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Michaud named to Midwest Energy 40 Under 40 for work in renewable energy

Kat Tenbarge
October 8, 2018

Gilbert Michaud, Ph.D., an assistant professor of practice at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, has received a Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40 Award.

The Energy News Network is a nonprofit news organization dedicated to keeping stakeholders, policymakers and citizens informed about clean energy in different regional daily digests, including the Midwest Energy News.

The 40 Under 40 awards recognize emerging leaders in the Midwest’s transition to a clean energy economy, something Michaud has demonstrated as the principal investigator of an AEP Ohio solar energy research project.

Gilbert Michaud Midwest Energy News' 40 Under 40 Award 2018

In April, the Voinovich School announced its partnership with AEP Ohio, one of the state’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, to study the economic benefits of utilizing solar energy and other renewable energy resources in southeast Ohio.

“Relatively speaking, Ohio doesn’t have a lot of solar, but that is definitely changing,” Michaud said. “We’re conducting research and finding innovative energy solutions for the future, considering our assets.”

AEP Ohio awarded the Voinovich School a $250,000 grant to study the company’s planned deployment of 400 megawatts of solar energy in the southeast Ohio area by 2021.

“This initiative itself is nearly tripling the amount of installed solar capacity that Ohio has,” Michaud said of AEP’s project. “Among other activities, we’re conducting economic impact and workforce analyses to try to better understand the number of jobs that this will create, as well as the tax impacts to the region.”

Michaud emphasized the “mind-blowingly large” scale of the AEP Ohio project: The average solar energy system on a home or small business is typically somewhere between 4 and 8 kilowatts. One megawatt is equivalent 1,000 kilowatts, making this one initiative roughly equal to installing 50,000 to 100,000 individual small-scale solar energy systems.

Michaud also believed that he received this award for some of his other recent research, including the investigation of renewable energy job trends in Ohio and the Midwest, community choice aggregation models, and solar workforce issues, exhibited through recent conference presentations and forthcoming papers. 

“I always appreciate being recognized for the work that I am doing, both individually, as well as with colleagues here at the Voinovich School and beyond,” Michaud said.  Michaud and the other recipients of the Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40 award were honored on September 17, 2018 at Coalition: Energy, a shared office hub for energy professionals, in downtown Chicago, Illinois.