Mayes, contributed to that effort.

This year, along with numerous ASU partners, Dirks was pivotal in creating the Renewable Energy Leadership Training Program, which provides strategic workshops and opportunities to assist with energy transitions in various nations, allowing both ASU and participants to gain valuable insight into the complexities and nuances of such transitions. The first session included participants from Palestine, with additional projects forthcoming in both Albania and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Dirks has been essential in helping to leverage and unite ASU resources and talent around today’s energy challenges. He will play an invaluable role as a member of the State Energy Advisory Board, bringing ASU’s unique strengths to Arizona policy leaders.