Energy Policy & Climate Alum Published in an Elsevier Journal

Posted in Energy Policy and Climate, Home page featured

Sarah Olexsak, a 2012 graduate of the MS in Energy Policy and Climate (EPC) program, recently published, “The electricity impacts of Earth Hour: An international comparative analysis of energy-saving behavior” in Energy Research & Social Science.

Sarah OlexsakLike many EPC students, Ms. Olexsak chose this degree program as an avenue to fine tune her technical skills and enhance her professional goals in the energy policy field. Ms. Olexsak’s interest in energy policy started during her undergraduate degree.

“I’ve always been interested in theory at the nexus of the environment and human behavior,” said Ms. Olexsak. “An Environmental Ethics class that I took in undergrad laid some foundation of this interest and the policy application that I’m always in contact with in Washington gives this issue a real-life context.”

Her article, “The electricity impacts of Earth Hour: An international comparative analysis of energy-saving behavior”, explores the annual, global effort to reduce electricity consumption for one hour.

“Earth Hour’s objective is to call attention to environmentally sustainable action through the collective impact made through combined voluntary electricity conservation efforts. We compiled 274 measurements of observed changes in electricity demand caused by Earth Hour in 10 countries, spanning 6 years,” said Ms. Olexsak. “These events reduced electricity consumption an average of 4%.”

The collective effort of Earth Hour raises awareness of regional electricity demand and illustrates the complexities of energy policy. The EPC program offers many courses which focus on the global dimensions of energy governance and effective climate change response. EPC students develop a firm grasp on the transformative role of energy law and policy making.

“The policy challenge is to convert these short-term events into longer-term actions, including sustained changes in behavior and investment,” said Ms. Olexsak. “These events demonstrate the importance of short-term behavior on energy demand and possible applications to energy policies.” To read more of Ms. Olexsak’s article, click here.

Interested in having your research published? Ms. Olexsak offers sage advice, “Be prepared for the process to take a while! Make sure you’re partnered up with a great advisor or mentor who has been through the process before. Don’t get discouraged by negative feedback from peer reviewers — take that constructive criticism and improve your work. Lastly, consider signing up to be a peer reviewer for others, it will help your professional growth and is important to maintain the integrity of the peer review process.”