Founder and Faculty Director
Professor Melissa Powers is the faculty director of the Green Energy Institute. Melissa is a Jeffrey Bain Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. In 2014-2015, Melissa was a Fulbright-Schuman Scholar researching Denmark and Spain’s renewable energy laws. Melissa is also the founder and faculty director of the Green Energy Institute at Lewis & Clark Law School, an organization that designs policies to a transition to a zero-carbon energy system.
Melissa teaches climate change law, electricity regulation, renewable energy law, the Clean Air Act, administrative law, and torts. She received the Leo Levenson Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012. Melissa has taught several times as a visiting professor at the University of Trento, Italy. She has also visited at the University of Bologna, Italy; Kangwon National University, Republic of Korea; University of Navarra, Spain; and the University of Maine. She conducted her Fulbright-Schuman research at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Catalonia.
Melissa’s research focuses on energy reform, climate change mitigation, and pollution control. Melissa is the book review editor of Transnational Environmental Law, a peer-reviewed journal published by Cambridge University Press. She is a co-author of the books Climate Change and the Law and Principles of Environmental Law, and several articles and book chapters focused on climate and energy law. Some of her recent book chapters and articles include: Strategies to Quickly Reduce Black Carbon Emissions, in Legal Pathways To Deep Decarbonization In The United States (eds. Michael Gerrard & John C. Dernbach) (forthcoming 2018); Lessons from U.S. Biofuels Policy: The Renewable Fuels Standard’s Rocky Ride, in The Law and Policy of Biofuels (eds. Yves Le Boutillier, Annie Cowie, Paul Martin, & Heather McLeod-Kilmurray) (2016); Is that All There Is? The Surprising Value of Unenforceable Local Climate Action Plans, in Rethinking Sustainable Development to Meet the Climate Change Challenge (eds. Owley & Hirokawa) (2015); Energy Insecurity in an Era of Fossil Fuel Abundance: The United States Experience with Hydraulic Fracturing for Unconventional Gas, in Perspectives on Energy Security and Renewable Energies in Sub-Saharan Africa: Regulatory Challenges and Practical Opportunities (eds. Ruppel & Althusmann) (2015); Quick Fixes or Real Remedies? The Benefits and Limitations of Climate and Energy Fast Policy, 8 San Diego J. of Climate & Energy Pol’y 67 (2017) (with Edward Jewell and Joni Sliger); and An Inclusive Energy Transition: Expanding Low-Income Access to Clean Energy Programs, 18 NC J. of Law & Tech. (2017).
Melissa serves on the boards of the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, the Environmental Law Collaborative, and the Advisory Committee on Sustainability & Innovation for Multnomah County, and she is a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform. She also previously served as a co-chair of the Research Committee and as a Governing Board member of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law.
Melissa received her JD, magna cum laude, from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2001, and her BA in environmental sciences from the University of California at Berkeley in 1992. From 2003-2008, Melissa was a Clinical Professor at the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center (PEAC), the environmental law clinic at Lewis & Clark.