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About Us

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The CAES Energy Policy Institute is a non-partisan and evidence-based research and advising center that specializes in applied, social and technical analysis of energy systems. It does so by bridging engineering and economics.

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We work with policymakers, industry, and communities to advance understanding of trade-offs that are inherent in choices about clean, resilient, and secure energy systems. As the policy hub for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies consortium (CAES),* our team and partners draw upon integrative strengths in policy & regulation, science & engineering, as well as business & economics to advance planning and policy.

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With external funding from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, the International Atomic Energy Agency, Sloan Foundation, and Western Governors’ Association, among funders, the Institute completes projects on a range of topics. Key areas of current focus include: Policies and potential for hydrogen production in decarbonizing communities; Critical mineral security and energy transitions; Community-informed and consent-based siting of nuclear waste; Energy-water system resilience; Wildfires and the grid; Planning for regional diversification with energy change; Cyber-security for critical energy systems; Microgrids and planning for resilience;Energy jobs in economic restructuring; Storage and electricity markets; Transportation, energy and urban growth; etc.

*Note: The CAES consortium focuses on research, education and innovation. It consists of Idaho National Laboratory plus public university partners in the Intermountain West.

EPI Team

Dr. Kathleen Araújo

Dr. Kathleen Araújo, Director and Professor of Sustainable Energy Systems, Innovation, and Policy,

Dr. Kathleen Araújo specializes in strategic planning and policy associated with energy transitions and geopolitics. This includes social and technical aspects of low carbon management, as well as the resilience of critical energy infrastructure in extreme weather events.

Dr. Araújo’s research contributes to the advancing field of energy transitions, where she writes on practical choices and theory-building. Her book, Low Carbon Energy Transitions: Turning Points in National Policy and Innovation (Oxford University Press), examines the social and technical history of country-level change with Icelandic geothermal energy, French nuclear power, Danish wind power and Brazilian biofuels following the 1973 oil crisis. Her edited volume, the Routledge Handbook of Energy Transitions (Routledge) distills the state of current knowledge on energy transitions. Closely related to the above focus is her related work on sustainability, community-informed decision-making, and science-technology policy. She has evaluated the global sustainability tradeoffs of biofuels, international regulation of cyber-nuclear risk and post-Fukushima nuclear safety, as well as the  the role of skills and infrastructure repurposing in energy industry clusters. In recent years, Dr. Araújo has examined regional revitalization strategies in traditional fossil fuel-based economies that are diversifying and critical minerals security.

In 2023, Dr. Araújo was named a Presidential Innovator. She is the lead for one of twelve consortia established with funding by the U.S. Department of Energy on consent-based siting, and is a lead for Boise State on a $24 million NSF award to evaluate energy-water system resilience. She is Boise State’s program director for an on-line certificate in nuclear safeguards and security that is offered by a multi-institutional partnership. Dr. Araújo has presented or led discussions in forums with the University of Cambridge, Arctic Circle Conference, and Fukushima Medical University. She also consults for communities, industry and inter-governmental organizations.

For a discussion by Dr. Araújo and Mr. David Shropshire on energy resilience, see Systems Resilience: The road to a clean energy future. For information about some of her work in energy education, see Innovative partnership powers student education in ’21st Century Opportunities and Challenges in Energy’.

Ms. Cassandra Koerner

Ms. Cassandra Koerner, Assistant Director of Research, Communications & Development,

Cassandra Koerner headshot

Ms. Cassandra Koerner joined the EPI team in March 2020 as the Assistant Director of Research, Communications, and Development. She brings years of experience working in the public sector as a regulator, researcher, technical writer, and budget manager as well as a private contractor. Her education and experience provide a scientific and technical framework on which to build policy investigations. She has published articles and book chapters regarding small modular nuclear reactors, nuclear perceptions, energy efficiency, renewable energy in the west, carbon sequestration, and international carbon markets, as well as others on general energy and environmental issues. Koerner holds a Master of Public Administration from Boise State University (2012) and a Master of Arts in political science and environmental policy from Colorado State University (2016). She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in natural resource conservation from the University of Montana (2005).

Dr. Stephanie Lenhart

Dr. Stephanie Lenhart headshot

Dr. Stephanie Lenhart, Senior Research Associate and Associate Research Professor,

Stephanie Lenhart is a Senior Research Associate with the Energy Policy Institute and is faculty in the School of Public Service at Boise State University. She studies energy system governance, environmental policy implementation, and inter-organizational collaboration. Recent work has focused on decision-making by public utilities and electric cooperatives and inter-organizational collaboration in regional transmission organizations.

Jake Placido

Jake Placido headshot

Jake Placido, Business Operations Manager,

Jake Placido is the Energy Policy Institute’s Business Operations Manager. After completing his undergraduate studies at Boise State, he served in the United States Coast Guard. Following his service, he worked in the financial technology sector and completed a Professional MBA with Boise State.

Graduate Assistants

Anna Kouts

Masters of Public Administration

Ollie Newman

Masters of Political Science

Jeff Morgan

PhD Candidate in Public Policy

Joe Hudson

Masters of Business Administration

Cole Lancaster

Masters of Political Science

Partners & Board

Affiliate Researchers

Meet our Affiliates

Advisory Board

Meet the Advisory Board
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