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2011 New Energy Economy Seminar Series

The Mark O. Hatfield School of Government's Seminar Series on the New Energy Economy consisted of five non-credit workshops. The course topics were selected based on guidance PSU faculty and administrators received from local energy industry leaders.  PSU faculty and administrators are also exploring mid-term and longer–strategies to help meet other needs identified by industry leaders.

These non-credit short courses were designed to serve busy local professionals who already work in the energy field and are interested in additional training opportunities that support their professional development. Some courses in this series were quite advanced and addressed “cutting edge” issues. Enrollment in these courses was open to all, but senior level energy professionals were particularly encouraged to participate.  Other courses were designed to support energy professionals who are still relatively new to the field and are ready to take the next step in their career development.  We also welcomed the participation of people who do not work in the energy field but are interested in preparing themselves for a possible career transition, and people who just want to learn more about these fascinating topics.  

The next NEE Seminar Series has not yet been scheduled, but workshops and classes can be customized for your agency or organization by arrangement with the Center for Public Service. Please contact for more information.

2011 Seminar Series Workshop Topics 

Dissolving Complex Problems in the New Energy Economy

Instructors:  Pamela Morgan and Beatrice Benne

THE ELECTRIC ENERGY SYSTEM HAS EVOLVED OVER TIME TO BECOME INCREASINGLY COMPLEX.   This system now faces undesirable problems that interact with one another to create "messes." Resolving these messes requires a system approach.  A system approach allows stakeholders in an electric energy system to explore messes through a cross-organizational learning process whose goal is to help participants perceive undesirable trends in the system; visualize the system structure generating those trends; formulate questions that enable authentic and deep inquiry into assumptions and beliefs; collaboratively create powerful shared visions and desired outcomes that escape “either-or” dilemmas; and identify strategies for systemic changes that have a greater likelihood of producing the desired outcomes over time. Read more >

Green Inc.: Business Models for the New Energy Economy

Instructor:  Jim Thayer

YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S BORING ENERGY SECTOR IS NO MORE! A wide range of new energy generators, marketers, energy efficiency services, renewable energy providers, aggregators, ancillary services and non-profit organizations now dominate the emerging energy marketplace. 
Each of these new providers or managers of energy have a unique mission and use different tools and measure results in diverse and often conflicting ways.  Learn to understand the diverse perspectives of these entities, to interpret their results and to collaborate effectively with them. Read more >

Comprehending the Climate Conundrum

Instructor:  Michael Burnett

BUSINESS AS USUAL IS NOT CLIMATE AS USUAL!  Organizations and individuals ignore climate change at their own peril.  Climate change is the key driver behind the shift to the “New Energy Economy.”  Climate science, economics, solutions, and politics all have profound implications for competitiveness and success as we face what has been called the greatest business challenge of our time.  Science tells us that a business as usual approach leads to great disruptions of our climate system, natural ecosystems, our economy, and global political stability.  Yet the US has failed to enact comprehensive climate legislation.  This course puts this conundrum – and climate change – in meaningful perspective. Read more >

Riding the Waves of Change: Project and Program Management for the New Energy Economy

Instructors:  Dr. Marcus Ingle and Jim Thayer

PROJECT AND PROGRAM MANAGEMENT SKILLS ARE BECOMING VITAL FOR NEW AND MID-CAREER ENERGY PROFESSIONALS.  This interactive three-day course offers time-tested and emerging project and program management concepts and skills for designing, implementing and evaluating new energy programs in the context of our New Energy Economy. The course is grounded in an integrated program management approach for achieving high stakeholder benefits in the context of long term, complex and geographically dispersed energy initiatives. Participants will come away with a deep understanding of the regulatory requirements, benefits, stakeholders and metrics that define how energy projects/programs are successfully managed and judged. An interactive case-study that focuses on a simulated energy project will be used to demonstrate how management expertise can ensure the successful delivery of energy initiatives. The course is intended for both mid- and entry-level energy efficiency audiences. Read more >

The Smart Grid and Sustainable Energy Systems

Instructors:  Jeffrey Hammarlund and Michael Jung

THE NORTHWEST POWER SYSTEM HAS FACED MANY CHALLENGES. The latest: How to integrate the dramatic increases in wind-generated electricity into a regional power system whose flexibility is limited by competing demands.  Many regional energy experts now view the Smart Grid as a potentially important component of a more comprehensive regional strategy to support the integration of wind and other renewable resource options. Its advocates argue that it can also support demand response, distributed generation, and energy storage strategies, provide load-balancing services, support grid stabilization, and empower consumers to partner with utilities in new and innovative ways.  However, the Smart Grid is far from a panacea; we will also explore its limitations and key objections. Read more >