We all certainly know what America’s “Old Energy Economy” looks like; it’s (still) everywhere around us.
More than 90% of the U.S. transportation sector now relies on petroleum products like gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Most of this oil comes from foreign sources, including many autocratic and unstable regimes. Meanwhile, our U.S. domestic oil production is increasingly coming from environmentally sensitive and even risky locales such as deep-water wells in the Gulf of Mexico.
For electricity, most American consumers rely on coal, natural gas, or even nuclear power. Here in the Northwest, we’re fortunate to derive most of our electric power from an “old renewable” source: hydroelectricity. But even that has its challenges, reflected in the environmental challenges of dams and long-running issues over endangered species such as salmon.
So what would a “New Energy Economy” look like – and what will it take to get us there?
Across many divisions and disciplines, including the Center for Public Service, faculty and students at PSU have been exploring how we might redesign existing courses and develop new ones that will help answer these questions – and prepare the energy industry and society for this new energy economy. In March, CPS will offer its fourth “Smart Grid” related course, with a particular focus on the intricacies of effective policy within the context of the state’s Public Utility Commission recent investigation involving Smart Grid initiatives and plans. Beginning in June, the Hatfield Summer Institute will likely feature additional courses designed and offered with other PSU partners such as the School of Engineering and the School of Business.