Graduate students in the fall 2015 Energy Transformation Collaborative course leveraged class time to support sustainability in one of Stanford’s neighboring communities. The city of East Palo Alto asked for Stanford’s help in identifying risks and benefits associated with joining a community choice energy program. The program offered East Palo Alto the opportunity to pool its energy demands with those of neighboring municipalities, so as to purchase power sourced from higher renewable content at lower rates than the regional utility offered. The potential that energy costs through the program would increase over the next 10 to 15 years of the partnership became a primary concern for the city.

Over the course of the quarter, students leading the project determined the community choice energy program posed minimal risk of cost increase and endorsed it during a presentation to the city council. East Palo Alto voted to join the program on February 2, 2016.

The Energy Transformation Collaborative course, which is supported through in-kind donations, the Stanford President’s Fund, the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, and the Precourt Institute for Energy, was offered again in winter and spring quarters in 2016.