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Voinovich School faculty awarded for contributions to sustainability research

Daniel Kington
May 31, 2018

Michaud, GilbertAt Ohio University’s 2018 Earth Day celebration, Dr. Gilbert Michaud, assistant professor of practice at OHIO’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, was awarded the University’s 2018 Faculty Sustainability Research and Advocacy Award in recognition of his work joining renewable energy and economic development research.

Michaud has been working on energy and sustainability matters since his first job after his undergraduate studies as an editorial director for a large business journal. He left that position to focus on graduate school, eventually completing a master’s thesis focused on community wind cooperatives and a doctoral dissertation investigating community solar policy adoption. 

“My career has really snowballed from me interviewing energy company CEOs and writing corporate case studies, into technical, academic research investigating energy policies, energy generation, use patterns and jobs, particularly with a focus on renewable technologies such as solar and wind,” Michaud said.

Much of Michaud’s research at the Voinovich School has specifically centered on renewable energy deployment trends and their relation to economic development. Exemplary projects in this realm have included: a report on job trends and projections for the State of Ohio’s energy industries, research and presentations investigating economic and political barriers to and opportunities for solar energy deployment, and a new, AEP-funded project evaluating the various impacts of increased solar energy use on rural areas in Ohio.

Elaine Goetz presents the Voinovich School's Gilbert Michaud with Ohio University's 2018 Faculty Sustainability Research and Advocacy Award.

Elaine Goetz, Ohio University’s interim director of sustainability, conferred Michaud’s award and said he was selected for his exemplary contributions to sustainability research.

“This year’s winner has, in the last year alone, produced new research regarding the economic feasibility of solar energy installations, as well as re-employment options for those affected by the diminishing coal economy,” Goetz said.

One of Michaud’s nominators said, “Overall, he has produced substantial work that impacts our understanding of renewable technologies and how they relate to the electricity supply, pricing and long-term energy sustainability.” In voting for Michaud as winner of this award, one evaluator on the selection committee said, “His work hits all three pillars of sustainability: education/social, environment and economics.”

Michaud said he hopes to continue working at the intersection of these pillars.

“It’s great to have the unique opportunity to interact with and bring together the different arms of the Voinovich School, and I hope to continue to establish myself in this research niche that marries economic development with energy and sustainability,” Michaud said. “Better comprehending energy consumption and generation data, changes in consumer demand and advancements to our electricity grid can shed light onto how renewable energy technologies may be a path forward for jobs and wealth creation in Ohio and beyond as fossil fuel industries continue to decline. I appreciate being recognized at the university level for this work.”