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Introduction to Renewable Energy

ENGR 110/PSC 110

Prof. Ted Batchman & Prof. Christopher Simon

Fall 2008

MWR 1.00 pm ? 2.00 pm

SEM 234

ENGR 110/PSC 110

Introduction to Renewable Energy

Instructors: Professor Simon and Professor Batchman

Contact info:

Christopher A. Simon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Political Science (MS-302)

University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557

Office: MSS 241; Voice: 775-682-7769;

Fax: 775-784-1473, E-mail:

Office Hours: M 1200-1245; Th 11:15-12:15

Ted Batchman, Ph.D.

Professor & Founding Director,

Renewable Energy Center

Redfield Campus

18600 Wedge Parkway

Reno, Nevada 89511


Phone: 775-682-6443

Office Hours: By appointment only.

Class Time: MWF 1300-1350

Class Location: SEM 234

Class Information


Welcome to ENGR110/PSC110 Int roduction to Renewable Energy. We assume that you have no
previous knowledge of renewable energy systems and policy; however, the fact that you are here means that
you have an interest in the subject. The course will inter-weave the technological, political, and economic
feasibility of alternative energy, which includes renewable energy—the latter being a subset of alternative
While global-warming is a concern, the modern world demands cheap and easily accessible sources of
energy. Fossil energy, regardless of its environmental impact, has a short horizon at the current levels of
global consumption. In short, we have to make real choices about our energy future and we need to do
so now! It will not be easy or cheap to transition to alternative sources of energy—it will cost money and
it will take time. Despite tremendous wealth, the United States will be hard pressed to come up with the
resources needed to make this transition, and time is shorter than you might think.

Unique class procedures/structures

• Guest presentations from industry leaders and policymakers—renewable energy is changing so
quickly, that it is important for students to gain information from “top name” leaders in the
renewable energy marketplace as well as from national and state policymakers who make rules that
govern markets and create incentives.
• Team-based problem solving. Students will work together to create optimal energy system designs
for sustainable communities. The students will use a web-based free shareware program known as
HOMER™, which is available for download from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
• Class discussion. We will use the assigned texts, guest presentations and lectures as opportunities
to discuss renewable energy issues.

Course Objectives

• Familarize students with scientific terms and concepts related to energy. Students will understand
what terms and concepts mean and learn how to apply concepts to real world energy applications.
• Familarize students with the role of energy in modern society and trends in demand and supply.
Students will learn about current estimates of energy inventories and the current and future need to
pursue renewable energy and other alternative energies.
• Familarize students with major national and state policy initiatives related to renewable energy.
Student will develop a substantial understanding of how energy policy creates incentives for
renewable energy development.

Course Books

Cravens, Gwyneth 2007. Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy. New York:
Knopf. [GC]
Inslee, Jay and Bracken Hendricks 2007. Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy.
Washington, DC: Island Press. [IH]
Scientific American 2007. Oil and the Future of Energy. Guilford, CT: Lyons Press. [SA]
Simon, C. 2007. Alternative Energy: Political, Economic, and Social Feasibility. Lanham, MD: Rowman
& Littlefield. [Simon]

Evaluation Tools

Midterm                                     20%
Class Participation                     20%
Book Reviews                             10%
Team Assignments                      20%
Final Examination                      30%
Grading Scale—The course will use the +/- grading system. Institutionally, there are no A+ grades.
100-96% A   89-87% B+      79-77% C+      69-67% D+     59% F
95-90% A-    86-84% B       76-74% C        66-64% D
                   83-80% B-      73-70% C-       63-60% D   Tell A Friend