Which Field Should I Study for an RE Career?

I am currrently an undergrad in Electrical Engineering, and I just switched majors from Materials Engineering because I felt like I would have a better knowledge of renewable energy. Was this a good move? Christa I, Birmingham, Alabama

Christa, What is wonderful about the field of clean energy is the various fields you can be involved with and make a difference in, including: engineering, architecture, business, economics, international development, healthcare, environmental sciences, public policy, land use planning, national security, and telecommunications – just to name a few. This also means there is no “right” answer to your question. Some universities and colleges have developed whole tracks or certain courses at the graduate, undergraduate and technical levels. For instance, the University of Hartford College of Engineering, Technology and Architecture offers three courses related to renewable energy. Community Colleges have many courses, such as Bronx Community College that established a Sustainable Energy Center. At the University of Oregon there is a non-math physics course on solar energy, the architecture department has several courses related to solar energy, the public policy planning and management group has energy policy classes, the business school has sustainability classes, and the law school has environmental law classes. And Oregon’s Lane Community College has solar water heating and PV installation classes. The Nicholas School of Duke University has an energy certificate program within the Masters of Environmental Management, which is also available to Masters of Public Policy. The focus of the certificate program is “energy and the environment”, and several courses and seminars are offered. The courses that have been offered thus far include: Energy and The Environment, Energy Technology, Clean Electricity, Energy GeologyEnergy and Transportation, Managing, Radical Technological Change, Putting Sustainability into Practice, Renewable Energy and Energy Law. This gives you a flavor of what’s out there but there are so many options, I cannot cover them all. Browse through the web sites below, and I wish to thank the InterState Renewable Energy Council (www.irecusa.org) and the Florida Solar Energy Center (www.fsec.fsu.edu) for their data. Web sites – just a sampling University of Hartford: College of Engineering, Technology and Architecture, CT http://www.ctsolarpower.org Bronx Community College, NY http://www.csebcc.org Duke University, North Carolina: Nicholas School of Environment and Earth Science http://www.duke.edu Rutgers University, NJ http://radburn.rutgers.edu/andrews/projects/hp/default.htm http://radburn.rutgers.edu/andrews/courses/618.htm http://radburn.rutgers.edu/andrews/courses/571.htm http://policy.rutgers.edu/ceeep/970_672_EPP.html University of Nevada at Las Vegas, NV: School of Mechanical Engineering and the Energy Research Center, Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering http://www.me.unlv.edu/research/energy.htm http://www.egr.unlv.edu/solar/main.html University of Oregon, OR http://solardata.uoregon.edu
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Scott, founder and president of The Stella Group, Ltd., in Washington, DC, is the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition and serves on the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and The Solar Foundation. The Stella Group, Ltd., a strategic marketing and policy firm for clean distributed energy users and companies using renewable energy, energy efficiency and storage. Sklar is an Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University teaching two unique interdisciplinary courses on sustainable energy, and is an Affiliated Professor of CATIE, the graduate university based in Costa Rica. . On June 19, 2014, Scott Sklar was awarded the prestigious The Charles Greely Abbot Award by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and on April 26, 2014 was awarded the Green Patriot Award by George Mason University in Virginia.

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