With a generous gift of $150,000 over five years from Puget Sound Energy (PSE), School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science faculty members Mohamed Osman and Luis Perez will offer engineering and science students the opportunity to learn about a variety of renewable energy sources in a course focusing on wind, solar and fuel cell energy, as well as exploring emerging technologies.
The class emerges from the need to address the ever changing landscape of energy consumption and demand. The dramatic rise in fuel and volatility in natural gas prices since 2003 is challenging utility companies to meet the growing customer demands and the impact on cost of living and lifestyle. The addition of more renewable energy to the available energy mix will provide a buffer against fluctuations in energy prices and availability as well as the ability to continue to deliver energy at an affordable cost.
The renewable energy class will debut in the spring of 2009, with PSE providing an initial $50,000 gift in 2008 to assist with course development efforts, and the remaining balance of $100,000 over the next four years. The gift from PSE will go towards laboratory supplies and equipment, as well as student travel expenses for class tours of renewable energy facilities such as PSE’s Hopkins Ridge Wind Facility near Dayton.
The coursework, currently in development, geared for senior-level majors in Engineering, Electrical Engineering and the sciences, will range from studies in the design and construction of wind turbines, solar photovoltaic arrays, biomass generation and hydrogen fuel cells, to the public policy and ecological impact of conventional and alternative sources of energy.