UNCW Staff Member, Graduate Student Named to City of Wilmington’s Clean Energy Task Force

Monday, May 11, 2020

UNCW’s Chief Sustainability Officer Kat Pohlman and Lindsay Lake, an MFA student in the Department of Creative Writing, have been named members of the City of Wilmington’s new citizen-based Clean Energy Task Force. The primary function of the task force is to research and evaluate best practices and provide policy recommendations to the city council for consideration in the development of a Clean Energy Policy.

As the leader of UNCW’s sustainability efforts, Pohlman brings years of experience to the task force and will offer an impassioned perspective. She believes her current research endeavors might also be beneficial in assisting the creation of environmental policy.

“I am very interested in renewable energy and have been doing casual research on renewables, touring facilities with solar and wind-generated energy,” said Pohlman. “There are so many universities, cities and countries doing innovative work that create win-win situations for everyone. Even though North Carolina has the second largest amount of solar energy in the United States, we need to do more.”

Working alongside a student from environmental sciences, Pohlman hopes to formalize her research this summer, providing a cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis for bringing solar to the university. “Renewable energy is commonly referred to as ‘sustainable,’ but we often forget that it can also be a powerful tool for resiliency,” she added.

Co-founder and co-director of 350 Wilmington, a grassroots climate activist group, Lake has been waiting for a chance to serve the community in this way for quite some time.

“350 Wilmington submitted a resolution to the city to establish clean energy goals back in 2019,” said Lake. “I think it's incredibly important that younger generations be represented in these committees; it's our futures that are on the line.”

Through her work at 350 Wilmington, Lake has helped plan several events to raise awareness around climate justice issues and climate solutions through workshops, and spearheaded initiatives to support public transit and oppose unnecessary fossil fuel infrastructure. She sees the task force as a way to continue this important work.

“I’d like to help Wilmington transition to a future powered by clean energy as rapidly as possible without leaving anyone behind,” said Lake. “As a creative writing student, I hope to help tell the story of what's at stake if we don't adopt these goals, as well as what can be gained for our futures if we do.”

Clean Energy Task Force members are appointed by city council and serve for six-month terms. 

-- Christina Schechtman