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NETL Researcher Honored by the Oregon Federal Executive Board
NETL’s Jennifer Bauer took home the award in the Outstanding Innovator category from the Oregon Federal Executive Board at a recent ceremony in Vancouver, Washington.

NETL’s Jennifer Bauer took home the award in the Outstanding Innovator category from the Oregon Federal Executive Board at a recent ceremony in Vancouver, Washington.

The brightest minds in the Oregon federal workforce gathered Tuesday, May 7, at the Historic Hangar, located adjacent to Pearson Air Museum, in Vancouver, Washington, for the Oregon Federal Executive Board (FEB) Excellence in Government Awards, where an NETL researcher took home a prestigious honor

NETL’s Jennifer Bauer received the award for Outstanding Innovator from the Oregon FEB for her work leading NETL’s Geoscience, Artificial Intelligence, and Analysis (GAIA) team, which integrated thousands of disparate public data resources to support clean energy and energy community activities within the Lab, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other federal agencies. 

The Biden Administration has prioritized a clean energy transition that does not leave energy communities behind. However, most of the data on these communities did not exist in a single comprehensive resource. Additionally, the information available was often organized in a way that would require significant processing to unlock the data. 

Bauer and her team have worked to integrate data resources that provide insights into existing energy facilities and infrastructure assets, energy resource potential, ongoing energy activities and projects, workforce and jobs, environmental conditions and community demographics to label and compile massive volumes of data for advanced, multi-scale analysis.

With these new foundational data resources, Bauer has rapidly developed custom mapping applications that have helped stakeholders and policymakers identify opportunities for economic improvement and environmental justice in communities that will be impacted by the changing energy landscape. The release and sharing of these datasets and maps provided important information for these communities, allowing them to evaluate funding and tax credit options and opportunities to support clean energy transitions.

Among other successes, these efforts resulted in the creation of several publicly accessible maps and data resources for the NETL-supported Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization. The team also produced the Coal Power Plant Redevelopment Visualization Tool, which helps identify opportunities for the redevelopment of shuttered coal-fired power plants to support community reinvestment.

The GAIA team also worked with DOE to review authoritative, nationwide datasets and define eligibility criteria for the Communities LEAP (Local Energy Action Program) Pilot, which was launched to facilitate sustained community-wide economic and environmental benefits. The goal is to empower low-income and energy-burdened communities with historic reliance on fossil industries or communities experiencing environmental injustice to design community-based pathways to a sustainable, resilient, equitable clean energy future. Bauer’s data helped inform the selection of 24 communities for the pilot.

These successes have led to multiple other impacts that support energy transition opportunities for different stakeholder groups across the nation. Her work with the GAIA team is accelerating responsible community transitions for energy communities by providing them with data-driven tools to identify opportunities for economic growth in their domains. This approach will create new jobs, improve public health, and provide a range of community benefits — all driven by the foundation of data that Bauer has worked diligently to build and make accessible across the United States.

The Oregon FEB Excellence in Government Awards recognize outstanding federal employees for efforts that encourage innovation and excellence in government, reinforce pride in federal service and call public attention to the broad range of services provided by federal employees. The winners of the FEB Excellence in Government Awards are selected by an independent committee of federal executives.

NETL is a DOE national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By leveraging its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant, and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.