The Clean Energy Area of Excellence brings together specialists across disciplines to modify the creation and transportation of the world's energy supply. The transition away from fossil fuels will require an overhaul of our grid systems and further studies into clean, renewable energies.

Why does this area of excellence matter in sustainability?

Clean energy solutions include energy derived from biomass, geothermal, hydro, solar, and wind resources. These resources are renewable and sustainable, but challenges remain in developing new solutions to produce clean energy going forward, and in moving those solutions into the marketplace.

Education in the SES – Clean Energy Area of Excellence is critical to provide the next generation of experts who will help in providing energy solutions to reduce fossil fuel use associated with climate change and the degradation of our environment. The challenges we confront are to deliberately transition our energy sources from fossil fuels to clean energy, while continuing to understand and adapt from climate disruptions that cannot be avoided.

Key Questions:

  • Can the cost-benefit ratio for renewable fuel production be enhanced by also developing bio-based co-products while generating energy?
  • What is the correct mix of biomass, geothermal, hydro, solar, and wind for particular regions given local constraints on resources and local demand for energy?
  • What are the best ways to transport renewable energy, particularly when it is generated in rural areas, and energy-demand is in high-population centers?
  • What Is the necessary energy storage capacity to ensure consistent energy output throughout the country?


Dwayne Breger (ECo), Zara Dowling (ECo), Wayne Feiden (LARP), Carl Fiocchi (ECo), Barry Goodell (Micro), Curt Griffin (ECo), Stephen Herbert (SSA), Jim Holden (Micro), Ho-Sung Kim (ECo), Derek Lovley (Micro), Kelly Nevin (Micro), Alexander Schreyer (ECo), Eve Vogel (GEO), Benjamin Weil (ECo)

For more details about our faculty, staff, and researchers engaged in this area, please visit the SES Clean Energy Directory page.

*Department of Environmental Conservation (ECo), Environmental Microbiology Group within the Department of Microbiology (Micro), Department of Geosciences (GEO), Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning (LARP), Stockbridge School of Agriculture (SSA)

Featured Projects:

Project: Creating Opportunity:  Building a Massachusetts Battery Energy Storage Innovation Ecosystem

Dwayne Breger, Director, UMass Clean Energy Extension and Extension Faculty in the Department of Environmental Conservation
John Fabel, River Strong, Charles Misenti, Jennifer Taylor

UMass Clean Energy Extension surveyed leading Massachusetts academic researchers and principals and entrepreneurs at a broad range of Massachusetts-based battery ventures to evaluate Massachusetts' battery energy storage (BES) innovation ecosystem.  The report presents a set of Key Findings and Recommendations to empower new opportunities to grow this research, innovation, and business development in Massachusetts.

Project 2: CEE Student Engagement

UMass Clean Energy Corps class, Ben Weil, Extension Faculty in the Department of Environmental Conservation

CEE is proud to feature the UMass Clean Energy Corps as a critical aspect of our efforts to help achieve both the UMass educational mission and the clean energy goals of the Commonwealth. Established in 2016, the Corps is a student-centered initiative focused on assisting entities across the Commonwealth develop and meet their clean energy goals. The Corps is trained, coordinated and managed by Professor Ben Weil and the CEE staff. The Corps provides energy analysis and consulting services to Massachusetts cities and towns, trains students in advanced energy analysis and auditing techniques, draws high caliber students to the sustainability undergraduate and graduate programs, and helps UMass and CEE demonstrate the value of their integrated teaching, extension, and research programs to the public.

The primary goals of the Corps are to:

  • Give students hands-on energy assessment, building science, and clean energy project management experience while working with real-life business clients and projects;
  • Link Massachusetts communities to the technical assistance and workforce capacity they need to envision, develop, and meet their clean energy goals; and
  • Prepare the next generation of energy professionals entering the Massachusetts clean energy economy.