Energy Research and Education at NAU

Dry Lake Photo

Since 2000, NAU faculty and staff have engaged in clean energy research and education initiatives, in order to provide society with energy experts, who through their research and outreach help shape energy decision-making in both the private and public sectors while increasing the public's energy literacy. We advance renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy utilization through research and education initiatives at the university and in the community at the local, state, and regional levels in partnership with research centers and organizations. Our work promotes to the advancement and understanding of the "triple bottom line" - social, economic, and environmental sustainability - when it comes to energy use and generation.

Areas of Focus for clean energy research at NAU:

Research, Development, and Demonstration: Faculty-led projects in partnership with industry, national laboratories, private foundations, Native American tribes, and other external partners.

Technology Transfer: Facilitation of partnerships that promote development of intellectual property and business start-ups or expansions.

Educational and Technical Programs: Enhancement of sustainable energy programs and courses (e.g. in Engineering, Business, and the Sciences), development of new programs/ courses, and graduation of students capable of moving society to a sustainable energy future. This includes participation in specialized education programs with external and NAU partners.

Outreach: Further development of the University's sustainable energy partnerships and outreach programs, education of policymakers and the broader public, and distribution, publication and presentation of research results.


Since 2001, NAU faculty and staff have made considerable contributions to the use and understanding of sustainable energy. Some contributions of note include:

  • Development of new NAU business and engineering courses that address renewable energy sources
  • The spin-off of a new wind energy company: Windfinders, LLC and TecVerde, LLC
  • Serving as client and adviser for senior capstone design projects
  • The production of the high resolution wind map
  • On the average of $400,000/year in leveraged external funds
  • Management of Arizona Wind for Schools project and NAU National Collegiate Wind Competition team
  • Establishment of the Southwest Renewable Energy Conference and Southwest Renewable Energy Institute
  • Expanding the Southwest Sustainability Exposition (Southwest Renewable Energy Fair)
  • Authoring of several peer-reviewed Journal articles and National conference papers
  • Graduates working as engineers in the wind and renewable energy industry
  • Students who have work at the National Renewable Energy Lab and Sandia National Lab
  • Establishment of the Arizona Wind Working Group
  • Establishment of the Arizona Geothermal Wind Working Group
  • Participation in the Four Corners Wind Resource Center