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SRP invests $2.6 million in 36 projects in partnership with ASU, NAU, UA

SRP has invested $2.6 million to fund 36 research-and-development projects at Arizona’s three state universities.

The public utility says the undertakings are meant to improve the Valley’s power system and watershed, and to educate a potential workforce on real-world applications.

SRP will work with Arizona State University on 24 projects; Northern Arizona University on seven; and University of Arizona on the remaining five.

Subjects range from wildfire detection to predicting and responding to energy demands.

One UA plan involves turning old electrical cables into concrete.

Two master’s students at NAU are using drones and thermal imaging to seek out leaks in underground pipes.

Two ASU programs entail imaging and modeling wear-and-tear on hydropower turbines at Horse Mesa and Mormon Flat dams.

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Nicholas Gerbis joined KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk in 2016. A longtime science, health and technology journalist and editor, his extensive background in related nonprofit and science communications inform his reporting on Earth and space sciences, neuroscience and behavioral health, and bioscience/biotechnology.Apart from travel and three years in Delaware spent earning his master’s degree in physical geography (climatology), Gerbis has spent most of his life in Arizona. He also holds a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Arizona State University’s Cronkite School and a bachelor’s degree in geography (climatology/meteorology), also from ASU.Gerbis briefly “retired in reverse” and moved from Arizona to Wisconsin, where he taught science history and science-fiction film courses at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is glad to be back in the Valley and enjoys contributing to KJZZ’s Untold Arizona series.During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gerbis focused almost solely on coronavirus-related stories and analysis. In addition to reporting on the course of the disease and related research, he delved into deeper questions, such as the impact of shutdowns on science and medicine, the roots of vaccine reluctance and the policies that exacerbated the virus’s impact, particularly on vulnerable populations.