Bringing Wild Energy to UC Davis

The Wild Energy Initiative is a new initiative of the John Muir Institute of the Environment at UC Davis. The mission of the Muir Institute is to discover, research and solve pressing environmental and human health challenges at a time of unprecedented social connectedness, technological development and global change.

At the Muir Institute, we translate our vision into practice though key strategic initiatives, like the Wild Energy. Our strategic initiatives are intended to align and transform the Muir Institute and its centers by engaging in unifying, cross-sectoral research across our network of applied experts. We create new, multi-disciplinary partnerships to solve issues at the center of the “environmental nexus,” or the interface between people and the planet. Wild Energy exemplifies the type of interdisciplinary research we aim to conduct by examining the interactions between energy, life, and the environment, furthering the mission of the Muir Institute to address the most pressing and complex challenges facing the 21st century.

The Muir Institute’s cross-cutting efforts are fueled by a simple principle: healthy ecosystems build healthy people, which then result in healthy ecosystems. We believe that all of humanity has role to play in conserving nature and using Earth’s resources responsibly and sustainably. We strive to identify “win-win” solutions for a prosperous and equitable economy and biologically diverse environment.

Collaboration and cooperation are key ingredients behind our almost two decades of success. By tapping into an unrivaled community of more than 300 scholars from the natural and social sciences, humanities, mathematical, engineering and medical fields, we consider virtually every angle of environmental quality and sustainability – from economics to policy, science to human health, conservation to management. The diverse centers and programs within the Muir Institute are solving challenges facing citizens of California, the United States and the world.

Statement of Purpose

The Wild Energy Initiative facilitates impartial research and education on interactions between energy development and Earth, including its systems and species, to address exigent sustainability issues.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to:

  1. Produce non-partisan and actionable research products that promote better understanding of the ecology of energy for human use, including ecological effects, trade-offs, and synergies of energy systems;
  2. Develop scientific data and consensus to support planning and policy decisions related to sustainable energy development; and
  3. Support knowledge transfer across global communities of energy and environmental stakeholders, including but not limited to communities and tribes, concerned citizens, industry, intergovernmental and governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, scientists, and urban planners.

Research Areas

  • Agrivoltaics, rangevoltaics, and floatovoltaics
  • Ecology of conventional, nuclear, and renewable energy systems
  • Ecological interactions of siting, construction, operations and maintenance, and decommissioning of energy systems and supporting infrastructure
  • Ecological trade-offs, costs, and benefits of energy systems
  • Energy decisions knowledge systems and decision support tools for ecological sustainability
  • Structured environmental assessment methods and applications of energy systems
  • Energy geography: cultural, physical, and biological
  • Food, energy, water, and land nexus issues
  • Policy analysis of energy ecology challenges and solutions

We seek to answer questions like:

  • How do breeding, early-successional birds respond to forest harvests for bioenergy?
  • What factors encourage policy design in local regulation of high-volume hydraulic fracturing?
  • Do petroleum spills impact wetland shoreline recession and wetland ecosystems?
  • What are net global impacts of energy systems and infrastructure on the biosphere?
  • How does energy and water, both inputs and outputs of agricultural production, and food compete for land, water, and other natural resources?
  • What is the solar energy potential of the largest commercial buildings and parking lots in the United States and the land sparing implications for integrated solar energy development?
  • What is the nature of the utility-scale solar energy knowledge system in California and how does it affect the sustainability of development decisions?
  • What are the environmental and economic impacts of Jatropha curcas L. plantations, a multi-purpose biofuel crop, in Senegal’s Peanut Basin (West Africa)?

Visit Us

The main offices for the Wild Energy Initiative are located in The Barn near the center of the UC Davis campus. The Barn is a historic horse barn southwest of the Silo, near Giedt and Kemper Halls.

Directions for off campus visitors

The Barn

Parking for visitors to The Barn is most convenient in Visitor Parking (VP) Lots 40, 47 or the West Parking Structure. 

Exit Interstate 80 to follow Hwy 113 north toward Woodland. Take Hutchison Drive exit and turn right on Hutchison Drive (east bound).

West Parking Structure and VP 40: From east bound Hutchison Drive, continue straight past the LaRue stoplight to the West Parking Structure stoplight. Turn left at the light to enter the parking structure. Alternatively, continue straight through the light and at the first stop sign turn right into parking lot 41 and drive to the west end of the parking lot to Visitor Parking Lot 40.

VP 47: From east bound Hutchison Drive, turn right at the first stoplight onto La Rue Road. Follow La Rue Road south and around the bend toward the east. Turn left into Visitor Parking Lot 47.

Short term parking (metered parking, 45 minutes or less) is available on Bioletti Way and in Parking Lot 43. On Hutchison Drive, pass straight through the stoplight at the West Parking Structure/Dairy Road and the stop sign at Kleiber Hall Drive/Parking Lot 41. Turn right at the second stop sign onto Bioletti Way — metered spaces are on both sides of the road. Alternatively, proceed straight through the stop sign at Bioletti, and turn right into the second driveway, Parking Lot 41, just past the Surge IV building, before the Silo.

Visitor Parking Information

Parking permits cost $9.00 per day. A valid permit is required to park on campus Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. (September 15 to June 15) and 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (June 16 to September 14), and during special events where attendants are present. Parking is free on weekends and observed holidays unless special event parking is enforced.