New Courses Offered or to Be Offered in the EPC (2015 – 2016)

Posted in Energy Policy and Climate

Spring 2015

425.646 US Offshore Energy: Policy, Science and Technology

Offshore energy is progressively becoming a significant part of the U.S. energy mix. Oil from offshore platforms now accounts for roughly one-third of the U.S. domestic production, and significant interest has emerged for developing renewable energy resources in the ocean and the Great Lakes. Large-scale offshore wind projects have been proposed along the East Coast, and there is also interest in developing wave energy off the West Coast and the Pacific islands. Ocean current and tidal energy are the other emerging sources. This course will take a multi-disciplinary approach to offshore energy analysis. We will discuss both renewable resources such as offshore wind, and conventional resources such as offshore oil and gas. Topics covered will include: resource assessment, state and federal regulations, economics of offshore energy, environmental impact and benefits, space-use conflicts, cultural/tribal issues, public perception, offshore energy technology, and energy infrastructure. We will also review case studies on the proposed Cape Wind project and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In addition, we will discuss the recently launched National Ocean Policy initiative and how it is influencing offshore energy regulation. Subject-matter experts from federal regulatory agencies will be invited as guest speakers. By the end of the course, students will understand policies and regulations governing offshore energy in the U.S. They will also be conversant with the economics of resource development, technological drivers for harnessing the resources, and the scientific advances in assessing and mitigating environmental impact from energy production in offshore areas. Offered onsite at least once every two years.

425.625 Solar Energy: Science, Technology & Policy

This course focuses on the two primary solar technologies in the contemporary market; photovoltaic cells (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP), with a focus on PV. The course will investigate techniques for increasing efficiency, expanding storage and decreasing price. Solar energy for use as both distributed and grid-independent resources is considered. The course covers science and technologies as well as the environmental impact of solar technologies. Additionally, the course examines the market structure considerations for solar technology development. Offered onsite at least once every two years. Prerequisite: Principles and Applications of Energy Technology.

Fall 2015

425.615 Understanding Public Attitudes and Behaviors for the Communication of Climate and Energy Policy

The enormous gains in environmental protection achieved in the latter half of the 20th century in the United States can primarily be credited to legal policy instruments that targeted point-source pollution through legislation such as the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. However, that successful framework has been ill-equipped to handle the myriad sources of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, and passing new national climate change legislation has remained frustratingly out of reach. To meet these challenges, citizens will need to make both political and consumer decisions about climate change and energy. Public attitudes influence what is believed to be politically possible in passing new legislation, and consumer decisions contribute to as much as 40% of national emissions. These conditions have generated renewed interests in low-cost, non-regulatory ?soft policy? approaches based on social science to inform public decision-making and behavior change. Communication? Whether in the form of information provision, participatory decision-making, or social marketing ?is among the foremost of these strategies. This course will introduce you to a growing literature on the use of social science research in informing and evaluating climate change and energy policies. Understanding some of the terms and concepts used in social science research will help you critically evaluate research commissioned by the organizations for which you work, or even just survey toplines reported by the media. The course will challenge you not only to think about the varied communication factors that influence human decision-making and behavior, but to use that information in designing and evaluating programs. Offered onsite, at least once every two years.

Spring 2016

425.605 Introduction to Energy Law & Policy

This course will provide an overview of the major laws and policies that shape and regulate the complex energy system of the United States and, to a lesser degree, the world. The goal is to provide students with a framework for understanding the energy laws and policies of today and those likely to be important in coming years. The course will review laws and policies for all major types of energy including fossil fuels, nuclear, and renewables as well as issues related to extraction, conversion, distribution, use, and conservation. Laws and policies ranging from local-level to state, federal, and international levels will be included. Laws and policies will be presented against in the context of profound and rapid changes occurring in the energy system, climate change and other environmental issues, economics, national security, and population growth. The course will be largely empirical, but attention will be given to major theories. Most aspects of the course will be illustrated by reference to contemporary issues such as the recently unveiled Clean Power Plan; court decisions; climate change negotiations; and, changes in state policies and federal tax policies for renewables. Offered onsite at least once every two years.

425.624 Wind Energy: Science, Technology and Policy

Topics include the assessment of wind resources, basic principles of wind turbines and power transmission, electricity markets and wind power, technological and economic aspects of storage of intermittent wind power, legal issues at state and federal levels, international water issues, and environmental impact assessment processes for wind developments. Offered online or onsite at least once every two years. Prerequisite: Principles and Applications of Energy Technologies.

Summer 2016

425.644 Principles & Applications of Energy Technology II

This course builds on a number of ideas covered in the core EPT course, and as with the first course uses and integrates a broad range of ideas from science, engineering and economics. The course has two distinct but overlapping themes that will be often be covered in parallel. First, the course will broaden and deepen the coverage of the how some of the energy technologies discussed in the core course work, with a slightly more formal discussion and use of ideas from mechanics and thermodynamics, including the role of entropy; a few newer potential technologies, such as fusion and ocean will also be covered. Second the course will extend the coverage of the economics and operation of energy markets to provide a deeper understanding of how to value energy generation assets when facing an uncertain future, on both a stand-alone and integrated basis, and how these considerations play out in real electricity markets, including the role of energy, capacity and ancillary services. The course will include coverage of the potential role of energy storage and/or demand side management in integrating large scale renewable energy into the grid from both an operational and economic perspective. Offered onsite at least once every two years.

425.622 Renewable Energy and Proactive Climate Change in Benelux

Scientific evident for warming of the climate system is unequivocal according the International Panel on Climate Change. Facing the combined issues of limited fossil fuel reserves and that ongoing CO2 emissions are contributing to global warming, the governments in Europe have decided to move towards more sustainable energy systems and to develop national projects to protect vulnerable coastal areas from expected sea level rise. European Union (EU) nations are world leaders in the development of renewable energy sources and have recently proposed a common renewable energy policy in the European Renewable Energy Directive, creating the binding obligations to all of its members with the aim of ‘reaching the EU target of consuming 20 percent of its energy in form of renewables by 2020.’ On the climate side, the 2030 framework for climate and energy policies in Europe propose a centerpiece policy of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40%. The course will highlight current and near-future renewable energy projects in an on-ground learning experience with national stakeholders in Europe. The course will be held in the heart of Western Europe, the Benelux (Belgium-Luxembourg-Netherlands) Region. This course explores the specific examples where these nations have strong proactive polices on renewable development. We will specifically explore how the nation of Luxembourg, the immediate surrounding areas of Belgium and the Lorraine Region of France, and the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands, have solved some of the current energy issues via renewable energy solutions as well as developing very proactive climate policies. Field course in Benelux (2 weeks in DC and 1 week in Benelux). Prerequisite: Principles and Applications of Energy Technologies or permission from instructor.