Ryan Thomas Trahan is a Research Associate Professor in the Program in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. Before joining Vanderbilt, he worked as a transactional attorney for family offices, where he provided strategic investment counsel on various matters including land use, energy, and sustainability. While practicing in Los Angeles, Trahan was active with the Urban Land Institute and was an affiliated fellow (remote) of the KBH Energy Center at the University of Texas-Austin.
Trahan has published in various scholarly journals, including Energy Research and Social Science; Hastings Environmental Law Review; Environmental Law Reporter; Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law; and Business Horizons.
At Vanderbilt, Trahan is leading the Distribution of Power Project, which is a collaboration with Professor David Hess. The project focuses on local power organizations (LPOs), which provide electricity distribution and other services to customers within a defined geographic area. We view electricity as the primary lever for decarbonization and LPOs as the fulcrum. In the U.S. alone, there are approximately 3,000 such organizations, which serve tens of millions of homes, businesses, farms, and schools. The energy transition presents various challenges and opportunities for LPOs, including the key trends of renewable distributed energy resources and the step change to digital electricity infrastructure. The goals of the project are to develop neutral, transparent assessment and planning tools for use by LPOs and policymakers, to facilitate the sharing of information through networks and conferences, and to advance discrete, targeted environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment in this sector. For more information, see the project web site.