Energy and Environment

The true cost of energy is more than just financial; energy use and generation has a profound impact on the environment, including air and water pollution, damage to public health, wildlife and habitat loss, water use, land use and carbon emissions.


Four CSU campuses have specialized campus centers and institutes dedicated to the technical, economic, and environmental aspects of energy use. These organizations work in concert with eight energy-related degree programs offered by the CSU.

The Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State has provided 30 years of cutting-edge research, thought leadership, and project development in the planning and deployment of community-scale renewable energy. The Schatz Center began with a focus on hydrogen as a storage medium for intermittent renewable energy. This evolved into research and development on fuel cells, electric vehicles and hydrogen fueling infrastructure. Today, the center’s research activities encompass the full range of clean and renewable energy technologies, including smart grids, bioenergy, offshore wind and clean transportation. Among the Schatz Center’s most significant and visible regional impacts have been its design, development, and deployment of several innovative, community-scale, low-carbon microgrids.

Under the Lighting Global program provides training to solar product testing labs worldwide, under the Lighting Global program, which supports the creation of solar charged off-grid lighting products that are affordable to low-income people in developing countries. The center is also educating K-12 classes and the public on clean energy technologies through interactive lectures and hands-on activities tailored to the audience.

CSUN’s Energy Research Center manages a wind tunnel laboratory, rocket engine test cell, environmental chamber, a “wet” laboratory space used to support special projects in the thermal-fluids area and other equ​ipment used to study fluids and heat. The center promotes research and development projects in new or alternative energy sources as well as conservation and sustainability practices at the Northridge campus.

The Sustainable Energy Center at San Diego State fosters cutting-edge renewable energy research through an emphasis on public and private sector partnerships. The center provides research opportunities for both academic and industry researchers. For example, the center’s Solar Energy Laboratory permits students and faculty in the sciences and engineering to engage in laboratory testing new types of solar technologies. The Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency at SDSU allows engineering students and faculty to solve problems presented by industrial sponsors, and engage industry partnerships with a variety of regional and national firms in STEM-related fields.

The Electric Power Institute at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo serves as an interface between the campus and the electric power industry as well as a center for electric power-oriented study and research activity within the university. The institute oversees several laboratories dedicated to electric machines, power electronics, sustainable energy, power system protection, industrial power controls and automation, batteries and microgrids.