Our Work

Energy Transformation

The global transition to clean energy calls for creative approaches, unprecedented collaboration across sectors, and fresh talent. Here are just a few of the many ways the Nicholas Institute is accelerating the transformation of our energy systems. 

Gov. Roy Cooper speaks at the Winds of Change event at Duke

In North Carolina, we’ve had a front row seat in the devastation that climate change can bring . . . The need for reliable clean energy that offshore wind can produce has never been greater.

Governor Roy Cooper

During opening remarks at "Winds of Change: Tracking the Development of US Offshore Wind Energy"


Symposium Plots Path Forward for US Offshore Wind Energy

Offshore wind power generation on the US Atlantic Coast is a key emerging solution for the transition to clean energy and the fight against climate change. The innovative Winds of Change conference at Duke University in March 2023 brought together wind developers, government officials, NGO representatives, and other clean energy business leaders to identify future opportunities and challenges in the sector over the next decade. Developers, practitioners, and scientists helped inform the audience on the practical realities of project financing, leasing, permitting, addressing potential wildlife and environmental impacts, and more.


Duke-Based Partnership Convenes Corporate Leaders to Advance Net-Zero Goals

Building on momentum from recent federal legislation, Energy Pathways USA brings together private-sector partners across multiple industries to accelerate progress toward net-zero carbon emissions in the US by mid-century. The project publicly launched during the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt with a report examining trend lines, challenges, and opportunities for meeting net-zero goals and a panel discussion making a business case for private-sector leadership in the energy transition. Led by the Nicholas Institute, Energy Pathways USA works in collaboration with the Energy Transitions Commission as an autonomous regional initiative of that global effort.

Streetlights over roadway at dusk

With the Energy Pathways USA partnership, we seek to put forward policies and ideas and build coalitions around efforts to reach net-zero targets. We recognize that the hard work in reaching those targets will happen, in large part, in the private sector.

Jackson Ewing

Director, Energy and Climate Policy

Education Highlight

Brian Murray awarding Clean Energy Prize check to students

Duke Undergraduate Team Wins Clean Energy Prize to Support Media Platform

The Nicholas Institute and Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship awarded the 2022 Clean Energy Prize to undergraduate students Michael Wood III (E’23), Hope Pratt (E’24), and Aryan Kothari (T’25). The $10,000 prize helps fund Duke students to pursue novel ideas, potential products, or services that advance an accessible, reliable, affordable, and clean energy future. The 2022 prize supported the students’ development of Energy Terminal, a community and media platform focused on building the next generation of leaders to advance the energy transition.

More in Energy Transformation

Electric vehicle parked near a charging station; both have the logo for the Plug in SC Incentive Program

Electrifying Transportation in the Southeast

The Nicholas Institute is advancing adoption of electric vehicles through a focus on data analytics, emerging best practices in the field, and stakeholder collaborations such as the multi-sector Southeast Electric Transportation Regional Initiative.

Satellite imagery of energy infrastructure from Energy Data Analytics Lab

Students Help Power Up New Ways to Analyze Energy Data

The Energy Data Analytics Lab is pioneering applications of visual object identification and machine learning techniques to satellite imagery for energy resource detection and mapping—yielding information critical for the global energy transition. Since 2015, the lab has engaged a continuous chain of sixteen student teams in this work.

Energy Week panel of student speakers

Exploring the Energy-Climate Nexus with Student-Fueled Dialogue and Discovery

Dozens of students across Duke degree programs organized the 7th annual Energy Week at Duke in November 2022. Events included the Duke University Energy Conference, Energy in Emerging Markets Case Competition, networking opportunities, and more. The Nicholas Institute and the EDGE Center at the Fuqua School of Business supported student organizers.