The ESM program launched its spring speaker series by hosting David Hochschild, Chair of the California Energy Commission, who met with students and talked about California’s sweeping efforts to decarbonize the energy system. Commissioner Hochschild characterized the current moment as the beginning of “The Great Implementation,” in which the state has made its commitment to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and adopted the necessary policies, leaving the work of actually deploying advanced, low-carbon energy systems.
In conversation with ESM academic director Jim Williams, Commissioner Hochschild touched on a wide array of subjects, ranging from exciting new technological developments to California’s global leadership. He described the CEC’s role in such areas as ecologically-responsible offshore wind development, the rapid expansion of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, and the development of a “Lithium Valley” in the Salton Sea area to circumvent supply chain constraints for battery energy storage.
Commissioner Hochschild also highlighted how California’s decarbonization policies emphasize equity and affordable access to clean energy, whether in supporting building electrification and energy efficiency for low-income residents, or the construction of solar microgrids in rural areas, including Native lands.
Speaking of his personal journey in the energy field, Commissioner Hochschild encouraged the student audience to consider a career in public service. The CEC is hiring, he said, and welcomes ESM students and graduates who have “fire in the belly” to be part of the energy transformation to apply.
The ESM program is proud to be educating the next generation of clean energy leaders and we are grateful to Commissioner Hochschild for sharing his time and vision.