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University of Utah
Department of Communication
Brieanna Olds


Professor Danielle Endres receives National Science Foundation

photo of Danielle EndresSALT LAKE CITY, UT - The Department of Communication is pleased to announce that our own Dr. Danielle Endres is the recipient of a collaborative research grant from the National Science Foundation to research practices of energy democracy in Puerto Rico. In collaboration with Dr. Andrea Feldpausch-Parker (SUNY-ESF) the research supported by the grant will take on an environmental justice lens to view the energy crossroads that Peurto Rico now faces, between continuing the use of fossil fuels and making a sociotechnical transition to distributed renewables. This project will fund Communication graduate student Nicolas Hernandez as he conducts ethnographic fieldwork in Puerto Rico for the next three years. 

From the grant summary:

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. The category five hurricane disconnected the island’s aging, centralized fossil fuel-based electricity grid. Hurricane Maria uncovered the systemic shortcomings of Puerto Rico’s energy grid in the context of an ongoing economic crisis, U.S. colonial power, and climate chaos. Puerto Rico is at an energy crossroads: continue with status quo reliance on imported fossil fuels or make a deep sociotechnical transition to distributed renewables. This project is at the heart of the interdisciplinary field of energy democracy (ED), which explores how to make decisions about energy technology as democratic as possible through promoting access and influence in those decisions.

With this project, researchers hope to benefit Puerto Rico and other geopolitical landscapes by providing opportunities to collaborate with academics as well as activists on the ground. Part of their work will be spent training students, encouraging the participation of women and underrepresented groups in science and technology studies. 

Last Updated: 9/20/21