Energy Economics and Policy
Erin Baker is a nationally-known expert on wind energy who has advised policymakers how to make decisions on energy technology in the face of climate change.
Stanford Universit: Ph.D., Engineering Economic Systems & Operations Research
Stanford University: M.A., Engineering Economic Systems & Operations Research
University of California, Berkeley: B.A., Applied Mathematics
Select Media Coverage (7)
Texas drove out Chinese firm, not the wind farm it planned
Erin Baker, a professor of industrial engineering at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, who studies wind farm developments and said environmental concerns are common. “I think there also, unfortunately, is a little bit of — and you are not supposed to say it — but NIMBYism. People don’t want change.”
Massive wind turbines are coming to a coast near you. Will Biden's 'audacious' goal pay off?
USA Today online
Erin Baker says that while land-based wind turbines are well established in the U.S., the country has fallen behind when it comes to offshore turbines, but “we absolutely can still become leaders."
This is what we need to invent to fight climate change
As for clean energy technologies that are still in their infancy, there are several criteria to consider, said Erin Baker, faculty director of the Energy Transition Initiative at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The key formula for evaluating an investment is the chance of success multiplied by the potential benefit. Clean energy systems that are scalable and have low entry costs are, again, those best poised to take off. But it’s also important to cast as wide a net as possible rather than spraying a firehose of money at a particular technology until it works. “To the degree that you can do things agnostically, it’s always good, because we don’t know where the next breakthrough is going to come from,” Baker said. There are some specific clean energy needs, though, that need further backing right away, namely tools for storing, dispatching, and maintaining the quality of electricity on the power grid. “The biggest category is these things that make the grid reliable,” Baker said. “Some of that investment is technologies but some of that investment is more processes, business models, and regulations.”
The US has had slow progress with offshore wind. This could be changing.
INDO & NY online
Erin Baker, an industrial engineer professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, says the Biden's administration goal to deploy 30 gigawatts offshore wind power by 2030 is very ambitious. "But, with the price cuts we've seen both in wind and offshore winds--we've experienced about a 50% reduction in offshore wind over six years--I believe it's very possible."
U.S. Fishermen Are Making Their Last Stand Against Offshore Wind
There’s another broad issue with the fishing industry’s demands: Before turbines go in the water, fishermen want more research into how offshore wind installations could affect their livelihoods. But the unfortunate reality is that the climate clock for such investigations may have already run out—at least with respect to these first early offshore wind projects. “For us to collect all of the information that we need, we’re going to be so far into this climate crisis that it’ll—I mean it’s already irreversible,” says Bates. “The amount of emissions reduction that we need to get to to even stabilize and have anything that even resembles the world today in the future, it’s dramatic, and we don’t have time.” Erin Baker, the director of UMass Amherst’s Energy Transition Institute, says we’re better off moving ahead with building offshore wind farms and then studying what happens, and make necessary adjustments for subsequent projects. “We’re never gonna learn what we need to learn if we don’t get started at least putting some offshore wind in the water,” she says.
How to Get the Rich to Like Offshore Wind Power
The Daily Beast online
Professor Erin Baker is quoted in an article exploring how wealthy communities have stalled the implementation of offshore wind power in some places. “I do think the offshore industry is in good shape to take off ... The most impactful part of the Biden administration’s push so far has been to improve inter-agency coordination, allowing for much faster permitting and development of wind projects.”
New England Pushes for Offshore Wind Farms as Biden Sets Goal
In a television news report, Erin Baker says, "People build offshore wind farms in Europe. But what we really need to understand is the U.S. environment and the actual political, cultural and social environment. We've estimated that for every year you delay building a wind farm, you're losing $150 million in climate value and reducing our climate emissions.
Select Publications (3)
The US just set ambitious offshore wind power targets. What will it take to meet them?Fast Company
Erin Baker and Matthew Lackner
UMass Amherst professor Erink Baker writes about what it will take for the U.S. to meet its offshore wind energy goals. She says, "Every year of delay for a large-scale wind farm costs the U.S. hundreds of millions of dollars in climate benefits."
Why the offshore wind industry is about to take offThe Conversation
Erin Baker and Matthew Lackner
There are only five wind turbines operating in U.S. waters today. But that will likely soon change, partly because of states with ambitious offshore wind targets.
With a tight federal budget, here’s where to focus clean energy research fundingThe Conversation
The U.S. Department of Energy spends US$3-$4 billion per year on applied energy research. These programs seek to provide clean and reliable energy and improve our energy security by driving innovation and helping companies bring new clean energy sources to market.