Elizabeth J. Wilson

Academic Appointments


Dr. Elizabeth J. Wilson is a Professor of Environmental Studies and was the founding Director of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society (2017-2022). She studies how energy systems are evolving in the face of new technologies, new societal pressures and new risks. Her work focuses on how energy and environmental policies and laws are implemented in practice. She studies how institutions are supporting and thwarting energy system transitions and her work focuses on the interplays between technology innovation, policy creation, and institutional decision making. Her research has examined how energy policy stakeholders engage with the opportunities and challenges of within Regional Transmission Organizations, which manage the transmission planning, electricity markets and grid operations for over 70 percent of North American electricity sales. Her research has also studied how stakeholders in different U.S. states view emerging energy technologies like wind power, carbon-capture and sequestration, the smart grids, and the electric power transmission system. Her recent books include Energy Law and Policy, Third Edition (West Academic Publishing) (with Davies, Klass, Tomain and Osofsky) and Smart Grid (R)evolution: Electric Power Struggles (Cambridge Press) (with Stephens and Peterson). Wilson is on sabbatical until 2023.

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While directing the Institute she oversaw the construction of the new building, worked with Advancement to raise $54 million, brought in and supported another $5 million in research grants, awarded $800,000 in research funds, established a Sustainable Energy minor and sponsored talks, workshops, seminars and events engaging faculty, students, and practitioners across campus and around the world.

Wilson was awarded a 2015 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship and was selected as a 2014-5 CIC Academic Leadership Fellow. She was chosen as a Leopold Leadership Fellow in 2011. She spent the 2009-2010 academic year as a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, in Beijing, supported by a McKnight Land-Grant Professorship. Prior to joining Dartmouth College, Wilson was a Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy and Law at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.  At the University of Minnesota, Wilson worked for a decade with the Institute on the Environment, which supports a wide range of initiatives and projects related to land and water use, food diversity, sustainable enterprise, and the integration of economics and ecology.  Previously she worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and before that Wilson worked in Belgium, Burundi and Tanzania. She holds a doctorate in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

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104 Steele Hall
HB 6182
Environmental Studies
B.A. University of California, Santa Cruz
M.S. Vrije Universiteit
Ph.D. Carnegie Mellon University

Selected Publications

Lincoln L. Davies, Alexandra B. Klass, Hari M. Osofsky, Joseph P. Tomain and Elizabeth J. Wilson.  2022.  Energy Law and Policy, 3rd Edition.  West Academic Publishing.

Jennie C. Stephens, Elizabeth J. Wilson and Tarla Rai Peterson.  2015.  Smart Grid (R)evolution: Electric Power Struggles.  Cambridge University Press.