OSU Corvallis campus
David Bernell and Mike Starrett
The OSU School of Public Policy has assisted the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) for three years in exploring the feasibility of using solar energy and waste-to-energy systems for generating local electricity supplies. With a 40 percent chance of a major earthquake to occur off the coast of Oregon by 2060, EWEB is preparing to provide power in Eugene through a microgrid that can be isolated from the larger electric power grid if needed. This local electricity supply would be part of an overall Eugene community disaster readiness plan and help protect the operational functions of critical infrastructures--such as police, fire, communications, and healthcare services--and promote community resiliency in the event of a disaster.
OSU students and faculty have produced a series of studies that assess the feasibility of community-based generation in Eugene using only locally-available renewable energy sources. Their work has involved analyzing the policies that facilitate and/or hinder the adoption of new technologies and markets, interviewing government officials and market actors to assess their views of the opportunities and barrers, and recommending the changes in policy that would be necessary to incentivize a collaborative effort among EWEB, city and county government agencies, and local businesses to develop new electric generation capabilities.
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Dr. Bernell's research and teaching focus on US energy policy, energy security, and international relations. He is the author of the books The Energy Security Dilemma: US Policy and Practice, and Constructing US Foreign Policy: The Curious Case of Cuba. He formerly served with the US Office of Management and Budget in the Natural Resources, Energy, Science and Water divisions; and with the US Department of the Interior as an Advisor on Trade and the Environment.
He works as a member of the generating resources team and is a technical lead in emerging technologies and energy storage. Prior to joining the council, Mike worked as a project manager, team lead, and senior consultant. Mike has extensive experience in power system analysis, electric machines, and system modeling. He received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering (Power & Energy Systems) from Oregon State University and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Technological University.