ASU (Arizona State University) Morrison Prize honors proposal to reform energy law, improve grid reliability

March 6, 2023

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University has just awarded its prestigious Morrison Prize to a group of professors from four different law schools for their article arguing that continued reliance on fossil fuels will only exacerbate the reliability challenges plaguing the nation’s electric grid. The article outlines innovative strategies for strengthening grid reliability while accelerating the nation’s transition to a lower-carbon energy system.

Their prize-winning paper, titled “Grid Reliability Through Clean Energy,” appeared in the Stanford Law Review in 2022 and was authored by professors Alexandra Klass, Joshua Macey, Shelley Welton and Hannah Wiseman. The Morrison Prize Contest is a nationally recognized competition established in 2015 and administered through the program in law and sustainability at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. The contest awards a $10,000 prize annually to the authors of the most impactful sustainability-related legal academic article published in North America during the previous year and is named after its benefactor, Richard N. Morrison, who co-founded ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy. The winners will present this year’s winning article at ASU’s eighth annual SRP Sustainability Conference of American Legal Educators on May 12 in downtown Phoenix.Four professors from different universities have won the annual Morrison Prize presented by the law and sustainability program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

University of Michigan Professor Alexandra Klass thanked ASU Law for the honor and praised it for its contribution to complex sustainability issues.

“The Morrison Prize and ASU’s annual sustainability conference have become key drivers in bringing together scholars and practitioners to tackle the important energy and sustainability challenges of our day,” she said. “I am delighted that our article was recognized as part of that effort.”

University of Pennsylvania Law Professor Shelley Welton noted the generosity of ASU’s annual event and spoke of the collaborative effort of the prize-winning paper.

“I am tremendously honored to receive the Morrison Prize as part of this wonderful group of co-authors. Winning for this paper is particularly gratifying because I don’t believe we could have written this piece separately — it really was a collective effort greater than the sum of our individual expertise,” she said.

Joshua Macey, who teaches law at the University of Chicago and previously won the prize in 2021 and 2022, said the event is a yearly highlight for him.

“ASU’s sustainability conference is an amazing event and always a highlight of the year for me,” he said. “I’m extremely grateful to the ASU law school, to Troy Rule and to Mr. Morrison for helping to cultivate academic community and for bringing together so many different voices in the environmental movement.”

For her part, Penn State Law Professor Hannah Wiseman said she was grateful for the opportunity the Morrison Prize creates to draw national attention to sustainability-oriented legal scholarship each year.

“ASU’s Morrison Prize has been instrumental in drawing greater attention to diverse environmental, energy and natural resources scholarship that aims to move forward sustainability efforts,” she said. “This team of authors is incredibly excited to receive this prize and thankful for the time and resources that Mr. Morrison and ASU have invested in administering the prize and bringing together law professors for productive and innovative discussions in the space of sustainability policy.”