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|IEPG 8671 - Intl Renewable Energy Policy|
Climate scientists have found that we need to achieve 80% absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions globally to stabilize the climate. An essential element of that transition is moving rapidly away from the use of coal, oil and natural gas to generate electricity. Questions we will explore in this course include:
• Are renewables plentiful, affordable, and technologically advanced enough to take the place of fossil fuels in global electricity production?
• What parts of the world have made the most progress in that transition already, which parts still have the furthest to go, and why?
• Which government policies and market strategies will be needed to accelerate the transition, and what will they cost?
• Will solar and wind technology get us there, or are other technologies showing more promise?
• Is it better to do renewables on a massive, centralized basis through utilities, or to implement them in a decentralized way on individual homes and buildings?
• How important is energy storage to making the renewable electricity transition happen?
• What changes are coming to quality of life, lifestyle, and society as a whole as a result of this historic transition?
After introductory lectures and readings providing background on climate change, renewable energy technologies, and high level policy approaches, the class will jointly select a renewable electricity target % and date to aim for (such as 80% by 2030). Students will divide into groups by region of the world. Each group will tackle one of six continents or geographic regions (North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia/New Zealand/Oceania) and investigate answers to the above questions for that region. Their research will culminate in group presentations to the class on key findings, challenges, and recommended approaches to achieving the target in their region. In addition, students will individually write a final paper demonstrating a grasp of the global challenge renewable electricity production represents and the most promising technological, policy, and market pathways toward achieving it.