Renewable energy, public policy graduate certificate offered to professionals

Enrollment now open for new spring semester online courses

1/6/2012 - By: Mike Wolterbeek
algae pond at Valley Road University of Nevada, Reno harvests algae at its Valley Road Field Lab for successful algae-to-biofuel research.

An online graduate certificate in renewable energy that provides an opportunity to study the policies and practices in the diverse fields of renewable energy is being offered at the University of Nevada, Reno beginning in the spring 2012 semester.

"With an emphasis on renewable energy by the Governor's Task Force on Economic Development, this should be a popular program," Nancy LaTourrette, of the University's College of Engineering, said. "The program provides a breadth of understanding of the different aspects of renewable energy in a traditional semester-long time frame."

The online, 12-credit certificate is designed for professionals, including business staff and managers, practicing engineers, government regulators and others interested in developing knowledge in the diverse fields of renewable energy or who may be impacted by policies and practices relating to renewable energy. The multi-disciplinary curriculum includes elements of several engineering disciplines as well as science, business and policy/political science.

The first three courses, offered this semester, are Alternate Energy Fundamentals, Public Policy Analysis and Fundamentals of Biofuels.

"The development of this program has been an objective for two to three years," Manos Maragakis, dean of the College of Engineering, said. "This new certificate program can have a significant impact on workforce development and advancement in the field of renewable energy for Nevada. We're pleased to be able to offer this valuable program that relates to a core economic emphasis for the state."

Other courses for the multi-institutional program include Operation of Contemporary Power Systems; Solar and Renewable Energy Utilization; Practicum in Biofuels; Renewable Energy Policy; and Business Issues in Sustainability and Renewable Energy. Additional courses are planned in geothermal and wind energy.

Course designers and instructors are experts in their respective renewable energy related fields at Nevada research institutions. For admission, enrollment and course requirements, visit the College of Engineering Graduate Certificate in Renewable Energy or call (775) 784-6925.

The graduate certificate in renewable energy is a collaboration among the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science and Liberal Arts at the University of Nevada, Reno, the Desert Research Institute and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Funding comes through a Department of Energy Nevada Renewable Energy Consortium grant administered by the Nevada System of Higher Education and NV Energy.

The University of Nevada, Reno was one of the first in the country to offer a multi-disciplinary renewable energy minor degree in 2007. NV Energy, through Sierra Pacific Resources Foundation, donated $500,000 to create the industry-education partnership that allowed the University's College of Engineering to develop the undergraduate program. The renewable energy minor provides students with technical skills, economic and political background, and analysis and design skills that will help them to apply the knowledge gained in their major to the important national issues of alternative and renewable energy.

"This graduate certificate is a logical extension to the renewable energy minor degree," Maragakis said. "With our collaborative renewable energy center at the University, our work with other institutions and comprehensive research in alternative energy, it's exciting to be able to grow curriculum that contributes to economic development."


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