IES provides a hub for cross-college energy science, policy and technology research and development, which benefits the public and enhances the land-grant mission of the University of Arizona. The Institute is a platform for energy experts, who work closely with industry, NGOs, government, and communities to address emerging energy challenges and opportunities.
Specifically, the Institute promotes work to more reliably integrate renewable energy into the grid through the Power Forecasting Group and energy storage research initiatives; develop novel materials for energy conversion, energy-efficient water use and intelligent building technologies; support regional test beds and facilities and study the societal and economic impacts of technological advancements. Through partnerships, we expand our breadth of social, scientific, economic, and engineering capabilities to transfer knowledge from the laboratory to the field.
IES works to advance research, outreach and educational activities at the University of Arizona, focused on creating safe, resilient, and secure Energy Solutions. The institute builds on the success of the University of Arizona Renewable Energy Network (UAREN) to create an organization that expands the collaboration with others to respond to the deeply interrelated sustainability issues associated with the energy- water- food nexus.
Accomplishments and Impacts
- The UA IES Future Energy Leaders Summer Fellowship Program, funds student research in national research laboratories, universities and industries beyond the UA primarily during the summer session. Many of these students also participate in the annual Arizona Student Energy Conference, an annual Renewable energy science, technology and policy Conference sponsored by UA IES with ASU GIOS and NAU Sustainable Energy Initiative.
- UA IES and UNS (Unisource)/TEP (Tucson Electric Power Company) began a collaboration that funds research, development and demonstration at the UA in solar energy and grid reliability for intermittent resources such as advanced forecasting models.
- UA IES created the Arizona Energy Policy Initiative (AzEPI)” and Smart Grid/Smart Cities Initiative. These initiatives develop programs and resources to translate and promote UA research that informs policy decisions, drives research and development and promotes sustainability practices in urban environments.
- The Navajo Solar Desalination Demonstration Project” brings together UA IES, the College of Engineering, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Navajo Nation to develop an autonomous, solar-powered desalination system to provide clean water to communities in Southwest Navajo Nation and act as a prototype for further sustained use of these systems within the community and the globe.
UA IES will strengthen the position of the UA and the state of Arizona as leading global institutions ready to address these challenges and enhance their competitiveness by building on three key areas:
- Fostering energy research
- Advancing energy innovation
- Educating energy leaders
UA IES is also a founding member of the University of Arizona’s Water, Environmental, and Energy Solutions (WEES), a funding initiative to integrate UA’s vast expertise in water, the environment, and energy. Established by the University of Arizona and the Arizona Board of Regents, WEES is co-managed by the Water Sustainability Program, the Institute of the Environment, and the UA Renewable Energy Network. WEES funds are used to support interdisciplinary and cross-sector collaborations concerning scientific, technological, and policy-related solutions to Arizona’s water, environment, and energy issues.