Annual Report


From Our Directors

This annual report marks a full year operating in a pandemic. After transitioning to an entirely digital delivery system last year, we are pleased to report a highly productive year in our three core areas:

fostering impactful research

convening today’s experts

developing tomorrow’s leaders

We have produced some of our most attended events, most read policy digests, and most listened to podcast episodes. Our audience is tuning in to Kleinman Center programming now more than ever.
Mark Alan Hughes
Founding Faculty Director

Video Letter

Faculty Director Mark Alan Hughes and Executive Director Cory Colijn share highlights in this year’s video letter.

Fostering Impactful Research

From the how-tos of carbon capture to powering informal settlements, our research grows out of the expertise here at Penn, including our own research team and scholars across campus who respond to our annual call for grants. Our visiting scholars program reaches beyond campus, drawing expertise from across the globe.

Center Research

Clean Energy Conversions Lab

Last fall we were pleased to welcome our first faculty hire: Jennifer Wilcox, Presidential Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Energy Policy. In December, Wilcox took a leave of absence to serve at the Department of Energy, where she is Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management.

A team of researchers continues her carbon capture work here at Penn’s Clean Energy Conversations Lab, researching everything from carbon mapping to reverse mining.

While at Penn, Wilcox and her team published the first CDR Primer, a resource on the fundamentals of carbon dioxide removal and its role in addressing the climate crisis. This online tool has already garnered more than 100K page views.

Grant Money
Six prestigious grants help fund this work, including ARPA-E and ClimateWorks Foundation
Carbon capture expert and Penn Kleinman Energy Faculty Jennifer Wilcox will be Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at Department of Energy, and I cannot think of a better choice! A great team being assembled here.
Jesse Jenkins
Assistant Professor, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, Princeton

Kleinman Center Projects

Research Grants

Our research grants this year supported energy-related projects that spanned the disciplines of business, economics, engineering, design, arts, and science. Grant recipients wrote on everything from carbon tax to energy storage. We learned about the opportunities for nuclear in Africa and the challenges of energy efficiency in historic preservation.

grants given this year
schools represented

Policy Digests and Reports

Over the past decade, governments have finally started to combat climate change through policy interventions, but a constant fear has been how the economy and the markets will react to any new legislation. To what degree are such concerns warranted?
Wind has become the cheapest energy source, and energy storage is becoming cheaper every year. Together they could become the main source of electricity worldwide. When will this happen and which storage technology will prevail?
More than a billion people worldwide live in informal settlements and lack proper access to energy. This case study explores energy poverty in the slums of Accra, Ghana, where illegal electrical hookups are the norm. How can we reverse this trend while providing safe, reliable, and affordable energy to all?
Electric motors and turbines are an integral part of decarbonization. While these technologies may not directly produce carbon emissions, many of them require specific rare earth elements. Extracting these elements is an energy-intensive and heavily polluting process, complicating the transition to “clean” energy.
Behind the facades of old buildings may very well be the secret to accelerating climate progress. Learn how laws must change to unleash the potential of “the greenest buildings”—those already built.
Why the real estate community must consider investing more capital into the climate tech ecosystem—and how some companies are paving the way.
COVID-19 opens the door to stimulus packages based on renewable energy and a healthy climate. The falling costs of clean energy also open the door for the recovery to address social justice.
Even with the move to cleaner energy, the demand for fossil fuel feedstocks—think plastics and fertilizer—continues to grow. Here’s why petrochemical producers should shoulder the embedded carbon burden.
Islands are uniquely challenged by climate change and the need for decarbonization. They have high energy prices, rely on imported fuels, lack space and resources, and are vulnerable to natural disasters. If the transition to clean and renewable energy can happen on islands, it can happen anywhere.
Lithium-ion batteries have become far more affordable and are now an increasingly viable method of providing hourly and daily load balancing in heavily decarbonized electricity markets. But they won’t come close to meeting the need for seasonal storage solutions.
Carbon offsets are increasingly becoming a strategy to reduce environmental impacts, but providers of credits will need to ensure quality, appropriate funding, and cooperation with local institutions.
Presenting a framework for adopting circular economy approaches to increasing energy efficiency and diversity, this paper outlines exemplary projects in several cities.
Climate change will increasingly require both homeowners and policymakers to accept the sobering reality that we must move away from our most vulnerable communities.
New nuclear technologies could help power the future of Africa and build a bridge to sustainable energy. The challenge, however, lies in financing and regulating nuclear deployment.
The City of Philadelphia has committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. But achieving this goal largely depends on developing a carbon-neutral regional electricity grid. The most effective response may be to first focus on local energy efficiency.
As the number of electric vehicles in large cities increases dramatically, the development of supporting infrastructure, particularly public charging stations, has influenced the transformation of urban spatial patterns.

Research Recognition

Truck Ports Explainer Video

Highlighting the work of Kleinman Center affiliate Steve Viscelli, this short explainer video on the energy efficiency gains of well-designed truck ports caught the attention of numerous federal and corporate policy makers, as well as journalists. On campus, it was featured in Penn Today and other Penn outlets, reaching an audience of 230,000.

An analysis by the University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy notes that the soil and groundwater at the site of P.E.S. have been contaminated with a number of toxic substances, including benzene, a known carcinogen.
New York Times Magazine
Media Mentions
Academic References


While we missed gathering in the Energy Forum, we continued to convene students, thought leaders, and visiting scholars for a full lineup of content-rich virtual events. Our workshops, lectures, panels, and seminars drew speakers and audiences from around the world.

Carnot Prize

The Carnot Prize is the Kleinman Center’s annual recognition of distinguished contributions to energy policy through scholarship or practice.

Sheila Oparaocha, an energy equity leader at ENERGIA, received this year’s Carnot Prize for distinguished contributions to energy policy. Oparaocha has spent nearly two decades working in the gender and energy sector. She currently manages a multi-country and multi-partner program portfolio spanning 22 countries in Asia and Africa. Oparaocha accepted the prize remotely from her home in Zambia—with her mother by her side.

Lectures, Workshops & Seminars

During the pandemic, we produced virtual events with an emphasis on timely and engaging topics and high-profile presenters.

Public Events

Tony Reames explored racial disparities in energy efficiency and rooftop solar adoption and offered examples of community-based solutions.
Our panel of experts discussed the implementation of nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change and help achieve climate neutrality.
Leah Stokes presented her recent academic research, including ongoing projects.
Our panel of Penn alumni shared how energy policy shaped their career paths.
Two researchers from Princeton University, Jesse Jenkins and Eric Larson, joined the Kleinman Center for a discussion of affordable paths to a carbon-neutrality by 2050.
This panel brought together practitioners and researchers to discuss how we can more equitably distribute the benefits that advances in energy policy and technology.
David Spence explored a rapid green transition and value choices that are not featuring as prominently in the policy debate.

Workshops & Seminars

This annual conference, hosted this year at Penn, featured the latest research on energy policy and environmental economics.
Now in its fifth year, this seminar provided a space to workshop research at the intersection of energy economics and finance.

Virtual Engagement

This year, we learned that the silver lining of virtual events is a larger reach. While past live events gathered local audiences, this year’s events pulled in registered guests well-beyond the Philadelphia area.

Event registration map - showing wide national and international reach

Virtual Visiting Scholars

With no travel to campus, our visiting scholars participated in more flexible collaborations this year—meeting with Penn faculty and presenting public lectures from their home offices.

Sara Bronin

Professor, Cornell University

Tony Reames

Assistant Professor, University of Michigan

Nathalie Seddon

Professor, University of Oxford


In its fifth season, Energy Policy Now covered timely energy topics on everything from Europe’s hydrogen plan to Biden’s climate agenda.

Episodes This Year
Listens Over 5 Seasons
I want to echo my appreciation for the podcast and the attention it has already brought to ENERGIA’s work. I have been contacted by four new local women groups working in Zambia that I would not have engaged with otherwise.
Sheila Oparaocha
2021 Carnot Prize Recipient


We aim to not only educate students about energy policy, but to immerse them in energy policy. Our student grants program, spring seminar series, summer fellowships, and research opportunities are just a few ways students get hands-on experience through the Kleinman Center. This year, we offered our first-ever student blog competition—preparing tomorrow’s leaders with research and writing opportunities.

Introduction to Energy Policy

To keep ENMG 502 students engaged, professor Mark Alan Hughes produced a flipped classroom experience with prerecorded lectures and discussion questions that students answered before class.

Synchronous class time was then spent on further discussion and student-directed mini-lectures.

This innovative teaching approach recently captured the interest of a journalist from Inside Climate News, who asked to come and observe the class and write a story about it.

Blog Competition

Our first student blog competition drew submissions from across campus. Students proposed unique energy policy solutions to address the climate crisis. Finalists were featured on the Kleinman Center website and the top three writers received cash prizes.

Undergraduate Student Seminar

Once again, we gathered students interested in climate and energy policy for bi-weekly conversations with Penn researchers. We also organized a blog writing workshop led by energy reporter David Roberts.


From across three schools and eleven departments or programs


From across six schools


Including sixteen blog posts and three policy digests

Thanks for putting together such a great seminar with so many interesting speakers this year!
Franky Barrera
2021 Undergraduate Seminar Student

Summer Fellowships

Thanks to a partnership with 2016 Carnot Prize recipient Fatih Birol, each summer we send a student to the International Energy Agency for an immersive work experience. This year, the IEA made room for two virtual fellows. We also introduced a local summer fellowship with the Philadelphia Energy Authority.

At the IEA, Yara Albeaini played a key role in the creation of the annual World Energy Outlook, exploring how producer economies in the Middle East and North Africa can undergo an energy transition in their local supply and energy exports. Maxwell Pisciotta, also a 2021 Kleinman Birol Fellow, worked on an IEA report about direct air capture.

Joshua El-Beya worked at the Philadelphia Energy Authority on several projects, including developing a new pipeline project, building as well as implementing new financial tools, accessible loan products, and resources to accelerate the adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy in Philadelphia.

Yara Albeaini

2021 Kleinman Birol Fellow

Joshua El-Bey

2021 Philadelphia Energy Authority Fellow

Maxwell Pisciotta

Student Advisory Council Member


Many thanks to the people working with us behind the scenes to make each year a success. This year, our advisory board put in extra hours to provide direction and feedback on our five-year strategic plan. And our staff worked on a plethora of projects, including the planning and creation of this new website.

Thank you

Advisory Board

Thank you to our advisory board for your continued guidance and your detailed direction on our strategic plan.

Paul Bonney

Former Senior Vice President, Exelon

Mark Brownstein

Senior Vice President, Environmental Defense Fund

Emily Duncan

Senior VP of Federal Affairs, American Electric Power

Scott Kleinman

Co-President, Apollo Global Management

Ken Kulak

Partner, Morgan Lewis

Sonny Popowsky

Former Consumer Advocate of Pennsylvania

John Quigley

Senior Fellow, Kleinman Center

Lynn Scarlett

Chief External Affairs Officer, The Nature Conservancy

Marvin Schlanger

Former Chairman of the Board, UGI Corporation

Frederick Steiner

Dean, Stuart Weitzman School of Design


Thank you to our donors, who make this effort possible.

Scott Kleinman

Co-President, Apollo Global Management

Eric Gribetz

Managing Partner, Stonecourt Capital

Carl Goldsmith

Founding Partner, Beach Point Capital Management

Steven Lefkowitz

Founding Partner, Sagewind Capital LLC

Weitzman School

Thank you to colleagues at our home school who provide us with expertise, inspiration, and support.

Dialogue is essential to everything we do at the Weitzman School of Design, and this year the Kleinman Center strengthened its connections with its constituents in meaningful ways.
Fritz Steiner
Dean and Paley Professor, Stuart Weitzman School of Design


And thank you to our team—for the tireless work this year from remote offices.

Team Photo: Andy Stone, Oscar Serpell, Mollie Simon, Bill Cohen, Mark Alan Hughes, Cory Colijn, Lindsey Samahon, Kimberle Szczurowski, and Angela Pachon
This year, in addition to recruiting top faculty to Penn, publishing more scholarship than ever before, and launching a public lecture series online, our staff made real contributions from home through the complete redesign of our website and the launch of a five-year strategic plan.
Cory Colijn
Executive Director


First Faculty Hire: Jennifer Wilcox • First Energy Week at Penn • Carnot Prize: Cheryl LaFleur • COVID-19 Response

Read the Report


$30 Million Renewal Gift • Carnot Prize India: Piyush Goyal • Philadelphia Refinery Report

Read the Report


Kleinman at Home & Abroad • Carnot Prize: Gina McCarthy • Advisory Board Growth

Read the Report


Energy Policy Now Podcast Launch • Carnot Prize: Fatih Birol • First IEA Summer Fellow

Read the Report


Fisher Fine Arts Renovation • First Carnot Prize: Daniel Yergin • New Programming

Read the Report


$10 Million Gift • Center Opening • Vision & Plan • New Research & Programs

Read the Report