Overview
A major project for this course is the creation of two Position Papers. Your team must select two topics from those provided below and develop a position. Using
resources from the course and ones that you find as a group, take a position on your topics and support your position.
A group discussion area has been provided for you to complete each paper.
The project is divided in to three milestones, which will be submitted at various points throughout the course to scaffold learning and ensure quality final
submissions. These milestones will be submitted in Modules Four, Six, and Ten.
Objectives
To successfully complete this project, you will be expected to apply what you have learned in this course and should include several of the following course
objectives:
 Appraise a range of energy options, future prospects, efficiency improvements, and the implications of each for sustainability.
 Analyze energy decisions and make well reasoned recommendations to decision makers from a variety of perspectives including investment decisions,
cost-containment choices, and assessment of ecological consequences.
 Have a practical business grasp of basic physical concepts, in particular, the first and second laws of thermodynamics that will inform an understanding of
savings and investment opportunities.
Main Elements
Each Position Paper will include four parts, each with its own heading. Be sure to address the following items under the topics you choose:
1. Current status of energy technology, including the triple bottom line
2. Evaluation of current advances and trends, including the triple bottom line
3. Identify the costs, timelines and policies necessary to make it a viable source
4. Provide conclusions about the feasibility of the energy source in the future
Select two of the following topics on which to develop a position. Then write a Position Paper for each topic.
1. Clean Coal as Part of Sustainable Energy Future?
Examine the current status of coal as an energy source. Evaluate developing coal technologies’, such a gasification and Carbon Capture and
Sequestration, ability to address current weaknesses. Identify the cost, timeline and policies that must be addressed to move forward. Make a conclusion
about the feasibility of coal energy going into the future.
2. New Liquid Fuels: From Renewable and Non-renewable sources:
Consider questions of sustainability, economics, technology, scale available, and social impacts.
3. Natural Gas as a transition fuel:
Consider sustainability, economics, technology, resource, and global scale.
4. Offshore and onshore wind as the backbone of U.S. energy future:
Consider ecological issues, system integration, resource spread, and global scale.
5. Ongoing decreased costs for PV and Solar Concentrators for making solar a major part of the US energy future
Consider the need for solar subsidies and ways to phase them out, sustainability and ecological affects from manufacturing of different solar types and
deployment of very large solar arrays, and concentrator fields.
6. Is the era of cheap oil nearly over?
Consider whether or not new discoveries can keep pace and whether current trends will lead to alternative supplies and a renewable transition away
from oil from transport and process fuel.
7. Simple regulatory-market solutions to fossil fuel dependency and global warming:
Consider the effectiveness of regulatory requirements for decarbonization in generating technological innovation as opposed to such as carbon taxes, or
cap and trade.
8. A design for renewable energy-efficiency transition
Consider the issues such as mix of efficiency and different renewable types, continental scale integration versus regional based systems, economic
mechanisms for financing transition such as negawatts, renewable energy credits, renewable energy hedges, and renewable portfolio standards and
decarbonization legislation for market based solutions supported by regulation.
9. Energy-Agriculture-Carbon Connection
Consider whether biofuel use of different types is sustainable, the ecological consequences, what alternative cultivation and fertilization means to reduce
fuel and fossil fuel-based fertilizer use, ecological consequences of biofuel tree farming, and biofuel integration into sustainable agro-forestry models