Kat Friedrich

Kat Friedrich
News Editor at Clean Energy Finance Forum and Conservation Finance Network

A former mechanical engineer with graduate training in journalism and environmental studies, Kat Friedrich is a self-employed news editor with expertise in energy, sustainability and technology.

In collaboration with graduate students and staff, Kat is expanding the articles, infographics and videos published by Clean Energy Finance Forum and Conservation Finance Network. These sites are experimenting with the latest innovations in online media and environmental communication. Both sites are using a "solutions journalism" approach to producing cutting-edge, pragmatic business news.

Yale University brought Clean Energy Finance Forum on board after Kat built its initial iteration for a small national NGO, Clean Energy Finance Center. The website has been growing since 2012.

Kat has also edited two magazines: BuildingEnergy and Renewable Energy World Magazine. Her reporting has appeared in Midwest Energy News, Scientific American, Earth Island Journal, and many other publications. She is a local co-organizer of Online News Association Western New England and the former organizer of NetSquared Boston.

Kat holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Nelson Institute. Her thesis analyzed media framing of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge energy resources debate.

For close to two years, Kat worked for American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy on website strategy, technical writing, and environmental psychology research.

For four years, Kat was a writer and editor at the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning, a national initiative advancing diversity-friendly teaching techniques in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at colleges and universities.

As an engineer, Kat constructed parts for hybrid race cars before hybrid cars were on the market. She also built and tested HVAC systems to cool power electronics that were connected to utility power grids.

Authored Articles

Skepticism Stalls Small Commercial Energy Retrofits

Small commercial energy efficiency retrofits are often at the bottom of building owners’ priority lists. According to “Financing Small Commercial Building Energy Performance Upgrades: Challenges and Opportunities,” a report published in January by National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), a complex knot of challenges is preventing building owners from both seeking financing and accessing it. The authors recommend that government organizations step in with policies and programs designed to cut the knot and set financing in motion.

Reducing Shell Games with Energy Subsidies

Today, many governments simultaneously subsidize fossil fuels and clean energy. The fossil fuel subsidies tend to be hidden and complex, but the solar and wind subsidies are relatively transparent. This can create a shell game-like effect in which fossil fuel subsidies are embedded into business as usual while solar and wind subsidies are visible and are weakened.

Clean Energy Bond Investors Want a Full Buffet of Options

For the first time, researchers have examined what potential investors want from the United States clean energy bond market. The December 2014 report “What Investors Want: How to Scale-Up Demand for U.S. Clean Energy and Green Bonds” shows investors’ tastes vary widely. Offering a broad menu of options is the best response, the authors recommend.

What’s Unique about the Texas PACE-in-a-Box Toolkit

Texas faces an unusual scenario when it seeks to advance property-assessed clean energy (PACE). The state has a tradition of seeking private-sector solutions and streamlining government activities. This means PACE methods adopted in other states – such as Connecticut – would not work in Texas. Also, Texas’s private sector is massive. The state’s businesses – and their environmental footprint – are growing rapidly. In a Nov. 18 webinar called “PACE in Texas 101,” Charlene Heydinger, executive director of Keeping PACE in Texas, said Texas uses 19 percent of the industrial energy consumed in the United States.

The Struggle to Combine Energy Efficiency and Solar Power

How can programs motivate homeowners to make their homes energy-efficient before installing solar panels? And how can incentives support a whole-house retrofit approach that will optimize energy savings and prevent solar systems from being oversized? California, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Austin Energy have been grappling with this challenge for years. Their experiences show well-designed incentives may drive the joint adoption of solar power and energy efficiency. Simply introducing energy efficiency requirements into the solar installation process may not be successful without adding financial motivation.

Designing Climate Finance for the Developing World

Scaling up investment in developing nations to reduce the hardships of climate change poses many challenges. The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, an international forum for improving social and economic policies, produced a report exploring this urgent situation in May. The report is titled “Scaling up and Replicating Effective Climate Finance Interventions.”

Why Solar Thermal Technology Lacks Incentives and Financing

Compared to the outpouring of financing for solar photovoltaics, financing for solar thermal technologies has taken a back seat for many years in the United States. The Clean Energy Finance Forum (CEFF) spoke with Everett Barber, a consultant and author who has worked for many decades in the solar thermal industry, about his perspective on this discrepancy.