UC San Diego Students, Area Attorneys and Financial Analysts Win Sustainability Award
May 26, 2010
UC San Diego, a national leader in sustainability education, research and campus operations, has recognized a collaborative team of students, legal and bond underwriting experts in its 2010 Sustainability Awards. The seemingly unlikely team played a key role in enabling the San Diego region to win $154 million in low-interest Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs), which are now promoting hundreds of new green jobs and boosting the capacity of locally produced solar energy by an estimated 40 percent, or 20 megawatts of additional solar power.
Nine municipalities, school districts and a water district in 2009 submitted applications for Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) as part of the federal Stimulus Package. While many individuals and teams worked diligently on the application process, the group of students, lawyers and financial experts were recognized with the first “Collaboration Award” as part of the UC San Diego Sustainability Award for their extraordinary efforts.
“The inaugural winners of this new category have made a significant and positive impact on our campus and also our entire region,” said Chancellor Marye Anne Fox. “They and all of this year’s sustainability award recipients have gone above and beyond to make sustainability part of the university’s education, research, planning, operations and outreach programs.”
The Collaboration Award went to four UC San Diego engineering students, Michael Gollner, Kevin Peng, Karl Olney and Ihab Kayhal, the San Diego office of the Latham & Watkins law firm and the San Francisco-based financial services company Stone & Youngberg.
“By creating this new category of collaboration, we hope this award highlights not only a core value of UC San Diego, but an increasingly important key to the economic vitality of the San Diego region,” said Gary Matthews, vice chancellor for Resource Management and Planning.
The collaboration-award winners were part of a coalition of San Diego stakeholders led by CleanTECH San Diego that captured $154 million in allocations for financing renewable energy projects for public facilities under the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) program. The total allocations to the San Diego region made up 19 percent of the total allocations going to public agencies nationwide.
“We are delighted that UC San Diego has recognized these individuals and companies,” said Lisa Bicker, president and CEO of CleanTECH San Diego.
“While their tireless efforts helped our region received one in five dollars available nationwide for solar photovoltaic installations, the real story is the expanding public-private partnership they have also nurtured, which will continue to help our region excel as a vibrant clean-technology hub.”
The students, working with Jan Kleissl, an assistant professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, created an analytical spreadsheet tool that enabled the San Diego-area partners to perform engineering and economic analyses of cost, solar energy output, and return on investment of their proposed solar arrays. The sophisticated spreadsheets also allowed the San Diego-area municipalities and school districts to complete four applications per hour (or $3.2 million in requests per hour) - saving valuable time and effort.
The UC San Diego students also assisted in filing and processing many applications. The UC San Diego Sustainability Awards, announced May 25 at the Institute of the Americas on the UC San Diego campus, were broadened this year to include not only UC San Diego students, faculty, staff and alumni, but also members of the outside community who are engaged in all-out efforts to boost sustainability of the campus and the regional community.
Kelley Gale and Adrianna Kripke, attorneys in the San Diego office of the Latham & Watkins’s law firm, donated hundreds of hours of legal assistance, including providing multiple research memos describing the CREBs opportunity, researching prior issuances, making inquiries with the awarding agencies and other support.
“Adrianna really deserves the credit,” said Gale. “She really rolled up her sleeves and provided one-on-one advice and counsel to municipal applicants and even volunteered over the final critical weekend to review all the applications.”
The bond underwriting firm Stone & Youngberg held seminars with municipal partners to demystify the financial portion of the application process and designed a simple financial pro forma model. Anna Van Degna, a partner in the San Francisco office of Stone & Youngberg, embedded the model in the application process to simplify it for the San Diego municipalities and school districts. The model provided essential quality control and review capability of the financial models prior to the submittal of the applications. “I continue to advise the group,” said Van Degna. “That means helping them evaluate the advantages of CREBs over other financing options.”
Both Latham & Watkins and Stone & Youngberg are well known for their pro bono work for community projects.
“Latham & Watkins and Stone & Youngberg were non-traditional, first time partners that worked outside the capacity of their job descriptions,” said Tony Haymet, vice chairman of CleanTECH San Diego and director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “I hope that other regional resources will step forward to collaborate in a comparable fashion for equally ambitious future campaigns that will face rigorous competition in these fiscally troubled times.”
The other winners of this year’s UC San Diego Sustainability Awards are:
Department: UC San Diego Surplus Sales
Faculty: Robert Pomeroy
Graduate Student: Lindsay Hatch
Individual: Matt Finkelstein
Staff: Judy Keplinger
Student Group: Ecology Club
Undergraduate: Anne Marie Ferruzzi
Academic Group: GRAIN
Media Contact: Rex Graham, 858-534-5952, firstname.lastname@example.org
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