Fueling the Energy Institute

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Shown here: Borenstein at one of the Energy Institute’s daily brown-bag lunches where faculty, students, and staff exchange research and policy ideas, often joined by leaders from industry or government.

Professor Severin Borenstein brought the Energy Institute at Haas to preeminence in energy economics and policy by attracting top faculty and students, developing relationships with industry and government, and keeping the culture collaborative.

He has advised California lawmakers on the state’s groundbreaking cap-and-trade efforts and on critical energy issues, from electricity deregulation to gasoline prices. Last December, Borenstein was appointed to the California Energy Commission’s Petroleum Market Advisory Committee. He’ll be one of five people considering what drives California’s gasoline prices and whether the market is workably competitive. “Figuring out how to take academic research and get policy makers’ attention is among Severin’s gifts,” says Ralph Cavanagh, energy program co-director for the NRDC.

It’s not uncommon for Borenstein to be interviewed by the news media three to four times a week. “The Energy Institute is one of the most important public contacts UC Berkeley has,” says Tom Vacar, consumer editor and investigative reporter for KTVU Channel 2 in Oakland, Calif. For example, Vacar says, when a refinery goes down, Borenstein translates the disruption into practical terms for consumers by explaining what effect it is likely to have at the pump.

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