Cornell Energy Systems Club

Cornell Energy System Club logo

The Cornell Energy Systems Club (CESC) was founded in 2018 with the aim of increasing collaboration between Cornell faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students in the energy field. The club membership and leadership therefore consist of a combination of PhD, Masters, and undergraduate students, all working together to create events to serve and bring the community together. The primary manifestation of this goal is CESC’s flagship event Cornell Energy Day. With the growth in both size and experience of the club, this has become Cornell Energy Days.

Cornell Energy Days

The 2022 Cornell Energy Days are hosted by Cornell Energy Systems Club and will take place on April 21st (in person) and 22nd (virtually). We are once again bringing together students, researchers, and energy companies for a day – actually TWO DAYS this year – of networking and engaging students from all across campus in challenges facing the energy industry.

Call for Abstracts

We invite you to submit poster abstracts for the upcoming Cornell Energy Day!  Relevant topics include energy storage, sustainability, decarbonization, climate change, or anything in the general energy sector!  We invite poster abstracts from students, postdocs, & club representatives.  The poster session will be held on April 21st, 4:00 - 6:00 pm. Please have your poster prepared by April 19th. 

Please use the form linked here to submit your abstract 

Schedule of Events

Day 1 -  Thursday, April 21, 2022

Keynote by Martin Keller:  NREL: The Path to Zero Net Carbon by 2050 (12:25-1:15 pm) Kimball Hall B11

Join the Director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as he shares his insights on a transforming Grid.  

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory conducts advanced scientific research that is transforming energy, a necessary transition given the megatrends shaping the world today and in the future.  Research at NREL falls under four areas—renewable energy, sustainable transportation, energy efficiency, and energy systems integration—all conducted in pursuit of three critical objectives:• Integrated Energy Pathways: Modernizing our grid to support renewable energy integration, incorporating storage and advanced controls, and expanding transportation electrification while maintaining grid reliability and security.

• Electrons to Molecules: Exploring the use of affordable, renewable electricity to convert low-energy molecules—such as water and carbon dioxide—to generate cleaner, higher-value, and higher-energy chemicals, fuels, and materials.

• Circular Economy for Energy Materials: Reduce waste and preserve resources by designing materials and products with reuse, recycling, and upcycling in mind from the start.

NREL will accelerate the global transition to net zero, resilient, and inclusive energy systems through strong partnerships with industry, academia, and government, as well as set an example at home by reaching net-zero emissions for its operational footprint by 2030.

This event is in conjunction with the Energy Engineering Seminar series. 

Continued Energy Discussion over Lunch (1:30-2:30 pm) 

RSVP for lunch with Martin Keller and the Cornell Energy Systems Club here! Additional details will be shared with registrants! To reduce the waste burden of this event we will be composting and encouraging our guests to bring their own reusable dishes. 

Smart Grid? Smart Society?  A Panel Discussion on Grid Integration (2:45-4 pm)

In response to the threat of global warming, the world must rapidly decarbonize. This means that electricity grids will have to move from reliance on fossil fuels to reliance on renewables. In addition, the decarbonization of end-use applications will result in increased electricity demand. The Cornell Energy System Club is hosting this Smart Grid Panel to discuss the challenges of this transition and possible solutions. Hosted in Olin Hall 155. 

Energy Day Poster Session (4-6 pm)

Engage with Interdisciplinary Energy-related research from across Cornell's campus and meet some of the sustainability and Energy Clubs that exist at Cornell.  This poster session leads right into a networking reception! Hosted in Olin Hall 128.  

Networking Reception (5-7 pm)

This event will be a great opportunity to discuss energy-related related careers for both undergraduate and graduate students committed to the progression of energy systems.  Industry reps, Cornell faculty, and local start-ups are all invited! Hosted in Olin Hall 128. 

Day 2:  Energy Justice -  Friday, April 22, 2022

All programming on Day 2 will be hosted in a hybrid format.  The in-person watch group will be in Olin 216! Zoom Link here!  (full details below)

"Energy, Equity, and Citizenship:  Reframing Energy Systems for Justice" a Keynote Dialogue Featuring Amanda C. Graham (12:25-1:25 pm)

Dr. Graham is the Academic Director for the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society at Dartmouth College.  This discussion-based keynote will engage with the issues of Energy Justice through a conversation with one of her students:  Sydney Wuu ‘24 (Economics and Environmental Studies) and Nadine Lorini Formiga '25 (Geography and Environmental Studies). 

Abstract: Recognition is growing that the benefits and costs of energy systems are not evenly distributed.  Governments, industry, organizations, and individuals who want to minimize the worst impacts of climate change are wrestling with how to address both carbon emissions and social equity.  Even the definition of energy and what it means across geographies and nationalities are at stake.  What are the core tenets of the growing field of energy justice, and how do they alter our understanding of the function and effectiveness of energy systems?  How can we steer societies toward energy transitions that increase well-being for all and avoid replicating structural inequities of past energy systems? This talk will engage these questions and highlight examples of student-stakeholder partnerships addressing inequities in domestic and international cases, with particular attention to growing movements for community power.

Lunch with the Energy Club! (1:30-2:30 pm)

Come meet the Cornell Energy Systems Club! Hosted in Olin Hall 216.  RSVP for lunch here!  To reduce the waste burden of this event we will be composting and encouraging our guests to bring their own reusable dishes. 

Panel Discussion: Energy Justice in a Rapidly Changing Energy Landscape (2:30-4 pm)

Our Energy Justice panel brings together technical and social experts to discuss the challenges and necessity of ensuring that the transition to renewable energy is affected in a manner that includes and benefits marginalized communities both within the U.S. and on a global scale.

Full Zoom info: 

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 947 2227 0824Passcode: 830760

Hosted by Cornell Energy Systems Club and Cornell Energy Systems Institute (CESI)

Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for up-to-date event announcements


For further questions, please contact Zoe Pollard (Energy Day Coordinator, 

Cornell Energy Days holds the Cornell Sustainable Events Certification.  We will do our best to reduce the environmental footprint of the event by providing carbon offsets for transportation for our speakers, as well as for lighting the spaces.  We will also do our best to utilize compostable dishware for meals and we encourage our guests to bring their own reusable dishes.  

Platinum Seal

Past Events

The first Cornell Energy Day was held in person in April of 2019 and, after a hiatus in 2020, saw a return in the online format in April 2021. Having had experience with both in-person and online events, the CESC EBoard is approaching 2022 Energy Days accommodating a hybrid schedule of events to allow for engagement with students and alumni both on and off-campus. Inspired by the discussions we have been hosting that have people come together to discuss topics related to energy as well as sustainability in general, we have approached the choosing of topics for Energy Days this year with the idea of trying to incorporate interdisciplinary speakers.

2021 Energy Day Events:

Day 1 - Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Keynote (12:30-1:30 pm)

Mary Ann Piette

Mary Ann Piette

Director of the Building Technology and Urban Systems Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Innovation and Opportunities for Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings

Join the Director of the Building Technology and Urban Systems Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab for an overview of building energy use in the United States, exploration of global building issues, and discussion of key challenges in the built environment.

Cornell Climate Action Plan (CCAP) Panel Discussion (2:00-3:30 PM)  

Sarah Zemanick Jeff Tester Steve Beyers Sean Sullivan

Universities' Role in Demonstrating the Path Towards Climate Neutrality

Meet Sarah Zemanick (Direct of the Campus Sustainability Office), Dr. Jefferson Tester (David Croll Sesquicentennial Fellow and Professor), Steve Beyers (Cornell Engineering Section Leader), and Sean Sullivan (Director of Smart Grids Innovation and Planning at AVANGRID.  Come with your questions and learn more about how Cornell is addressing the Climate Crisis.  

On Apri1 21st, the CESC hosted a hour and a half long panel on the Cornell Climate Action Plan (CCAP). The panel featured Sarah Carson Zemanick (Director of Campus Sustainability Office), Steve Beyers (Principal Engineer of CCAP), Jeff Tester (Principal Scientist for Cornell’s Earth Source Heat project), and Sean Sullivan (Director of Smart Grids Innovation and Planning at AVANGRID). The panel began with each panelist introducing themselves and their relation to or perspective on the CCAP. Once Sarah had provided a general overview, we asked prepared questions as well as those from the audience. A great part of the discussion was focused on what sorts of challenges the CCAP faces and how/if they can be addressed. Among these was understanding that we have a limited time left with Cornell’s 2030 goal and that not all the technology needed to achieve the goals is readily available yet. Upgrading Cornell’s facilities also means understanding how the wider Tompkins County Grid must be adapted or will be impacted by Cornell’s changing energy use. Cornell has already been doing this to an extent through such efforts as building solar plants on Cornell land to the benefit of Dryden residents. The panelists also spoke on how that they feel Cornell has the unique position as a research institution to serve as a vehicle of learning for both its own community through student and faculty engagement in CCAP projects as well as demonstration of the viability of emission lowering technologies that may previously have risk associated with them. Concluding remarks touched on the fact that few places can come close to making the investments that Cornell can, so it comes almost as an imperative that they strive to be a leader in determining what is necessary in the progression towards a zero-emission grid. 

Energy Day Poster Session (3:30-6:00 pm)

Engage with Interdisciplinary Energy-related research from across Cornell's campus and meet some of the sustainability and Energy Clubs that exist at Cornell. The poster session will be hosted on the virtual platform Gather Town which allows for more casual and personal interactions.

Energy Days Trivia (6:00-7:00 pm)

Test your Energy prowess and compete against your friends! Hosted on Kahoot this Energy Trivia will wrap us Energy Days Day 1!

Day 2 - Thursday, April 22, 2021

Keynote (12:25-1:25 PM)

Bri-Mathias Hodge

Bri-Mathias Hodge

Chief Scientist in the Power Systems Engineering Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Next Generation Energy Systems

A joint event with Cornell's Energy Engineering Seminar focused on Designing a Sustainable and Reliable Future Through Simulating Next Generation Energy Systems.

Industry Panel Panel Discussion (2:00-3:30 pm)

Susanna Kass Kevin Kimura Xiaoguang Hao Romy Fain Kevin Jacobs

Industry Perspectives on Careers in Energy and Sustainability

Join industry experts Susanna Kass (Data Center Advisor, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals), Dr. Kevin Kimura (Senior Cell Engineer, Lucid Motors), Dr. Xiaoguang Hao (R&D Manager, Albermarle), Dr. Romy Fain (Founder & CEO, Heat Inverse), and Kevin Jacobs (Client Services Director, PowerAdvocate) in a discussion centered around how your engineering degree can be applied to an industry job in the energy sector. 

CCAP Student Discussion (3:30-4:30 pm)

An informal discussion forum seeking to engage undergrads, grads, and post-docs in all aspects of energy, climate, and sustainability from basic research to policy to current events. Part of our monthly discussion series,  this discussion will focus on the Cornell Climate Action Plan, our concerns, and ideas for a carbon-neutral Cornell!

For further questions, please contact:
Jeffrey Sward (CESC President,, Zoe Pollard (Energy Day Coordinator,, or Jen Yi (Secretary,