Student Spotlight: Carla Peterman
Student Spotlight Directory
Commissioner Carla Peterman.
"Thinking Outside the Module: Innovations in Climate Change Policy and PV Technology"
Carla Peterman’s primary research interests are renewable energy technology innovation and climate change mitigation policy. Her dissertation research focuses on market transformation activities in the U.S. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) market. She conducts economic and policy analysis on factors such as government financial incentives and endogenous learning that are intended to lower the cost, and increase the deployment, of PV.
Her dissertation research focuses in particular on non-solar panel price drivers for residential solar power systems. These Balance-of-System components and costs such as inverters, other hardware, installation labor, permitting and documentation, contribute to over half of the final solar PV system price faced by customers. These costs are key and under-researched areas that state and local renewable energy policies can influence. Drawing upon the fields of Innovation Theory, Energy Markets, and Distributed Generation Technology and Policy, Carla aims to better identify the complex value chain for solar PV and expand upon the existing conceptualization of the innovation process.
Carla currently serves as a Commissioner at the California Energy Commission. The Energy Commission is the state’s primary energy planning and policy agency. She was appointed for a five year term by Governor Jerry Brown in January 2011 to this position. She fills the Public Member position on the five-member Commission where four of the five members by law are required to have professional training in specific areas - engineering or physical science, environmental protection, economics, and law. Commissioner Peterman currently presides over the Energy Commission's Renewables Committee, is the Associate Member on the Electricity and Natural Gas Committee, and represents the Commission and state on a variety of west-wide energy planning initiatives.
In 2000, as a Rhodes Scholar, Carla developed an interest in renewable energy and policy mechanisms to mitigate climate change while pursing a Msc. in Environmental Change and Management and a Masters’ of Business Administration at Oxford University. She expanded her business skills and knowledge of the electricity sector by working as an investment banker for the Power group at Lehman Brothers and as a business analyst for Isles, a community development non-profit. Carla has a long-standing interest in environmental, consumer protection, and environmental justice issues beginning during her undergraduate education at Howard University where she studied history and environmental studies and founded the Howard University Environmental Society. She continued her work on specific environmental issues and consumer protection as a board member for TURN, a California utility watchdog and consumer advocacy non-profit from 2008-2011 and as a current member of Howard University’s Environmental and Sustainability Council.
ERG PhD candidate, Carla Peterman at the CPUC.
Carla values ERG and UC-Berkeley for their first-class expertise in a range of fields, supportive and incredibly bright classmates, and numerous opportunities for applied work. As an ERG doctoral student, Carla has co-authored reports for the government, assisted with writing testimony for the U.S. Congress House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, interned at the California Public Utilities Commission, and co-authored a paper on California climate change policy for the University of California Energy Institute CESM working paper series. Carla is thankful for the mentorship from a host of faculty including her qualifying exam committee: Alex Farrell, Dan Kammen, Margaret Taylor, and Catherine Wolfram; her dissertation committee, Catherine Wolfram, Dan Kammen, and Severin Borenstein; the Energy Institute at Haas; and Ryan Wiser of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Ms. Peterman has benefited from a number of funding and work opportunities available through the University of California Berkeley. She is the recipient of a Chancellor’s Fellowship, and received support through her positions as a research assistant at the University of California Energy Institute and with the Electricity Markets and Policy Group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.