Skip to main content

Advocating for Energy Equity

Planetary Solutions in Clean Energy - Internship and Fellowship Program (PSiCE) offers summer research and internship opportunities to students at Yale who are committed to advancing and pursuing a career in the clean energy field. This year we spoke with students in the initial cohort to learn about their inspiration, goals, and experience through the program.

Raysieo Duakin’s upbringing in North Borneo, Malaysia, where the disproportionate effects of climate change on indigenous people are unmistakable, was extremely formative in his passion for a just clean energy transition. 

Raysieo saw for himself how vulnerable groups are often unprepared to cope with the accelerating consequences of climate change, including extreme heat waves, frequent landslides, prolonged droughts, and more.

“These firsthand experiences have compelled me to advocate for an equitable clean energy transition. Specifically, I firmly believe that disadvantaged communities must be prioritized in the pursuit of a clean economy.”

Raysieo Duakin

Raysieo is a Master of Environmental Management Candidate, specializing in Business and Energy and is set to graduate in 2024. He is also in the Planetary Solutions in Clean Energy (PSiCE) program, which offers summer research and internship opportunities to students at Yale who are committed to advancing and pursuing a career in the clean energy field. Students in the 2023 cohort shared their inspiration, goals, and experience through the program.

According to Raysieo, equitable clean energy must begin by ensuring that all communities benefit:

“While many initiatives and policies have been put forth to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, low- and middle-income communities (LMI) often face barriers that prevent them from enjoying the advantages of clean energy such as reduced energy bills, improved health, and better job opportunities. And thus, these barriers—financial, community engagement, site suitability, regulatory, and resilience—must be adequately addressed to pave a more inclusive transition towards a cleaner energy future.”

The draw to PSiCE was an easy one for Raysieo because it aligns with his passion of promoting energy equity, but there have been other benefits as well. 

“Through this partnership, I can gain first-hand experience on how they advocate for disadvantaged communities in the clean energy sector. Secondly, PSiCE provides a robust support system through Prof. Rob Klee and fellow peers. This support enhances my professional networking opportunities and knowledge-sharing to address issues as multifaceted as a just clean energy transition.”

Through PSiCE, Raysieo has been working with the Colorado Clean Energy Fund, a newly-established green bank “to develop an energy equity gap report or Electrical Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve (EEGR). EEGR involves studying historical and modern discriminatory practices, and correlating such practices with environmental, health, and sociodemographic data, to locate disadvantaged communities in Colorado. By leveraging EEGR, I seek to identify applicable federal and state incentives, particularly in the residential and commercial sectors.” 

Through PSiCE, Raysieo said he has achieved significant personal and professional growth. He said he has come to a new appreciation for the intricate complexities surrounding energy equity: 

“While governmental involvement is undeniably vital in driving a nationwide effort, I have learned that the success of such initiatives relies on collaboration with diverse stakeholders; these include financial institutions, private companies, non-profit organizations, utilities, and communities—all interconnected in achieving equitable clean energy solutions. Secondly, prior to joining PSiCE, I was accustomed to structured thinking patterns. However, the program has encouraged me to embrace abstraction and navigate unstructured situations with confidence. This shift in mindset has been liberating, enabling me to grasp the broader essence of ‘energy equity,’ rather than becoming entangled in overly intricate details.”

Given his experience, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Raysieo fully endorses the PSiCE program for future students.

“An enriching experience that can profoundly impact your academic journey and professional future.”