Two graduate students receive 2017 PEI-STEP Environmental Policy Fellowships

Princeton University graduate students Xiaogang He and Kasparas Spokas have been awarded 2017 PEI-STEP Environmental Policy Fellowships from the Princeton Environmental Institute.

Established in 2000, the PEI-STEP Fellowship Program provides Princeton doctoral students in departments outside of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs with two years of financial support and a $3,500 award. Recipients explore the environmental-policy dimensions and implications of their doctoral research through supplementary coursework and policy-oriented research. Upon completion of the program, the students will graduate with a graduate certificate in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP). The program has supported more than 50 fellows.

Xiaogang He, Civil and Environmental Engineering

PEI-STEP environmental policy topic: Incorporation of Human Dimensions into the Hydrological Model and Its Implications to Policy-Making for Drought Adaptation in California
PEI-STEP adviser: Michael Oppenheimer, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs and the Princeton Environmental Institute

Ph.D. thesis: Flood and Drought Risk Assessment”
Thesis adviser: Eric Wood, Susan Dod Brown Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Climate change and water management practices are expected to increase the frequency and intensity of future droughts, particularly in places such as California. He’s project aims to incorporate human behavior and decisions — which are currently unrepresented — into the current hydrological model to investigate how individuals can affect the feedbacks between human and natural systems. The model could help develop drought mitigation policies and adaptation planning, as well as improve water-management strategies.

Kasparas Spokas, Civil and Environmental Engineering

PEI-STEP environmental policy topic: Policies to Promote Dispatchable, Low-Carbon Electricity Generation to Complement Intermittent Renewable-Energy Growth: Evaluation of the Limitations of a Carbon Tax and Alternative Policy Mechanisms to Incentivize CO2 Capture for Flexible Fossil Fuel Power Plants
PEI-STEP adviser: Eric Larson, senior research engineer, and Thomas Kreutz, energy systems modeler, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

Ph.D. thesis: Geochemistry of Reactive Fluids from Subsurface Energy Technologies”
Thesis adviser: Catherine Peters, professor of civil and environmental engineering

For his project, Spokas will assess the tax and policy incentives meant to encourage the capture and storage of emissions from flexible fossil fuel power plants.